Words of Gratitude
by Mikayo Nantista

Words of Gratitude(August 6, 2010)
I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity in which I can convey my gratitude on the day of Shojushin'in-sama's memorial.
In January 2006, I was diagnosed with depression and hospitalized for one week.
Later, sesshin indicated the deep sorrow of a male ancestor on my husband's side who died in a fire.
My father-in-law told me that there was a man on my husband's father's side who lost his wife and children in an accident.
He was so shocked and depressed that he committed suicide by pouring gasoline on himself and setting himself on fire.
He also told me that there was a family on my husband's mother's side who all died in a fire in their apartment.
Even after I was released from the hospital, I had to see a counselor regularly and had to take medications every day.
I continued this for one and a half years. The reasons for my depression were my unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and laziness.
Also, I was very disappointed back then that my three guiding children moved overseas far from Shinnyo-en right after they had finally started receiving sesshin.
And to add to that, I had negative feelings against my husband because he was reluctant to practice the Shinnyo Teaching.
On August 2007, my husband's parents in New York planned a trip to Italy for a family reunion and asked my family to join them.
So I decided to go and travel to Italy. At first, we visited the Vatican, which is the center of Catholicism, and then went to a small village in Sicily where my husband's ancestors are from. I felt relaxed there.
I found out the man who set himself on fire had also lived in this village.
We saw a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in a portable shrine at the village's sacred place.
The statue reminded me of a photograph of Shojushin'in-sama holding her baby Kyodoin-sama.
My depression was finally gone after I returned from the trip to Italy.
My sesshin in December of the same year indicated: "You may not have noticed, but Shinnyo Keishu-sama has provided a new path for you. Please attend next year's Winter Training every day."
I tried to do as was said in the sesshin. Shinnyo Keishu-sama told us during the Winter Training: "Show your smile to the people around you."
After I listened to her words, I was able to break through my old self and was able to make a fresh start.
There was also a female ancestor on my husband's side who went to Australia to spread the Catholic faith.
She is still seen in books, DVDs, and websites. My husband is Catholic and I see her spiritual influence in my husband.
That's why he keeps saying, "I am a Catholic, not a Shinnyo follower."
It means that through my husband she was asking people to recognize her for what she had accomplished.
My sesshin indicated that I should request a special Merit Transfer especially for her.
This year is the 18th year since I have started to request special Merit Transfer for her.
And last August was her 100th year memorial so I requested a Grand Merit Transfer for her.
Then, on February 19th of this year, I saw in the news: "Yahoo! News Story - Mother Mary MacKillop becomes first Australian saint." She was finally recognized.
That was not the only help and support I have received from Shinnyo-en.
From this experience and all of my other ones, I can better understand what Shojushin'in-sama told us about "the heart of inexhaustible loving compassion" and "the embracement and the power of creating spiritual harmony."
With all of my ancestors, I offer my deep appreciation to the Buddha, the Shinnyo Parents, the Two Dojis, Shinnyo Keishu-sama, and the Guardians of the Law, and I will keep practicing to become a spiritual guide as soon as possible.
Representing the Shinnyo followers.
Northern California One Division, Dickey Lineage, Mikayo Nantista