President Ikeda writes, “Through faith we can establish a state of life, where no matter what happens, we experience joy, hope and confidence in the depth of our being.” Throughout his writings, Nichiren Daishonin expresses great joy despite the intense challenges and circumstances he faces.
“The Benefits of Responding with Joy,” Living Buddhism, Jan 2016 p.8
Without a doubt, establishing a state of life where I experience joy, hope, and confidence despite the challenging circumstances I am facing has been the most difficult part of my Buddhist practice over these past several years. I am able to chant daily, attend discussion meetings on a regular basis, and visit with fellow members, but when it comes to “expressing great joy despite the intense challenges I face,” I’m afraid I often find myself lacking enthusiasm. Yet I persevere and happily look forward to the day when these people will be gone, and my life will change dramatically for the better.
I believe, based on the Buddhist teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, that the deeper cause behind this nightmare is karmic. There is virtually nothing which directly links me to the people who constantly surround me. Karma from a previous lifetime, or perhaps karma from many previous lifetimes, is what binds us in this lifetime. This is why it is so important for me to persevere in my Buddhist practice, so that we win. I will win.
As often as I wonder why the people who have been such a horrific part of my life for the past (now almost) fourteen years behave the way they do, I have never reached a satisfactory conclusion. I think that, as is the case with most seemingly unresolvable problems involving large numbers of people, the causes are various. The explanations I’ve settled on the most often include insanity, drug abuse, and arrogance. There are other factors at work, however, that I will not go into here. Suffice it to say that as a practicing Buddhist for over 25 years, I believe in the karmic law of cause and effect. As the 13th Century Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren Daishonin states:
If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present.
If we want to understand what kind of future we are creating for ourselves, we need only look at our actions and behavior in the present. All of these people — with their lies and their threats, their endless stalking and harassment, their constant shrieking, their innumerable attempts to point the finger at others, all the while painting themselves as victims — all of these people will be defeated. Believe me when I say I’ve seen (and heard) it all. And yet these people will never realize the gravity of their errors. A joke at someone else’s expense is all the seriousness it’s given.
What with people’s lives at stake, people’s lives that have already been lost, the cost borne by the U.S. taxpayers, the costs borne by foreign governments and the United Nations, the children born by the prostitutes and drug addicts who were taken away and given up for adoption, and the thousands of people affected who were represented by lawsuits filed in a virtually vain attempt to curtail their insane and relentless behavior, it is a wonder this has lasted for as long as it has. Not to mention the horrendous effect their behavior has had on my husband and myself and on both of our families. Nevermind the minor, insignificant fact that this nightmare still hasn’t ended.
The truly sadistic fact of the matter is the majority of these people still behave as if they have somehow been treated unfairly or unjustly – as if they somehow have the right to deal illegal drugs, to stalk and harass me constantly, to break the law as they see fit. They seem to be living in their own world – many of them in a drug-induced delusional world – others in a world of their own design with little or no regard for other people.
While I fight for justice as much as I can, in whatever way I have available to me, I know that somehow, in some way, these people will get what is coming to them. They will pay the price. Eventually, our karma comes back to us – either to bite us in the ass or to reward us with good fortune and happiness – depending solely on our own actions and behavior, not anyone else’s.
I am still waiting for the evil people to be taken away, for the indictments to be handed down, and for all of them to finally be hauled off to where ever they are going. Hopefully somewhere far away from me. They’re exhausting, and hearing their constant babbling everywhere I go is disgusting. The fact that they are all still here is also sickening. I believe that the level of corruption, in addition to the unbelievable incompetence on the part of both the U.S. government and the state/county/local governments involved is absolutely unforgivable. How sad. Unfortunately, both the U.S. and the California state governments are pervaded with sheer cowardice and rampant corruption. It’s almost as if the authorities involved don’t want this to be taken care of. How bizarre.
I am perfectly willing to make myself available for interviews (radio, television, or other), although as of this writing no one has contacted me. Please feel free to contact me at jennifer@sundancekidonline or my cell (408) 823-7774. I don’t have a landline or any other telephone number that I can be reached at. Perhaps my own publicity efforts would help speed this matter along?
The Write To Market conference last month in Corte Madera was interesting. It was run by Ann Garvin and a man who sounded remarkably like Nicholas Cage. The man-who-sounded-like-Nicholas Cage suggested a new title for my memoir, “The Telepathic Buddhist.” I think this is original and upbeat – much more snappy than the lengthy “Never Give Up: Buddhism, Family & Schizophrenia” I have been using.
I practiced my two-paragraph pitch and with the help of a few other women, I gained new insight into my memoir. I realized more clearly what was (and still is) at stake. For the past fifteen years, ever since I started having “mental health”/feelings of persecution problems, my sanity was at stake, but so was my marriage, and my life. Since this is an ongoing problem (i.e. the people who have targeted me are still here), my sanity, my marriage and my life are still at stake. This has yet to be resolved – at least at the time of this writing.
Over the years, I have wondered how this nightmarish situation appears to other people. What do they perceive as the problem(s), the causes, and/or the solution? I’ve come to believe that every person has a different perspective. Much of the stories floating around simply aren’t true, and it is an extremely difficult situation to explain, especially without all of the information. Many people (including numerous U.S. government employees) are facing indictments, although I don’t know specifically who or what the charges are. I can only imagine. Bribery, perjury, obstruction of justice, impersonating a federal agent, interfering with a federal investigation, bomb making, and the list goes on. Some people are facing an international trial with the International Court of Justice, one of which, Preston Scott, was my former boss for two months in 1999-2000. Others remain here in the U.S. or have been extradited to their home countries to be held accountable.
