My Favorite Gosho
"Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra are as if in winter, but winter always turns to spring. Never, from ancient times on, has anyone heard or seen of winter turning back to autumn. Nor have we never heard of a believer in the Lotus Sutra who turned into an ordinary person."
Donna Snyder, USA
I was always compelled by Nichiren's resolve that, when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we transform our family's karma seven generations in the past as well as seven generations into the future. I had grown up in a family that was always "as if in winter." My father left when I was very young. My mother, although she tried her best, was never able to overcome this loss, and she eventually took her own life.
Through the years, I had always chanted for my father not knowing whether he was dead or alive. During a trip to Japan in 1991, my sister and I, together with some fellow young women, had a chance to meet SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. He thoroughly encouraged all of us and said, "Please don’t make your parents worry." This really struck me.
As I chanted about the encouragement I received, I began to feel that perhaps somewhere in some corner of my father’s life he was worried about us. I determined to find my father and my prayer took on a whole new meaning and determination. It was no longer just about my father; I realized this was something I had to do for my own life.
Through a series of amazing events, I found him within a few months. He was actually very ill and living nearby in New Jersey. The day before my visit, I sent flowers to his home with the inscription "Winter always turns to spring." I chanted all the way there, filled with a million emotions. I think my father expected me to berate him about the past. I told him I wasn't there to speak about the past; I was there for the sake of the future. I told my father we had wonderful lives and this wonderful Buddhist practice, and that he didn’t have to worry about us. He died the following week.
I will always be grateful to Mr. Ikeda for his encouragement. It made me reflect on my own heart and take action. By doing so, I was able to grasp that I can transform even the deepest, darkest winter into the brightest spring.
[Courtesy of World Tribune, SGI-USA, November 2007]