Life and Family
by Kazue Hayes

I am filled with gratitude for having been born as a human and having encountered the Buddha.
Today, I have been given a chance to open my heart and share my proof with you.
For that I would like to offer my gratitude to Shinnyo Kyoshu-sama, Shojushinin-sama, Kyodoin-sama, Shindoin-sama, Shinnyo Keishu-sama and the Guardians of the Law.
I was born between a Japanese mother and an American father a year after the World War II ended.
Thinking about my future, my grandfather registered me as his fourth daughter to city hall.
He named me Kazue with the meaning of wishing me to have at least one blessing.
When I was of the age to start elementary school, I was denied admission because of my skin color.
My step-father, who used to be a newspaper reporter, learned of an institution for children with mixed blood called the Elizabeth Sanders Home in Kanagawa prefecture, and decided to put me there.
Not knowing anything, I was taken there and had to live a group life for fourteen years.
There was a big gate, and inside it was a church and Saint Stephano Elementary school.
Then there was a tunnel to the other side of the mountain, where the Elizabeth Sanders Home was.
Yearning for my mother, I would often stare at the tunnel and cry.
When I learned that nobody was coming for me, my feelings toward my stepfather turned to hate and grudge.
I told myself, as long as I live, I would never forgive him.
At the time, that seemed to be all I thought about.
Principle Sawada was very devout Christian and all the children received baptism.
When we would go out to town, people would look at us as dirt and throw rocks at us or spit as us.
I can only remember negative things and bore a grudge against my destiny.
Even though we went to church, I wouldn't open my heart to anyone, especially toward principal Sawada, to whom I couldn't open my heart.
When I was sixteen, I was able to see my mother again but I had lost any humanly feelings so whenever I saw someone sad or in need of help, I would laugh at them saying, "Serves you right."
When I started going out with people, they would find out about the Sanders home and it would always haunt me and follow me like a shadow.
However I, too, was given a chance to get married.
I married a soldier from the Yokota base.
Both of us grew up in a similar environment of not knowing our family.
Eventually, my husband took to drinking, gambling, extra-marital affairs.
For that I cursed at my life, despite being blessed with three children.
Since my husband was in the military, we never stayed in one place, always moving from place to place.
We arrived in California in September of 1980.
A friend introduced me to my present lineage parent.
But back then, I couldn't trust anyone, no matter what was said to me, I just couldn't open my heart.

 She would come to my house once every week and talk to me about the teaching.
Now she dyes her hair black, but I believe I'm responsible for more than half of her gray hairs.
I feel terribly sorry for having caused her so much worries.
One day, I had a dream of a boy wearing a school uniform.
I later found out it was Shindoin-sama.
At the Dedication ceremony of the San Francisco temple, Shinnyo Keishu-sama mentioned, "Even if you physical eyes are open, if your eyes of the heart are sleeping, you wouldn't be able to see the truth."
Hearing those words, I was able to open my heart little by little.
Fighting my karma, it had taken me a year to be able to receive sesshin.
In my first sesshin, I received the sono-uta, "Encountering the last teaching of the Buddha is like finally finding one's long-last compassionate mother.
" The father of my soul is Kyoshu-sama and Shojushinin-sama is my mother.
I was so happy for the first time in my life that I cried.
Principal Sawada was also indicated and I felt really sorry.
Even though it was little by little, I felt something hard like an ice was melting away.
I used to take advantage of others, thinking that people should be doing things for me.
But through the Shinnyo teaching, I was taught to have gratitude.
It was my feeling towards my stepfather that made me suffer for so long.
Due to the bakku-daiju of Ryodoji-sama, I was able to learn that it was harder to be held a grudge against rather than holding it.
One day in a sesshin it was indicated, "Do you want to know why you had to be born in such a way? It was the Buddha's great compassion you were given this trial.
There are many people in this world who are in suffering seeking for happiness.
You have the mission to transmit this teaching to those people.
You can overcome any hardships because you have the teaching.
It was a test given to you, to wake you up because the Buddha is counting on you.
" I had always shed tears of suffering but never thought I would be shedding tears of joy.
I felt glad to be alive and that I had found what I had been searching but never thought I would be shedding tears of joy.
I felt glad to be alive and that I had found what I had been searching for all along.
I couldn't help but put my hands together in Gassho.
 My fight with my karma continued.
At the founder's birthday celebration in the 50th year of the Teaching, I returned to the Oyasono and was able to meet Shinnyo Kyoshu-sama for the first time.
