Just over one year ago, I became a practicing Buddhist. I joined SGI-USA because I wanted to be a part of a movement that I truly believed in. One of SGI’s primary beliefs is in peace, in fact, President Ikeda wrote his 30th Peace Proposal for the United Nations this year. That’s pretty spectacular in my view. But, that’s not the only reason I became a practicing Buddhist, it was because I was struggling in life and wanted change.
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I struggled with my weight as I entered the new year (2011), I struggled last summer when I lost Lara (my first dog), I struggled in September when my husband lost his close cousin, I’ve struggled in my relationship for various reasons (not needed to be publicized on the Internet), I’ve struggled with my self-esteem (although there’s always been a struggle there), I’ve struggled to be a good parent, I’ve struggled at work … I’ve struggled at just about everything – come to think of it.
So with all the struggling, I’ve made it a point to make as many strides for perseverance and happiness, even when there was inevitable heartache…
I can hear the cynics “Did Buddhism fix all that was wrong? So what good has Buddhism brought you?”
Well, first off, if you seek out religion to solve your problems - you are a fool because praying to any God or cause will never make you happy. You are just fooling yourself.
So did Buddhism fix all of my problems... Nope. Did I expect it to? Nope. Am I still struggling? Absolutely, but that’s ok!
So what good did it do me by becoming a practicing Buddhist? Perspective, Strength, Hope, Love, Life Cause, Human Revolution and an Understanding that Change is Unavoidable (whether it’s good or bad). By studying Buddhism, I am becoming a better person, not just for me – but for my family, friends and everyone I meet that has some role in my life. Sure, I still have bad days, everyone does. But the moral to the story is: having somewhere in your life you can go feeling terrible, and come out feeling like everything’s going to be ok – now that’s something worthwhile.
"The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just." ~Abraham Lincoln
Making a cause in your life is key. Giving yourself a reason to wake up in the morning, learning to appreciate the things you have, rather than the things you don’t. Making strides to becoming a better person… Identifying your strengths and using them, and inversely, identifying your weaknesses and working on them.
All these takeaways are much more valuable than to focus on all the struggles of the world. Thinking with the perspective, maybe that door closed because there’s another one down the hallway that just opened and its better. I know I sound like I have a purpose and I am fulfilled, but I still struggle everyday – and that’s ok.
"Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence." ~Buddha
I also realize I have many more struggles ahead of me, but with perspective and the perseverance to strive on; I believe I will face everything I may encounter with newfound spirit, perspective and even in death, I will not be lost.
"Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely." ~Buddha