A powerful testimonial by Aoki Masao

By Aoki Masao (Yamanashi Prefecture, Nirasaki City)

This experience is the result of chanting vigorous daimoku and reading Ikeda sensei’s guidance over and over again.. It is a life drama full of joy that, without the support and mercy of my wife, family, siblings and comrades in faith will not be born. It is definitely not an experience of my own, but the common joy I share with my comrades.

In Sensei’s guidance, he says ‘please accumulate good fortune and advance bravely by experiencing the greatness of Buddhism yourself and so by telling that to others’. During these six months, I have nearly experienced death and have realized therefore the greatness of the Gohonzon, the importance of gratitude towards Ikeda sensei and the importance of life. No matter what happens, chant Daimoku. Pray earnestly for the sake of Kosen-Rufu. I think its is wonderful being a member of Soka Gakkai.

On the afternoon of 21 Nov 01, I heard the explanation of my illness from my doctor, ‘Fifth stage of Malicious Lymph cancer’. I could hear the rest of his explanations… without doubts, I asked, ‘Does that mean I going to die?’ The doctor seemed to be choosing his words,’ Yes, I think you could think it that way….’ I could not think of what to say next. I have been hospitalized for three months since 16 Aug, and after many tests, the doctors have not been able to tell me the exact problem. I have had suspicions of my condition, but after receiving ‘death sentences’ from three doctors, my body and mind froze. I asked the blood specialist again, ‘How long can I live?’ ‘If you are young, a few more weeks, if you are more than 50, then think of it has a few months.’ he replied.

My body has not been acting normal since June, by July I felt discomforts in my chest and my stomach was bloated up. Come August, my weight has increased from 67kg to 80kg, and I could no longer lead a normal life. It has been six months since then. I have only six more months to live. At most 100 days before I could not move. I shook my head when I think that I will have to die when the sakura are in their blossom. I left my wife with the doctor, went back to my ward, lied on the bed and tears burst out. No words could describe the sorrow I felt then.

I want to go home! I want to be with my family! I want to go back to a room with the Gohonzon! My daughter is still 16. I want to give her the fatherly love that she needs. I want to create more good memories for her. Also, am I going to end up an ungrateful disciple? What am I going to say to all who have helped me out all this while? I have lots of things that I want to do. I have had just recovered from an intestine cancer operation February the year before. And yet this had to happen to me.

Ms Muramatsu, the nurse came in. She asked in a gentle voice. ‘Mr.. Aoki, what would you like to do?’ I told her all he regrets I have and that I want to go home. Life in the hospital is no longer bearable. I have seen the patient of the bed in front of me, beside me, and even friends I made in the lobby, they have all suffered from the side effects of chemotherapy, got transferred to personal wards and in the end, never returned. My wife came back from the doctor’s and nodded when I told her I was going home. With complicated feelings, and unknown death ahead, I left the hospital.

Even after I got home, the death devil got ahead of me, my life condition sank and Gongyo and daimoku was only conducted as a formality. Though I was told of my approaching death, all I could think of was to commit suicide. I thought of dying at the mountains, the river, the valley, etc. I burnt my clothes in the backyard and changed paper of the shoji doors in preparation of my funeral. The death devil really makes one lose his strength to live. It makes uses of the illness of the heart. It makes fun of the human soul. What’s more, it strangely makes you feel at ease.

It was during this time, my wife’s friend; Ms Hayakawa who has overcome cancer twice came to visit, together with Ms Kobayashi from Kofu. Ms Kobayashi started to speak without much ado, ‘You must overcome cancer by chanting daimoku!’ She had her own style of speaking, a style that was full of confidence, confidence of the immense power of the Gohonzon and Daimoku, and the merciful heart of Ikeda sensei. Perhaps because I did not brace up with those words, she went on to a harsher tone. ‘Mr. Aoki! You were told that you are going to die, aren’t you? Your life condition is that being eaten up by the devil right now! Please chant daimoku that will break this devil, chant till your legs are worn out, please chant at least 10 hours a day! Isn’t this just the right time for you to chant daimoku from the bottom of your life?’ I was dazed by these harsh words from a person whom I have met for the first time, words from a lady who is much younger than myself. But I’m glad she did. My blood seemed to flow backwards and my body became hot. I came to my realization then. This is indeed the voice from Heaven, my Shoten Zenjin! Courage to challenge myself surged up. I immediately sat down in front of the Gohonzon. That day I chanted till late night; the next day, from six in the morning till late night. Same for the following day and the next, I just chanted and chanted. I chanted 50 hours in three days.

