“The teaching is really nice, so I’d like to share it with a lot of people,” came the hearty laugh from Seiji Kitagawa (42, picture right), the president of a company that makes equipment for pachinko parlors. Once a week he invites Buddhist teachers to his office or his house and holds a Buddhist lecture there.
The lecture on December 15th was about the foundation of Buddhism – The Law of Cause and Effect. Osakan jokes were also used in the lecture, so people who came for the first time were smiling. While discussing the lecture afterwards, Seiji said, “I think ties in one’s life are really important,” and then he talked about how he met Buddhism.
Due to his parents’ influence, Seiji believed in a new religion from an early age. “There is a god that cures any disease, I believed, and my parents followed this religion eagerly too, so I thought that it must be able to benefit some people.”
However, when he was 25, his girlfriend got cancer. He prayed to the god with all his heart, but she died. “She died holding my hand. I thought then that I would never believe in a religion again!” He worked hard, trying to forget his grief, and established an independent company at the age of 29. His company expanded, and he moved into a high-rise apartment block with a view of the city’s tallest tower. But the emptiness of losing a loved one did not go away, and so to forget his sorrows, he began to immerse himself in gambling. At one time he won several million yen. “Another time I lost and found myself with a debt of several million yen. It was very stupid, but I just wanted to win more and more and the wound was getting worse,” he said.
Four years ago, his friend invited him to participate in a Buddhist lecture. In the beginning he suspected that it was another new religion, but the Law of Cause and Effect that he heard about was very logical, so he thought, “Sakyamuni is right. This teaching is different than other fake religions. If I do not listen now I will lose out.
One time I heard about the analogy of the sea that is difficult to cross. When I heard about this truth of life that people are betrayed by the logs and sticks they have found, choking on saltwater, I thought, ‘This is my life for sure.’ My shoulders trembled; I lowered my head and cried as I took notes.”
Seiji decided, “If I dedicate my life to Buddhism, I will stop all gambling,” and became a Shinran Follower three years ago. Thanks to Seiji, many people have started listening to Buddhism. “My employees are also listening. My colleagues are seeking only money, but I want them to know that there is a happiness that you cannot buy with money.”
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #49 | 2015, A Company President from Osaka Salutes to Buddhism
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