Deep Sense of Gratitude Towards My Parents, My Mentor, and the Mystic Law
By Mavis Tan (Distrist 3, Sengkang Central Chapter, Sengkang Zone, SSA), 10th April 2009
It’s my 24th birthday today. While I received numerous birthday wishes, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for my parents, my mentor Ikeda Sensei, and Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. I would not have lived till today if not for this wonderful practice.
When I was 8 months old, my mother noticed patches of bruises on my body although I did not fall or injure myself. My parents took me to the doctor, and after a blood test, the doctor found that I was suffering from a blood disorder which caused my platelet count to be extremely low and my condition was life-threatening. My parents do not remember the name of the disorder, but it should be Thrombocytopenia. My parents were shocked because this form of blood disorder should be hereditary and they had no history of blood disorders. I was the youngest patient then in Singapore to be suffering from this blood disorder, and the doctor said that if I did not receive treatment in the US as soon as possible, I may die anytime due to internal bleeding because my blood could not clot.
I was on medication and I had to sleep in a cot surrounded by pillows to prevent me from knocking into hard objects. My parents had to take me to the hospital almost everyday for blood tests. There was once when the doctor had to draw a sample of my bone marrow, and the nurses had to press me down for over an hour for the doctor to do so. I believe the pain was excruciating for an 8-month-old, and I cried until my tears turned pink, and my body was bruised from the struggling while the nurses held me down. I can imagine the tremendous pain it caused my parents. They must have felt helpless as a young couple and found it hard to accept that their first child had to experience such suffering.
My family was not wealthy then, and it was beyond their financial means to send me abroad for treatment. Being a Taoism practitioner, my father brought me to various Taoist temples to gain blessings from the gods, and I even became a ‘godchild’ of these gods. For 9 months, they continued to seek advice from Taoist priests and put me through several Taoist rituals and rites. However, my condition did not improve.
My father then turned to traditional Chinese Buddhism, and prayed to the Guanyin. At the back of his mind, he remembered that his eldest sister was practicing a sort of Buddhism which chanted Nam-myo-ho-renge-kyo. However, their relationship was going through a rough patch at that time, and he did not seek her help. Moreover, he was skeptical about that ‘Japanese’ Buddhism she was practising. One day, as he was reciting the Guanyin chant, the phrase Nam-myo-ho-renge-kyo came out of his mouth. He was surprised by the freudian slip, and decided to seek his eldest sister’s help to practice Nichiren Buddhism proper.
At first, only my father chanted. He participated in discussion meetings and was an active YMD. My mother was very skeptical about chanting and was angry that my father was spending much time on daimoku and Soka activities. Two weeks after my father started practicing seriously, the doctor found that my platelet count was increasing. It was a good sign, and it was an actual proof which motivated my mother to chant. My mother joined my father in chanting and discussion meetings, and vowed that if I recovered speedily, she would convert to Nichiren Buddhism and enshrine the Gohonzon.
Two weeks after my mother practiced seriously, my parents took me for another checkup at the hospital. I took a blood test, and the nurse notice something abnormal. She apologized to my mother for a mistake and requested for me to retake the blood test. Again, my blood showed unexpected signs. My platelet count was normal. I had fully recovered! The doctor was pleasantly surprised and asked what my parents did. They told him that they simply chanted daimoku. Although he was a Christian, he encouraged my parents to continue chanting because the religion worked for them, and me.
Within 1 month of serious chanting and dedicating their lives to the practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, they changed poison into medicine. I believe my parents and I have transformed our karma. Subsequently after we received the Gohonzon, my grandparents and relatives started chanting as well, and have seen for themselves the power of this wonderful Buddhism.
I believe that it was my mission to be born with an illness so that I could fulfill my vow as a Bodhisattva of the Earth. My father told me that if he was wealthy then, he wouldn’t have chanted because he could afford to send me for treatment abroad. For over 23 years, my family has been happily practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, and we have seen several actual proofs in our lives. My father and mother continue to be active in Soka activities, and my siblings and I are fulfilling the role of serving our members and protecting the organization and Sensei.
I’ve never shared this testimonial in written form, and I thought today is not just a day to celebrate my birth and my continuous good health, but also a day to repay my gratitude by sharing this testimonial. I also vow to dedicate the rest of my life to sharing this Buddhism with others and follow my mentor’s footsteps in fulfilling peace and happiness of mankind.