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This experience is presented in one of our monthly New South Wales, Sydney, Gosho meeting, Australia at our Australian Cultural Centre
Thank you for reading. 2011
DARREN CHEW EXPERIENCE- GOSHO STUDIES SEPTEMBER 2011
Hello everyone, thank you for coming and giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my experience with you today.
It took me quite some to time to be able to sit down and write this experience. I am fearful that writing this may open up a whole lot of past memories that I don't want to remember. Don’t get me wrong; these are good and memorable memories.
I recently attended Victoria Community Centre opening, came back with a great determination to be happy and subsequently my partner of 3 years decided that our relationship should come to an end. As this experience involves emotional attachment, it felt hard for me to make sense of what is going wrong. The fear of losing someone whom you literally worshipped over the years became a real reality. This relationship has been a major drive in my life and in fact the center of my life, not the practice that I neglected long time ago.
The days after are just intense darkness. I never dealt with separation before and all my 3 years of dependency, comfort and security was placed in this very one person. Happiness to me equated to this one person, whom I can admit until this very day, still holds an incredible significance and place in my heart. I felt there was no way out and indulged in my sorrow everyday.
The days after left me with intense self-reflection on what went wrong. Why is this happening to me? I also ask why do bad things seem to happen after every single major SGI activity, why must it be 2 weeks after out most amazing 10 days island holiday at Indonesia, the why is just endless. I also ask why can’t this happen further down the road after the completion of my degree which is only weeks away. The resentment I felt for life is endless, I hated everything, my life, my ex partner, my ex partner friends, whom I was so convinced played a major role in our break up, my karma and anything I can grab hold off on to hate. Apart from that each call after with my ex is only filled with crying and the endless circles of blame game and strategies to getting back together.
At that point of time, I did not see how I could get out of this, I did not know how to live alone in 'our' house not being haunted by our past memories. I never felt that scared and fearful in 23 years of my life. Honestly I wanted death for myself, each morning getting up is just absolute hell, and it felt like I just experienced a train wrecked every single time. Everyday the fear, insecurities and loneliness creeps up to me each moment, at times I felt like hurting myself so I can get some self pity and sympathy. I thought if I run out to the road and get hurt, I get to go into hospital and be the victim here. How wonderful it is that our mind can think of such creative strategies. Thankfully I am never inclined to alcohol as I had many around me at the same time.
To cut the story short, I recently stumbled upon my prayer sheet which the genius side of me once wrote, " I pray that each day I seek out hardship so I can transform my life" how I wish I could changed that. The interesting part of this is I never remembered this prayer because reading this everyday is only a routine for me, it's just a mere chore I went through daily. Taking responsibility for my life has long been forgotten.
I never actually believed that faith should be a major driving point in my life, the doubt ran through my head many times during this year and at times I wondered how joyful if I'm actually singing in a church dancing like you would at Bon fires. Unfortunately part of me never had the courage to either quit this practice or be a Christian.
This month Gosho (Buddhist Studies) covers the topic of Life Force. I would like to quote a part, which I think is relevant. This is on page 27. [Last Paragraph] Indigo
At these times, though if we can transform our mind-set and open our hearts to the lives of others, we can truly walk the “ path of human revolution” and open up opportunities in our life that we could not have even considered possible. Confident prayer to the Gohonzon makes this possible and the oneness of mentor and disciple spirit enables us to maintain this confidence.
What actually allowed me to be standing here and speaking with you tonight is the incredible support from SGI friends and family. I can't actually recall from the mere 5 weeks how many people that I reached out too and spoke about my struggles. The fortunate part of my struggles is I am able to quickly stand up the very next day of my separation and take full responsibility for everything that happened. I am doing this for once not for another person but my own happiness. By standing up brought intense negativity, I felt defeated at the end of each day but anti anxiety medication kept me going when I was alone and struggling. I knew this journey will be horrifying, I kept calling anyone I could get hold off, sharing my experience and unloading my insecurities to them. Sadly my approach was wrong as I simple spoke to them because I needed validation. Again one more realization about my life! Through chanting plenty of daimoku each day enabled me to face my life clearly. I realized through time I am such an insecure person; I needed validation from another to feel good about myself and to confirm the worthiness of my life. Control is a major issue; I wanted the person I love to be under my command and to act the way I think the person should be (best interest factors). Jealousy is very dominant, I'm jealous over anything that I am not comfortable with or constantly felt the need to protect myself from any type of threats. I am fearful of everything each day including losing the love of my life. Also, I never allowed both of us to ever get the chance to be ourselves; I simply indulged with what I am comfortable with and constantly rely on another person to make me feel right. My life is about blaming the other person, I am never wrong because I felt I am with the wisdom and of course because I practice Buddhism, I am a Buddha. We had this argument months ago about problems we are going through but I promised to change, however not fundamentally but only on a very superficial level just to please this person and to think that I am not wrong so there is not a need for me to change so much.
However with all this realization comes the question what are you going to create from this moment on? Past memories choke me constantly as I felt if I had a choice I would do something different. Through dialogue, guidance and conversation with many members and leaders, I realized I needed to change something fundamentally! What value am I able to create from this experience? What kind of life do I want to live? Do I want to support another person with my experience and create a new possibility for humanity? At days I still fall into my self-absorption trap, feeling that I'm the only person suffering and how unfortunate for me. Self-pity kicks in and I am on the way for self-destructive thoughts again!
