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My Favorite Gosho

"One day of life is more valuable than all the treasures of the major world system, so first you must muster sincere faith."

On Prolonging One's Life Span

Lisa Kawai, USA

During my freshman year of college, I lost my best friend, Malynda, in a car accident. I remember feeling disconnected and helpless as arrangements for her funeral began halfway across the country. I was not serious about my Buddhist practice at the time and used my own strategies of denial and depression to confront the issue of life and death.

This past February, I lost another close friend. A week prior to my trip from New York to California to visit her in the hospital, she died of meningitis. I was stunned and devastated by her loss.

This time, I immediately went to the Gohonzon and prayed seriously for her enlightenment, confronting my own feelings of guilt and sadness with prayer. I exerted myself in faith activities, all the while treasuring her life in my heart.

I gravitated to Nichiren Daishonin's writings on life and death and illness. As I read and reread passages, I realized that Nichiren had encouraged his believers to strengthen their faith in order to bring forth the strong life force necessary to battle any obstacle. I then began to burn with a desire to share Nichiren Buddhism more than ever, so that others could have the ability to confront and win over their obstacles, too.

My friend's passing opened my heart and awakened me to the importance of appreciating and valuing my life every day. This translated to a shift in my own attitude toward my leadership responsibility within the SGI and my relationships.

I have since made the determination to give 100 percent to whatever task is before me. By mustering sincere faith, I transformed my guilt and sadness into the greatest source of determination to treasure the people around me.

[Courtesy of World Tribune, SGI-USA, April 2009]

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