In President Akiya’s encouragement postcard were the words,’ penetrate your whole body with sonorous daimoku.’ I can really understand the meaning of the word ‘penetrate’ now. I have never heard of anyone who died from chanting too much daimoku; only heard of people getting better or cured. With that in mind, I chanted 10, 12 hours day and night in front of the Gohonzon. In the middle of the night when the sick devil attacks, I get out of bed and chanted. No matter day or night, I felt most at east in front of the Gohonzon. I became convinced that, I could destroy the illness of the heart and the death devil, with the power of daimoku. My life condition was stronger, and I regained energy to fight on. I chanted with the ichinen that, chanting is the only big job I had in this world. Without saying, my wife, kids and comrades chanted for me too.

At this time, my hair dropped whenever I tried to comb it. Dandruff fell like snow, my body became itchy and I suffered from diarrhea. Nevertheless I chanted, like I was confronting the Gohonzon, with a loud voice as if I were screaming or yelling. Gradually, I felt more peaceful. I took up the volume six of the ‘wisdom of the lotus sutra’ and started reading.

In the beginning of the chapter of the Medicine King, Ikeda Sensei says, ‘what is the purpose of life? It is to change one’s life condition’. ‘When you face the Gohonzon and chant, the Medicine King of your own life starts to work. The power of one’s own life is what heals sickness… Courage surged and my life was on fire each page and each guidance I read. I devoured the pages with joy. The floods of Sensei’s guidance filled my head and chest and I felt like singing from the bottom of my life. The ‘Song of Joy’ and ‘Dance of Joy’ were the songs of life. When the channel of life is in tune with the Gohonzon and daimoku, and feelings for sensei and the gear of life fits together, even as an ordinary man, the workings of Buddha will appear and cause impossible things to happen. From the bottom of my heart, I felt fortunate to have met the Gohonzon and Ikeda sensei, and to be a member of Soka Gakkai. When I told my wife about how I felt, she said,’ I’m sure it’s all part of the Gohonzon’s plans for you to fall ill so that you can realize all these! You have realized things that you would not have realized if you have not had contracted cancer twice consecutively in two years’ time. Gohonzon has saved you from your filthy life. It has changed you from a self-conceited man to a person who can make efforts for the sake of others.’

During this period of time, I often saw images of people who had passed away due to cancer coming for me. I will always scream out that I would not go with them, chant daimoku and read sensei’s books. The person who prays most for Kosen-Rufu; the person who makes most efforts in the world, that person is Ikeda sensei. I sincerely prayed for sensei’s good health everyday. Then I realized that, there are many people who are protecting sensei in the daytime, however only Mrs. Ikeda will be by sensei’s side at when night falls. Kosen-Rufu will not advance if Mrs. Ikeda is not in good health. Then I resolved to pray for Mrs. Ikeda too.

When I have chanted about 1 million daimoku, I saw the image of myself presenting my experience of overcoming cancer at the Yamanashi kaikan. At this time, chanting daimoku is not unbearable or obligation, but has become enjoyable and I could feel time passing very fast. It was no longer daimoku of just shouting out loud but daimoku of smooth rhythm that echoes my body.

Come January 11, for a change, my daughter suggested that we go for a movie. We went to watch the animation ‘Spirited Away’; a movie that I thought is based on Buddhist thinking right from the beginning. The words of the main character Haku shook my heart. ‘Please let me work here! … Even if you are refused, you must keep praying. Those who do not work in this world will become animals.’ I could not help but say out loud, ‘Gohonzon, please leave me in this world. Please let me work in this world. Let me work for Kosen-Rufu!’

January 13, keeping it from me, my wife met up with Mr. Matsumura from the Doctors Group and Mrs. Sugawara. It was to make arrangements for me to go to the hospital again. Mrs. Sugawara made every effort and managed to get the local hospital to refer me to a well-noted doctor in a hospital in Tokyo. Shoten Zenjin is starting to work for us. I was to visit the hospital that I hated so much again.

