Does everything depend on your will?
Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

Three years ago a young man informed me how his attempts to seek an overseas job became a futile exercise after undergoing a rigorous procedure and his details were wiped out from official government computers after a lapse of one year. Notwithstanding he remained unruffled.

In my quest to find out his composure I gathered how mindful he was on Buddhism in a different form. He applied the term 'Buddha' on an enlightened one who precisely perceived the true nature of all phenomena and led others to attain 'Buddhahood' or development of mind. 'Buddha nature', he said, existed in all beings and achieved by the qualities of wisdom, courage, compassion and life force.

He referred to Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism as the Japanese Buddhist thinking which identifies 'anyone or anything in our environment working for the protection and sustains life or supports man's efforts to attain enlightenment'.

Daishonin philosophy
Nichiren Daishonin (1222 - 1283) believed particularly in the Buddha's penultimate Lotus or Saddarhma Pundirika Sutra as applicable to the comprehensive nature of life, which in one expression signifies the Mystic Law.

This young man explained to me that Lotus Sutra has 28 chapters which Nichiren Daishonin summarised into five segments in Japanese as Nam -Myo- Ho- Renge - Kyo or Gohonzon (Surrounded by characters representing 'Satharawaram devio' and the Ten worlds.)

Followers of Daishonin seem to believe Gohonzon as the object of fundamental respect which embodies the Law of Nam - Myo - Ho- Renge - Kyo (ultimate Law or time essence of life permeating everything in the universe). Twenty third Chapter of the Lotus Sutra refers to the 'Fifth Five Hundred Years' after the passing away of Gautama Buddha or the beginning of the Latter Day of Law, or present time period.

Japanese Sutra
This young man was thoroughly absorbed in Daishonin philosophy and believed that the Buddha taught man's existence as identical to the universe as a whole, and as identical to our existence, as such each individual's human life is a microcosm of life of the universe.

When I began to wonder about his profound knowledge on the subject, he quipped: "When someone chants Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo (Universal law), our lives perfectly harmonises with the universe, as vibrations that emanate through our lips merge with the vibrations of the universe".

"I am going to activate infinite powers that I as a microcosm inherent posses. I am confident that it is going to transform my fate, and I am going to help myself to break the apparent deadlock and convert my suffering into happiness". What a determined chap I thought.

Working on part-time basis at the Colombo harbour, he always found time to chant Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo and the full Japanese Sutra on every Sunday morning at the Soka Gakkai Lanka Buddhist Association in Borella without missing even once. Whenever he had free time he used to visit the centre on every Thursday evening to participate in group chanting and discussion.

Poor family background
When asked whether he was not disappointed that he could not find a job abroad after being harshly treated by the foreign employment Bureau staff, his answer was unique: "I leave it to the Universal Forces to shape my future. No matter what, I am going to recite one hundred thousand times to get the best effects out of chanting the Universal Law to mingle with the universal forces".

Later, I suddenly received a telephone call in London from this young man to my surprise. "Something extra ordinary took place after my recitation of 100,000 times of Nam Myo Ho Ren ge Kyo" he blurted. To cut the story short, a young Japanese girl who had been in Sri Lanka working for a NGO project whom he had associated with at the Soka Gakkai Lanka Buddhist Association in Borella during chanting sessions had proposed to marry him just three days prior to her leaving Sri Lanka, upon termination of her contract.

The bold proposition, no doubt, came to him like a bolt from the blue. His hesitation and excuses given to her about his poor family background were brushed aside by girl's persuasion and love. He was given only a breathing space to decide.

The following day they got married at a Registry Office in Colombo, and the day after she left Sri Lanka with their official Sri Lankan marriage certificate to convince the Japanese immigration authorities for him to follow. Within a matter of weeks this happy young man left the shores of Sri Lanka to join his wife.

Comfortable life style
He has not forgotten his past and still keeps in touch with me regularly by email while still displaying modest behaviour. Being a proud father of a new born baby girl recently, he sounds exultant with a comfortable life style with his new found family and enjoying all creature comforts that he could not even dream of in Sri Lanka. This amazing story has thrown me into the proverbial 'orbit'. Did this 'poor' chap really benefit out of chanting Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo? Is there any truth in what he said about the Universal Law and his chanting? Has this exercise only acted as a prop for him to be assertive and build his self-confidence up? Or has his providence or good karmic action taken effect at a due time? Least of all, is there any truth in the saying that "marriages are made in heaven"!!

According to Michael de Montaigne (1553 - 1592) - "The value of life does not lie in the number of years, but in the use of you make of them. Whether you have lived enough depends on your WILL, not on the number of years" "Our enlightenment is not confined to ourselves but exerts an influence on others". In this backdrop should we emulate this young man's experience and determination as an inspirational guide?