The first thing that I want to say is that I'm greatly appreciative. I can imagine my life without the human revolution--it would have been the life of a pessimist with very little confidence. Let's just say that courage would not have been my middle name, and now it seems to be.
I live in a downtown loft and recently discovered that I've come full circle. I didn't realize when I moved here that I live in the very same space from where we launched Nichiren Buddhism in Jackson in 1971. My loft was a coffee house then. I used to sing here and my friend read palms. We would teach everyone to chant. I lived here a year before making that discovery. It was amazing to me!
About the singing, I got embarassed once, put away my guitar and didn't get it out again until 4 years ago. Now I'm doing it again. The interval was close to 30 years. I gave up on everything back then except Buddhism. It was the same with pottery. I gave that up for 20 some years, but now I have a studio right in my loft. I got lots of benefits but sent my old dreams into a void. There was one more. I wanted to be a teacher. One day, I realized that it was way too late and that I never would be. The realization brought tears to my eyes. Then, 20 years after that, I became something even more value creative. I teach the Orton-Gillingham approach for overcoming dyslexia. It's so helpful, and I'm a good teacher.
It's like my life is starting all over again. It's scary as far as being able to support myself, and I keep having to fight the demons that want to keep me down, but it's wonderful.
I'm determined to start a new rennaissance from this very space. My life is certainly, when the demons aren't in control, brimming with life force and confidence. I wanted enlightenment from the beginnig, but the life condition I have now already far exceeds anything I'd imagined back then. Even with all of its challenges and darknesses, this is absolutely true.
My name is Ben and I think we met about 30 + yrs ago. I was born and raised in Chicago, IL but I grew-up in Jackson. Most of my family lived there so every summer from somewhere in the late 50's to 1971 I was there every summer. I would return heading thru to Ann Arbor to see my cuz's @ U of M. I started practicing in 1973 and in one of my trips thru I shakubukued my Cuz Mike McGuire. He began to chant and I was able to go to a meeting in Jackson and for some reason I remember your name. Mike did later move to Chicago and get his Gohonzon in the early 80's I think, He shakubukued his nephew Marty who I believe recieved his Gohonzon before he was killed (Truck accident) Our last conversation (he lived on Francis St.)was very heavy(cool) as I felt he found answers. Mike returned to Jackson but stopped practicing. He passed away in the mid 90's. My mom who grew up in Jackson, went back when she retired in the late 80's, she had her Gohonzon and practiced, she said that she went to 1 meeting in Jackson but felt a little too old so she didn't go back but she did chant regularly until her death in 1995. As you might have figured by now, most of my family that lived there have either moved away or are dead but I just wanted to thank you for being one of the Michigan and especially Jackson Pioneers. I saw a WT article about a Michigan pioneer mtg and wondered what happened to the people I met back in the 70's I didn't see your name and I couldn't remember it but I hoped that you were well. My benefit is finding thru this site that you are well. Jackson has changed so much and I really had no reason to visit except for funerals. My hope is that you continue to live your dreams. I wish you peace.