Faith Is the Engine for All Victories

Goh Pak Lang 
Women Division

I began practising in 1983. I have three children after getting married. Life was all smooth until ten years later in 1993. My husband had an extramarital affair and was chalking up high debts one after another. Whenever the creditors came to our door to collect debts, he would disappear.

Besides working at that time, I was taking care of my young children. I did not dare to sleep as I was afraid that my children might be frightened or harmed. I would wait by the door for the creditors to discuss with them the repayments. I sold my house twice to help my husband clear his debts.

Perseverance leads to the Truth

When my husband was in debt for the second time, there was a case of theft at the supermarket I was working at. I was in charge of the cash then and when the manager came to know about my husband’s debt issues, he suspected me of embezzling the company’s money to repay my husband’s debt. I was brought to the police station for intense interrogation and not granted bail. I was devastated and thought of killing myself. However, at the crucial moment, my three children came to my mind and I thought to myself, who would take care of them if I were dead? And if I ended my life this way, would it not seem like I was committing suicide to escape punishment? I bawled wildly, having lost my mind over all the encounters and grievances I was facing.

After I had calmed down, I recalled that I had the Gohonzon. I was not deadlocked. I told myself that I had no other option than to chant. I poured my whole heart and soul into chanting, praying to return home soon to take care of my children. I continued to chant till daybreak. The following afternoon, I was released on bail. As soon as I reached home, I knelt in front of the Gohonzon and chanted tears of gratitude to be finally home. 

I continued to work at the company but was demoted to work in the warehouse and some colleagues even tried to make things difficult for me. Regardless, I gritted my teeth and continued to work for the sake of my three children.

This continued until a year plus later when the company was burglarised again. Fortunately, there was no financial loss this time. The police investigation found that the theft took place from the same entry point, overturning the previous finding that the thief could not enter nor leave that point. Finally, the truth was revealed Becoming the Sole Breadwinner and I was declared innocent.

Becoming the Sole Breadwinner

Although my husband caused me much suffering, I chose to embrace and forgive him so that my children could have a complete family. After repaying the third debt with much difficulty, he once again asked me for money and even used violence on me when he could not get a single cent. I finally awakened to the fact that because I was always settling and cleaning up after him, he had not repented nor realised his wrongdoings. 

I realised that he must learn to take responsibility for his actions and decided to leave him. Ikeda Sensei says in his guidance, “If people do get divorced, then, rather than brooding over the past, it would be wonderful if they could look at the experience as a valuable lesson and work for kosen-rufu even harder than before. I would hope that those around them would provide warm support. I also hope that those children who are in single-parent families will not feel lonely but will instead, because of that, open their hearts and expand their circle of friends all the more.” 

After the divorce, I became the sole breadwinner and had to take on multiple jobs. Besides facing financial difficulties, I also encountered various challenges during my children’s adolescence. At times, I felt stressed and overwhelmed.

I always encouraged myself with this guidance from Ikeda Sensei and persisted with daimoku. Ikeda Sensei says, “When you are suffering, chant daimoku. When you are stuck, chant daimoku. If you do, life force and courage will emerge, and you will be able to change your situation. Our Buddhist practice is the engine for victory in all things.”

I am very grateful to have the good fortune to be with SGS and grow through the organization’s activities. I overcame every single challenge through my conviction in Buddhism. This includes having an extremely strong life force and manifesting life’s greatest potential to handle all the big and small daily affairs during the toughest times. While my family was worried that I could not afford a housing loan, I went ahead to purchase my current house with conviction in the Mystic Law. I was able to finish the repayment 10 years in advance at the age of 55, instead of the original estimation of 65. In 2000, with a heart of gratitude, I contributed my house as a discussion meeting place. Two years later, I took on leadership role. Even though I got busier, life has become more fulfilling and purposeful.

Pak Lang (second row, fourth from left, in light green blouse) and the members of District 3 taking a
group photo at the first physical home-based discussion meeting held in June this year.

Creating Value at the Workplace

In 1998, I made a career switch. Previously, as a cashier in the supermarket, I had to work shifts. It was challenging to care for my school-going children and find time to participate in SGS activities. Fortunately, I found a job as a school canteen vendor. At that time, a vendor wanted to give up his lease and was willing to teach me. The school was right opposite where I stayed. I could earn a living while taking care of my children. 

I did not hire any help as I wanted to reduce expenses. I had to start preparations from three in the morning and took care of purchasing and preparing ingredients and whipping up the meals. During recess, I had to focus and stay alert in order to manage the students swarming over the stall. I chanted daily to have high life condition and wisdom and to manifest the required strength. I was able to tide over the ups and downs in my life through my strong determination to be victorious every day. Currently, I am a canteen vendor at a secondary school selling fruits and beverages.

Pak Lang who is working as a canteen vendor at a school, chants daily to have the high life condition
and wisdom to instil good values in the school children through her own actions.

My greatest satisfaction is seeing the beaming expressions on the students’ faces as they enjoy the food I prepared. Although I am just a canteen vendor, I believe that I can support their education and instil in them good values through my actions, such as greeting them “Good morning” and saying “Thank you”. They will gradually be mindful of their actions and respond with positive replies. 

During the covid-19 pandemic, schools had to be closed for a period of time. My stall was not exempted. I did not slacken and instead, seized the opportunity to chant more Daimoku and encourage members to overcome the challenging period together. I even mastered new technologies with my members, learning how to go online to attend SGS meetings and activities. 

I feel truly happy now, seeing the transformations in both my work and financial situations, and the work achievements of my children. Even though I have divorced my husband, I have never stopped him from interacting with our children, nor have I spoken badly about him in front of our children. My husband and I continue to maintain a friendly relationship. We celebrate the festive seasons together. I am pleased to see my children enjoying a good relationship with their father too. 

Sensei says in The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, “Let’s try to make the third stage of life a third stage of youth.” He continues, “What can we contribute, what can we leave as a legacy for others in our third stage of life? After all is stripped away — wealth, renown, social status —the only thing that remains after one’s death is the example of how one has lived one’s life as a human being.” This shall be my goal from now onwards.

(Adapted from Aug 2023 issue of Creative Life)