Sunaina had started her learning more seriously and had started committing a lot of time in the library where she would read the scriptures and explain their meaning to Drishti also. Study has been given a lot of importance in Buddhism as it instills a strong confidence and faith in the mind of the disciple about the validity of all the doctrines and at the same time escorts him to the way how his efforts will bring about the results.
Even Daishonin himself said, “ Both practice and study arise from faith. Teach others to the best of your ability, even if it is a single sentence or phrase” This understanding deepens our faith and helps us learn the correct attitude required to confront these obstacles. Sunaina seemed to have learnt this advice by Daishonin by heart and was abiding by it verbatim.
Faith, Practice and Study have been called as the Three Pillars of the Nichiren Buddhism which are considered to be instrumental in guiding us to a brilliant and powerful life state leading us to out triumph over ourselves, our circumstances and the challenges faced by us in our day to day life.
Drishti’s inquisition and understanding was much more than any other child of her age and she would ask a lot of questions which Sunaina answered in a very patient manner. Whenever she faced such a question whose answer she didn’t know or wasn’t sure of, both of them would go and ask Sulochana, their ultimate knowledge resource.
They all had developed an invisible yet strong bond amongst themselves which was clearly felt by all three. Sunaina could not stop herself from asking Sulochana whether there was some mystery behind it. They had never met before, lived a life poles apart from each other, still brought together for a common cause without any pre-planning.
Sulochana, as always, helped her find the answer. She said, “My children! You will understand this mystery in Nichiren Daishonin’s Principle of harmonious unity, “ Many in body, One in mind”. ‘Many in body’ relates to the universal fact that we as an individual we are all unique and despite having different personalities, professions, characters and missions we respect each other . ‘One in mind’ tells that despite these differences, we share same purpose, values and spirit helping us achieve ‘Kosen Rufu’ by working for others’ happiness. In Daishonin’s analogy ‘transcending all differences amongst ourselves to become inseparable like fish and water in which they swim’
That’s the beauty of this Mentor and Disciple relationship which carries a lot of significance in Buddhism. Even Daishonin has emphasised a lot on the concept of ‘Oneness of Mentor and Disciple’. If a disciple chants with the same vow as mentor and with same determination the same courage is instantly reflected in his life in other places. The energy and vigour of the mentor is infused inadvertently in the disciple and he replicates the same and takes action according to it.
According to Daishonin each of us has an undiscovered pool of vast potential which one isn’t even oneself aware of. A mentor unleashes that potential in us and introduces our this clandestine strength to us and awakens our mind to enable us to harness this resource to the fullest. A Buddhist mentor teaches his disciple the correct way of life and the path of the ultimate truth. A mentor provides you the guidance to such a level where one can approach him when he’s there but eventually fills him with such wisdom that his path is enlightened even in his absence when he isn’t near.”
In adverse situation when everything seems dark and nothing is going in the right direction the spirit of mentor and disciple works like a light in darkness which gives us hope and courage to challenge the situation and win over those circumstances no matter what. Having a bond with the mentor is like the bond between a father and a child who is always there, standing beside him, holding his hand and taking him forward in life, like a caring mother who is always there for emotional support and encouragement to make him stand on his own feet, like a friend who is always there to listen and understand you and support with an assurance to not to worry as everything will be fine and he is with him and also like a strict teacher who never lets his student give up his goal and dream.
The spirit of mentor and disciple helps us to really imbibe the teachings of Buddhism and helps us to bring inner transformation which becomes the cause to change any poison into medicine. To transform any karma and to fulfil various wishes. This spirit empowers us to stand alone and take full responsibility of the situation without depending on others no matter how adverse the situation is. Reading about the mentor’s dedication for the law and determination to remove suffering from the lives of all, helps us understand and feel the pain of others which leads us to awaken to the purpose and mission of our life.
This Mentor and Disciple relationship of Buddhism is based on free and spontaneous Will of the individual, an expression of that person’s seeking spirit and has nothing to do with personal gain and self interest. It is a spiritual bond of the purest kind arising so much desire to pursue all life dedicated to the highest truth which makes the bond of mentor and disciple are strong and imperishable as a diamond.
The disciple gets inspired with his mentor but at the same time he doesn’t have to consider his mentor a super human and imitate him blindly. He learns and then takes action on his own initiative, always keeping the mentor in his heart. It is important to ask oneself what a mentor would do in his condition and then basing ones life on Daimoku with this understanding, take action. A disciple must maintain the same selfless and resolute faith as that of the mentor. Even in times of adversity when his faith has been put to test.