Last year, I was an earnest SGI member. I chanted in the morning and evening. I delivered SGI newspapers. I helped political champaign activities associating with SGI. I took SGI’s doctrine test. I organized SGI meetings. I even gave a testimonial in front of thousands of people. It’s so unbelievable that I am standing here. I was born into an ardent Pure Land Buddhist family in Shimane. When I was over twenty, I came to Osaka and went through a lot of hardship.
Out of pity, my friend urged me to join SGI. In no time, I found myself working as an executive member. Last July, at the age of forty, I was thinking about going to a concert with my daughter wearing a swimsuit and I started a blog on how to lose weight on the Internet. I got a very positive response from a reader, so I couldn’t help but to send a thank you reply to him. From then on began the drama of Amida Buddha. It turned out that he was a missionary of Shinrankai.
First of all, I thought I was learning in SGI, so I had no need to attend his lecture. However, on the Internet, I became friends with a person who was providing a meeting place, and as if someone was pulling me, I went along to a Buddhist meeting. The lecture was on the Reality of Humankind. The lecture was so compelling that no one could refute it. The teachings were completely different from SGI’s teachings. I had started out thinking that Shinrankai’s teachings were the same as SGI’s.
However, the more I listened to the teachings from Shinranki, the more doubts I had about SGI. The purpose of Buddhism is to solve the crucial matter of the afterlife- so why is it that SGI doesn’t talk about the afterlife? Namu Amida Butsu was made by Amida Buddha, the master of Sakyamuni Buddha, so, why does SGI criticize Shinrankai as heresy ? According to SGI doctrines, Namu Amida Butsu leads to punishment from the Buddha. However, this goes against the law of cause and effect. In this way, I asked many questions to Shinrakai missionaryies and almost every day I got the answers to my questions. The more I listened to Master Shinran’s teachings, the more I realized how logical they were. My doubts were unraveling.
On November 3rd, there was a webinar on the teachings of Master Shinran. I still had some doubts but attended the webinar anyway. On that day, the lecture was about the Osha Castle Tragedy. I was surprised to learn that Sakyamuni Buddha stopped the delivery of the Lotus Sutra and began to teach the Contemplation Sutra. I was told by SGI that the Lotus Sutra was the supreme sutra, so when I heared that Śākyamuni Buddha’s true purpose for appearing in this world was not to convey the Lotus Sutra, I was shocked. I realized that the teachings of SGI were wrong.
Now I can put my palms together and bow without any hesitation.
The webinar addressed all the people in the world, yet, I felt as if Takamori- sensei was talking these things for me alone. For a long time, I hesitated to put my palms together in front of Myogo-The Name. However, now in front of Myogo, I can put my palms together and bow without any hesitation. Until then, not a day had gone by when I hadn’t done my SGI chanting, but from that day onwards, I even stopped opening the doors of my altar. However, when I thought about my friends in SGI, I couldn’t cut my ties with them. On December 4th, I attended a lecture at The 2000 Tatami-Mat-Hall. Although there were thousands in the audience, Takamori-sensei delivered a lecture on Shoshinge, the hymn of true faith. The topic was on how “Master Tan-luan burned his Taoist text and took refuge in Amida Buddha.” I felt as if Takamori-sensei was talking to me personally. Even Master Tan-luan believed in the wrong teachings at first, but once he saw his mistake, he discarded his Taoist textbooks immediately.
So, I decided to burn the object of worship that I had received from SGI and together with all my family, I submitted an application to withdraw our membership from SGI. By doing so, I turned into a Shinran follower! It is really mysterious that I am now standing here on the stage. If I had not decided to attend that concert, If I had not written that blog on weight loss, If I had not met the person in charge of the Buddhist lecture, I could not be listening to Buddhism now. Even my having taken a detour was a necessary step towards this point. Amida Buddha’s Vow is pledged to all sentient beings. I’m really excited to know that everything was prepared by Amida to guide me alone. In my house, we have now enshrined the correct object of reverence. Voices chanting Shoshinge, the hymn of true faith that I heard so often in my childhood, now resound in my house. My parents were born into a Pure Land Buddhist family, however, they didn’t know the teachings at all. I will carefully convey true Buddhism to my family members one by one so that so that they might seek the true teachings for themselves and so that we can be together as a family for eternity. Takamori-sensei, please honor me with your guidance.
Yayoe Sakurai, Osaka
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #32 | 2013, Everything was Prepared by Amida to Guide Me Alone.
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