My name is Pierre-Arthur O’Hara, I am 24 years old. I discovered Reiyukai thanks to Armand and I wish to share with you the gratitude I have developed these last months. Before telling you more, I would like you to close your eyes and to imagine you are by a lake. There is a duck dabbling on the lake. Concentrate on the feeling this vision stirs up. Open your eyes and keep that sensation somewhere in your brain. We will come back to it later…
I went to Japan to study for a year. I met members of Reiyukai Japan and took part in two events with them: Mirokusan and Shichimenzan. Mirokusan is the equivalent of a seminar in France; Shichimenzan is a practice dedicated to filial piety. It is a pilgrimage which consists in walking up a mountain while reciting Namu Myohorenge Kyo. These two events happened five months apart and it is that very period that I wish to go into.
Before I went to Mirokusan, my mother -who had stayed in France- would send me every day a large number of messages, between five to fifteen of them. It used to bother me, since, to be honest, I have a tendency not to answer when everything goes well. That is why I would nearly never answer her. Surprisingly, the way I felt about it changed during Mirokusan. Thanks to the quality of the unusual and strong links developed with other Reiyukai members and to the recitation of the Sutra, I suddenly felt filled with gratitude for my parents. On my return from Mirokusan, I received a call from my brother who explained that my mother felt extremely concerned with sad events happening in France. I then rejoiced and felt grateful to him as I could see he was assuming his place in our family and that he was enabling me to understand my mother’s messages. Since then, I have developed day to day a grateful spirit for those near me and for my ancestors. As my heart was getting stronger, it opened up even more, which enabled me to accomplish the Shichimenzan pilgrimage and to experience a great happiness that still inhabits me today.
A new interest for others and for the world
My girlfriend left me when I came back to France. Yet, I felt more grateful for the five years we had spent together than sad. That event did not prevent me from going on with my practice, on the contrary. I worked every day at developing links with the people near me and, quite surprisingly, my ex-girlfriend called me a few days later. We met each other again and had a chat. She shared her anxiety and I realized how stressing the world she lived in was – just as it was for my mother. She then wished to resume our relationship, which I agreed to. Since then, we have been working together at making her feel better. It involves simple things such as more sport, a healthier lifestyle, learning to keep a sense of proportion but also extraordinary things for my part: looking at her with benevolence, feeling grateful and thinking of her each time I read the Sutra. I also apply myself to practise in a more rigorous way as I realize the impact on others my transformation has, which helps me develop a more grateful mind.
To conclude, let us come back briefly to the duck I evoked at the start. When they see a duck, the French have a tendency to appreciate the beauty of the scene- the reflection of the sun on the water and the grace of the duck. As for them, the Japanese will feel grateful for the presence of the duck on the lake. This is what I have experienced in Japan and that I wanted to convey: happiness can spring from the mere acknowledgment of being alive and of being fully connected to others.