My Encounter with the Dharma

International Buddhist Congregation (IBC)

by Mr. Robinson Kasozi

This spiritual experience was delivered during IBC’s Sunday Service on June 26, 2016.

Mr. Kasozi delivers his spiritual experience during IBC’s Sun- day Service.

Good morning everyone. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my spiritual experience in front of you today.

My name is Robinson Kasozi and I am from Uganda. When I first came to Japan, I started working at a company called Akiyama Shokai, a vehicle recycling and merchandizing company in Ibaraki Prefecture. That is where I first met Ms. Mitsuko Akiyama, my boss. Ms. Akiyama was like a mother in Japan to me. She was the one who guided me to Rissho Kosei-kai. Unfortunately, “Akiyama Mom” passed away in February 2013.

It has been eight years since I became a member of this Buddhist organization. Now, I have been practicing Buddhism at IBC of Rissho Kosei-kai together with my friends from Uganda and other non-Japanese fellow workers. At first, it was not so easy for me to have faith in Buddhism because I was born and raised in a Christian family.

Although it was not easy for me to have faith in the Buddha at first, “Akiyama Mom” had always treated me like her own child every day, and guided me by always saying, “You will surely be happy if you practice the Buddha’s teaching.” She accepted me the way I am and always embraced me in heart and body. Looking at “Akiyama Mom,” I saw the Buddha’s compassion in her. Thanks to her, I was able to encounter the Dharma and become a member of Rissho Kosei-kai.

We lived together like a family and always had meals together. She also took me on many overnight trips here and there, together with her family. She encouraged me to try all sorts of Japanese food, saying, “Robinson, try this, it’s delicious.” Thanks to her, now I can eat all kinds of Japanese foods. I like natto (fermented soybeans), oshinko (salted Japanese pickles), miso soup, and salmon roes very much.

She always told me, “Robinson, all human beings, whether he or she is black or white, equally have parents. Nobody is born from a tree branch; everyone is given life by their parents. So your father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, great grandfather, great grandmother are very important for you. You must pay respect to all of them. Since you are living far away from your country now, you should try expressing your gratitude to your parents and ancestors by reciting the sutra every day.” She also kindly taught me how to practice sutra recitation.

In 2011, the Gohonzon was enshrined at my home. “Mom” was very pleased that I was able to recite the sutra by myself every day at home.

The sad thing is, “Mom” suddenly passed away in 2013. But there is nothing to worry about, because she is always living in my heart and always watching over and protecting me. I would like to continue to follow her instructions, spread the Buddha’s teachings to as many people as possible, and introduce them to the Dharma.

My dream is to build a Dharma center in Uganda and other countries in Africa. I’ll make my dream come true someday. I’m sure “Mom” will be more pleased than anyone else when I achieve this dream. I will really appreciate all of your support towards this dream.

As my daily Dharma practice, I want to become a person who is cheerful, kind, and warmhearted, like Founder Niwano. In order to achieve this goal, I will try finding good points in others, and making as many sangha friends as possible. The only way is to practice the teachings of the Buddha repeatedly and ask for forgiveness from the Buddha, and forgive anyone that has done bad to you.

So everyone here, please always pray to have eyes to see the best in others, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgives the bad, and a soul that never loses faith. Faith and prayers, both are invisible, but they make impossible things possible. So please pray always, and have faith, and you will win.

Since I started practicing the Buddha’s teachings, I feel that the Buddha has guided me in many ways. So everyone here, I recommend you to practice the Buddha’s teachings every day. You will be able to overcome the problems you have.

So “Mom,” I vow to try my best from now on. I love you “Mom,” and everyone here. I will love you the same way yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I would like to show my gratitude to the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, Founder Niwano, President Niwano, Rev. Yoshinaga, and everyone here. Thank you for your kind attention.

Mr. Kasozi (second from the left)participating in sutra recitation with the Akiyama family.