Living My Dream to Be a Capable Interpreter

Tang Xue Rou 
Young Women Division

I began practising seriously in junior college and witnessed actual proof in my studies, leading me to deepen my faith and embrace my mission as a translator for kosen-rufu. I majored in Chinese studies National University of Singapore(NUS). Inspired by Ikeda Sensei’s words in The New Human Revolution Volume 16 “Dialogue” chapter to become”capable interpreter in order to expand sympathy for Buddhist humanism around the world”, I studied Japanese and French and was president of the NUS Chinese Studies Students’ Society. I also worked part-time as a comics translator, and concurrently supported various translation assignments for SGS meetings. Despite challenges with club members and juggling languages, I persevered with chanting daimoku (Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, studying and sharing Nichiren Buddhism with a classmate, supporting her through health issues. 

From 2021 to 2022, assumed further SGS leadership responsibilities, balancing part-time work and studies. High expectations overwhelmed me and anxiety crept in, leading to self-doubt, feelings of failure, and restless nights with frequent tears. I questioned my worth and struggled to find time for studies. However, through daily chanting and reflecting on my faith journey, I realised that I was giving in to my fundamental darkness, which stops me from practising joyously.

Renewing my determination before the Gohonzon, I resolved to overcome feelings of inferiority. I took criticisms from professors as constructive feedback to improve and supported fellow youth members by listening to their concerns and encouraging them to keep fighting. Instead of worrying, I chanted for wisdom to absorb what I studied and managed my time effectively.

Eventually, I completed my final level of Japanese, earning a minor in the language, and scoring At in my fifth level of French. In 2022, I received a prestigious award from the Chinese studies department for my honours thesis on translation, granting me the opportunity to present my research findings to the school. With only three awards conferred per academic year to all students, I felt immense gratitude for receiving this recognition as an undergraduate.

This year, I focused on my honours thesis while studying French at the final level. I simultaneously applied for postgraduate programmes in translation, primarily in overseas universities, as I discovered my passion for research in this field.

Despite diligent preparation and fervent chanting, each overseas university rejected my application within two weeks. Doubts consumed me, but I never wavered in my faith in the Gohonzon. Recognising that everything holds profound meaning in Buddhism, persevered and applied to a local university as my last option. To my surprise, I received an advanced offer without undergoing the mandatory translation assessment. The interviewer was impressed by my extensive translation experience.

With renewed determination, I dedicated myself to studies and SGS activities. Expressing profound gratitude to the Gohonzon and my mentor, Ikeda Sensei, I acknowledged him in my thesis and chanted daily to achieve outstanding results. In the final semester, I received A grades for both my honours thesis and French, thus making it to the dean’s list.

Looking ahead, I am committed to creating my new prime point of faith on my master’s journey. I aim to introduce Buddhism to at least three new friends in my new place of study and maintain a strong seeking spirit. I will deepen my faith, becoming a strong and cheerful YWD with Ikeda Sensei always in my heart, and one who encourages leaders and members to progress together towards absolute happiness.

(Adapted from August 2023 issue of Soka Times)