It Was Not Table Tennis that My Heart Was Seeking For

I was born in Nagoya City. My parents were both teachers and they were very busy everyday. When I was an elementary school student, I would attend After School Care Program which was three subway stations away. I did not have time to play with my classmates. I had a sense of loneliness as if I was abandoned. I was looking for something I could be enthusiastic about. I wanted to find out something toward which I could strive. I tried various activities; however, even though I started something new which interested me, half way through it, I would lose my interest.

At the end of the elementary school, we were told to write about our good memories during the past six years of the school. I was at a loss as to what to write about because I realized I did not have such good memories.

When I entered high school, I joined the table tennis club without much consideration. When the coach interviewed me, he asked if I really had the intention of doing ping pong for three years. I was overwhelmed by his aggressive approach and said “Yes.” That was the beginning. From then on, the days of hard training started. I usually did not have dinner after coming home because I was too tired to eat. During the exams time, all the other clubs did not have activities except for our club. We practiced every day including summer vacation and winter vacation. I did not even have time to reflect on my daily life and just devoted myself to playing table tennis.

The coach had a habit of saying, “Always keep in mind that to lose a game is a shame.” We practiced table tennis in order not to lose. Since I did not have anything else to do, I devoted myself to table tennis. In this way my mind was free from any cobweb. However, when I was in the third grade, our last game came to an end without any glorious result. I felt such a deep sense of emptiness. I thought my performance was like an imperfect combustion after 3 years of such hard practices. At first I was thinking of continuing table tennis at the university, too.

On the other hand, my friends in this club were already preoccupied with preparation for the entrance exams heading for their new goals in life. I felt like I was betrayed. My passion completely disappeared in an instant. But then I was totally at a loss for what it was that I really wanted to do. In the same way I did not know which university I should pick out; I did not know exactly which way to move.

At last my answer was “whatever I do, staying alive is the fundamental part of everything.” I thought what was necessary for staying alive was food and good solutions for environmental issues. As a result I decided to major in agricultural. Thanks to hard study, I entered the agricultural department of Kobe University.

On the day of the entrance ceremony, I was talked to in the campus by a senior student, saying “Even if you have good environment to live in, a human being is mortal. Isn't it more important to find out what we need to achieve in this life?” I felt a truth in his words and came to realize there must be something in this life that has to be definitely achieved. So I kept listening to his talk.

One month later, in Gifu prefecture, I attended Takamori Sensei's lecture for the first time. I was moved by his words, “There is a purpose in life.” This is of most importance for all human beings. I thought, “This is it! This is what I wanted to know. My whole life changed completely in this moment.” As I kept listening to his lecture, I decided to follow the teaching of Master Shinran alone for the rest of my life. I will strive harder and share the teaching with everyone.

Satoshi Hasegawa, USA

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #17 | 2012, It Was Not Table Tennis that My Heart Was Seeking For

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