Supporting family from afar

Today was a testing day. My beloved uncle is in the hospital in India. He underwent a triple bypass open heart surgery last night after having a massive cardiac event.

This day has shown me how the practice works for me. Earlier with losing my friends and classmates, I’ve been distraught and out of whack and crying for weeks.

Today I woke up at 5.30 am and saw my sister’s message asking me to chant for my uncle with a brief about what happened. First of all it’s so mystic how I even woke up that early. On Wednesday night I was dead to the world at 8.30 pm, it is not a frequent occurrence. It’s almost as though everything was setup so I could send daimoku to my uncle while he was in surgery.

I saw the message and kind of jolted awake. Took me thirty minutes to open my eyes enough to start chanting. By the time I went to work I had calmly chanted 40 minutes and I chanted another 20 minutes on the train. Usually I don’t chant on the train, it’s mostly study time but today I couldn’t keep myself from chanting. I also asked my friends for support to chant for my uncle, I’m truly blessed to have such a close network to lean on for support. Thereafter it was a usual day at work.

During lunch time I called home, my brother in law said my uncle was still in surgery. It was early morning there. It suddenly sank in that open heart surgery is long, no wonder it was still going. My heart sank a bit. I hung up and sat by the wharf to chant more daimoku quietly.

It was revealing in the sense of where I still harbored doubts about whether my daimoku was helpful. Today helped me investigate and close the holes in my conviction. Thanks to my uncle.

His surgery went well and he is in intensive Care on ventilator. The next 48-72 hours are crucial. I’m going to continue to chant for his absolute protection and full recovery for me to really see the power of this practice so I can use my practice to show great proof in my life and my health too.

Later in the evening I spent 2-3 hours talking to my friends in faith, not lamenting about my life and problems but encouraging them and being fully present and listening to them. Usually I would be a wreck and think that my problem is the biggest and how can someone talk about their “mundane” problems when my uncle is battling life and death.

My calmness and determination today showed me the actual proof of my practice.

As it says in the Gosho lecture on “On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime”,

Practicing Nichiren Buddhism means not being swayed this way and that way; it means constructing a self that is solid and resolute like towering Mount Fuji. 

Also:

Our daily realities are filled with an endless succession of problems. But with the firm belief that our lives are Myoho-renge-kyo, we should strive to boldly challenge everything with the unwavering conviction that we can overcome all hardships and become happy without fail. When we maintain deep faith based on the foundation that “I am Myoho-renge-kyo,” we can take on any problem with courage. The key to victory in life lies in whether we can bring forth courage. Not a shrinking timidity but a challenging courage— this is what we need to have!

And also:

Nichiren Buddhism starts from the realization that the supreme lifecondition of Buddhahood exists in each of us. It is a teaching that makes it possible for us to achieve the profoundest inner transformation—a transformation of our fundamental attitude or mindset. That’s why Nichiren emphasizes the importance of our minds, of what’s in our hearts.

My determination for kosen rufu and my conviction in the power of mystic law enabled me to win over my weakness today.

And tomorrow, I redetermine and restart all over again. Chant for my uncle. Rinse and repeat.

Getting past self-pity when struggling with health issues

Turns out, it’s not always an easy exercise to find what inside of me needs releasing today and has crystallised enough to find way into reasonably coherent words here, and I use “reasonably” loosely. (Wonder how to add emoji to posts, do any of of you know how?)

I had a fairly busy day, still catching up on meal prep, laundry and work. It is a great blessing to work from home once a week these days. Hope I find a reasonable rhythm before things change.

The last couple of years of knee and foot injuries and accidents have left me with very weak legs that are also out of balance. My right leg is significantly weaker than the left. Lately I have been trying to do some exercise prescribed by my osteopath but that’s causing pain in the arch of my foot and very tight and sore achiles tendon. Blah blah blah.

As I write this post, I have Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban playing in the background. Those movies are therapeutic for me, I can tune in and tune out, it facilitates my writing. Believe me I tried many other TV shows and movies but there is none I am so deeply familiar that I can tune in and out and relax into my creativity.

Dementors are the embodiment of fundamental darkness or the devil king of sixth heaven. They represent how something can suck all joy and life and purpose out of our lives and only very strong positive light and force from within us can defeat it. Brilliant representation, isn’t it?

Anyhow, I digress. Over the last many years of seeing several medical professionals has provided me with this ability to observe and describe my symptoms. At first, when I used to see my TCM doctor every week for acupuncture, I did not know what to say. I was so disconnected with the experience in my body that I did not know what was happening to me and how to describe it. Slowly I developed this awareness of myself. This by all means is a good thing. Connection is better than disconnection.

The next stage to this is though, trusting that what is out of balance can find balance on its own and helping that process along. For the most part, I haven’t found this within my being and my consciousness yet. Some days I have it but when I am struggling with pain or physical discomfort, it becomes harder to think positive thoughts and send healing messages to my body.

And in this difficulty and pain, I find myself questioning – why me, why is this happening to me, when would it stop. I find it hard to discern and balance the line between self-pity and self-compassion.

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