In early June, I added “Visit different culture centers for Kosen Rufu Gongyo” to my prayer list. I did it as a way to help myself further improve my consistency in doing gongyo since it’s not yet a daily occurrence. I also saw it as a way to meet new people, learn new perspectives, and hear new experiences. Mainly, it’s because I’m excited to share this faith with other people, to continue on the journey to create world peace (Kosen Rufu). Let me pause a moment and share something that Barb Clark reminded me of when I shared the first draft of this with her. In December 2014, I went home for Christmas. At that time, she suggested I might look up other Soka Gakkai members in the local area. I’m pretty sure I acknowledged the suggestion but just brushed it off. And, now, here I am, three years later, with this determination towards Kosen Rufu that I’m able to see the transforming moments in my life. None of them are huge, on their own, but I can clearly see a distinct shift in my path each time they occur.
At the beginning of summer, I took a trip to the Midwest. During that trip, on July 3rd, I attended Kosen Rufu Gongyo in East Central Iowa. I took my best friend’s daughter and her good friend with me. I know the seed of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo was planted and their lives are changing incrementally and my determination towards Kosen Rufu increased.
In August, I flew to Albuquerque to visit a friend and to attend Kosen Rufu Gongyo there. I met a number of wonderful people, three of whom I will see again when I attend the Veteran’s/Military Conference at the Florida Nature Culture Center in November. I was also able to share about my faith even more deeply with the friend that I visited. Shortly after my return, I learned that Middletown/Dover district would have four members attending the same conference. I could feel my life expanding and changing when I realized how many more positive causes would be made when I introduce my Delaware Buddhist family to my Albuquerque Buddhist family. What makes me most excited about attending the conference, besides being able to introduce all my family members to each other, is that I know we’re going to return from it with bolstered confidence that our Introductory meetings at Dover Air Force Base are going to touch that many more lives.
To end the summer of traveling, I went to Orlando, Florida to attend Kosen Rufu Gongyo over Labor Day weekend. Everywhere that I stopped, shopped, and ate, I shared that I was in town to attend World Peace Prayer. This often led to deeper conversations about Buddhism.
At the end of August, I began the fall term at Wesley College. I immediately sought out the faith leader at the school to discuss having a Buddhist Meet and Greet during the term. She was (is) all for it. On September 18th, there be a “tabling” event. I’ll be handing out flyers and Nam Myoho Renge Kyo cards to those who might want to attend the Meet and Greet on Friday, September 22nd. My determination is that this will springboard into Introductory Meetings at the college.
With these causes toward Kosen Rufu being made, I can see the expansion in other areas of my life. I’m currently a Junior and have two years left to complete my Bachelor’s degree. If you had asked me at the beginning of the spring term if I planned on pursuing a Master’s degree, I would have said no but that has changed.
I achieved Dean’s List at the completion of my spring term. That accomplishment lead to me receiving an email from the Resource Center, asking if I would speak as a member of a student panel during Freshman orientation. The informational meeting for the orientation led to me meeting the Resource Center Coordinator of Tutoring Programs. I applied and was accepted as a Peer-Tutor, a paid position on the campus. During my interview, which through no coincidence occurred on my third anniversary as a Soka Gakkai member, the Coordinator asked about my scholastic goals. I mentioned how I was toying with the idea of staying at Wesley for Graduate School. She then mentioned the possibility of me being a Graduate Assistant in the Resource Center, another compensated position: they pay for tuition while you attend. After the interview, I mentioned the conversation to a friend and wondered aloud about overlapping classes for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. That netted a response from my friend that there might be a hybrid program where you can finish one degree and start the other simultaneously. I have an appointment to discuss that opportunity with my Advisor this coming Tuesday.
President Ikeda has said: “Human revolution cannotbe pinned down to one specific thing. It is any action that leads to positivechange or improvement in the inner realm of a person’s life. It is an ongoingprocess. The important question to ask yourself is whether you are on a path ofcontinuous personal growth.”
So, ask yourself: Are you on a path of continuous personal growth? My answer is an emphatic YES! Since having been appointed as a Group Leader in June, I determine that a consistent morning and evening gongyo is a way of life in order that I can find my best path and have the power of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo behind me as I contend with any challenges that come my way. I will not be defeated!