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April 2022 Buddha Blog

Hello fellow Bodhisattvas!!

I’ve been waiting to write this editorial, thinking that the deadly world situation might resolve, and I’d have to revise it. Sadly, there is no such hope on the horizon.

For bodhisattvas, whose mission it is to change hate and destruction into hope and a new, peaceful world order, the time is NOW o’clock.

This is why we’re here. This is the Big F Deal.

So, what is it we’re supposed to do? Buy a gun and go to Ukraine? No, too analog. What we need to do is heal ourselves and heal the world. From the bazillion lifetimes we’ve spent here re-learning the enlightened status we enjoyed before we accepted the assignment to come to planet Earth and be the change – from barbaric Neanderthals to Buddhas. Being a Buddha, we affect others. We are all connected. What you do for you, you do for all. So do it. It’s very, very serious out there.

No one else can operate you. You’re behind the wheel. You are the wheel. A change in you affects everyone. That is how it works. It’s all about you. And I don’t mean lower-ego you. Lower-ego you doesn’t like this work very much. It’s threatened. The way I cope with that is to recognize and love my lower-ego, listen to what it says, but act as a Buddha. And I give my lower ego plenty of treats, so she knows I love her and don’t judge.

Enlightenment doesn’t just spring out of nowhere. It’s tested and forged in the muddy swamp that is also on fire and exploding and leaking toxic fumes. Putin is losing this hideous war because Ukrainians love their country more than he hates it. That’s a rare display of communal love and it’s a beautiful sign for the future.

Win with your enlightened life condition. Your frequency is even more important than your actions. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is that frequency. Blast it out there, from every cell in your body, to everywhere in the universe.

As Daisaku Ikeda famously said, “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”


In this issue:

Mike Lisagor talks about his struggles to overcome an annoying health issue; Dorene Suter gives a retrospective of her life and times as a Buddhist; Lynette Yetter reveals her thoughts and insights on modern and ancient technology; I’ll share my dee-licious recipe for kale chips; and, we have Part Two of Lauri Seimer’s incredible Near Death Experience that she shared at an SGI meeting in 1980. Read all about it! Linda Segall Anable Editor & Publisher, Horizon Newsletter Please read and like Horizon Newsletter on Facebook!


This article by Brad Larsen, a Buddhist practitioner that we know, recently appeared in the New York Times “Metropolitan Diary” section.

DEAR DIARY: I was a college student living in Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn, and I had started practicing Nichiren Buddhism, which includes a lengthy recitation each morning.

One morning when I was running late, I stepped onto the F train to find it packed as usual. Grabbing something to hold on to, I quietly and discreetly began to recite from my little liturgy book.

Halfway through, I glanced up and realized the woman standing next to me was reciting the exact same prayers. We smiled at each other and carried on. I never saw her again but I have never forgotten her.”

Happy trails…


by Mike Lisagor

Bainbridge Island, WA

“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.” – lyrics by Leonard Cohen

For many decades, I’ve had the urge to clear my throat when on an important phone call or at an in-person (and now Zoom) meeting which is pretty much all of them. Some years this annoying tic has disappeared only to eventually return. Since I don’t consciously feel nervous when speaking to individuals or groups, I’ve never been sure why I did it.

This led me to meet some interesting people while trying traditional medicine, speech therapy, cranial-sacral manipulation, breathing techniques, chiropractic adjustments, and many other modalities. The only recognizable improvement resulted from sucking on Werner’s Original sugar-free caramel hard candies. Who knew? Meanwhile our younger daughter, Scooter (not Jamie’s real name), insisted I cease and desist and accept that I wasn’t ever going to be perfect. Out of the mouths of forty-one-year-old babes!

At this point, I relinquished all other strategies except sincerely chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for wisdom and understanding. And I recalled my mentor Daisaku Ikeda’s encouragement that, “If you summon your courage to challenge something, you'll never be left with regret,” and “Illness is not something to feel ashamed of. It is not a sign of misfortune or defeat. Suffering is the fuel of wisdom, and it opens the way to happiness.”

