Making My Dream a Reality
By Amit Bhadrawale
I have been chanting for three years and my experience is that of overcoming difficulties in study, finance and work relationships. I was able to do this with: the support from practitioners of SGI Canada and Bharat Soka Gakkai (SGI India), by practising Nichiren Buddhism vigorously and by reading and applying guidance from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. For as long as I can remember, I have been angry about life’s unfairness, and wondered why people’s lives are so different. It just didn’t seem fair.
In September 2012, I was going through a difficult time. I had relationship and financial problems, and was struggling to get a university education. I was miserable. Seeing my struggle, one of my teachers, who was also an SGI leader in India, introduced me to this life transforming philosophy. We became friends and together began talking about many things.
Nichiren Buddhism teaches that the Mystic Law of cause and effect governs all things and that we are responsible for our own lives. I came to understand that I have the power to change my life by creating positive causes regardless of what karma I have. This gave me immense hope. I started chanting and trying to learn more about the Buddhism.
I had a goal for higher education abroad, but neither I nor my family had much money. I had a full-time job which provided a good income. I could not justify leaving this employment to pursue my dream. I received encouragement from an a senior in faith who quoted a passage from Nichiren’s writings: “The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith” (WND-1, 412). This passage encouraged me to the core. I kept chanting with faith in the Gohonzon, determined to fulfil my dream to study abroad.
I was very unhappy at work at that time. I was the new person there, and my fellow workers were not supportive of me. Some resented me when I asked questions, and some even yelled at me for doing things differently. I chanted to change this problem. Not long after that, I found that I could ignore my colleagues’ negative comments and actions. I realized that I had been reacting to everything my fellow workers said or did. Instead, I concentrated on my own strengths and skills. I felt that if this workplace was right for me, things would work out and if not, something else would come along. This is the wisdom I gained from my intense chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Soon, people started reacting to me in a more positive manner. I realized that I was putting into practise the Buddhist principle of the “Oneness of Self and Environment” which states that “when you change, your environment changes.”
I still wanted to study abroad, but I didn’t have the money for the application fees to apply to the universities of my choice. Regardless, I continued to prefect my Gongyo, receive guidance, chant earnestly and attend and participate in SGI meetings. All these causes kept me calm, composed and confident that I could achieve my goal. Surprisingly, without me even asking, several of my close friends leant me the money for the application fees. That was truly unexpected. Soon, I received offers from universities in Auckland, New Zealand and St. John’s, Newfoundland in Canada.
Amit speaking at a district meeting
I decided to accept the offer from Canada, since my goal was to get a degree in oil and gas engineering, and I felt that there would be more opportunities in Canada. I had no idea where I would get the money for tuition fees and living expenses. I chanted vigorously for a solution to this problem. In order to secure the admission, I had only two weeks to arrange a $2,000 deposit. My family and I tried everything we could, but we were not able to come even close to the amount before the deadline. Mystically, my father’s boss suddenly agreed to loan me the $2,000! With his support, I was able to secure the admission. I then applied for an education loan using equities from my own and my maternal grandfather’s houses. This was a huge risk, because my failure to repay the loan would be disastrous for them. In spite of this, both the family of my maternal grandfather and my own family agreed to this.
In June 2013, the loan was approved. This would cover my tuition fees. Now, I needed to apply for a student visa. To do this, I needed paperwork to show living expenses and cash flow. Again, I was protected. Two chartered accountants agreed to do all my paperwork for my visa application. When I told them about my lack of money, they told me “let’s do your paperwork first, and when you get a job there you can pay our fees." I am so grateful to them. I am still chanting for the successful careers of all students in this world who are facing such difficulties. I believe that if one’s thoughts are to do good for society, the Mystic Law will definitely work. Before leaving for Canada, I introduced my sister to Nichiren Buddhism and she has started chanting.
Backed by strong chanting, my leaders’ encouragement, the support of many members, and my strong determination to succeed, I landed in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I soon got in touch with local members and started attending meetings there. I exerted myself in my practice and also prayed for the prosperity of the people with whom I was staying with.
Concerned about my mounting debt, I chanted earnestly for an opportunity to pay it back. I was able to find a part-time job in a cafeteria. People around me were very supportive. With everyone’s help, I was able to get extra working hours which helped in managing my expenses.
Just before completing my Masters in Oil and Gas Engineering in December 2014, another dilemma was looming: I needed a job with good pay as soon as possible because my tuition loan and other financial supports were coming to an end. I made a determination with strong prayer that I must get a job before January 31, 2015 or I faced losing everything. It seemed impossible at that time because of the recession and layoffs in the Canadian mining and petroleum sectors—but I kept going.
One day, while working at the cash counter, a customer came in for coffee. While paying, he started taking to me and asking me questions such as: where I was from, what am I studying, what are my future plans and so on. He gave me his phone number and asked me to call him. I called him the next morning and had a short chat. I continued chanting with the conviction that:
[T]hough one might point at the earth and miss it, though one might bind up the sky, though the tides might cease to ebb and flow and the sun rise in the west, it could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered. (WND-1, 345)
Amit at his workplace
At the same time, I found out that my mother was going through serious health issues and had to have surgery. I sent her the little money I had remaining. We as a family were facing major financial problems now. The situation was very depressing. Regardless, I kept chanting to overcome all of mine and my family’s karma.
On the evening of January 15, 2015, I received a text message from an unknown number asking for my email address. I replied and within a few minutes, I received an email about a job. Within 24 hours, I had an interview. Few days later, I got a call to discuss salary. I was stunned that I was getting a job offer, seemingly out of the blue. This would solve all my money worries and finally give me financial security. I accepted the offer on January 25 which was five days earlier than the target date in my determination.
But one question remained unanswered...how did I get that job? I asked my boss and he told me that the person I met in the cafeteria is one of his clients. That person gave him my contact information. This whole process was very mystic! With faith in the Gohonzon and powerful daimoku, I now finally have financial security. I enjoy my work and have already started paying off my debts. I am very grateful to President Ikeda and the members of my warm SGI family.
In January 2016, I relocated to Mississauga, Ontario due to a project I am working on. I am determined to accomplish my mission for kosen-rufu wherever I go. I am putting efforts into contributing to SGI Canada activities so that we can achieve our goal of 10,000 happy practitioners by the Soka Gakkai’s Founding Day on November 2018.