I have been diligently exerting myself in the practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism for over a year now and have been having very interesting experiences. Unlike my last major experience, I would like to share some minor experiences I’ve had lately.
I really hope that by reading them, I inspire even one person to take up this faith.
Oneness of the self and environment
One of the key concepts that Nichiren often talks about is the oneness of the self and the environment. It basically means that we are connected with our environment. It’s a reflection of our inner state. If we are not at peace internally, our environment will not be peaceful. Therefore, to change your environment, you have to change yourself.
My recent experiences are related to this concept.
The badminton one
I play badminton everyday with this brother of mine. He’s much older and not as good a player as me. As a result, our matches are often one sided. I had begun to feel bored playing with him daily, and because he didn’t put much effort in his game, I began resenting him. I began thinking that I should stop playing with him because I’m not enjoying the game anymore and neither am I improving. I began considering leaving the sport for a while and doing some other activity. Running away and giving up, so to speak.
One day, out of frustration I asked a player waiting his turn on the bench, how do I make it more challenging for myself when I play with him? Incidentally, this player gave me a good idea. He suggested that instead of hitting winning shots, why don’t I give the shuttle in his hands? That way, he will not have to run around but will try to make me run around to win points. I tried it out and the game changed instantly! I began running around. Suddenly, I was playing not to win (easy) but to improve my game (hard).
The solution lay not with me playing with a different player or playing another sport. It lay in changing my approach.
A similar thing happened at work. You see, I am in a family business. Since we live in a joint family, there are many opinions flying about. Ofcourse, they are all well-intentioned. When I shifted back to hapur from Delhi, I started working from the grass root level. Literally from scratch. Not because I had to but because I was having fun being a beginner again. My family members thought the work I was doing was beneath me and that I could do better.
One day, my mum shouted at me and told me that I have started doing work meant for girls (I’m in the crafts business). That ticked me off and I stormed off. However, I later realized that I cannot really change their thinking, especially by arguing and fighting. Anger is a poison I need to rid myself of. Instead, I can make myself much more stronger so that tomorrow if anyone else saying something negative to me, it fails to have any effect. Instantly, my anger melted and I felt thankful that I was getting to hear such criticism right at home, preparing me for the future.
Again, the answer lay in changing my perspective towards an undesirable situation.
These experiences in daily life might not seem huge victories but personally, they are actual proofs which validate the truth of the Daishonin’s teachings. They are helping me deepen my faith and conviction in the practice. I have started believing that a brand new chapter can emerge in Hapur with tons of new members, forging a new determination for Kosen Rufu in Hapur. It will be a great thing for the small town in Western UP if more people took to Buddhism.
Anyway, the moral of the story is don’t try to run away from problems and don’t try to fix other people.