I thought I’d processed and debunked the idea from early childhood that I was only deserving of love if I was perfect. After all, I’m a Buddha flaws and all, right? However, on a cellular level there is obviously some residual guilt associated with previous selfish acts and poor word choices. Especially when someone else was hurt as a result. My throat feels like it’s the seat of that misconception. So, to further let go of the past and allow myself to practice self-compassion in the present moment is one of my New Year’s resolutions.

Author Steve Goodier said, “Bring it up, make amends, forgive yourself. It sounds simple, but don’t think for a second that it is easy. Getting free from the tyranny of past mistakes can be hard work, but definitely worth the effort. And the payoff is health, wholeness and inner peace. In other words, you get your life back.”

Our therapist, Kathleen (Kat’s real name), described a Japanese art form known as Kentsugi. This is a method of repairing cracked pottery by mending the broken areas with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The underlying philosophy is that breakage and repair is part of the history of an object and need not be hidden. What a great metaphor for healing the metaphysical cracks that I still carry around. Which means my throat clearing is a thing of beauty—a reminder of life’s imperfections and the importance of humility.

I recently read these words by Ikeda Sensei: “There is a saying that if you fall down seven times, get up an eighth. Don’t give up when you feel discouraged—just pick yourselves up and renew your determination each time.” (The Victorious Teen, p. 16).

This might be the hundred and eighth time I’m getting up with this specific problem but, cross my heart (and throat), I will stay the course.

Subscribe to Mike’s essays at:


by Dorene Suter

Van Nuys, CA

My journey with Nichiren Buddhism started in 1976 when I was living in Brooklyn and my mother was living in Los Angeles. My mother constantly encouraged me to visit California, where she had been chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. That was the first time I’d heard of this practice. When the civil service facility where I worked closed down, I decided to move to California, sad I would never see my fellow co-workers again and maybe never have another secure job with great benefits. I moved in with my mother and learned how to chant and do gongyo, which I did only occasionally. When a vacancy occurred in one of the apartments, I rented it. I visited my mother daily and we continued to chant on occasion. We went to a few introductory Buddhist meetings in an apartment in LA where the actor Patrick Duffy lived with his wife. This was my first introduction to group chanting, group gongyo, and experiences by members.

One time in 1983, I had a doctor’s appointment, after which an NSA member (in 1993 NSA became SGI) was going to pick me up at the clinic and take me to the temple in Etiwanda so I could get my Gohonzon.

I’d heard it often said that when one makes a major change in their life, they encounter obstacles, and boy, did I encounter obstacles that evening. It was a very frustrating, exhausting, challenging experience. Everything was delayed. The doctor was delayed and so was the NSA member coming to the clinic to pick me up. I suddenly became exhausted and didn’t want to go to the temple. I just wanted to go home, but I was so tired, I couldn’t move.

After I finally saw the doctor, I returned to the waiting room. The NSA member finally showed up and we travelled to the temple, more than an hour’s drive.

The priest at the temple asked me ten questions that I did not understand but I nodded my head yes as if I understood. When he asked me the final question, “Do you promise to protect the Gohonzon?” I nodded, the priest tapped me on the head with a wand and handed me the Gohonzon.

I made a commitment to chant and do gongyo before I went to work and after I came home from work and immediately saw the results of my chanting. One evening, I made an exception to doing gongyo. Laverne and Shirley was on and I wanted to watch it. I thought to myself, “What do I want to do: chant or watch Laverne and Shirley?” I decided on the latter. I put the TV on, and it broke! The universe had delivered a clear message when I chose the TV instead of the Gohonzon.

As I chanted that night, repressed emotions burst to the surface. I felt more alive, seeing things within myself as they really were, such as my fears of certain situations and why I feared them; what have I said or done to cause a negative reaction in another person. I was filled with insights. This is the process of “human revolution,” I thought. It was a real breakthrough.

Buddhism tells us we are one with our environment. I noticed that a bird, sitting in a tree across the street from me, began chirping when I appeared. This happened daily so I knew it wasn’t coincidence. I believe the bird was greeting me, because something had changed inside to cause this bird to react positively to me.

I became more comfortable being with a group of people and participating, sharing my experiences. This was a gradual change. It didn’t happen overnight.

