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Sowing the Seeds of Our Family Victory

Joyful—(L–r) Yasumitsu, Mac and Machiko Kimura, Gardena, Calif., January 2022. Photo by Kathy Sotomura.

by Machiko, Yasumitsu and Mac Kimura
Gardena, Calif.

World Tribune: Thank you, Machiko, Yasumitsu and Mac for speaking with us. We heard that your family experienced a victory last year based on your efforts to spread Buddhism. Can you tell us what happened?

Mac Kimura: In mid-2020, my father shut down his business of almost 40 years, leaving me the sole provider for our family. In November, during a routine checkup, doctors found polyps all through my father’s large intestine, which required surgery to remove the majority of the organ. This was especially hard for him, because he also had two failing kidneys and had been on dialysis for six years. He was hoping to get a kidney transplant but there was no concrete timeline. Given my father’s declining health and the harsh reality of our family situation, we knew that we needed to change our karma.

Machiko Kimura: Around the same time, the women in my region started a campaign to teach people in our community about Buddhism, planting seeds of Buddhahood. That’s when I decided to double my efforts to do so myself and chant abundant daimoku. My goal was to plant at least one seed a day until we saw victory in my husband’s health situation. Whenever I went out, whether to a local supermarket or to the hospital, I would give out a Nam-myoho-renge-kyo card and say with conviction: “This is SGI Buddhism. You can definitely become happy. OK?”

Yasumitsu Kimura: To be honest, every time we went anywhere, my wife would teach people about Buddhism, and I would think What are you doing? I didn’t understand at the time that she was doing it for me and my health. I was feeling so unwell that I could barely chant. My wife and son were making so many efforts on their own.

Mac: After several months, my mom had already shared Buddhism with over 100 people. When I heard about how hard my mom was fighting, I knew I had to work on my own propagation efforts as well. My work contract was ending, and I had a lot of uncertainty about my future. I knew I had to take full responsibility and focus on making causes for kosen-rufu, especially sharing Buddhism with others.

Although I was not able to plant many seeds like my mother, I reconnected with a longtime guest. He was a young man I met in 2020, but in hindsight, I realized my support came from a place of wanting him to simply fulfill the requirements of becoming a member, not because I truly cared about his well-being. However, that changed when I had a long conversation with him over lunch one day. I really determined that I would develop a genuine friendship with him.

Every week, we spent time together no matter how busy I got, and we became good friends. He decided to start his own practice and received the Gohonzon at the November 2021 Kosen-rufu Gongyo Meeting. It was one of the most joyful moments of the year for me.

Soon after, I secured a new job that increased my salary significantly so that I could support my family. The search for a new kidney for my father also moved forward quickly. After six years of being on a waitlist, doctors found a viable kidney, and my father underwent a successful surgery.

Machiko: On our way to the hospital, I had a surge of conviction and appreciation. I could feel all the daimoku that our district had chanted for my husband and our family, and all the fortune we had built through our efforts to share Buddhism in our community. I knew that we would be just fine.

Mac: Out of appreciation, my mother even went out of her way to share Buddhism with the family of the kidney donor. I believe we completely transformed our lives in such a short time thanks to the power of propagation. I was encouraged by this guidance from Ikeda Sensei:

The essence of Buddhism, in a sense, is not to seek the placid existence of a still pond but to establish a towering state of happiness that not even the stormiest seas can destroy. Though we might wish for a humble happiness where nothing untoward ever occurs, it is impossible to avoid being buffeted by life’s winds and waves when storms howl. Indeed, it is only by bringing forth our inherent strength to make our way dauntlessly through the maelstrom of fundamental darkness and karma that we can secure true happiness. In that respect, happiness is found only amid struggle.

Building genuine happiness for oneself and others necessarily entails battling erroneous thinking and mistaken beliefs that lead people to misery. This is what the practice of shakubuku is all about. (May 2018 Living Buddhism, p. 10)

Yasumitsu: If it weren’t for my wife’s and son’s efforts and all of the support we received from the members, I wouldn’t be here today. This is truly my fortune. Because I was on dialysis for six years, I couldn’t eat the things I wanted. But I get to eat everything now! I’m also gaining enough strength to chant more on my own. I’m determined to get healthy enough to support my family financially again.

Mac: As a family, we will continue to speak with others about this incredible practice. As soon as we can, we are determined to take our first trip together in a long time, visit the Soka Gakkai headquarters in Japan and renew our vow for kosen-rufu.

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