The Key to Victory Is Found Right Where I Am
Pursuing my mission means advancing myself, and ensuring those around me advance as well.
by Ruchi Singh
Central Territory Young Women’s Leader
In January 2016, I moved from India to Chicago so my husband, Roop, could pursue his new job. I missed my family and friends back home and struggled to understand my mission in a place where I knew no one. Even after I got a job that March, I kept telling everyone we were just visiting and wouldn’t be in America for long.
SGI members and people at work were welcoming, but because I was so focused on going back, I found it hard to connect with them. After a few months of feeling this way, I decided something had to change. I chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in front of the Gohonzon and determined to win right where my feet were planted.
I remembered the joy I had experienced from telling others about Buddhism in the early years of my practice. Back home, I helped many family members and friends start practicing after they had witnessed undeniable changes in my attitude and behavior. Moving here, I found it difficult to share Buddhism because I knew so few people.
My resolve to report a victory to my mentor enabled me to continue.
I chanted to become a magnet for those who were seeking happiness and, naturally, people began talking to me about their struggles. Between 2016 and 2018, I helped six people receive the Gohonzon.
In 2017, as we prepared for the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival (in September 2018), I realized how fortunate I was to be a part of this historic event. My spirit became: Anything I can do to support SGI President Ikeda’s vision for peace, I will do it! As I approached SGI activities and home visits this way, I saw a direct impact in how I was advancing my life. In January 2019, as the newly appointed Chicago Zone young women’s leader, I determined to chant two hours in the morning, no matter what. It was not easy, but my resolve to report a victory to my mentor enabled me to continue. Exerting myself this way prepared me for the challenges that were to come.
Unexpectedly, my husband was unemployed for over three months in the beginning of the year, leaving us in a tight financial situation. A month later, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and the heavy doses of medication made me exhausted. Many days, waking up became a huge battle, which I knew was a direct response to the goal I had made to win in the morning. I challenged both situations with my practice and determined to reduce my medication dosage within three months.
I gave my all to my SGI activities, doing my best in each campaign. I drove hours to visit many young women in remote areas, and I deepened my relationship with Sensei by studying his guidance as if it were personally written for me. When a senior in faith mentioned the opportunity to participate in the SGI-USA Sustaining Contribution program, I realized that my laziness had prevented me from challenging it. Last April, not only did my husband and I sign up, but I also encouraged many young women to make this cause for their lives, too.
By challenging my weakness in the realm of faith, I broke through personally, too: After four years of putting it off, I began taking steps toward pursuing work in my chosen field of human resources. Soon after, my husband got a new job, and weeks later my doctor reduced my medication to half of what she had initially prescribed. In October 2019, after completing my certification course, I proudly began my new job as a recruiter for an airline company!
When I started this career, I saw clearly my tendency to withdraw and feel disconnected from others. After returning to Sensei’s guidance, I remembered what I had learned since moving to Chicago:
I am representing the SGI wherever I am. Now, this is my battleground, the place where I have to win. Sensei says, “Dig beneath your feet, there you will find a spring” (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, vol. 1, p. 11).
In just a few months of chanting and taking action to create bonds of trust, I’ve made amazing friends at work, some of whom I’ve shared the practice with. Since moving to the U.S., I have helped 12 friends begin practicing Nichiren Buddhism.
As the newly appointed Central Territory young women’s leader, I will base everything on the oneness of mentor and disciple to guarantee the victory of the young women! I have found that pursuing my mission means advancing myself, and ensuring those around me advance as well; it means spreading the Mystic Law on behalf of my mentor. Now, I feel I can go anywhere, because when I fight as a representative of Sensei and the SGI, I am truly fulfilling my mission. WT