One Friday night I was trying to get to a district meeting that started at 7:00 p.m., but I needed to take two buses to get to the member’s apartment and knew I would never make it on time.

Frustrated, I was standing at the curb when somebody tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and saw a man and woman behind me. The man said, “Have you ever heard of......” I stopped him as I knew what he was going to say. I said, “Have I ever heard of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo? Is that what you were going to ask me?” The man said yes. I told him that I knew he was going to say that to me, and told him my situation with the meeting in West Hollywood and how I wouldn’t be able to make it in time. “We’re on our way to our own meeting,” the man said. “Why don’t you join us? It’s only a few blocks away.” And off I went.

One day in the small yard outside my apartment, I saw a green insect that was either a grasshopper or a locust. I’m an insect lover so I stared at it for a few minutes. When I went outside the next day, the same insect or a lookalike was sitting on the ground. I noticed it was missing a leg. I felt bad and picked it up. Suddenly, I heard a voice inside say, “It’s okay to smile.” I’ve been smiling ever since.

I had a huge benefit of protection. As I was preparing to go to work one morning, while it was still dark outside, for some reason I decided to raise the shades on my window, something I had never done before. I left my handbag in the usual place, in the middle of the bed. The handbag contained $15.00 and a new I.D. card. I then went and took a shower.

When I came out of the shower my heart jumped into my throat. The bedspread had been moved close to the window. The handbag was gone, the screen removed, the window open. I’d been robbed. I thought, “What if I had come out into the living room while the robber was taking my purse?” I felt violated.

I immediately started chanting that my handbag would be found and I’d get everything back. I chanted for an hour, then went down to see my mother. She said, “I heard you’ve been robbed.” Then she told me that the apartment manager at the end of the block had found my belongings and called her. I was shocked.

I rushed down to the building, where the manager was outside and so were my belongings, neatly arranged by the swimming pool. Even my handbag was there. I looked inside and to my shock, there was the $15.00 in cash. My I.D. card was the only thing missing. I felt the protection from the universe that I triggered with my practice of true Buddhism. I remembered what a member said at a meeting one time: “No prayer goes unanswered. You will get what you need, not what you want.”


by Lynette Yetter Portland, OR

One day my Aunt Elaine called to tell me she had realized her dream. “Oh! I’ve done it!” she said. “I booked my luxury cruise to Mexico!” Then, with great seriousness, “But I’m not getting off the boat. It’s too dangerous. Drug cartels. They’ll cut your head off.”

Perhaps Aunt Elaine watches a lot of crime shows. Maybe she was really going on the cruise just for the shopping. After all, what is a cruise liner if not a seven-story mall floating on the ocean? While everyone else is off seeing the sights and sounds of Mexico, she could have the mall all to herself. I wished her well; whatever floats your boat, Aunt Elaine.

Cruise ships do not appeal to me in any way, shape or form, but I do love living with families in Latin America. In 1991, when the SGI called me two-weeks before I was scheduled to go on a tozan trip to Japan to see the Dai-Gohonzon, they told me there would be “No more tozans, because we’re splitting from the priesthood, and here’s your money back…” Well ... I had the time off work, so I used that money to take a bus to the tippity tip of Baja California, Mexico to see the total eclipse of the sun. It was my first time outside of the US. I was so impressed by the spirit of the people I met in Mexico, that when we stopped to refuel at a remote gas station, I had a sudden epiphany that my Buddhist life’s mission was in Latin America.

With each person I met in Mexico—off the beaten tourist trail—even in the briefest of encounters, I sensed a depth of what I then called “soul,” and what I now call “indigenous spirit.” Maybe it’s a recognition of my own Algonquian ancestors—who have lived on this land, with this land, in harmony with this land, for tens of thousands of years. Maybe it’s a past life memory of being a Native American old woman, whose dignified death I used to dream about when I was little. Whatever it is, it called me to live and work with indigenous people in Latin America; a calling more powerful than the way a carton of ice cream in the freezer sometimes calls your name. “Come. I am calling you to eat me! Now! Yes, the entire carton. Only then will you find peace and happiness.”

