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Winning Over Myself Every Day

Appreciation—Doris Edwards (left) with her friend Ellen at the Florida Nature and Culture Center, Weston, Fla., October 2022.

by Doris Edwards
East Territory Many Treasures Group leader

World Tribune: Thank you, Doris, for sharing your experiences with us. 

Doris Edwards: Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. We Many Treasures Group members are, as I like to say, in our third stage of youth! 

WT: One of the guidelines for the Many Treasures Group is for each person to participate in their discussion meetings. How important is it to be
engaged in a district?

Doris: In my assigned district, I try to attend every meeting, including the planning meetings. Whatever the goals of the district are, they are my goals, and I pray about them. I always chant for my district to be successful. 

Several years ago, Ikeda Sensei said if we wanted to meet him, we could find him on the front lines. That means he’s in the district. I want to make every district Sensei’s district!

WT: Can you share a memorable encounter you had with Sensei?

Doris: In June 1981, I was a young women’s division member living in Philadelphia. I was asked if I would like to go to New York. I thought Great! because I loved to shop. No one explained why the members were going there. We ended up at this estate in Glen Cove, New York. It was so beautiful. We were chanting in one of the rooms and in walks Sensei. I felt his life state—it was a force! I will never forget the way I felt from his life condition.

On that visit to New York, Sensei wrote the poem “To My Beloved Young American Friends—Youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth.” One of the lines from that poem still stays with me: “Faith is— / to fear nothing / to stand unswayed” (The Sun of Youth, p. 72).

That helped me years later when I was followed by a young man with a gun. I thought to
myself, I don’t want to die today. I just kept walking. I could see him still following me, so I turned around. If he’s going to shoot me, I thought, I want to look him in his eyes. I turned around and said, “If you want…” Before I could finish my sentence, he ran away! Of course, I would never say that this is what anyone should do in this situation. But, for me, it was a response from my conviction in my Buddhahood.

That day, I feel that I saved my life and his. Because I was chanting, I changed the course of our destinies. 

I have so much appreciation for that experience and so much appreciation that I could
encounter Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and Sensei in this lifetime so that I could change my karma.

WT: Wow! What an experience. How do you stay refreshed in faith?

Doris: The way I stay refreshed is the way I started—I connect to Sensei. I feel so fortunate that there are so many different materials we can use to stay connected. It’s important to keep a seeking spirit.  

Also, I firmly believe that it is because I have challenges and face adversity, I can continuously refresh my life. Adversity is why I can smile. I also smile because I made the determination to be the happiest woman in Philadelphia. 

I never want to get to the point where I think I’ve been practicing for 48 years, I don’t have to do this or that. 

The other day I was speaking to a member who was only doing gongyo once a day, and I told her that I can’t get away with that because of the karma that I have! But that is my fortune.

I don’t want my practice to get sloppy, because it can. Sometimes I use the SGI-USA app just to make sure that I’m still pronouncing gongyo correctly. I do the thing that is not quite natural for me to do because that’s where the human revolution lies. I try to make a daily effort to do something to refresh my faith. 

I also try to read The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin  every day, even if I am sleepy. Then, I can go to bed with Nichiren’s words in my life. 

It’s a battle. Some days I win, and some days I don’t. The key for me is this guidance from Sensei that I once read in the Future Division insert: “What is true victory in life? It is to win over yourself” (Jan. 8, 2021, World Tribune, p. H). Every day I have that spirit: I have to win over myself. If I don’t win today, I can determine to win tomorrow. That is what it means to never be defeated.

Our Heart Guarantees Our Victory

Q: Why do we chant to the Gohonzon?