Illness Gives Rise to the Resolve to Attain the Way

Goh Qin Kang 
Young Men Division

I am a fortune baby, which means born into this Buddhist practice. Since young, my parents brought my twin brother and me along for Soka Gakkai meetings. Although attended meetings regularly, I wasn’t proactive in helping out during meetings. Yet from young, I learnt from Ikeda Sensei that our faith journey might not be smooth sailing and we will probably face various problems, but as practitioners Nichiren Buddhism, we can overcome every problem in life through faith and practice.

In 2019 at age 23, I experienced frequent episodes of extreme chest discomfort. It felt like my heart was about to stop pumping. The hospital’s emergency department (A&E) became a frequently visited place, but doctors were unable to find the cause. I lost my appetite and my weight dropped to a mere 38kg in a single week. I felt very weak and had absolutely no mood for anything. My family chanted abundant Daimoku (Nam-myoho-renge-kyo) together with me to find a doctor who could diagnose my condition and treat it.

On the second day of that Chinese New Year, I was at the A&E again. At my mother’s insistence to find the cause of my condition, the doctor warded me for tests and checks. Not able to find the cause after five days, I was discharged but the discomfort continued. In my daily prayers, I told myself, “I must not die at this young age. I must not succumb to any illness.” Sensei’s guidance says, “But is sickness necessarily the cause of unhappiness? Absolutely not. It is being defeated by illness and losing hope that makes us unhappy.” Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace New Edition, Part 1: Happiness, 8.6)

Then my uncle recommended a cardiac specialist who concluded that there were no major issues except skipped heartbeats that were causing the discomfort. With medication alone the issue was resolved, and my prayers answered.

I soon recovered and returned to university, after taking leave for two months. As I still needed to take food and medication during exams, I consulted with the School Student Manager, who coincidentally was also a Women Division district leader and she connected me with the Nanyang Technological University Student Division.

During my personal study Buddhism, came across Ikeda Sensei’s study lecture series on “The Opening of the Eyes”. Sensei wrote in in the lecture, “No matter what happens, we must not give in to doubt, we must not be discouraged. Those who possess such a robust spirit will not fear anything.”

Around August 2021, I started to experience vertigo to the extent that I could not even walk. Engraving Sensei’s words in my heart, I did not doubt my faith but saw it as a challenge to fulfilling my mission as a youth leader. Thankfully, I managed the condition with regular medication and physiotherapy.

In March 2022, I was roped in to help in administration and welfare for SGS’s involvement in NDP. Through the NDP journey, I had more opportunities to read Sensei’s writings and deepened my faith in the process. As a result, When I experienced a very bad vertigo attack in June, I knew I must and can recover promptly to fulfil my mission in the NDP. I am also deeply touched and grateful for the care and concern of my seniors in faith during this time.

Amid these challenges, I took on the role of Young Men Division (YMD) Future Division (FD) In-Charge after graduating from the university and joined as a volunteer reporter for SGS publications.

As a Future Division In-Charge now, Qin Kang (front; extreme right) finds great fulfilment in fostering the future generation. He poses in joy with the Regional Headquarters 6 FD Chingay participants and trainers for a photoshoot.

I am keenly aware, my conviction in faith and deep sense of mission, have enabled me to overcome each vertigo attack and strengthen my health. I am also thankful for my illness, it has empowered me to deepen my understanding of faith and cherish my life even more. I resolve to create maximum value in my life from now on. 

Ikeda Sensei says, “To just live, eat, and die without any real sense of purpose surely constitutes a base, animal-like existence. On the other hand, to do, create, or contribute something that benefits others, society, and also ourselves, and to dedicate ourselves as long as we live to that challenge – that is a life of true satisfaction, a life of value, a life of the loftiest humanity. Our Buddhist practice based on the Mystic Law, moreover, is the driving force that enables us to create the greatest possible value for ourselves and for others.” Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace New Edition, Part 1: Happiness, 10.1)

I am so glad and fortunate to live with a sense of purpose. I vow to cherish, connect and ignite the light of hope and passion in my YMD members, FD members and comrades in faith so that together, we can strive for worldwide kosen-rufu with our mentor Ikeda Sensei.

(Adapted from May 2023 issue of Creative Life)