S is for Spiritual Journey
2014, Gurugram, NCR, India
My quest for spiritualism is undying. I have been in the spiritual path ever since I can remember. As a kid I used to pray each morning before I left for school, decorating the alter with fresh flowers. Since I studied in a convent school and a convent college too, Jesus was in my life too as one of my saviour’s. This along with Hanuman ji, and the Hanuman challisa that I diligently recited to overcome fear of exams, ghosts or any such thing. Over the years I tried my hand at various healing and spiritual practises like Reiki and Isha Yoga which were extremely beneficial. I still continue to practise Reiki. But I needed one such practise that would change my life forever. Not that the above didn’t; they did in their own ways.
Between 2008-2009 I was extremely intrigued by Buddhism. I liked the philosophy that propagated loving each person unconditionally including those who hurt you. And to to pray for them in return. Though Reiki also teaches us to do the same. But Buddhism as I understood, felt far more unconditional, and unique and all-encompassing. I had a penchant for the Buddha for as long as I know. My home is filled with Buddhas of all shapes, sizes. My stint at Singapore, Thailand had reiterated the faith further. When we were leaving Singapore to return to India in 2009, honestly I wasn’t excited at all. The only reassurance for me was my belief in the fact that I was returning in the quest for spiritualism. To discover and imbibe a spiritual practise that would be in sync and would stay with me for good. India is one region which is a hot bed of various spiritual and religious practises alike. So what better place than this to be in, I thought.
We returned to India and 5 years passed in a flurry. For reasons pretty unknown to me I was finding it hard to adjust in my own country, despite having a close-set of friends and family around. I was not happy. And it reflected in my physical and emotional health. “Happiness is a state of mind”, they say. I feel, “Happiness can be pursued but only found when you chose to be happy, irrespective of what life has to offer.” During that stage despite having everything I was unhappy. That’s when a friend introduced me to Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhism. I will be deeply indebted to her forever, as there forth my life changed for good. It was a journey I embarked upon with much apprehension, having tried my hands at various spiritual practises. It was a journey that taught me and continues to teach me various essential facets of life; without which life would not have a definite purpose, goal or meaning.
A little about Soka Gakkai Buddhism:
Shakyamuni, or Gautam Buddha the founder of Buddhism, who lived some 2,500 years ago in India, first awoke to this law out of a compassionate yearning to find the means to enable all people to be free of the inevitable pains of life. The Buddhist practise that originated in India later spread to parts of China, Korea and Japan. A hundred years later, Nichiren, the 13th-century Buddhist monk upon whose teachings the SGI is based, awakened to this law, or principle, and chanted “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. ”Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”could be described as a vow, an expression of determination, to embrace and manifest our Buddha nature. It is a pledge to oneself to never yield to difficulties and to win over one’s suffering. At the same time, it is a vow to help others reveal this law in their own lives and achieve happiness.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo chants
As SGI practitioners we chant Nam Myo Ho Rengey Kyo morning and evening along with the Gongyo that is reciting a passages from the Lotus Sutra. The philosophy has three pillars: Practise, Study and Faith. Striving hard in the practise and motivating others to strive as hard too. Studying the Buddhist scriptures and passages from the Gosho which are letters of motivation by Nichiren to his disciples, imbued with Buddha’s philosophy. (I have already appeared in two exams within 3 years of practicing the philosophy. And passed yes. :-)) Faith in the practise helps us sail through any obstacle.
This incredible spiritual journey has been life changing for me. It has taught me a few concepts like Bodhisattava Never Disparaging, Many in Body One in Mind, Earthly Desires are Enlightenment, Voluntarily Assuming the Appropriate Karma. It will take reams and reams of paper to put down all of this but you can get some insights from the website, http://www.sgi.org if you are interested to know more.
Each one of us has an innate Buddha nature, as the philosophy proudly emphasises. It is thanks to this practise that I left my 13 year-long career in the Development sector as a Communication Consultant to pursue my passion and calling for writing. Of course that goes without saying that the DH also had a big role to play in it too. He is my Buddha for life. This has been one travel epiphany back to India that I will treasure the closest to my heart as it has awakened me in spirit, body mind and soul.
@@My 8 year old has been practising Buddhism now for the last 3 years too.
@@ I have been entrusted responsibilities to look after theFuture division (the kids division) and also manage a block, where a group of practitioners live and come together to chant, study and motivate and stand by each other in crisis.
@@This practise has no dos and donts. It doesn’t stop you from eating meat, smoking and drinking. It also does not insist on old customary practises like bathing before you sit down to pray. You can chant anytime, any moment of the day.
@@Our object of devotion is a scroll inscribed by Nicheren that reads Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo. Some of the well know practitioners of Nichrien Buddhism include Tina Turner, Orlando Bloom, Herbie Hancock
My theme for this year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge is Travel Epiphanies that are my very own tales of adventure and revelation. I will be writing 26 posts throughout the month of April. You can read my theme here.