January 17, all four members of our family got up and did Gongyo and chanted daimoku in the early morning. We took the 7am train. I could see our house from the platform. Tears flowed, as the thought that I might not be able to see this house again if I had to be hospitalized came to mind. At the hospital, I met with the doctor Mr. Nishinarita who kind of resembles Toda sensei. He looked at the referral letter and said, ‘it must been hard on you for the past six months’, and after various tests, he told me to go back for the results in a week’s time.

January 24, together with my wife and eldest son, we went to the hospital. Three of us could not say a word out of anxiety. My name was called. The doctor looked through the test results. Finally the doctor looked up at me and opened his mouth. ‘Based on all the tests we have done, we have found no abnormalities. But, as a doctor, I cannot accept it, judging from your previous cancer test results from the local hospital. I’m sure you will not believe it either, let’s run a few more tests that we normally do not do.’… My wife knelt down on the floor and said,’ doctor, I am sorry to interrupt, but does that mean that the cancer has disappeared?’ ‘Yes, that is based on the results here. However we will have to conduct a bone-marrow test on the 28th before we can conclude. It will be quite painful but it will be the final test. It’s usually a test to confirm the presence of illnesses, but this time it is the other way round. Unbelievable.’ I said boldly, ‘I chanted more than 400 hours of daimoku before I came to this hospital. I believe this is the result of my prayers!’ The doctor and the interns standing behind smiled and nodded. The moment we came out of the room, my wife took my hands and said in a voice like she was trying to calm herself down, ‘you have recovered! The cancer has disappeared! Namyo-ho-ren-gekyo!’ Even my son who is usually a cool person nodded again and again, ‘that’s great, that’s great!’ As for me, it was like a dream…

January 28, I went to the hospital with my wife. The last test; extraction of bone marrow was excruciating. The result was to be out on the February 14. During this period of time, besides chanting daimoku, we also made efforts for shakubuku. We managed to shakubuku the husband of a young Mrs.. February 10, it was my 54th birthday. Together with my family, we went to the Gakkai Headquarters and five of us chanted daimoku side by side.

Finally, it was February 14; I went to the hospital with only my wife. We arrived 5 minutes earlier but the doctor was 20 minutes late due to a meeting. It was a long 20 minutes wait. The doctor finally came. ‘I have put all the data in order. From my point of view as a doctor with many years of experience, this is something that cannot be understood by common sense. I can only say that this is an exceptional case. All your results show no abnormalities. You can go back to live a normal life from tomorrow.’ ‘I was left in this world. I am given work in this world.’ 8 months since the illness started; 3 months since I was given the ‘death sentence’; days of chanting daimoku; days of reading sensei’s guidance… My wife stayed kneeled down on the ground. She bowed deeply and cried, expressing her gratitude to the Gohonzon, Ikeda sensei, fellow comrades, and all others, and also the doctor. I was also so grateful and touched that the moment I stepped out of the room tears just flowed down. It was feelings beyond just happiness or joy. ‘I made it because I had my wife with me..’ I expressed my gratitude to the Gohonzon for sending the best WD to be my wife. The first job for me who have prayed to have work in this world is to talk about my experience. I resolve to change my karma into my mission with daimoku, and build the drama of Kosen-Rufu to a higher level!



4 Responses to “A powerful testimonial by Aoki Masao”

  1. Euphorbia Society Says:

    Wow this was a very very strong testimonial!
    I am fully convinced of the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!
    All the best and ..


  2. dawn harden Says:

    thank you so much I am fighting the same battle and reading your experience everyday to try and summon up the courage to fight


  3. shiuh Lin Says:

    really inspiring instead! anything is possible! may u have a great life ahead! gambatte!

  4. Amir Says:

    i am going through so much right now and i lost my job, i am about to be evicted from my condo, i keep looking for work and have found nothing and i don’t know what to do. I will chant until i can’t chant anymore. I am fighting sooo hard but compared to what you faced dying this is small i guess. facing being homeless and people putting me down. i am going to chant right now. my name is Amir and i am from the northern virginia sgi. I live in manassas va. thank you!

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