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).