There are signs and tests that life presents that challenge us and keep us honest with ourselves. There are moments in time, I have found, that are significant. While everyone is different and unique in their own right, with their own opinions of right and wrong, most people lean towards what society has deemed right, and that is not necessarily correct. Something right could merely be what society considers right, but not correct to the mystic law of the universe. This is how I have felt my whole life.
My mother joined Nichiren Buddhism when I was just a baby, so my first words were, "Nam MyoHo Renge Kyo."
I have had the great fortune to have met my mentor, Daisaku Ikeda in
person on a number of occasions when I was in my youth and remember all
his words of encouragement when he asked that the men's division and
women's division foster capable young people to take the torch of this
Buddhism and carry it on into the future, so that the spirit of mentor
and desciple never dies and the attainment of Kosen Rufu (World Peace)
will be realized. President Ikeda's message has remained the same
throughout my life, constantly speaking about the youth and how vital
their role is in society and in our faith.
have practiced for more than 4 decades now and have grown into an
adult. My life has been extraordinary, walking the path of Kosen Rufu,
challenging myself and encouraging others to keep fighting through all
obstacles no matter what. The rewards of my practice and striving to
maintain the mentor desciple spirit are unbelievable and I consider my
experiences to be more valuable than all the treasures of the world.
Today, I would like to touch on my quirks...
I am not just a Buddhist, I am a human being with quirks. One thing
that I grew up knowing about myself, is that I treasure all life and at a
young age, had a deep awareness that we share this planet with
creatures that are not human. My quirk takes me a step beyond what
society deems reasonable sometimes, but I am okay with that.
Now then, here's the story...
A while back, not too long ago...perhaps a month ago, I woke up in the
morning, went to my bathroom, turned the light on and was about to lean
into the bath/shower to turn the water on for my bath, when I noticed a
cockroach. My initial reaction, which has always been my reaction to
these creatures was to squeal in disgust, and I did. My mind has a hard
time with this, as I believe in life and do not wish to take another
life into my hands, even if it is a cockroach, if it can be avoided. I
lack the courage to pick it up and take it outside, I admit this and I
started to panic a little - remember, I am quirky. I could not think of
anything else to do, but grab the bottle of Pine Sol and drench it
until it died, which believe me, is not an easy thing for me to do, as I
But...I did exactly that, and
as the Pine Sol soaked the cockroach, I watched it. I saw it struggle
for its life and it hurt me inside to be the one responsible for ending
its life. The movements of this cockroach got slower and slower, until
all movement ceased to exist. The cockroach was lifeless and I was
stunned for a moment. I gathered a bunch of toilet paper and picked it
up and tossed it into the toilet and flushed it down, never to see it
again, but a sense of relief did not occur, rather a sense of grief
poured over me. My mind immediately works itself into thoughts of karma
and how this affected both mine and the cockroach.
For some, this seems ridiculous and even humorous, but to me, it was
not a proud moment. As a child, if I had a choice to walk on grass or
pavement, I chose pavement, for I did not want to kill the grass, nor
the bugs that lived at the base of the grass...yes, I was quite quirky,
and still am obviously.
Now i bring you to today...
Today, I went to the pool to read a chapter of "The Human Revolution"
in the hot tub, so my back could get some heat, which was needed because
I lifted a heavy box and injured the already damaged disks from a
decade or so ago. It soon got to be very hot, so I decided to take a
swim in the pool to cool off. I jumped in and it was very refreshing
and I swam a few laps, when I noticed a bee floating in the pool.
My initial reaction was to be fearful that it could crawl on me, but I
looked further and it was struggling to stay alive as it was carried
with the waves of the pool the children there made. My mind reflected
back to the cockroach once again and the thought of redemption rushed
through my body. I have always had a problem with deliberately picking
up a bug/insect in order to bring it to safety, but I knew I had to
overcome this fear one day, and that day was today.
With a swish of water, my hands swished it out of the pool. I watched
as this bee stumbled around in a daze, probably wondering what just
happened. I waited and watched it dry its body and as I did this, the
children in the pool gathered around and asked what was going on. I
told them that I managed to get this bee out of the pool and want to see
that it survives, as it is a product of nature and is beautiful in its
own way. One child asked, "But isn't it going to sting us?" I replied,
"It has the capability, but I am showing it some compassion in saving
its life and mean it no harm and would appreciate it if they did not
harm this one bee at my request and they agreed and giggled together.
The moment of truth came, and the bee, finally dry and very much alive,
spread its wings and took off in flight. My heart felt an overwhelming
sense of joy and peace. As it flew away, I whispered to myself, may
this bee treasure its life that almost ended, like the cockroach who was
killed. I chanted Nam MyoHo RenGe Kyo for the life of the bee and the
death of the cockroach and felt a renewed sense of love in my heart for
nature and life itself.
I know I am quirky, but
I use my quirks in a positive way, if at all possible. Laugh if you
wish. Think me strange too. I treasure life and live it with a
profound sense that we are not alone. We share this planet with
creatures that are not human, but they are beautiful in their own right,
even a cockroach.