The following experience is of a very dear friend of mine. I have personally seen her journey in faith and it makes me very happy to share her experience here today. Thank you Nikee for encouraging us all.
Hi. My name is Nikee Sandhu and I have been practicing this life transforming philosophy for the past 15 years. From a person who was so close to death, I have come a long way. I used to suffer from depression which I was able to overcome by practicing the Law. I have deep joy and gratitude in my life for being alive and able to strive alongside my living mentor, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda.
The last one year has been a very turbulent time in my life, full of painful challenges.
I have been working as a kindergarten teacher for the past 8 years and have always dreamt of expanding my career as one. Last year in July 2015, I had a major victory where I was able to get a wonderful job with an NGO which directly works with the government and children to ensure better civic amenities in the city.
One of my first projects was to ensure tie ups for my workplace with 9 schools in Ludhiana within 10 days. This was quite a stiff target and involved approaching the principals of the schools directly and convincing them to tie up with my institution. Taking the challenge head on, I began my mornings with an invigorating Gongyo and chanted earnest daimoku, with a desire work on the behalf of my mentor as his extension. I did not have any experience in this field and made many mistakes but I was able to bounce back quickly and move ahead. Many times my meetings began with the other person giving me a cold shoulder and treating me inconsiderately. However I was able to smile through each meeting and soldier on, taking inspiration from the story of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. As a result I was able to turn these interactions around into a warm and compassionate dialogue.
I’m happy to share that I was able to sign up with 9 schools within 10 days with my company fully applauding my efforts. Moreover, my company shared in the employee database that "Nikee is a person who truly believes she can make a difference in this world and her mentor in life is Dr Daisaku Ikeda.” On seeing this my joy knew no bounds. It was me, the disciple responding to the mentor.
Before I had a chance to catch my breath, some very ugly karma emerged in my long standing relationship of 10 years. Suffices to say, I faced a situation where I felt completely betrayed by my partner. Having had immense confidence in this relationship, I could not believe this was happening to me. My life fell apart and once again I had to deal with acute depression. I would not come out of my room, I would not talk to anyone. I had severe panic attacks because of which I was rushed to the hospital.
Somehow crawling through it all, I chanted every day. While I prayed to be alive and work for Kosen Rufu, my legs would become numb. At other times, parts of my face and hands used to become numb and my body used to tremble. I developed insomnia and was unable to sleep. I would stare at the ceiling and chant in my heart and eventually fall asleep. There were days when I used to sleep the entire day and night because of the lack of sleep I went through due to depression.
My work suffered too. It required me to be very hands on and take classes in 10 schools in Ludhiana where as I could not stand or breathe or even walk properly. Somehow I persevered, holding on to the determination to represent Sensei at work.
Following 8 extremely painful months, I made a fresh determination during this year’s March campaign to travel throughout our General Area to respond to my mentor. I am happy to report that I was able to visit our entire general area which comprises of 6 cities despite my inconsistent health. Through this activity, I was really able to experience that the more I worked for the Law un-begrudgingly, the more change I felt in my body and mind. I took guidance and was told by my seniors that it's better to be betrayed then to betray and because I had made causes in the realm of faith, I will experience the blessings of the Lotus Sutra without fail. This further gave me great hope and encouragement. Slowly my anxiety started to fall away as I began experiencing a joy that was independent of my situation.
My most recent victory came the form of another challenge when I had to travel to Banglore for a mandatory official training. Due to my poor health and acute fear of flying, this situation made me very agitated. Since I was on anti-depressants my legs used to shiver. I would pray earnestly to use my legs for kosen rufu and mystically, the shivering would fade away. I reached Bangalore full of joy and hope.
My mornings used to start at 5 AM and end at 2 AM and from a person who used to sleep the day away due to sickness, not only was I able to muster energy to carry me through the day, but also I made new friends and had a dialogue with 5 people including my boss. I was able to take a class and give a presentation based on the training I had received in BSG. On the last day of the training I was asked to make a last minute presentation in front of the entire team and my boss. I chanted daimoku in my heart and went on stage and began with an enthusiastic ‘’Good morning everyone!!” just like we do in our BSG meetings. My own confidence took my breath away. It was as if it was not me but a disciple who is responding to the mentor. Everyone applauded my efforts and I knew then that I had changed something deep within my life.
After coming back to Ludhiana, a new Nikee emerged. I began getting up early, making quality time for my family, and going out with friends. My Gongyo transformed from a weak one to a lion’s roar. The passion I had lost for my work was revived. A deep desire to learn how to drive a car for the sake of Kosen Rufu was realized and I was able to overcome my fear of driving and can now drive freely. My dosage of medication during the May 3rd campaign has almost come to zero. In my relationship, my partner and I have been able to change poison into medicine and I am happy to report that we now share a very healthy bond as comrade and friends. Most important of all, I have regained my confidence and feel a lot more hopeful when I look at the road ahead of me.
Eternally grateful to my mentor and those who supported me, I determine to contribute maximum youth from our GA in BSG s target of 1 BSG of 100 ,000 youth n repay my debt of gratitude to Sensei. I vow to always value my life and use my entire life for Kosen Rufu and work on behalf of my mentor.