Through catching up with people I came to realized that I am not alone and really through sharing and caring for others I am able to transform suffering into joy and hope. As this is not visible, so as prayer, it took me long to understand that what matters is the causes we are making for our life now, I can't change what I did in the past but I can only create a new possibilies from this moment on by making the right causes.
At the same time, I felt such incredible joy being able to recreate new friendships with many people and being able to share and encourage another person with my experience. At any moment I felt there is absolute no hope, I simply picked up the phone and reached out to another person. This allows me not to think about myself but to support another person, something I have not done the last 5 years. I also need to take this opportunity to sincerely offer my gratitude and appreciation for TK and Luca who consistently supported me almost every single day and their belief in humanity and my life. Their encouragement each day is a source of hope for me to continually inspire another person through my own experience. There are many other people I would like to thank which I would personally after this experience. Especially I need to thank my mum whom I never really showed much gratitude to put her life on hold for months and be here with me to support and accompany me through this journey.
If I am given another chance, I will not change the past. In fact I have immense gratitude that my relationship gave me this perfect opportunity to transform my life fundamentally and to look deep down into my life honestly. Because of my partner’s action, I am able to open a whole lot of new possibilities for others and myself. I know that even down the road whether we get back together or not this is the life I want to live and happiness is not about validation or feeling good but how I am able to transform suffering into a source of joy! This is the intensity of life I want to live.
I know from this moment on is only just the beginning of a bumpy and arduous journey. But I am determined to stand up each moment courageously and create a different possibility through compassion and care. Each day I start with prayer and the determination to live a life filled with value creation and struggles that enables me to reveal my enlightened self! What’s more important is that I learned is to live a life of independence, regardless of whether I am with someone or not. If we based our life on faith, then anything, struggles or joy are a source of opportunity to transform and polish ones life. However despite all this, being human we still face various down days. I am determined to transform those moments and to respond to my mentor by courageously standing up for the happiness of oneself and others. The resentment for my ex partner still exists at days, but I am determined to transform hatred into a sense of appreciation for everyone around me including my ex partner. President Ikeda has demonstrated over the years that it is possible to live a life with courage and care for others and to actually become happy joyfully in the midst of struggles.
Lastly, I would like to conclude with this quote from President Ikeda:
Relative happiness is happiness that depends on things outside ourselves, such as affluence or social standing. While the happiness such things bring us is certainly real, it shatters easily when external conditions alter. Absolute happiness, on the other hand, is something we must find within. It means establishing a state of life in which we are never defeated by difficulties, and where just being alive is a source of great joy.
To End, I would like to read a section written by Greg in response to a Q & A published on February 2010 Indigo:
From this perspective, we can reflect on our attitude by asking ourselves – do we wish to suffer the uncertainty of wondering what life will bring us? Do we want others to change for our sake and never know the experience of enlightenment and the unlimited joy of existence? Or do we wish to create a new history for ourselves and humanity? This is your unimaginable fortune- to have this choice. Complaint, negativity and criticism are all causes for corresponding life condition. Deep prayer with determination, courage and appreciation are causes for enlightenment.
Thanks Darren for sharing this wonderful experience that shown great courage in you. Taking responsibility of our life is indeed a courage rather than running away. Is an important part of our human revolution.
Please allow me to share on of my favorite Ikeda Sensei on "Courage"
Courage is free. Anyone can have it. Courage is another name for the SGI spirit. Mr. Toda said: "The Buddha is filled with compassion, but it is hard for us common mortals to show compassion. So we must have courage instead." In other words, when we work courageously for kosen-rufu, our actions by their very nature, become compassionate.
Darren, I liked your experience, it was a bit wordy, but I kept reading because I wanted to experience everything you went through. I wish I could have been there for your Gosho Study. What heartbreak and self annihilation you went through. You won and it was wonderful to read how you did it through study and seeking out your Buddhahood no matter what your illusions were. You are stronger now and will be able to help others who are deserted or have to go through this type of loss.
My best to you and all your future efforts to build a happy life with those people or eventually one special person who will join you in your new found freedom to develop your own life to its full potential.
Congrats! You WON. Keep striving for Kosen rufu
Winter Always Turns To Spring ! Muster your courage more than ever ....what is it that can't be achieved ?
Bravo Darren ! Keep your Chin up !
NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO !
How are you lately? I wish everything is going well with you.
I saw you mum tonite in the Gosho Study Meeting.
My wish - May you without exception become happy.
Hi Darren, your experience was indeed encouraging. At your youthful age of 23, to have experienced and to have risen above such suffering, taking full responsibility is indeed a benefit. There is a profound saying "Today is the 1st day of the rest of your life". It reminds me, as Nichiren Buddhists, of the word "Honimyo" or "fresh determination" that we practice. Youth has always been the key to advancing SGI. I am sending daimoku that you continue your journey, as a STRONG youth for Kosen Rufu. Never be Defeated! Thanks for sharing.
When we are in the best practice of Kosen-Rufu, Gohonzon always gives us a better selection, far better than what you lost.
I'm sure you'll have a great encounter soon, with whom you can believe the best in the world. If this happens on you, please write all about the new romance here!