My Favorite Gosho
"Be diligent in developing your faith until the last moment of your life. Otherwise you will have regrets. For example, the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven but stop with one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital? "
Steve Mortan, USA
My father passed away just before I graduated from high school. In addition to reeling from this loss, my mother, my sister and I faced immediate and severe financial hardship. When we came home at night, we would often have several phone messages from bill collectors threatening to take us to court. At other times, our electricity was turned off. For five years, we lived this way.
I will never forget my mother's determination during those times. I can still recall the sound of her chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with deep conviction that we would overcome every difficulty.
This was the greatest gift a mother could give to her child. She demonstrated the power of faith in the midst of seemingly insurmountable odds, and her example engraved something powerful and deep within my life.
For me, the biggest battle was to maintain hope. I had to constantly redetermine not to give up faith--not to be swayed by our circumstances, even though the situation remained the same on the surface. This passage from Nichiren Daishonin was a source of courage for me.
After five years of making consistent effort to practice and share Nichiren Buddhism, our situation drastically changed. My mother acquired a mom-and-pop store in our neighborhood. My sister, who was on the verge of quitting her job, was suddenly placed on the fast track into management. I graduated from college and became a high school teacher.
This five-year struggle helped me solidify my faith and become someone who never gives up. I now feel, in my heart, that this was the best thing that ever happened to me. I also learned the importance of deriving joy amid the journey. From this experience, I now have deep confidence that as long as I persevere, the moon awaits.
[Courtesy of World Tribune, SGI-USA, November 2007]