by Mikayo Nantista
For more than 10 years my lineage parent had kept telling me, "It's important to have exercise in a gym for your body. You better go."
I only replied with "Yes" and never went.
Finally I stared going to a gym last year December 2008.
When three months had passed since I started exercising in the gym, my fitness coach asked me to write my proof.
I asked him back, "Proof?"
For me, the word "proof" meant "testimonial proof" frequently used in Shinnyo-en.
He repeatedly asked me, "The results of your exercises have improved in the last few months since you joined the gym.
Why don't you write about the improvement?"
I agreed. Then I remembered the spiritual words from a sesshin I received last December:
"The words from the Buddha resides in the non Shinnyo-en followers, too."
"Please realize with your prayer that any incident in every day life which you think has nothing to do with Shinnyo-en is an indication of the words from the Buddha."
A few days later, I received different spiritual words:
"Please show your proof to many people. You don't need to decorate it with fancy words."
"You simply tell them about the 'ever-present' of Shinnyo Kyoshu-sama."
Soon after that, I started re-reading all the proofs provided by the people in our lineage, and that encouraged me for writing my proof.
Therefore, the following is actually a letter to my fitness coach.
Thank you in advance for reading this:
During my three-year junior-high era, I played volleyball. I went to school by bicycle, too.
Playing volleyball in those 3 years was the only sport activity I had.
I guessed this sport activity, when I was 13, helped me grow up 7cm and I became tall for my age.
But at the same time, I got severe pains in the several joints.
A doctor advised my parents, "If we cut the muscle behind the knee and stretch it, she can walk smoothly but at the same time she won't be able to bend her knee when she sits."
They declined the advice.
In every my high school day, even when I was doing nothing I had pains so severe that I wished I could cut my entire right leg off.
I got a back pain, too.
Usually I put my weight on my left leg as I walked, and that caused an inflammation on my left hip joint.
Sometimes I couldn't even walk at all.
The pain killer drug given from the hospital only worked for 20 minutes.
So, my parents tried many things to relieve my pains such as by warming my leg up, giving me massages, asking benefit seeking religious groups, and so on.
While they were trying their efforts, I kept worrying myself, like "Why do I have this kind of leg?" "Why do I have to live with those pains?" "Why me?" "What will my life be?"
Because people kept asking me about my leg and because people kept staring at me, my leg "took over" my thoughts.
Even when people were laughing with no reason, I considered they were laughing at my leg.
I couldn't have a dream and hope.
At age 17 or so, I thought about committing suicide several times, but I couldn't do that as I imagined my parents' sorrow on my death and as I wondered the life after death.
I used to write down all my worries on my notebook and shout toward gods in my room, "Please help me!" I thought, "I won't be able to get married anyway, and I will keep giving my family troubles."
"All my friends will live in their own ways, not like me."
I want to die at age 24.
I decided to live through age 18 to 24 by doing whatever I want and I actually started doing so.
That gave my family a hard time.
When I was 19, I joined a Buddhist temple "Shinnyo-en," where the followers were (are) practicing based on the "last teaching" of the Buddha.
Two years later, I had an opportunity to meet the Shinnyo-en founder, Shinjo Ito.
There, he generously shook my hand.
Since then I have never had pains on my right leg at all.
This is how I experienced it:
It was June 3, 1984.
After hearing about my trip to the US for the first time in my life, Kyoshu-sama (Shinjo Ito) shook my hand and encouraged me, "Try your best there."
I felt that something round and warm in orange like the sun coming out of his right hand and it entered through my right hand into my right arm while we were shaking hands.
It was like electricity running through in the bone of my right knee and it reached my right heel.
I got a indescribable comfort feeling.
I saw myself with large drops of tears clinging to his hand.
When I looked up at him, he was gazing upon my eyes and I felt he was asking me with his eyes, "Is that it?" I answered in my mind, "Yes, this is where the pains are coming from!"
As soon as I answered, he grabbed my hand harder to make sure of it.
Suddenly I felt something like a long thin rod was slowly lifted up through in my right leg from the heel to the knee.
I felt something was pulled out of my body.
It quickly passed through my body and moved into Kyoshu-sama's hand that was still grabbing my hand.
I was filled with some kind of feeling like "I was given something precious."