So, I followed the call to live with families in Latin America. And despite the fears of Aunt Elaine, so far my head is still attached.

In the roadless mountains of Nicaragua, I lived with a family in an adobe house with a dirt floor. (You can look it up: an account of this experience of mine was the cover story in the October 1999 issue of Living Buddhism. I also write about it in my book Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace.) The house was older than grandmother’s earliest memory. While I was living there with Migdalia, Martha and Angela, they took me to the river and taught me how to wash my clothes on the rocks.

Instructions: Take your jeans and some soap down to a flat-faced boulder in the river. Step in the water and soak your jeans. Then fold them in half and lay them on the rock face, soap them up, grab the cuffs in one hand and pin down the waistband with the other, then scrub, scrub, scrub. Rinse, fold the jeans the other way, soap again and scrub, scrub, scrub. My jeans were never so clean! I really wanted one of those handy dandy laundry boulders that I could take home in my backpack.

Back at the adobe house, I found Migdalia’s grandpa sitting on the adobe bench in the sunshine. He had a big stick and a tall cylindrical stone mortar, in which he was grinding his homegrown coffee beans. Homegrown coffee beans! The stone mortar he was using looked like a museum artifact from the Stone Age.

“Grandpa,” I said. “How old is that stone mortar?”

He said, “I made it, with my machete, when I was young and strong.”

That blew my mind. I realized I’d been a silly American, thinking that technology was an evolution; like how we once were slime in the ocean and over time evolved into people. And I’d believed the same about Stone Age technology. Over time it evolved into nuclear weapons. And luxury cruise ships.

I prefer hanging out with Migdalia and her Grandpa, sharing a cup of Stone Age coffee.

As we learn in Buddhism, the present moment contains the past, present and the future. The Stone Age is now. Just as much “now” as 3D printers building almost anything, maybe even cruise ships. Another Stone Age technology I love is the panpipes. The sound. The first time I heard it, it stimulated in me a genetic memory of what it’s like to live in harmony with the Earth, and with each other. So, I followed that sound to Bolivia.

About 20 years ago, when I was in La Paz, Bolivia being with the indigenous people who make this music that stirs my soul, I met Carolina. Carolina Mamani is one of the most traditional people I know. She has her long, long, never-been-cut hair in two braids, and wears traditional dress. Carolina made these cool handcrafts that I was going to export to the States so I could have some money and live in Bolivia and help her sell her stuff, too. Because of that, Carolina said, “Lynette, I’m going to teach you how to use a cell phone, so we can keep in touch. I have a spare. Here, take it.” Carolina was a techie! She’s the one who taught me how to push the buttons and charge up my phone and put credit on its pre-pay account.

I love how multi-faceted indigenous technology is. I have braids now, too.

And during my most recent time in Bolivia a few months ago, my friend Tania started practicing Buddhism with the SGI there and is receiving enormous benefits!

Finally, good news: Aunt Elaine, who also practices Buddhism, survived her cruise to Mexico. I’m sure she chanted tons of daimoku to protect herself from those drug cartels that hang around docked cruise ships, in hopes of beheading as many passengers as they can get their hands on. Well done, Aunt Elaine! Chanting works!

Embracing the ancient and techno worlds with the power and philosophy and practice of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a beautiful way to live. However, I’m still not interested in sailing anywhere on a seven story luxury mall – unless it’s a handmade wooden boat with only wind-powered sails that makes laundry stops at river mouths where there is a boulder with a flat face at just the right angle where I can wash my jeans, while laughing together with the locals.


Part 2 Los Angeles, CA

This is a transcript of an experience by Lauri Seimer, a young woman practicing in Los Angeles, about her 1976 Post-Death Experience, given at the SGI-USA (then NSA) Community Center in July 1980.

Recording and Transcription by Lorrie Marlow.


[In Part 1, Lauri “died” on the operating table, during which time she received guidance from her late father, which helped her decide to come back.]


