Ricardo Nisidozi, of Dallas, learns that good fortune is determined by one’s heart.

Photo: Hoss McBain.

by Ricardo Nisidozi
DALLAS

Being born a Buddhist didn’t make me free of struggles. I spent my adolescence harboring doubts about myself, always thinking that I wasn’t good enough and that I would never achieve anything great.

I grew up in Brazil, where my parents struggled financially and worked such long, hard hours that I was often home alone. Many times, I would be the one answering calls from the electric, phone and water companies, the one being told that those services would be suspended for lack of payment. We were so broke that I once heard my dad talking in his sleep about the bills he had to pay. Watching my parents struggle and having no power to help them made me feel useless. I would chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in front of the Gohonzon for opportunities so that I could help my family.

I understood early on that I could not face these feelings alone. Nichiren Daishonin states: “When a tree has been transplanted, though fierce winds may blow, it will not topple if it has a firm stake to hold it up. But even a tree that has grown up in place may fall over if its roots are weak. Even a feeble person will not stumble if those supporting him are strong, but a person of considerable strength, when alone, may fall down on an uneven path” (“Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 598). Receiving encouragement from my seniors in faith and studying SGI President Ikeda’s guidance helped me gradually understand that my life is as vast as the universe, and that chanting is the key to unlocking my full potential.

My turning point came when I started reading The Human Revolution, SGI President Ikeda’s autobiographical novel of the development of the Soka Gakkai. I was struggling so much, and learning how President Ikeda used faith to overcome each obstacle in front of him inspired me to do the same. Through chanting this way, I began to see each obstacle as a chance for me to develop into a stronger person rather than reinforcing the misguided belief that I wasn’t good enough.

Another major turning point in life was watching my parents’ sincere efforts to contribute financially to the SGI, regardless of their struggles. Because they taught me early on to have contribution goals and to save my money, I have been making my own contributions since I was a future division member. Because of this, I understood that victory comes with prayer and hard work, not complaints. I got a job in information technology, and after four years of working during the day while attending college at night, I graduated with a degree in business and an IT minor. I continued to develop my career to the point where I was able to help my parents pay off their debts. In 2011, I was among the few in my company to be relocated from Brazil to the United States, another tremendous benefit.

I moved to Dallas to begin my life in a new country, leaving not only my parents, but also my wife, Priscila, in Brazil. At the beginning, to save money, I lived in an apartment without furniture. I would sleep on the floor and eat ramen noodles or frozen food for dinner. I walked to work for months because I didn’t have a car.

It was scary being in this new country, this new culture. Some people at my job were threatened by my arrival, harassing me and making jokes about me in front of others. Many times, I thought about quitting and moving back to Brazil. But I continued to chant, determined to get along with my co-workers, no matter what, to be the best at this job. I kept this spirit, the spirit of my mentor, in front of the Gohonzon.

I also never wavered in my efforts to advance kosen-rufu. With a heart of appreciation to repay my debt of gratitude to President Ikeda and the SGI, I proudly made efforts to introduce others to the practice and consistently challenged myself to contribute financially to the SGI.

President Ikeda says: “When we make offerings with utmost confidence, we are certain to receive even greater good fortune and benefit in return. An offering made reluctantly and with skepticism is not genuine. What is in one’s heart is all-important” (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, p. 15).

Priscila was able to join me in Dallas in 2012, and the following year our daughter, Chloe, was born. It hasn’t been easy, but over the past five years, regardless of our financial circumstances, my family and I have been able to increase our May contributions each year. I have begun to teach Chloe to put a few coins in the contribution envelope, the way my parents taught me when I was very young.

Through challenging my struggles head-on with faith, I have forged inner confidence and a spirit to always persevere. I am strong now. Through a positive attitude and hard work, I have gained trust and respect at my job. I get along with all of my co-workers now. In fact, my company sponsored my green card, I have been promoted three times and today work as a director.

My family and I just moved into our first home, a dream come true. I was even able to pay for my parents’ trip to visit the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu in Japan, a goal they had been chanting about since the Hall opened in 2013.

I also recently graduated from the young men’s division. Today, I fight for kosen-rufu as a men’s district and vice chapter leader in Dallas. I’m happy to report that my district has had four Gohonzon conferrals so far this year, and just became a Champion District for the first time.

It’s incredible how much I have been able to transform in my life and my family through our Buddhist practice. I’m convinced that the foundation to changing all my hardships in my life came from joyfully challenging myself as a Bodhisattva of the Earth, based on a heart of appreciation and a vow for kosen-rufu.