I took Savannah for a slightly longer than usual walk today. She wanted to walk off the beaten path and onto the Yahoo! campus next to the bay trail. She was so stubborn that I finally gave in and let her lead the way across the brown wooden bridge into the Yahoo! parking lot. I took quite a few pictures this morning – mostly of birds, ducks, reeds, and one turtle. It was a warm and sunny June morning. I ended up having to carry Savannah the last few yards back to the car because she refused to walk. She stood in one spot staring at the wheat-colored grasses and listening to the squirrels chattering. I met a Russian man in the parking lot and struck up a conversation with him about Buddhism. Yesterday I made a determination to start sharing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism with other people. Especially strangers. The Russian was a very polite and kind man. He turned out to be a physicist and wasn’t particularly religious. Maybe physics was his religion. We had a great conversation about physics, energy, chanting, enlightenment and the universe. He said his goal was to leave me feeling happier. What a great goal! Thank you Russian physicist!
Yesterday I finished revising and editing Chapter 3 of my memoir. It seems like so much has happened over the past few weeks. I feel that everything is moving at a faster pace. I’m trying to get in better shape to play soccer over the summer, and John and I are going to my family reunion in August in Michigan. Meanwhile, I continue to fight the “devilish functions*” in my life. As SGI President Ikeda states:
Everything depends on our minds and our hearts. The ultimate conclusion of Nichiren Buddhism is summed up in the words: “It is the heart that is important.” Buddhism is primarily concerned with victory and defeat. It is a struggle between enlightenment and ignorance. ‘Kosen-rufu’ is a battle between the Buddha and devilish functions. The heart is what decides our victory or defeat in all things. Spiritual victors can lead lives undefeated by anything.The secret to adorning our lives with brilliant victory is the “strategy of the Lotus Sutra.”
– Learning from the Writings: The Hope-Filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series. World Tribune Press (2009). SGI-USA
*Devilish functions try to divide people and rob them of their power to stand up and do what they know is right. Those whose lives are ruled by devilish functions envy the good and enjoy seeing them persecuted. They are intent on destroying others’ goodness and integrity. “Buddha” is another name for one who conquers devilish functions.
– Living Buddhism. June 2013. Vol 17 No. 6 p 25. SGI-USA
When I view the voices as “devilish functions”, I have the conviction that I will definitely overcome their evil and ultimately rid my life of them. I can’t allow myself even the slightest bit of doubt. As I encouraged another young woman, sometimes you just have to make that leap of faith. For me, it’s really about challenging myself and my own weaknesses. In addition to the incredible fear, stress, anxiety, trauma and paranoia the voices have caused me all these years, in determining to fight them, I am also bringing forth courage I never knew I had. I told the Russian physicist earlier today that one of my biggest challenges in life is to talk to other people. Initiating conversation, having a dialogue and interacting with others is something I never learned how to do. By challenging my weaknesses I am fighting the devilish functions in my life. While fighting the devilish functions in my life, I am challenging my weaknesses. Terrific!