Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Repost of an incredible Experience!

Julia Landis...Musician...Healer....Yoga Master...
and now....Nichiren Buddhist!!!
What follows is Julia's experience, written by her. I'll throw in a few annotations as well. Just let me say to begin, that Julia was a special radiant and wonderful friend from the moment we met many years ago. Her Yoga classes transported me. No other teacher compares. Since she is already so incredibly spiritual, once she decided to embrace this practice she "GOT" it in a way that is always teaching me...and we have been growing and evolving and creating our wonderful lives ever since! I learn so much from her!

Kelly's Island Ohio...where this story takes place..

Dear readers (from Julia),
some of you may have read Jamie's post about me last summer. After 13 years of contemplating chanting NMHRK I finally took the big plunge last fall after I realized I had nothing left to lose. After visiting with Jamie on Kelley's Island in Ohio and seeing the transformation of her relationship with her husband and experiencing their warm friendship in the midst of their impending separation I was truly amazed. There was simply an ease and happiness I could feel in being with them, which was a relief to me for many reasons, but most acutely, because I was really suffering: I was experiencing severe challenges to my health, far worse than anything I could have imagined. I had MRSA type wounds on my foot that refused to heal. It was a nightmare in the humid midwestern summer to try and enjoy being a tourist while the band-aids and ointment repeatedly slid off and I was left in searing pain and fear of further infection. I also had developed chronic giardiasis and related intestinal syndromes. Let's say I was not a "happy camper." Please scroll down...

I remember not talking with Julia much about chanting at the beginning of the visit. I let my life speak for me. Julia could see the physical transformation I'd had since I last saw her ...with the loss of 70 pounds and the new outlook on life...I look much younger. Outside at the lake I remember telling her something about my relationship with Paul, and she said "I want to try it."

I asked Jamie if she would chant with me one afternoon while we were alone at a picnic area overlooking Lake Eerie. I was so weak I asked if I could chant lying down on the picnic table. Jamie gently recommended that I at least try sitting up, to feel the energy in my body... 

Although my husband was opposed to the practice--and had been for over a decade-- I was determined this time not to let anything stand in my way. I'll never forget the first time I chanted with Jamie for more than a few minutes, staring out at the calm surface of Lake Eerie-- my first Gohonzon!--from beneath a picnic shelter accompanied by the chatter of newly hatched swallows nesting above us. I was blown away, so to speak, when Jamie's son Ben, a top athelete, stood behind us and joined us in chanting. I got the goose bumps as I felt the generations of Buddhas voices like a soft wind under my broken wings, lifting me towards the light.
 Here are the birds Julia's talking about

After I returned home, many obstacles arose to my practicing, but I let nothing stop me. At first I only chanted a couple of minutes a day and got out of breath and hoarse. (Julia was incredibly weak and sick when she started chanting - her transformation has been amazing) I created an altar and began to thirst for the experience of chanting. Jamie expressed so much support, making herself available in ways no other friend or helper would ever have been able to... I now realize that she was excited for me and knew about the benefits that lay in store for me. I read the copy of "On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime" she had given me as a gift and began to hear Daisaku Ikeda's loving and powerful words reverberating in me when I chanted. I believe at this point I began to connect with the spirit of Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of our age who first chanted Nam Myoho Renge kyo and unlocked the mysteries of the Lotus sutra for all of us living in this age. Nichiren wrote... "With this teaching  all the teachings advocated by [earlier Buddhist teachers] will be like stars after sunrise..." I began to feel joy in my chanting and worked my way up to chanting an hour a day. At this point I discovered (through amazing synchronicities involving my husband and public radio) the herbs I needed to treat the MRSA. It took months and several approaches, but by now you've guessed it: the wounds have closed and are healing

With each passing week the benefits mounted. A doctor who'd been treating me in a half hearted always busy way began to take a real interest in me and began really helping me. Through his increased vigillance I was able to get an MRI which has led me, again through synchronicities to the most wonderful physical therpist I could have ever imagined. I am getting full physical healing including pilates and cranio-sacral therapy now and... it's all covered by my insurance. I also have begun receiving lucid dreams guiding me further along in my healing and I began my own blog about my experience. As Jamie has put it, I've gone from an experience of dying to an experience of really LIVING. Of feeling alive and cherishing each moment of my life, no matter what it brings.
It has been so exciting to share each benefit and each new challenge with Jamie, knowing that she fully understands both the nature of suffering and the emergence of strength and capacity that come with this practice and can stand beside me in either kind of state. With her encouragement, I was able to overcome many obstacles and learn to chant Gongyo; this year on New Year's day I received my Gohonzon, the mandala Nichiren Daishonin personally inscribed for his disciples (us!) some seven hundered years ago.

Having practiced many forms of meditation and yoga over the past twenty years, I was amazed to experience the blessing of chanting NMHRK with my eyes open and fixed on the character which means "MYO" on the Gohonzon. Minutes slip away in states of happiness, peace, transcendance that are worthy of MYO's immeasurable meanings chiefly characterized by the simple definitions, "to open" to "rejuvenate" and "fully endow."

I made a determination, on the eve of receiving my Gohonzon that each time I would look upon it I would be filled with reverence for it and for my life, of which it is a mirror. And I am. I can never adequately thank Jamie for sticking with me for the 12 or so years it took me to "open" up my life to my full potential and cultivate the capacity and the bravery to live fully and embrace my innate Buddhahood. I am learning the exquisite feeling of deep worthiness, worthiness of love, healing and real joy. I am beginning to praise my life.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!
Julia has changed in so many ways since she began chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Her voice...her health...her bright eyes...and most of all...Julia knows...beyond a shadow of a doubt...that she can accomplish every happiness she desires. She knows with a knowing that is beyond intellectual, that the ONLY way to accomplish her desires is to wholeheartedly EMBRACE them!  She knows YOU MUST chant for what your heart Can't tamp it down. And you will either get what you are chanting for...or something better...or your desires will change and so will your suffering. She is a living Buddha...inspiring people with her incredible life! We've only just begun! So much more to create...chant for...embrace...appreciate!!! She knows she has found the key to every happiness...and what could be better than that!!!! I love you Julia! I love you readers! May each of you be soooo inspired by beautiful Julia!!!!

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