Having a Mentor in Life

Chua Wen Hui
Young Women Division

I started practising Nichiren Buddhism seriously six years ago when I faced challenges with my studies in junior college. In the course of my studies, I came to realise that Science was not something I wanted to pursue in the future. I chanted hard to find clarity on my unique mission and took a courageous step by switching to study Business in Temasek Polytechnic (TP). Basing myself on faith, I ended up on the Director’s List and topped several subjects throughout my polytechnic life while actively contributing to the TP Student Division (SD) and my district.

I managed to enter university in August 2020. I found myself in a struggle balancing my studies and CCA commitments. Every day was a battle with time. I struggled to understand what my professor taught during lessons and revise my schoolwork. Doubts on my own capability clouded my mind and paralysed me with fear.

I developed symptoms of anxiety throughout the semester and was scared to do my work. At times, I even feared chanting as I did not have the courage to confront my overwhelming negative thoughts.

Eventually, I had a panic attack for the first time and was shocked that my mental health was in a worse state than I thought. After calming down, I plucked up my courage to chant and had an important realisation. Instead of letting my anxiety paralyse me, I must have the strong determination that “I cannot give up because I am a disciple of Ikeda Sensei, and I must, through my experience of overcoming the devilish functions based on faith, inspire another person who is also struggling to do the same.”

This guidance by Ikeda Sensei in particular helped me to arouse greater determination to win, “Alone, people become weak. And when they encounter an attack, they tend to become fearful, succumb to their own weakness and start to slacken in their faith. In other words, cowardice becomes their master. That’s why Nichiren … the importance of being the master of our mind, and further, following the teachings of a mentor who can guide us on the path of correct faith. Having a mentor in faith and fellow practitioners are indispensable in our Buddhist practice.”

Through this episode, I realised the importance of going back to daimoku at the crucial moment to elevate our life condition, and of having a mentor in life to guide us, especially when the going gets tough. Through Nichiren Buddhism, I also learnt that we can create value regardless of any kind of circumstances, in fact the greater the obstacles, the greater the value we can create!

I am determined to continue fighting and overcoming the devilish functions that plague me by connecting my life with my mentor so that I can bring hope to others too.

(Adapted from July 2021 issue of Creative Life)