On Negative Karma
by Lance Murray

My name is Lance Murray, Morita lineage, Mie 3 division.
There are a lot of people I recognize today, but there are also a lot of new faces to me.
So, it may surprise some of the newer followers to know that I have been practicing Shinnyo-En at this temple for over 10 years.
I have given my proof here twice already, and I don’t want to go over old ground to those who have already heard about my life before The Teaching, but instead I would like to share with you the past 4 years of my practice.
In my 10 years at Shinnyo-En I have been blessed in many ways, but like many gifts that we receive in our life, we only truly appreciate them after they are lost.
I received a lot of mercy from Sooya-sama.
I was able to attend a lot of special services, in the USA, Europe, and in Japan.
Some of these services I was actually able to participate in the ceremonies.
Several months before the L.A. Saito Homa, my sesshin indicated "if you veer off the path, you will get pulled into deep mud that will be very difficult to escape from."
Less than 2 years after performing Saito Homa in Japan, I was seriously considering suicide.
Yes, I had slid so far into the Lower Realms that even I did not feel that there was an escape.
I though death was the only way to end my suffering.
This was not just a one time though, but I seriously considered and planned it about 6 times.
The world of my karma looked like a brighter, more desirable place.
It seemed like the right path for me to take.
I had an affair, started gambling, and was becoming an alcoholic.
I borrowed money from my retirement accounts, from my savings, and built a large credit card debt.
Karma is a terrible thing.
When my son was 3, his parent divorced.
When I was about 5, my father's new wife made him give up his children for adoption by my step-Dad.
The woman I had the affair with, she wanted me to give up my children, but I could not.
I wanted to change this karma, although I did not know how.
I was one of those that heard about karma, but thought that I was able to avoid it.
It was something that happened to other people, "not me."
I only came back to the temple every 3-4 months, and everyone seemed so cold and impersonal to me now.
I was sure they all knew.
I did not know why all my "friends" suddenly seemed to push me away.
But, I realize it was not them, it was me.
My face and temperament had become stressed.
I looked angry all the time, I was very sharp to others, and now people did not know what to say to me.
I went from a happy, kind and funny person to somebody who was angry and very intense.
My speech was very short and rapid.
I had lost myself.
Others did not know why I had changed, and they were not sure how to interact with me.
At this time I was attending a Christian church, and even became baptized.
But, I found now peace or happiness.
It was one of the ironies of my life that I could not see how great Shinnyo-en was until I found myself in the arms of another faith.
I saw so many people that were suffering at that church, with no clear direction for removing that suffering.
Shinnyo-en has the three practices to help cut out karma.
We have sesshin training to help us understand how that karma is affecting us in our daily lives.
Shinnyo-en is a rightful teaching that points the way for us, we have but to listen, and make actual practice.
My karma had destroyed my family, this other woman's family, shaken some of the office staff members, and caused concern and worry to people in the temple.
For this, I am very sorry.
I never wanted to hurt the temple or Shinnyo Keishu-sama.
I can understand the concern now, but at the time I too was in pain, and kept asking myself "what about me?!"
Here I was a Daikangi who had fallen into hell, and I was become very self-centered.
I had lost my altruistic path.
I always felt that things I got I "earned" somehow.
I did not appreciate that it was given to me by Soya-sama.
I felt it was my ability, and not something from the Shinnyo Spiritual world.
It was not a reward, but instead as a method to help me realize what I was lacking.
I took things self-centered and human-centered.
But, I had two lifelines that saved me.
The first was my children.
I cried more in those 3 years than in my whole life.
It was almost a daily ritual where I was "stuck in the mud of depression."
My children allowed me to breathe, and feel like a real person at times.
At other times I realized the damage I had caused to them, and realized this would affect their whole lives.
My second lifeline came from an unusual source, yet it should not have been unexpected.
At the LA Saito Homa I took care of my children in the kids' room while my ex-wife and her mother attended the service.
I was afraid to see Shinnyo Keishu-sama.
I felt dirty, and I knew I had been a big disappointment to her.
But, she came to the kids' room following the services to wave to everyone.
Even though I watched her face with tears in my eyes, she did not look at me.
Suddenly, right before she left, she looked into my eyes for about 15 seconds.
She poured her warmth and compassion into my heart.
She was telling me "it is okay."
The tears were running down my face at this compassion, it was not what I expected, but what I should have expected.
I saw Shinnyo Keishu-sama at the Chicago Opening, were I was still slide down into hell from the weight of this karma.
Then, again I saw her at the new Seattle temple opening.
I was watching the kids again, and She looked at me and gave another heaping of her compassion.
At this point I was no longer seeing the woman who I had the affair with, and I felt a desire to find my path again.
In Seattle I happened to run into an old friend there that picked me up was able to show me the direction to start back.
For his help, I am very grateful.
It was Shinnyo Keishu-sama who became my beacon in the fog that I was in.
She never gave up on me, and for that I would like to give my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation.
I have a disciple's love for Shinnyo Keishu-sama, who is my teacher, and a living Buddha.
I am very grateful for being able to give this proof during the first year of the Universal Training Ground, for I feel that this is now my first year also.
I will strive to pull myself out of this karmic mud hole, and to become a Spiritual Medium to serve the followers.
I will work hard to become a Missionary to serve the Buddha and the world.
I hope to someday complete my vow to Sooya-sama and Shinnyo Keishu-sama, and complete my task to support Shinny Keishu-sama in the Saito Homa, at the Universal Training Ground, and here in the USA.
It is like riding a bicycle as a kid.
You see everyone else doing it so you want to also.
But when you fall off that first time, then you have to decide; ride or not.
That is when you really decide if you "want" to ride a bike, or not.
I fell off the Shinnyo "bike," and I have decided that I want to ride even more that my first time.
I do not want my children to be overcome by the same karma, and I have learned that Shinnyo-en is the True Path.
My outlook on life is full of sunshine since I have found the path, and as I watch my "beacon," and Sooya-sama, Ryodoji-sama, Shinnyo Keishu-sama, and the Guardians of the Law, I am very sorry for what I have done.
For my lineage parents & lineage members, the lineage parents at this temple, for the Office staff, and my family (here, and in Japan), I will try to stay on the path, and to purify my karma and to serve as your foundation.
There are people here, and in Japan who did not give up on me, and to those people I want to offer gassho for I might not be here today if it were not for you and your Buddha nature pulling me out of hell.
There is a sono-uta that says:
Roadside grass is often trampled on, Yet has the spirit to endure and grow.
I have started to read the "Words of Confession and Repentance" each night, and instead of just repeating it as a chant, I have begun to learn how the words were meant for me.
Shinnyo Kyoshu-sama chants this for us every Winter Training, but I feel that I want to step forward in life in response to his compassion.
Thank you, and I am happy to be able to practice with everyone from this temple.
Thank you for the past 10 years. On my second sesshin, some 10 years ago, I was asked if I would follow this teaching for the rest of my life.
I was surprised at being asked this since I was just starting.
I though about it, and then answered "hai."
Although I did not expect the road to be so full of rocks and pits, my karma almost made me forget that promise.
That determination has been re-kindled in my heart, and I look forward to walking the path with you for eternity.