Kyoshu-sama told me, "When you're sad or in suffering, chant Namu Shinnyo Ichinyo Daihatsu Nehankyo, okay? The Buddha is always there with you, do you understand? You understand, right?" It was like I was seeing a dream.
A month and a half later I returned home to find my husband had moved out to be with his girlfriend and the three children who were still small were living on their own.
I was taken aback.
I was filled with a pain like my heart had been gouged out by a sharp knife.
When I finally received sesshin on it, there was an indication of a bad marriage and never attaining happiness.
I thought this wasn't supposed to happen, whenever I was by myself and opened the Path of Oneness, it was always on the page of establishing the Shinnyo spiritual world where Shojushinin-sama is sending Kyodoin-sama to the spiritual world.
I understood in theory, but was beginning to feel like if I have to go through so much, I'd rather die.
When I went to seek advice, I was in turn asked this question: "What will happen to the children?" I felt sorry for being so selfish and desperately called out the Shinnyo parents' names.
That year, I was able to receive elevation of Daijo.
I didn't want my children to carry on my karma, so I practiced wholeheartedly.
Suddenly, my husband came asking for a divorce.
Difficult times followed, especially since I had a hard time with endurance.
I worked really hard with hardly any time to sleep.
Three years had passed, and I was given an opportunity to receive direct guidance from Shinnyo Keishu-sama.
I talked about my family matters.
She told me, everything will be fine.
True to her words, my husband had unexpectedly changed his attitude and the divorce was finalized in the best possible situation.
Wishing to treasure my husband's feeling, I recalled my sesshin and with deep gratitude to the Shinnyo spiritual world, I was able to sign the divorce papers.
At the Kangi Hon-eza, I received the spiritual words, "Just as you have been through so much suffering, Ryodoji-sama in the spiritual world have been through that much working to give you bakku-daiju.
They made it possible for you to practice with ease.
" Filled with gratitude and remorse, I received elevation of Kangi.
Then my karma returned, trying to keep me from happiness.
This time it came at my health.
A tumor was found in my uterus and I immediately had to have surgery.
If I had the surgery even a few days later, my uterus would have burst and I wouldn't have been alive.
At about the same time, I had a heart attack.
In my sesshin, a woman who passed away with stomach related illness and my grandmother's brother who passed away young with tuberculosis were indicated.
I realized the importance of acknowledging the ancestors.
 When I finally started to practice wishing to be of help to others, I got on bad terms with my son; and since my younger daughter had gone off to college, I decided to move to live in an apartment by myself.
I worked from morning till night.
Whenever I found a little time, I would go to the temple.
It was the time when we were practicing towards the reassembly of Shinchoji, returning to the origin of the teaching and conveying to others the path Soya-sama (Shinnyo Parents) underwent.
I made the determination to protect the teaching and follow after Keishu-sama's footsteps.
I prayed with gratitude and joy and received elevation to Daikangi.
Then one day, I received a letter from my mother.
My half brothers had gotten married, so she wanted me to forget about them.
It was the same mother who had said before that she didn't regret giving birth to me.
As I wrote letters of anger several times, I started to understand how my mother felt.
It must have been hard for her to write this letter and I felt pity for my mother who had to worry about her son and his wife.
Now, I have come to feel I will just wait for the day when I will be able to see her again.
Looking back, my fourteen years at the institution had given me the strength to over come anything and to be friends with anyone.
But moreover, I was able to obtain the feeling of having gratitude to everything through the Shinnyo teaching.
In a sesshin I received awhile back, I was indicated that the family that had fallen apart can get better depending on my practice, just like a flower blossoming on a withered tree.
I thought of taking a chance on this possibility.
Now, my husband is living by himself, and I live with my eldest daughter who is married, and my son who I had not seen for years because he was put on trial.
Thus, we have been able to come together as a happy family living in a house my daughter purchased.
I used to think there was nobody more miserable than myself in this whole world.
Now, I can say proudly that I am the happiest person on this world.
Shinnyo Keishu-sama gave us the opportunity to practice towards the consecration of the spiritual tomb and I wanted to be a part of it too.
In Shinnyo Keishu-sama's sermon she mentioned the Shinnyo parents are out father and mother and Ryodoji-sama are our brothers.
I felt grateful from my heart and offered gassho.
If I am allowed, I would like to be a spiritual medium to become a true server.
I am not alone anymore.
I have the Shinnyo teaching.
I see Shinnyo Keishu-sama staking her life for each of the people toward the Great Vow of the Shinnyo Parents, so I too will vow to practice straightforwardly with gratitude.
Thank you very much.