Today I celebrate 2 years with the Soka Gakai, and two and half years of connecting with my mentor. Once again, my volunteer work with Soka Gakai-USA has not only deepened my mission for Arts 4 Peace, but has brought me closer to my fullest potential. The SGI is based on the teachings and philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, which places the highest emphasis on the sanctity of life (www.sgi-usa.org).
I have been day dreaming, night dreaming, meditating and chanting nam-myo-renge-kyo to truly awaken to my greatness. To see the truth as if these were the last 5 minutes of my life, and essentially things fell apart. And in the midst of the rubble, I could envision myself smiling with hands to the sky. It was time to rebuild…by cleaning out my life, I got to all corners, even those that caused me great pain. In the end, I have found profound joy in this struggle and with those who have emerged to help me along the way, as I helped them discover a part of themselves in the process.
In preparation for a conference at the Florida Conference for the Behind the Scenes Group that I am currently at the tail end of a 6 month training course, I stepped it up as an artisan, and volunteered to design the backdrop for a study presentation/skit that the NY and Mid-Atlantic Zone was preparing for. The performance will take place in front of attendees from all of the United States of America who also volunteer their time with the Soka Gakai International.
Phase 1: Sunday, October 25, 2009 – hour 7 at the culture Sunday, on a Sunday. We must take immediate action so I drew this prototype…Nefertiti decided to print out the sheet to make it into a 10*7 piece of paper…it was emotional seeing my art come to life.
*The concept for this piece was for a skit supporting a scene on the train. The conductor is President Ikeda who is guiding us though this movement for peace by example towards 2010. The final stop is victory, the train is the BSG line (Behind the Scenes Group which I volunteer for). The scenery (shown by two open doors on the train) goes from New York to the unshakable Mt. Fuji within seconds because helping others, while accomplishing your own Human Revolution is truly the expedient means to victory and happiness. My life is proof of that.
Phase II: The day after, Nefertiti comes in when I think I’m going to be the only one to finish this…Nicheren Daishonin says, what better way to achieve Buddhahood than encounter a good friend. Nefertiti is by far, a friend for life…please do check out her brilliant designs on her blog: http://nefertitidesigns.wordpress.com/
Color Prototype Phase II:
Phase III and my hair:
Phase IV: This is a huge step for me…and Ai puts the final touch on the piece. Throughout the whole process I really learned how to direct and ask for help with confidence and a smile. While Nefertiti ran by my side, I exercised grace and encouragement while directing and encouraging others. This was huge, because often times I did not have a lot of patience to do so. This moment was truly training for the rest of my life, as I had the confidence from that moment that I was capable of accomplishing such a task on a grander scheme. It really was direct proof that my Buddhist practice is something that I can truly use in daily life.
Ghandi, a peace builder that Daisaku Ikeda often referes to as well remarked, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the worlds’ problems.”
I found myself going from artist to set designer…I am capable and certainly thankful…
The following is an essay from Sensei that really reflects on what I am feeling in this moment:
“The times when I have most intensely felt and experienced the inner reality of creation have been those times when I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into a task, when I have carried through with that task to the very end. At such times, I experience a dramatically expanded sense of self. I can almost hear the joyous yell of victory issuing from the depths of my being.
This sense of fulfillment and joy is the crystallization of all the effort-each drop of sweat, each tear-expended to reach that moment. Life’s inherent creativity, its dynamic vitality, is brought to the surface only through the strenuous exertions of a life of consistent action.
Such a way of life will meet with storms and heavy rains, times of seeming defeat. But the creative essence of life is never crushed or vanquished by such things. It is sustained by knowledge of the brilliant rainbow whose bright arch will eventually stretch across the inner expanse of your being.
Indulgence and indolence produce nothing creative. Complaints and evasions reflect a cowardly spirit; they corrupt and undermine life’s natural creative thrust. When life is denuded of the will to struggle creatively, it sinks into a state of hellish destructiveness directed at all that lives.
Never for an instant forget the effort to renew your life, to build yourself anew. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway of life itself. This is not an easy task. Indeed, it may be the most severely challenging struggle there is. For opening the door to your own life is in the end more difficult than opening the door to all the mysteries of the universe.
But to do so is to vindicate your existence as human beings. Even more, it is the mode of existence that is authentically attuned to the innermost truths of life itself; it makes us worthy of the gift of life.
There is no way of life more desolate or more pitiful than one of ignorance of the fundamental joy that issues from the struggle to generate and regenerate one’s own life from within. To be human is much more than the mere biological facts of standing erect and exercising reason and intelligence. The full and genuine meaning of our humanity is found in tapping the creative fonts of life itself.
The struggle to create new life from within is a truly wonderful thing. There is found the brilliant wisdom that guides and directs the workings of reason; the light of insight that penetrates the farthest reaches of the universe; the undaunted will to see justice done that meets and challenges all the assaults of evil; the spirit of unbounded care that embraces all who suffer. When these are fused with that energy of compassion that pours forth from the deepest sources of cosmic life, an ecstatic rhythm arises to color the lives of all people.
As you meet various trials and difficulties, thus polishing all the many facets of the jewel which is life, you will learn to walk that supreme pathway of humanity. Of this, I am confident, and I am confident too that those who embrace life’s native creativity now stand and will continue to stand in the vanguard of history. Bringing the creativity of life to its fullest flowering is the work of human revolution. Carrying out this kind of human revolution is your mission now as it will be throughout your lives.”