LAURI: And it’s like, at one point I thought about a God or something. And all I really had was a feeling of… there was this... it wasn’t a light. It wasn’t just this very strong feeling of total compassion and mercy, that was behind everything! That was what I just felt like. And if people wanted to believe it was God, they could believe it was God. If they wanted to believe an all-in-one, if they want to believe in a Buddha, or if they want to believe anything, they want to believe, they can call that energy that. But it was… it was in the background, and I felt it, but it was really hard to explain.

It was like it would support me and it would show me mercy and it would support me and give me mercy, for whatever I believed. It would help me if I reached out and wanted that kind of help. But that it made no judgments. It was like a strong energy force that just kind of held it all together. And if you wanted the help, you would ask for it, or you could use it for that. You didn’t really need it because it was in you as much as the energy was out there. It was also inside of you and that you knew that somehow. And that if you wanted to use it, you could. But that you didn’t really need to...uh...that you would grow to that point where if you needed it, it would be there to help you.

So, all I thought about was, “Well, it’s time to go back.” And the next thing I knew I’m lying on this cart. I just felt like I had just lied down or something. And I was lying on this bed, and they were pulling the sheet up over the cart and they were getting ready to put some kind of white canvas thing over the top, to take it down the hall.

And I just remember... because when I had started having the reaction I had started chanting. And when I started coming around again I could hear chanting in my head. I didn’t know if it was coming from me or where it was coming from.

But I heard it and, and I just, I just opened my eyes and I looked up. And the nurse was standing right over me getting ready to push this thing. And she just went, “Oh, no!” you know! (LOTS OF LAUGHTER!)

She just sort of backed up, ya know?! And she just went, “Doctor, come here! Quick! She’s not really gone!” And as she was saying that I just looked down and it was like I was moving my hands and my legs because it wasn’t really sure how I got them or why they were back. And I said, “Yeah, I’m back!” (THE WAY SHE SAID IT HAD THE ENTIRE ROOM LAUGHING AGAIN.)

And she just looked at me like, “I don’t believe it.”

The doctor came walking over and at that point when he started walking over I got really angry because the things that he had said that he wouldn’t do, he had done! And I just sat up and said, “And you! You told me you wouldn’t do those things and you did them, and I saw ‘em and you don’t ever do that me again when I die next time!” (Some more light laughter.)

And the doctor just fainted!

And the nurse was standing there, and this other doctor was standing there, and he says, “Well, she should be brain damaged. But she seems perfectly alright.”

And the nurse was saying, “Whatever you do, don’t tell people about this because they’ll think you’re really crazy and they’ll try and lock you up. But I have seen a few other cases. It’s not totally unheard of but it’s very rare. But if you start telling people they’ll think you’ know.”

And at the same time, I looked at the clock on the wall when I heard the doctor say something about brain damage and 15 minutes had elapsed from the time I had looked up when I started feeling really bad during the treatment.

And I said, “I’m perfectly alright. I’ll be absolutely fine as soon as you let me out of this hospital.”

And by that time my doctor had gotten back up. They helped him up. (more laughter) And my doctor is very science-oriented, very logical.

And he said, “How do you know [the extreme actions he had taken]! I said, “I know you put that needle in my heart. You put those electric paddles on. And if you would have cut open my chest and tried to use open heart massage, right now I would be, you know, I would be I would really be... killing you! You didn’t have a right to do that to me when I didn’t want it done. It wasn’t fair!”

And I was yelling at him. He’s just going, “I don’t understand. I guess I don’t know it all. Just lay down. We’ve got to take a test.”

And I said, “To hell with your test. I want to go home, and I want something to eat. I’m hungry!” They said, “You have to finish your chemotherapy.” I told them, “You’re not giving me any more of that stuff. It’ll kill me. I want to go home. I want to eat and go home! You can take your blood test and your bone marrow test or whatever. And then you can send me home cause I’m perfectly alright. And I know it. It’s beyond anything I could ever explain to you because you wouldn’t understand. But I understand.”

At that time, I felt that I had the experience for myself because it was what I really needed to have to finally let go of my parents and the past. I wasn’t living my life at all because it was so afraid of dying. And I wanted to, I was holding on to the past. I wanted to go back and be with my parents, which is totally impossible.

