Practicing the Dharma Has Changed My Life

The Central Delhi Hoza

by Prakash Kumar

This Dharma Journey talk was presented at the memorial day ceremony held at the Central Delhi Hoza on June 10, 2018.

Mr. Kumar shares his Dharma Journey with members at the Central Delhi Hoza.

Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for giving me this significant opportunity to share my Dharma experience.

My name is Prakash Kumar. I was born as the second son in the Jha and Mishra family in Bhagalpur (Silk City), a small city in Bihar, India. I have two elder sisters and an elder brother. I was the youngest child, and my parents really loved me, and I also loved them a lot.

I am full of gratitude to all the people who poured out their love and affection to me throughout my life, and to those who shared their challenges and joys with me. I received plenty of love and affection from my parents and grandparents. My grandmother used to tell me stories at night during my childhood. But very soon I lost my grandmother and grandfather. I haven’t been able to recover from the loss of my loved ones even now. I also lost one of my best friends. He was suffering from dengue fever. He had no father, and his family’s financial condition wasn’t good. As I was eight years old then, I could not understand anything about what was going on. I was feeling very isolated and lots of questions were filling my mind: Why does death come? Why doesn’t God help those who are in sorrow? What is the purpose of life? Why do people suffer? Why are people jealous of each other?

However, as I became busy with study and sports, day by day I began to forget these questions. I wasn’t an extraordinary student but I was perfect in sports. I like playing cricket and swimming, and I was good at both.

My father was a very short-tempered person. I saw many times that my father shouted at others and quarreled with other people. I didn’t like my father’s short-temperedness. Whenever my mother heard my father’s loud voice, she would become very upset. At such times I would say to my mother smilingly, “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine someday.”

Once, when my father was in a happy mood, I asked him, “Why do you get so angry? We like a peaceful atmosphere. Mom doesn’t feel good when she looks at your angry face.” Father said to me, “OK, from now onwards you won’t see my angry face.” However, when I returned from school one day, I found my father shouting at my mother for a minor mistake, and my mom was crying. I was in a panic that moment.

On the other hand, my father always encouraged me, saying that I could do things better. At times when I felt I couldn’t do anything well, my father would tell me, “Look, everything is possible and you can do it. I know you can do it.” There were times when I found it difficult, but I did it.

Since childhood I had been a selfish person. I was always thinking about my own success and had never thought of the feelings of my friends or relatives. I always tried to prove that I was right. I wasn’t a good listener, and didn’t have the patience to listen to others. I always tried to keep my own point of view first of all. I often interrupted another peopleduring conversations. I was truly arrogant.

Later I completed my bachelor’s degree. At that time, however, my father fell into debt, which was caused by the marriage of my elder sister. As there was not sufficient money, we took out a loan from the bank.

My family’s financial condition was not good. So I decided to move out of the city to find a job. I was twenty-two years old then, and it was when the second phase of my life began. I came to Delhi and faced a lot of challenges in order to survive. As I didn’t have any other options but to stay in Delhi, I never gave up. Very soon I found a job in a clothes production company. I was working there as a helper because I was a freshman and did not have any work experience. While working there, I came to understand how people work together as a team and learned the strength of team work.

A few months later, I switched my job and joined the Business Process Outsourcing sector, but the salary there wasn’t good. I couldn’t sleep well because my father’s bank loan was always bothering my mind. So I decided to work two jobs, one part time andthe other full time. I went for an interview and was selected. So now I was able to save some money for my family to help my father pay the bank loan. I was blessed, as I was able to help my parents.

When I was working two jobs at one time, however, I was experiencing the toughest time in my life. I was not feeling happy and had many worries―Why should I work so hard for my family? Doesn’t my father love my mother?―were running in my mind. My way of thinking had become selfish and arrogant and I didn’t pay respect to my father. Later, when I thought about the same situation through the perspective of buddha-nature, I found that my father was a short-tempered person, but was still doing his very best for his family.

A year later, I changed my job again and joined the corporate sector as a customer support executive. One and a half years later, I was promoted to leader.

I joined Rissho Kosei-kai on June 12, 2013. I would like to express my thanks to Mr. Amit Kumar (former area leader) for guiding me to Rissho Kosei-kai. Later I met Ms. Simi Handa, the present area leader, and Ms. Bharti Bhatra, a subleader. Even though my mother lives fifteen hundred kilometers from here, I’ve never felt as though I live alone. Ms. Handa always treats me like her own son, and I also respect her as my mother in the Dharma. I can’t forget all the outstanding support from my friends in the Dharma. I owe them a great debt of gratitude for all that they have done for me. I am grateful for Rissho Kosei-kai, which has introduced me to such a wonderful family in the Dharma.

Through the practice of the Dharma, including reciting the sutra and attending hozasessions, I’ve learned many good things. I began to greet every person with a smile, say thank you on daily basis, put my shoes and slippers in right order, and other basic practices. Our leader used to tell us that we should always try to do good things, never be the cause of anyones tears, and never hurt anyone. We should do things to make people happy without any expectation of reward, so that everyone can achieve true happiness. I started to help my colleagues to complete their work in time, and I felt good when they thanked me for my help with a sweet smile. Our boss has praised me for my work on many occasions.

