February 18, 2009
Dear President Ikeda,
I hope that this letter finds you well and free from Illness. I am Greg Bledsoe, I live in Bloomington Indiana and I have been practicing fulltime for the last 4 year s. I was introduced to this buddhism in 1989 and then I was chanting on and off. I have wanted to write you for sometime but I never knew what to say.
I live with mental illness and I can feel myself slipping away. I found out about 3 years ago that I wanted to get better but I also know that it may never come to pass that I get well. So for now all I can do is maintain which is difficult in my condition. That is where this buddhism comes into play. I have known for sometime that this buddhism does help with maintaining my condition in concert with the medication that I’m on. There have been several times when I have had to rely on the Gohonzon to keep my emotions in check, at that time I was without my medication and going through highs and lows at an alarming rate.
I chant 20 to 25 hours a week to help aleaviate the symtoms of my Illness and sometimes hosting 4 to 8 hour toso’s so I can chant with my fellow members as it is difficult to chant alone, although I have found that I get more daimoku in when I chant late at night between the hours of 1 am and 5 am. That is when I also feel that my daimoku is working and I can feel it around me.
At the beginning of this year, I made the determination that I was going to contribute more, not only in my practice, but to my district as well. In January, I started a Super morning Gongyo from 6 am to 7 am three days a week. But since then we have had bad weather and I have put it on hold until spring when the weather is better. I also started plans for a GLBT discussion group, but that never succeeded. I was even offered a leadership position in my district, but I never heard back from anyone concerning that.
I got to thinking and after chanting for a long period of time that there may be more work to be done on my life and gohonzon was protecting me from what I call a disaster. But still I was discouraged and considered ending my practice for a while. But when I did this, I could almost hear my gohonzon calling to me Telling me that not to give up and I started to suffer from Separation Anxiety. So the only thing to do was to get up and try again. In the recent few months I have learned more about myself than I ever had before, I knew that If I wanted to become a leader in my district I would have to become stronger in my practice.
This year marks the 23rd aniversary of working as a female Illusionist. Although, I have not worked in this field for a while now I wanted to explore my other talents and also I wanted to see what lies ahead for me. I have started a series of paintings in the hopes that someday I will have my own Gallery showing.
I found that I have a talent for writing short stories based on Science Fiction with the hopes that someday they will be published. I have decided since I have always wanted to study astronomy I’m gonna do it on my own. Also, I have connected with my half sister Karin in Germany. We speak with each other practically every other day and I have sent her all the information on this Buddhism in the hopes that she will someday come into the fold so to speak and enjoy what the mystic law has to offer.
In closing of this letter, I want to say that I would guess that I’m a work in progress and what ever the future holds for me, good or bad, I will be able, with the help of my gohonzon and chanting, be able to face the obsticles head on and someday I will be well and Happy and I will have everything that I ever wanted to come into my life.
Also, Please tell Mrs. Ikeda that I enjoyed her biography very much and I wish the best for both of you and your family.
W. Gregory Bledsoe, SGI Bloomington Indiana Central District