The thing I realized was that all you had was the present moment. And a feeling I had when I was there was that: past present and future. I felt like there was parts of my energy that were in the past, the present and the future. And that they were all created by the causes I was making. I was the main energy, but they were parts of my energy. And they were making causes on their own. And that the better the causes that I would make, the better that they would make to change. That somehow we would all come together and make one total entity out of our life and that they were a part of me in that they were off doing whatever they had to do. And I had to go back and do whatever I had to do. And it was very, very, very strange.

But at the same time over the last four years [since then] it’s helped me change the things in my life that I really want to change. It’s helped me understand things in my life. Like with my study of Buddhism. I study a lot now and I never did that before. And it’s because I really want to understand what Buddhism’s saying because I think it’s here to help everybody to reach that higher condition. So that when they talk about in one of the goshos that when you die you will be reborn in the blink of an eye, it doesn’t say necessarily here on Earth.

But I think there are a lot higher places and a lot of things that we’re out of touch with and we really don’t understand or know anything about. But that through practicing and through studying you will reach those.

Because I also knew [during the interval when she was clinically dead] that there was a hell and that there were people suffering. It’s like you can hear in the background that there were people crying. There were people that were freaking out. I could feel a lot of different people that were going through the same thing as I was, but I knew that I wasn’t going beyond the stage where I was, But they were going, and they couldn’t stop it and they were very alone and very terrified and nothing could help.

I mean, they would get help somewhere along the line if they wanted it. But I knew the beliefs that they held, they believed that they had to suffer like that. They believed that there was a hell that they had to suffer and that death was terrible and death was frightening. And I could feel that that’s what they were doing to themselves.

(In answer to a question that was hard to hear.)

LAURI: Yeah, it’s just I’m not afraid anymore. And it’s something I have to look forward to. (Lots of laughter.) I know I have things to do here, but I used to stay up all night afraid to go to sleep. Because I thought, what if I died in my sleep? So, I would stay up all night, really terrified. And that was gone right after the experience happened.

Really, I think I was afraid that there would be nothing. I think that frightened me more than anything. And once I knew that there was something beyond whatever it was, and that it was better than here, it was just like a lot freer, and a lot more knowledge. There were so many things I felt like I wanted to go and experience and do. There was so much knowledge there that I wanted to grab ahold of and go for. But I knew at the same time to hold back because I knew that I had things to do here.

Question: You seemed to be so concerned that they didn’t do anything to your body. The idea that you wanted to keep your body intact. Do you know why you’re so… (sound unclear)?

LAURI: I’m still like that. I don’t believe in machines keeping people alive. I know that I want to die naturally. Whatever way it is. I don’t want them to use machines that have been manmade just to stay in my life. That’s my feeling. If I die tomorrow I don’t want to be put on a respirator. Something inside of me has always been like that... it’s more of a personal feeling of when I’m meant to go, I’m meant to go, and I don’t want you to interfere with that, I don’t want you to go beyond.

There are certain things that I would allow them to do. But if it came down to it I kind of have a feeling they’re gonna do it anyway; they’re going to do whatever they feel is necessary to save your life. I think beyond a certain means it’s just too much of man’s interference. That’s all my own personal feeling.

Maybe that’s because I worked in a hospital for a while. I saw on the ward that there were people that lived on machines. They were nothing. They were vegetables. And that was one of my biggest fears. All these machines did everything. And I used to wonder about where were they and what were they doing? Were they really there? I thought if those people could wake up and say something they’d say, “Take these damn machines away.”

Question: You said this happened four years ago. Are you still in remission?

LAURI: The leukemia is still in remission. I have stomach cancer.

Question: And you had a reaction to chemotherapy. I have cancer also. And I’m just curious if you have a reaction to chemotherapy.

LAURI: If I have to go in for chemotherapy I would try a different one because the chemotherapy I was having was experimental at the time because I couldn’t afford the hospital bills. I didn’t have insurance. My job canceled my insurance as soon as the diagnosis was in. So, one of the things I was chanting for, I got into a federally funded program. So, I was more or less their guinea pig at certain times. It’s like they were trying experimental chemotherapy; a mixture of two they hadn’t tried before.