I have experienced a big change in my life by thoroughly following the three basic practices of the faith, namely: 1. Reciting the sutra; 2. Connecting people with the Dharma, enhancing people’s connection with the Dharma, and attending hoza sessions; and 3. Studying and practicing the Dharma. I know that reciting the sutra is the key that unlocks all doors.

I would like to express a special thanks to Rev. Masatoshi Shimamura, the director of Rissho Kosei-kai International of South Asia. His encouragement gave me confidence and enabled me to realize my potential and restore my confidence. Words are not enough to express the greatness of his guidance and support. Hearing his Dharma Journey talk, I learned how many struggles he had gone through when he was young and, by following the leaders’ guidance and practicing RisshoKosei-kai teachings, he had tackled the critical situation and brought happiness to his family. He inspired me to find my goal and made me capable of realizing it.

When I had an opportunity to participate in a Lotus Sutra seminar in Bangkok, Thailand, I was excited to learn many new things. I was also honored to be appointed as a master of ceremonies for the seminar. I was at first anxious, because it was the first experience for me to serve as a master of ceremonies. I can’t forget the encouraging words of the minister of the Bangkok Dharma Center, who told me, “You are awesome, you are doing well. Keep it going.” I would also like to express my appreciation for the ministers of the Dharma centers of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. They are great teachers. I’m grateful for their thoughtfulness and generosity. I’ve learned a great deal about the life of Shakyamuni Buddha and about our mission. Their methods of making me understand the teachings were tremendous.

Every time when the session ended, I asked the interpreters for their feedback about the proceedings. They offered me concise, useful advice. I would like to express my gratitude to the interpreters, all the staff members from Bangkok and Japan, and to all the Dharma friends who participated in the seminar from many parts in Asia, with whom I shared a wonderful time throughout the seminar. Our collaboration made the seminar a great success.

When I was attending the session on buddha-nature, I felt a strong vibration connecting me to my father, and recalled all of my past events. Many images came and went in my mind’s eye and I was feeling emotional.

When I returned to Delhi after having successfully finished Bangkok seminar, I got a phone call informing me that my father was not well. So I went to meet him. My father was delighted to see me and spoke to me about a lot of things. I listened very carefully to every single word without interrupting him. I told him that as I was here now he would get well soon, and unbelievably from that day he began to recover his health very quickly. I asked him to release his anger and be happy, since I would be always with him. I called a leader at the Delhi Dharma Center, telling him that I would not be able to participate in the next class to study the teachings, as I would like to be with my father for some time in my home town. The leader told me, “No problem. Taking care of your parents is also a bodhisattva practice. We’ll also pray for your father.” My father changed then, and has become a person who is very humble and calm.

I’ve also shared this wonderful teaching with my friends, and helped them to come out of life’s troubles. I always keep the Founder’s words and the President’s guidance in my mind. I’ve connected many people with the Dharma, some of whom have become members of Rissho Kosei-kai. I would like to continue to share the teachings in the hope that Rissho Kosei-kai would develop further.

I am thankful to be a part of RisshoKosei-kai as a contract staff member. After I joined the staff, I met Mr. Suman Barua. I admire him for his humility and diligence. I have always received valuable guidance and support from him. He always guides me toward the right path. I am very lucky to be able to work with someone who inspires me every day. I will be forever grateful for his guidance and kindness.

Our primary purpose in this life is to help others. We should be aware that true happiness is the liberation of both ourselves and others. Rissho Kosei-kai helps me to learn how to live life to become a buddha. I learned about buddha-nature in a seminar on the Lotus Sutra. Everyone in this world has buddha-nature. We need to recognize the buddha-nature in ourselves, and should also recognize and respect the buddha-nature in others.

I was fortunate enough that, when Rissho Kosei-kai commemorated the eightieth anniversary of its founding, I had a chance to attend the ceremony held at the Tokyo headquarters. I was blissfully happy to sit in the Great Sacred Hall and listen to President Niwano’s speech on the occasion of the eightieth anniversary. It had long been my dream to visit the Founder’s birthplace in Suganuma, but I didn’t know that my dream would be realized so soon. Suganuma was one of the most peaceful places that I’ve ever visited. The director of the Founder’s Birthplace Center helped us visit the house (restored in 2005) where the Founder was born and the school where he received primary education. On the way to the school, there were a shrine the Founder used to put his palms together and pray for everyone’s happiness, and a pond where the Founder used to swim when he was a child. The pond was totally covered with snow. I realized how great the Founder’s efforts must have been before he discovered the wonderful teachings that will lead all people in the world to the true happiness.

I am so grateful that the sangha has always helped me through all the changes in my life. I hope that I will work with sangha members and achieve our goal for the next twenty years to commemorate the hundredth anniversary. I will do my very best to proactively disseminate the teachings in my area.

The Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, Founder Niwano, President Niwano, thank you very much. Everyone, thank you very much.

Mr. Kumar (front, left) with other participants in the 2017 Youth Leaders Training Program, in Bangkok.