Then I noticed the way Kyoshu-sama was walking looked exactly like me.
12 days later, I put step on the US soil in the first time.
Several years later, I got married to a American man and settled down in the US.
I finally got pregnant after all 6 years and had a baby.
Whenever I reflect on that my family in Japan and I had never imagined such a life I'm having now, I always have the feeling of Shinnyo Kyoshu-sama's (Shinjo Ito's) hand with his words, "Try your best there."
Last year in May, the Shinnyo-en Head Temple was consecrated in Redwood City, and since then I go to that temple.
In the temple, I experience the "Shinnyo Meditation.
In the many years of my unique way of walking, my right pinky toe bended.
It became diffcult to walk due to the pain from the toe.
I underwent surgery on my right pinky toe in 2005.
From that period, my body was getting weak.
I sometimes walked with a cane.
I went to a gym for exercise, but it only made me feel tired.
And I couldn't continue it.
At last, I was having the trouble of picking up something on the floor.
I felt heavy.
I felt tired, though I had enough sleep.
I was almost falling down several times on flat areas.
I was getting unable to sit on my legs folded under (the Japanese style sitting).
Even in such difficult times, I didn't have any of "those pains."
In 2008, when I was walking briskly with stuff in both of my hands, I stumbled and fell down.
That incident made me realize, "I'm getting weak."
Even though Kyoshu-sama (Shinjo Ito) took the pains away from my leg, it would be a shame that if I become unable to walk again.
I see the power of bakku-daiju made me meet you, who have specialties in Preventive Medicine, Neuromuscular Therapy, Fitness Coaching, and Nutrition Coaching.
I'm amazed that I "can" do what you instruct me to do.
Although some people in the past, like my PE teachers, my volleyball coach, and the doctors in the hospitals told me to "bend your right knee like that" and to "move your body and legs in that way, then stand up like this," I had been unable to do in the way they expected.
Or I was like, "I know I cannot do those, so why bother?"
But now I become a person who "can do it" each time I try.
This is the power of bakku-daiju I've been given.
Through your exercise instruction, the power from Shinnyo-en is working on my body.
Thus, I can easily move and I can almost sit my on legs folded under.
So it is getting easier to live in everyday life.
The reason why I feel in that way is that I see my body is now different from it used to be and the progress of my body improvement.
My family and I are happy about that.
Thank you very much.
In 1982, I received a consultative sesshin and the spiritual words indicated as such:
"The Buddha won't tell you if your leg can be fully treated or not because He is not a fortune teller."
"You are not just asking the Buddha for a favor, but also asking Him impossible."
"It is like to create a thing from nothing."
"But, when you practice in oneness with the Shinnyo teaching, your soul will be saved."
"Then, even if your leg isn't fully treated, it won't bother you any more."
"It is your karma."
The spiritual words also indicated:
"When your uncle (your father's brother) was 24 years old, he had lost his leg by a bomb during a war while he was sent as a messenger from one unit to another."
"And you have a unknown female ancestor in your mother's side a way back in the past, who had walked with a limp and suffered like 'Why my life is like this?'"
"Even after her death, she is still suffering in the spiritual world."
"Please don't forget that those two spirits will be saved by Shinnyo Kyoshu-sama as you constantly make the spiritual consolation requests for them."
"Also, please remember you always have "bakku-daiju" from Ryodoji-sama."
"Depending on your spiritual training, you may be able to increase the walking distance without getting tired like 100 meters this time then 200 meters next time with the help of bakku-daiju."
After that, whenever I made spiritual consolation requests as the spiritual words suggested, I felt warm on my right heel.
At first, I thought that warm feeling was just in my head.
Since the Winter of that year, however, I have never had the frostbite on my feet from the tiptoes to the ankles.
The more I was elevated in the spiritual ranks, the less I concerned about my leg.
I wrote this letter to my coach Dr. Daniel Villeda in April 2009. It is August now and as the follow-up, I will write about how much I am getting healthier under the exercise training with him.
I'd like to convey my gratitude towards the Buddha, the Shinnyo Parents, Ryodoji-sama, Shinnyo Keishu-sama, the Guardians of the Law, my ancestors, and the people around me.
Thank you very much for reading.