So, I chanted daimoku and just basically let them do it based on my daimoku. There were some programs that they wanted me to try, and I would decide absolutely not. And then there were other ones I’d say, “Okay, I’ll try that one,” which usually turned out for my benefit.

Like one program they wanted to put me in previously there were 17 people. And all those people were dead within two months. And I was the only one that wasn’t.


I would really chant to know what was right for me, just as an individual. And I would follow those feelings because they would suggest something, and I would chant a lot about it. And there was a point when I was chanting like that, that I would reach, that I would know it was either yes or no for me.

Question: How much were you chanting?

LAURI: At the time it happened it was just before the New York convention. And when I first found out I had leukemia I stopped practicing altogether. Then after about two months, somebody convinced me that I could live if I really practiced. I started chanting four hours a day.

And then when I got really, really sick—it was after about two months—I laid in a sleeping bag in front of my Gohonzon. I was either in the hospital, or in front of my Gohonzon in a sleeping bag chanting. And people were coming up and holding me up to chant. And at the time of the experience, I was chanting anywhere from six to ten hours a day.

I would chant and then pass out. Then I would wake up and I was chanting continually at the time that it happened. Because I had been having a lot of side effects from the chemotherapy, like constant nausea. I couldn’t keep anything down, my whole body ached. Just like a big toothache all over my body. Then after the experience I continued to chant 6 to 10 hours a day through the New York convention because my doctor thought I was in remission, but they weren’t sure.

And at the time of the New York convention, I was supposed to be in the parade and play a drum, but I got double pneumonia, kidney infection, adrenal something, an infection here, an infection there. And my temperature was 103 the day that we were supposed to leave for New York. I just looked at my doctor.

He said, “If you get on the plane, you’re gonna die.”

And I said, “What’s the difference if I die here or there?” I’m gonna be all right.”

Because I already had a uniform, had a drum (lots of laughter!) and that was the only thing I really wanted to do was march in that parade. It’s a goal that I had set when I first found out I had leukemia was that I was going to march in that parade. And that’s the one thing I was going to do.

And it was like each step of that parade it was like my biggest benefit because each step of that parade... the only way I made it through the parade was I kept saying, “One more step, one more step.”

But during that whole convention I chanted 8 to 10 hours a day.

And at the end of the parade, they took me to the hospital in New York and I told them everything that I had. They started running all these tests, and they said, “This girl is perfectly alright. She’s just exhausted. Take her back.” And that’s when I knew that I was really, really alright.

Question: Did you tell him [her original doctor] about Nichiren Buddhism?

LAURI: Yeah, I sent him the World Tribune. He said that he had seen, he’d seen, several post-death experiences like mine. I had like 17 different doctors, but of my two main doctors, one was from New York. The one that did the experimental chemotherapy on himself was from New York, and he came to the parade, and he practices now. He and his wife.

(Another very quiet question. The woman wanted to know if Lauri had seen her whole life or just highlights.)

LAURI: It’s really hard to conceive of or explain. But it’s like watching a movie. It’s really, really fast. But at the same time, you see everything. It’s like a speeded-up version.

And even the things where you had no thoughts and they seemed to have had no real impact on your life at the time. Because I remember seeing my tricycle, when I was three years old, that I loaned to some kid that they then got run over by a vehicle. I remembered seeing a pet dog. I remembered highlights. Like the things that have made me the happiest, and the things that made me saddest.

But there were also the things that I should have done that I didn’t at the same time. I was seeing it all. I could have handled it in a different way and I didn’t. That another choice was there, but I didn’t make it.

It’s like that was behind it. Because it started when I was really small, but you take it all in. It’s like you have this capacity to encompass all of it and understand all of it that’s very strange. You could never do it here. You can’t even really understand it here.

It’s like I’ve tried to do it since then, after that experience, and no way. It’s only there. It’s really vivid and it’s alive. You feel like you’re reliving each of those things.

The final installment will appear in the July issue. – ed.

The Horizon

Editor: Linda Segall Anable; Copy Editor: Lynette Yetter

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I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for 40+ years and making beaded jewelry for 25 years, specializing in Buddhist chanting beads, also known as JUZU.

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