A gift from the spiritual world
Sylvie and Christelle shared their common experience at a quarterly meeting in Nantes last March…
My first name is Sylvie. I have two sons. I live in Le Pays de Retz, near Nantes and I have been practising for thirty-five years. I was a teenager when I began practising and I was lucky enough to welcome companions rapidly and create a practice circle. I behaved towards my companions the way I did in life, with charism and authority, making decisions for others. For example as a companion of mine had come to my home to recite the sutra, I interrupted her to ask her to proceed correctly and louder…
Of course that behaviour did not engender good relationships with my companions. However I had a lot of experiences and could create my own life on a personal and professional ground. In fact, retrospectively, I realize that at the time I did not understand a thing because I did not consider transformation was what practice was about. I was not curious enough to discover the deep meaning of both the Teaching and of our existence. Life flies away so quickly! At the moment I’m calling myself into question, I regret this form of harshness, which is present in my family, as well as my lack of conscience and my selfishness.
Life is complicated and whether practising or not, we all experience pleasure and sorrow. So what is the marvellous side of Reiyukai? As for me I may say that more and more often it means looking beyond myself and letting go of that ego which is always contemplating its navel, and considering others instead. I used to spend time crying over my lot, being angry, bearing a grudge against the whole world, thinking it wasn’t fair and that I was a victim. I was completely wrong! I can be responsible for my own life yet I bear some sort of affective weakness which makes me give others the responsibility of my happiness so that it depends on others. Today, I simply wish to stop depending on others but to rely on the Teaching which I practise in a simple way.
Let me invite Christelle to join me here: she is a practice companion who used to be a member of my group some fifteen years ago. We met again a little more than a year ago when she decided to walk the path again.
Christelle: That’s right I met Reiyukai twenty years ago and I used this teaching when it pleased me and especially when I was suffering. The family practise I belonged to had disappeared, my elder stopped practising and I didn’t mind. I was married, happy and everything was fine in my life. But I divorced and met another man but I encountered the same difficulties as I had had in my former union.
After a specific event, I told myself that I couldn’t go on leading my life using my own power. I still had the Reiyukai practise in mind and the first thing I did was to place my altar back where it used to be. I asked to be guided to start practising again. The day after I attended a concert along with 22,000 people. You will never guess who I met when I went to the bar: Sylvie! I was not really happy to see her at the time. We used to call Sylvie «My General»! But I accepted the fact both as an answer to my request and as a present. I felt my practice would be different thanks to her.
Sylvie: I’d like to say that last year I asked to receive the protective spirit of bodhisattva Maitreya. Everyday I recite the Sutra of Maitreya, the bodhisattva of benevolent love and I regret my behaviour and my lack of conscience for others. I’m willing to change and become someone more gentle, less of a bulldozer, of someone who steamrollers one’s way through everything. It will probably remain my nature forever but I know that, since my husband died, I have felt inside me something extremely mild and benevolent towards my companions. I am determined to create a relationship made of spiritual friendship with everyone of them and I think this is what I have done with Christelle who I didn’t know very well. We are slowly getting to know each other. Now I’d like her to talk about the first experience she made when she started practising again
Christelle: As Sylvie has just said, we didn’t know each other very well and so I didn’t particularly trust her. But we are encouraged to trust our elder and progress together. At that time I was living a very conflictual situation with the children’s mother of my new partner. In front of my altar I asked how I could solve the matter. I also called Sylvie to ask her the question. She reminded me: «On the family plate there are two lineages: yours and your husband’s. I’m inviting you to read the sutra with the wish for the progress of your husband and of the children’s mother». I immediately flew into a temper. She added “above all if you are willing to solve this matter, be confident, learn to trust me and so we will manage to progress together».
So I began to read the sutra for my partner’s progress and the children’s mother with the consciousness that we formed a family. A few days later, the children’s mother called us to apologize for her behaviour. She acknowledged that she had judged me without knowing me and said that we were going to try to make it together in spite of our difficulties. This experience really helped me gain confidence in Sylvie and in what she transmits, which is not claptrap. She guided me with the Teaching. Owing to this confidence, my life is changing. I’m trying not to be someone who leads her life with her ideas and power but to let me be guided by the Teaching by reciting the sutra for my ancestors and accompanied by Sylvie.
Sylvie: It is a pleasure for me to practise with Christelle and I realize that my determination not to judge people any longer and not to expect anything from them as they are not my possessions, changes our relationship. I’m very happy to follow my elders’ fine example and practise with my companions. We are but a link with the world of the Teaching.
Sylvie and Christelle.