23rd February will mostly be my last Zadankai (stands for monthly meetings for members practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism) in my current district and will be transferred after the March 16 campaign. Since I was introduced to this practice by my BFF, so I was in the same district as her’s, but now it’s time for me to move on. In my 14 months of practice I never cribbed or begrudged anything, relating to the practice, taking part in activities and so on except for being transferred. All the senior leaders kept telling my BFF to prepare me mentally that I am going to be transferred and whenever she would tell me that I would give her a grief. I had become so comfortable with all the members, they have become like my extended practicing family in faith. Sharing any problems with them was so easy. I am surely going to miss all of them.
Just couple of days back I met one of the senior leader and she explained me why the transfer is good for me. She explained that my mission in this district is over and it’s time for me to take on another mission in my own district (= means an entire area or a street or locality where one resides). She explained that there’s where my real mission resides and that they have nurtured me a lot into becoming a true member. In my own district there are chances of me to grow more and maybe become a leader one day. And that this is how I will propagate the law. This law is meant for everyone and not just for selected people. She also explained that since we are practicing, we are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, so with that spirit and with an open heart I should welcome everyone in my new district. This one line made me think a lot. It made me think that I cannot be selfish, and need to move on to my real mission in life, that is kosen-rufu in my own district. Letting go off something has always been a problem for me, but I guess after this it won’t be an issue at all. By end of the activity, I told her I am ready to be transferred so which will be after the March 16 campaign.
The concept of the study in which I am a part of is 3 Obstacles and 4 Devils, in short it means good and evil. During the planning meeting we were deciding on the concept and a conversation started about negativity and positivity, good and evil. We all came to a conclusion that this will be the best concept and since I am fighting the negativity out from my life, I immediately gave my name to be a part of the study group once again. Coincidentally this will be my last study in my present district, the best study till now.
The 3 Obstacles and 4 Devils are various obstacles and hindrances to the practice of Buddhism. They are listed in the Nirvana Sutra and The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom. The three obstacles are: (1) the obstacle of earthly desires, or obstacles arising from the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness; (2) the obstacle of karma, obstacles due to bad karma created by committing any of the five cardinal sins or ten evil acts; and (3) the obstacle of retribution, obstacles caused by the negative karmic effects of actions in the three evil paths. The obstacle of earthly desires is the impediments to one’s practice that arise from greed, anger, foolishness, and the like; the obstacle of karma is the hindrances presented by one’s wife or children; and the obstacle of retribution is the hindrances caused by one’s sovereign or parents.
The four devils are: (1) the hindrance of the five components, obstructions caused by one’s physical and mental functions; (2) the hindrance of earthly desires, obstructions arising from the three poisons; (3) the hindrance of death, meaning one’s own untimely death obstructing one’s practice of Buddhism, or the premature death of another practitioner causing one to doubt; and (4) the hindrance of the devil king, who is said to assume various forms or take possession of others in order to cause one to discard one’s Buddhist practice.
In short, anything that comes in the way of one’s practice in any form is regarded as obstacles. We call them the devil attacks, because where there’s good, evil is also present. All the members chant and practice for happiness, not just for themselves but for everyone around the world. We all have the wisdom to understand such devil attacks, some win over them and some give into the evil, like I did a month back. These attacks could come from anywhere, it could be a tiff in a relationship, or work place, or too much compassion from parents and so on. Few give into situation and stop practicing at all. And this happens when you are getting enlighten, then to start all over again becomes a struggle. My chanting has not been up to the mark lately. I have the wisdom and I know I am facing such attacks since over a month now, but I gave into the evil and let it win over me to such an extent that my relationship with whom I love has got affected in a very bad way. I have been struggling really hard to let this negativity go and it doesn’t seem to be happening so easily.
The solution to all this is chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and pouring a lot of daimoku’s. Chanting not only enlightens you but it also takes you to a high life condition and once you are in high life condition you never let these attacks affect you at all. You get the courage to face such challenging situations with more ease and react in a different way. I am going to do the same, chant and chant a lot.
From the entire study I understood that good and evil are two sides of the same coin, they exist in all of us. It’s upto us which side we pick. Picking evil is always going to be an easy choice and picking good will be a tough journey but an amazing and a worthwhile journey. I am picking good from today, not hoping for any miracle but a good learning experience.
Have a wonderful weekend!