Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Finding Love and Sculpting Our Karma ~ An Experience from a Reader in India!



Experience: Ritika 01/01/2014

Relationships. They mystify - they can hurt, they can heal. They can drain, they can energize. While we women talk about them more, men are caught in them as much. I started chanting 5 years ago because I was desperate and hurting in a very bad marriage. While normally I would list out all the things that made him the “bad guy” and contributed to our unhappiness, I know better today.  He and his behavior were only puppets acting out the drama of my causes – obviously negative - from the past. 

I will be honest – it has taken me time – to get this concept of ownership – that I am the author of my destiny. Initially all I could do was chant to not feel pain, not feel humiliated, not feel alone, not feel a failure, and most importantly not feel rage at being the ticket to a Green Card. 
Buddhism taught me that my marriage was showing me my karma, that I had a choice on whether I wanted to change this forever or go the cynical route. That changing it was not only necessary, but possible, and guaranteed.  That rather than brooding over the past, why not use this as learning opportunity for what I need to do differently so I never experience such suffering again.

I had nothing more to lose and chanting was my last shot at finding the key to relationships. To my surprise, a viciously contested divorce, ended amicably and soon. This was my hook. I stepped up my practice. 

I learned that no one but me could change my karma and the way to do so was by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and plenty of it. 

I found myself happy for no reason. 

My first and chance visit to FNCC was life-transforming. I came back energized to work on myself. I wanted to sculpt not just my muscles but my karma. What is it about me that I need to change? So that I can not only magnetize a wonderful human being into my life but also offer this person a new me so we both feel “I cannot be luckier!”

President Ikeda says, 
“To think that things will somehow work out just because we are practicing amounts to taking advantage of faith. After we pray for something, we need to struggle with all our might, giving ourselves completely to actualizing it.” 
(Can find the source). I chanted many hours a day for many months, I planted the seed of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in 100s of lives, and several became members – two of whom are in this meeting.  I went back to FNCC several more times to learn how to use this faith to polish my life, to understand what more I can do to change the course of my destiny. 

All through this process, I excelled at my job and also went through several changes – each making me grow and teaching me how to use an adverse situation and convert it into a springboard to leap forward. While I could literally see my life blooming under my nose, my confidence in having a beautiful family yo-yoed from hopeless cynicism and chills to a dream-like wish. I did not understand how I could make it a reality. It was too exhausting. My friends in faith kept encouraging me not to give up, to dig deep, to reach the root cause so I could uproot it. It was not pretty.

The quality of people that I was meeting was abysmal. Within hours of chatting or meeting, I could cut through the fa├žade and walk away knowing that it was not going to work. While I did not realize this then, today I see that it was the protection of my faith – I was able to calmly assess character without being swayed by me emotions. I knew what I wanted, felt confident that I was worth it, and surprisingly patient. 

Nichiren Daishonin in the gosho Real Aspect on the Gohonzon (WND-1, p. 832) states: “A woman who makes offerings to such a Gohonzon invites happiness in this life, and in the next, the Gohonzon will be with her and protect her always. Like a lantern in the dark, like a strong guide and porter on a treacherous mountain path, the Gohonzon will guard and protect you, Nichinyo, wherever you go.” 

These little golden nuggets from the gosho and President Ikeda’s encouragement would help me keep hope alive. My friends would be bar-hopping on weekends, I would be parked in front of the Gohonzon or attend meetings. Changing karma I was learning is serious business. A casual attitude in faith yields less than desired results and I would have no one to be frustrated with but myself. I was learning to become happy just I as was, inspite of my circumstances. That I am told we called this process the emergence of Lotus Beauty in Buddhism.


In January last year I met Navdeep at a networking event. We casually exchanged business cards, meet for coffee several times, moved to dinner, he proposed to me in July and we got married in December. We both complement and bring out the best in each other. Rather than fire, we are like flowing water. We both feel lucky to have found each other. I had a spreadsheet listing all the qualities of my ideal soul mate – 2 pages long – I took the advice of clear goals to heart! I have checked off each line item  Each experience in these last five years has strengthened my confidence in this practice. Today, I have the determination that as long as I am around, any situation will be a bright one. I will be the sun of my family, my district, my community!

5 comments:

  1. That's a beautiful and honest experience . I love the part when she mentions that a casual attitude in faith yields less than desired results . It's soo important and yet most of us begin to take it casually time and again .
    Also , her persistence to understand the concept of karma and taking full responsibility , in spite of the intense suffering involved in such scenarios is commendable .
    Wishing Ritika and Navdeep the very best ahead !!!

    Thank you for sharing !!

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  2. Deepest thanks for this beautiful experience. About six months ago, I was fortunate enough to get out of a very unhappy relationship. As soon as I started a million-daimoku campaign to somehow change my miserable situation, he announced he was leaving. What a great benefit! At any rate, many friends keep telling me it's time to "get back out there" but I"m happy spending more time chanting, doing SGI activities and spending time with my amazing girlfriends! This experience reminded me to trust myself. I"m nearly 60, but, thanks to my Buddhist practice, I know the right man will be there when the time is right. Thank you a million times and more!

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    Replies
    1. I'm fairly new to this practice myself (three years) and am learning firsthand how relationships are near-perfect reflections of our pasts and our present. Despite considering myself to be an "All-Cards-On-The-Table-Face-Up" sort of guy, I've found myself in a year-long relationship with a woman who actively stonewalls any attempt I make at honest communication with her. I love her dearly, but I often feel miserable because the lack of openness is strangling any possibility of full happiness.There must be something we're supposed to gain from this connection and I intend to hang in there until those lessons are learned. But the commitment has entailed a good deal of emotional pain. Ive vowed to continue to chant relentlessly until I'm transformed myself--and then the situation will automatically be transformed too...

      Clifford
      Santa Monica

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  3. Deepest thanks for this beautiful experience. About six months ago, I was fortunate enough to get out of a very unhappy relationship. As soon as I started a million-daimoku campaign to somehow change my miserable situation, he announced he was leaving. What a great benefit! At any rate, many friends keep telling me it's time to "get back out there" but I"m happy spending more time chanting, doing SGI activities and spending time with my amazing girlfriends! This experience reminded me to trust myself. I"m nearly 60, but, thanks to my Buddhist practice, I know the right man will be there when the time is right. Thank you a million times and more!

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  4. Dear Ritika,

    Thanks for sharing the experience.

    Best wishes
    Nams

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