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AT THE CEREMONY IN THE AIR

by Linda Segall Anable

From the Horizon Newsletter, July 2006


Though I have no memory of the Ceremony in the Air, I know I was there, and chances are you were too. Memories of this epic spectacle are buried in our ancient consciousness. While somehow suspended in the air, we heard the truth of life from Shakyamuni himself, and made a vow to return to Earth in some far-off future, to bring peace to a chaotic world. If you look around, you can’t help but realize that this, our present reality, is that chaotic world.

“The fact that the ceremony takes place in the air signifies that it transcends the framework of time and space” (Nichiren Buddhism Library). Just trying to recall this earthshaking event sends me to a far trippier place than any drug could have in the sixties. Apparently, we were imprinted to carry out this mission, at this time, when the stakes are high and the mission seems impossible, but we’re in it and there’s no opting out. And sometimes we see actual proof that our efforts are paying off, reminding us of that vow we made so long ago. It keeps us going.


***


In the past few months, the chronic fatigue (CFS) I’ve had for many years began to worsen. I seemed to suddenly become allergic to all life on planet Earth. Normally, on my best day, I have low energy and frequent sinus problems but not so bad that I can’t do daily activities. But my symptoms took a turn for the worse. I could barely function. I felt miserable all the time, seemed to have a perpetual hangover.


As I intend to make a difference in this world, despite the obstacles that are presented me (resolving them is a big part of resolving my karma) I always chant to have a “big life,” which is hard to do when I have no energy and my nose is producing enough mucous to fill a Grande Starbucks.

          I sought guidance from my region leader, who suggested that I chant at the cellular level. If disease is in your cells, she said, so is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. She told me to chant down to my DNA, to drive out the illness and defeat my fundamental darkness; that my illness had become acute because I was ready to change it.


Next day, when I chanted, I pictured all the cells in my body lit up like Christmas trees with happy smiley faces, evicting every bit of illness into the night with the mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra. It’s not that I found some clever new way to chant. There are no “tricks” to chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I merely concentrated on my mission for world peace, introducing others to the practice, and showing actual proof in my life—my big life.

Following that determination, I had the worst allergy attack of my life. I went through a box of Kleenex like it was… a box of Kleenex. But I decided that the congestion represented the fundamental darkness in my life in the form of snot, so... Out, out damn snot! I blew my nose and proclaimed it a benefit.


That same night I watched a Bette Davis movie I had recorded on TiVo. When the movie was over, instead of deleting it as I normally do, something told me to keep watching, as there were 20 minutes left on the recording. Perhaps there might be a discussion of the film. Not sure, but I felt compelled to see what came next. What came next was a short film from the 1940s, about… allergies!


The film talked about the types of people who have allergies—people who aren’t quite in synch with the lives they are leading. I couldn’t have been more startled – the Gohonzon was speaking to me through TiVo. Not the message so much as the synchronicity. Had I seen the film any other time, it wouldn’t have meant much. But because I was in the throes of this fatigue/allergy crisis, its mere showing was profound. I felt that the Gohonzon – my higher self – heard me and was on the job.


Then, once again, I was tested. There was a huge meeting coming up, led by one of my favorite Buddhist leaders, “Bonnie,” who is brilliant and empowering and knows how to put on a great show. I looked forward to being inspired, entertained and to celebrate my return to good health.


Before the meeting, while having dinner with my co-chapter leader, Anita, I received a call—Bonnie had sprained her knee and had to go home and ice it. Anita turned to me and said, “I’m giving an experience so you’re leading the meeting.” Gulp! On the phone, Bonnie encouraged me to share with the members the guidance she had given me.

I felt like Ruby Keeler in “42nd Street.” The star broke her ankle — you must go on! But I’d been chanting for my life to be big so I could help more people. Well, here was my opportunity. Gohonzon doesn’t reject any prayers – especially prayers that relate to our mission for world peace.


At the meeting, I related the story you are reading now. My nose didn’t run – it didn’t even walk. I had plenty of energy. I was my own actual proof, and my story encouraged people. I deemed it surefire evidence that I was at the Ceremony in the Air.

[This story took place more than 20 years ago – I am proud to say that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has never returned. And my sensitive nose is hanging in there… wait, that sounds wrong. 😊 It’s doing well.]

 

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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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