(Member of Myōgenji temple, Okayama Pref.)
There are 7.7 billion people living on earth right now. How many people do we meet in our lifetime? Looking back, I realize many of the people I met made my life better in various ways. This is all thanks to the power of Odaimoku, thanks to HBS faith. The quality of our life depends on the people we meet, but relationships that make our life valuable are all fragile and difficult to maintain.
Recently the number of reports regarding people being somehow bullied or harassed in the workplace and school has increased so much that it is becoming a serious social problem in Japan. Many people are being tormented in some way or ostracized. In a society which relies very strongly on the idea of belonging to a group it is an especially difficult situation and many people find it hard to cope with it. I have an experience like that too. About ten years ago I had a serious problem concerning the relationship with one of my subordinates. The problem resulted from a simple misunderstanding. My colleague made a mistake at work and I had to reprimand him, even though he was generally a really efficient worker. After that, he suddenly started to ignore me. Because of that, my time at the office became very stressful and I didn’t find any satisfaction in my work.
Around that time, my niece got married at Onmyōji Temple in Toyoshima Ward, Tokyo. I attended the wedding and her husband told me about the amazing reward he recently got. He said that he had a car accident which left his beloved car seriously damaged. The other party refused to pay the repair expenses. He didn’t know what to do, so he went to a priest for advice, and the priest told him to offer stupas for the repose of the other party’s ancestors’ souls and also pray for erasing his own sins which caused the accident. My niece’s husband was a novice at that time, so he obeyed the priest and immediately started to visit the temple everyday in order to do what he was told. As the number of days he visited the temple increased, he gradually started to feel that he shouldn’t have insisted on receiving the payment of the repair expense because the car accident was caused by his own sins according to Cause and Effect principle. However, the perpetrator, from whom he had heard nothing since the car accident, suddenly contacted him and offered to pay compensation for the accident. They eventually settled the matter out of court.
After I heard his story, I realized that I should have been more kind and simply told my subordinate to improve his work, and that the whole situation had happened because of my deep sins. So I started to offer stupas to pray for the repose of my subordinate’s ancestors’ souls and pray for improving our relationship and erasing my sins. I prayed a lot both at the temple and at home. While I was devoting myself to praying, my subordinate’s father passed away. After that, he suddenly changed his attitude toward me and even started to consult me about various things. I am now a kind of his personal relationships advisor.
Building a relationship of trust with others requires a lot of time, but it can be destroyed in a moment. The same can be said about our happiness. Living our lives is often like treading on thin ice – one false step might lead us to troubles and disasters. Since my experience with my subordinate, every day I have prayed for eliminating not only my own sins but also those of my family, my relatives and all the people around me. I am also trying to devote myself to serving the temple and propagating our Buddhist teachings to accumulate more merit and live a peaceful life.