Friday, July 12, 2013

Shunzo Ohno's Victory in Faith and how it relates to all of us

Shunzo Ohno is a World Class, 
Grammy Award winning musician 
and a Soka Gakkai member. 

The July edition of the Living Buddhism magazine published by SGI-USA has an article about Shunzo Ohno's struggles and triumphs. If you would like to subscribe to Living Buddhism and the World Tribune just click on the SGI-USA Portal to the right and go to the subscriptions center or call 310-260-8900. 

I'm not going to relate every detail about the article, but there are a few things that really struck me about Shunzo's struggles and the encouragement he received from President Ikeda. I find that many times when I am reading Sensei's guidance to others, that the guidance also relates to me. Even though Sensei is speaking to one person, we can  all take his guidance to heart. Here's what I mean. 

Shunzo Ohno first met SGI President Ikeda when he was visiting New York, where Ohno lived. At this time he was working as a busboy after experiencing some highs and lows as a trumpeter in New York. When President Ikeda met him he asked "Why don't you play a song?" and Ohno played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for him. Sensei responded by telling Ohno "Please become a world-class musician," and these words reignited Ohno's passion for music. After this he won several Grammy awards. 

In December of 1988 Ohno was in a bad traffic accident that seriously injured his lips and face. Normally this kind of accident would end a trumpeter's career. President Ikeda sent him this message:

'You are the world's Shunzo Ohno. Please fully recover. make sure you recover. Make a come-back. Re-establish your daily life. Focus on your art. Please prosper even more from now and forever. Rise up again like a phoenix." 

And through hard work and determination Ohno played again, only to be diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer in December of 1995. President Ikeda sent him a message saying "Mr. Ohno, your fellow members and fans are awaiting your full recovery. Mr. Ohno, fight and win. My comrade fight and win." And in June of 1996 Ohno played for President Ikeda on stage with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter (also SGI members). He has since produced many works and there is a book and a documentary about him in Japan. 

When he met Sensei again in 2010, he told Ohno that he listens to Ohno's music 365 days a year. 365 days a year! 

I find this story so striking. 

We each have such a noble mission you and I. 

You are the world's________________(fill in your name here!) 
Think to yourself:
"I am the world's _______________"(your name!)
You are so important. Just keep this in mind whenever you face difficulties. Say it over and over. You are so important. 

We can all take this guidance to heart. The world is WAITING for each of us to rise up into our magnificence and SHINE! The world is waiting for each of us to write our brilliant legacy! It is time for us all to DREAM BIG! 

As one of my favorite quotes from Sensei says 
"When one sun rises, everything is illuminated." 
We are the sun. We illuminate everything with our light.
The world is waiting for YOU, and for all of us! 

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