Friday, August 25, 2017

Avnita Bir's Experience of JUSTICE!

My name is Avnita Bir and I have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism for one and a half years. I feel I have had a very seeking spirit and have experienced many benefits as actual proofs of the faith. 
I recently had a life changing experience, which both challenged and reinforced my faith in the Gohonzon. My family went through the darkest period of our lives, as my brother became a victim of a horrific conspiracy in which he was forcibly and unlawfully detained for false, fabricated cases under inexplicable circumstances. Shocked, uncertain about how to deal with the crisis, we began fighting a battle we had no clue how to go about. It was providence that had taken me to Delhi when this tragedy struck in the middle of the night on 1st July. Trying to understand how the system works, during what seemed like endless days, all I could do was resort to my faith and abundant, powerful daimoku. Throughout this period, as we fought the system, I got strength from my chanting. My brother seemed to be in a very low life condition and no support seemed to be reaching him. Josei Toda wrote in HR, Vol. IX, and I quote, “When your life is at stake, you struggle with every single ounce of your energy. However, the battle against your own karma is even harder than that. Life and faith are exactly the same. To think that you can get through somehow, just because you believe in true Buddhism, is not real faith at all. When you try so hard that the sweat streams off your brow and you squeeze out wisdom, which you didn’t even think you had, then you can make the impossible possible. And that’s the time when the Gohonzon will protect you in every way, shape and form. There’s no doubt about that.”
A senior in faith would daily send me Gosho messages and encouragement and that became my anchor through the long period of darkness. One of the earliest messages she sent me was about President Ikeda's Osaka campaign and his arrest and unjust detention on false charges for a crime he did not commit. That he was exonerated of all charges and his honor restored, instilled hope in me. In that moment I felt that my brother was a noble Buddha who was practicing the concept of 'voluntarily assuming karma' and that he had taken this suffering on himself in order to lead his family into the Practice. And I was confident that the Gohonzon would surely protect him. Seeing my strong and courageous faith, my family members, especially my young nephews and nieces, also joined me. It felt as though this was Human Revolution for the family as everyone rallied together like one united force. Sensei Ikeda says, and I quote, “ From one perspective, gongyo and daimoku are lyrics and songs. They are an ode to life.  I hope, therefore, that your gongyo and daimoku will be such that even people who are not practicing will be favorably impressed by the sonorous and invigorating sound of your voices. That too will contribute to the spread of kosen-rufu.” As much as my prayers were for my brother, they were also for my family to see the actual proof of strong resolute faith.
Even as I prayed, there were hindrances and obstacles in the form of deadlocks, delays and disappointments that would try to shake my faith and courage. Nichiren Daishonin says and I quote, "A coward cannot have any prayers answered.” That gave me courage to start each day with powerful gongyo and daimoku.
"Faith in the Mystic Law is the basis for victory. Chanting nam myoho renge kyo is the ultimate driving force that enables us to break through all obstacles, undefeated by any problem or suffering.” Even as I prayed for winter to turn into spring, I prayed for a higher life condition not just for my brother but also for those who had caused him this suffering and for poison to change into medicine. The situation was tricky and complicated and we needed to have not just strength and fortitude to deal with it but also the right strategy to be able to take the right decisions. I prayed  to the Gohonzon for my brother's protection and for the family to have wisdom to take the right steps towards a positive outcome. Even in the face of many mistakes we made because we were ignorant in these matters, there was new learning at every step. Sensei Ikeda says, and I quote, “Wisdom is invisible. It can only be gauged by a person’s actual conduct and behavior.”
A month had passed by and despite all our efforts, we had not been able to make any breakthrough. My spirit was reaching breaking point as I prepared for the hearing on the 1st of August. That morning a senior leader from Mumbai called me and gave me guidance. She said walk into the court with the determination of Sensei. Sensei Ikeda says, and I quote, “When your determination changes, everything else will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fibre in your being will immediately orient itself towards your success.” And win we did! That was our first victory. That day I also had another breakthrough. I got an appointment to meet Dr. Ouchi in South Extension despite his very busy travel schedule. The session with him was very valuable as he explained to me how this incident was an opportunity for me to feel empowered and in turn empower my family through my faith and practice. Our second victory took another ten days to happen but the actual proofs of faith and resolute prayer continued till the very end when my brother finally came back home on 12th August, stronger than ever and with the added compassion for humanity and kosen-rufu that he was able to carry out even in the midst of the negative environment in which he had found himself. 
The learnings and benefits from this entire experience were manifold. Even though he was initially angry at the injustice of the system, my brother did not give up on prayer. I happened to read his diary and was very happy to see nam myoho renge kyo on top of every page. He hadn't been a follower of Buddhism but my prayers had reached him. My aged parents with whom I barely got time to spend living in Mumbai, started to rely on me for hope and action to help their dear son. I became the second son for them. The family became closer and this was the human revolution we much needed. I returned to Mumbai feeling victorious and with an indomitable spirit that I never had before.
Nichiren Daishonin writes “On Prayer” and I quote, “Though one might point at the earth and miss it, though one might bind up the sky, though the tides might cease to ebb and flow and the sun rises in the west, it could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered.”
Today I determine to live the Gosho and share the actual proof of faith and victory through my experience as one of the most powerful ways to advance kosen-rufu.

Thank you Avnita! 
You are such an inspiration!

Today I take off for Cape Cod for 5 days. I'll post when I return!
Sending love ~ Jamie

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