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Becoming Genuinely Strong

by Cindy Hetzel
Beacon, New York

After high school, I swooped away to New York City as a fashion model. A few years later, I started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and my career took off. For most of my 22 years of Buddhist practice, I’ve gotten exactly what I’ve chanted for, but I hit a major wall at the beginning of 2020.

I was sincerely supporting fellow SGI members as a leader, had just married Daniel, the man of my dreams, and made new goals: a new career and owning a home. But the more I chanted, the farther my goals seemed!

Then, Daniel started having ongoing pain near his abdomen and was soon diagnosed with lymphoma. My life was screaming to reveal my Buddhahood, but I struggled to let go of how things were supposed to happen versus how they were happening.

I turned to “The Opening of the Eyes,” in which Nichiren Daishonin teaches us how to establish an unshakable life. I put my faith to the test, chanting with a stand-alone spirit. As a result, my recent benefits are not material like before. I no longer feel pseudo-strong. I feel genuinely strong.

My husband and I are getting along better than ever, his cancer is now in remission, and he is receiving an avalanche of career opportunities. Our obstacles forced me to dig deeper into my Buddhist practice and foster the conviction that I, Cindy, can overcome anything and, nothing can defeat me!

What Is True Benefit?

Q: Is it possible for me to realize my dreams and become fulfilled in this lifetime when things are constantly changing and my options seem more and more limited?