From a Nichiren Buddhist perspective, part of our Buddhist practice includes a battle or struggle between the forces of good (the Buddha) and the forces of evil. I believe this constitutes the nature of my experience. As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda states:
This is a battle between respect and contempt for people. When practitioners of the Lotus Sutra [Nichiren Buddhism] endeavor to propagate its teachings in the real world, great opposition arises, a manifestation of the function of the devil king of the sixth heaven that resides in people’s lives…In Buddhism, “devils” or “devilish functions” are defined as “robbers of life.” In other words, they drain away the life force we need to lead positive lives…
Living Buddhism, December 2015 p. 30-33
This makes sense to me, but I have been practicing this Buddhism for over 25 years. When I thought of how other people might perceive this situation, I did not know quite how I might explain this Buddhist perspective. Obviously, this nightmare did not occur merely to prove the validity of this particular Buddhism, nor did it occur simply to cause people heartache and concern. When I read further, I found a definition of the Devil King of the Sixth Heaven that I had not read before. In Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, much of the Buddha’s teachings are metaphor, they are not meant to be interpreted literally. What I found was this:
Nichiren Daishonin says that the devil king of the sixth heaven attacks the forces of good with his “ten kinds of troops.” The ten kinds of troops are listed in The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom* as: (1) greed, (2) discouragement, (3) hunger and thirst, (4) craving, (5) sleepiness, (6) fear, (7) doubt and regret, (8) anger, (9) preoccupation with fame, fortune, and false glory, and (10) arrogance and contempt for others. All of these are devilish functions that arise within us.
Living Buddhism, December 2015 p. 30
In Buddhism, our struggles are almost always an internal battle, but sometimes there are external forces at work that might influence our faith, our judgment, and our happiness. In my experience, I have had to develop my Buddha nature so that I am not influenced by these “devilish functions” at work in my life, even though they are primarily external. There is still the internal part of me that has to be able to deal with their evil in order to survive – to preserve my sanity, my marriage and to protect my own life.
*The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom is a comprehensive commentary on the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra, traditionally attributed to Nagarjuna (c.150-250).
This weekend (and Friday) I will be at the Algonkian Write To Market Conference in Corte Madera, California. I am looking forward to a great conference, as well as the opportunity to meet many new people! Here are my responses to the conference pre-event writer assignments with regard to my memoir, Never Give Up: Buddhism, Family & Schizophrenia.
Algonkian WTM – Pre-Event Writer Assignments
First – Story Statement
In August 2011, I created a blog to chronicle my experience dealing the mental illness I was diagnosed with in 2002: schizophrenia. This diagnosis was based on the symptoms I described to psychiatrists: hearing voices, paranoia, and the belief that I was being persecuted by the mafia. In reality, I never believed that the “voices” I heard were symptoms of schizophrenia. Instead, I believed that a form of communication which has never been scientifically proven – telepathy – was what allowed me to hear the “voices” of my enemies in my head, and which also allowed my enemies to “hear” my thoughts.
These bizarre set of circumstances, combined with the demented insanity of everyone involved created a horrific set of circumstances for myself, my husband and our families. Ultimately, the situation devolved into chaos for the people and surrounding communities who were forced to become involved. I challenge my circumstances and find hope, courage and strength in my Buddhist practice. I turn to my husband and family for love and support. Writing and photography are my creative outlets and emotional therapy. I never give up in my fight. My memoir is a source of hope, inspiration, and encouragement for everyone.
Second – Antagonistic Force
There is more than one antagonistic force in this memoir. Specifically, the antagonistic force(s) are people. They are the people who began stalking, harassing and persecuting me in 2002. The people included a former roommate from Oxnard, CA in addition to a man whom I initially believed was associated with the mafia (it turns out he was former CIA). Initially, there were 3-4 people involved, but over the years, the number grew and now this group probably numbers around 40-50 people (although it could be more than this). This number includes the people [government employees/agents] who may not have necessarily been stalking me this entire time but were (and still are) nevertheless involved [by using me as a scapegoat] in an attempt to avoid their own indictment.
Third – Breakout Title
Never Give Up: Buddhism, Family & Schizophrenia
Fourth – Genre & Comparables
Genre – Memoir
Comparables – Cheryl Strayed’s Wild
Fifth – Primary Conflict
My struggle against the people (devilish functions) in my life who constantly torment, stalk, persecute, and harass me. Initially I believed I had done something wrong and that I somehow was at fault for their behavior. I eventually realized that [from a Buddhist perspective], this was my karma and I needed to be able to change it. I had certainly never done anything to warrant this type of persecution and harassment directed at me by complete strangers.
Sixth – Additional Conflicts
My inner conflict was coming to my own understanding of why this happened, using my Buddhist practice as a guide.
Trying to understand why no one ever felt comfortable enough to approach me with questions about this situation, or why no one I knew (i.e. friends, family, Buddhist friends, etc…) ever discussed this problem with me.
Seventh – Setting
The primary setting is the San Francisco Bay Area, in the cities of Sunnyvale and Gilroy. There is also one chapter that takes place in Oxnard, California.