9-15-00 World Tribune study material:
"As the American poet and author Robert Bly says in Iron John, we search for a "second father" or "a second king..." "We can each ask ourselves: Is there anyone we know or have heard of who possesses true greatness? If so, we should leave with him or her". Early in my youth I faced a huge test in my relationship with President Ikeda. I loved him from the first and considered myself his disciple. But I was very young and had no clue about the obstacles that I would face in the future.
After a particularly severe set back in my life, I felt that I had failed as a disciple. Before I realized it, I was overcome with negativity. "I have failed him;' I thought. And my heart broke.
I had to think deeply about what he really meant to me. What is a disciple? What does a mentor think about a disciple? I came to understand that I had a very shallow view of the mentor- disciple relationship. When I realized that President Ikeda's belief in me, his belief in my potential, was unconditional, I was able to pull myself out of the depths of that hell..
I heard the mentor disciple relationship explained once as the mentor being like a transmitter and the disciples like receivers. President Ikeda is always transmitting. It is up to us to receive the message. Several months ago I heard a young woman describe her struggle with the mentor-disciple relationship. She was devoted to her practice, to kosen rufli and her members. She was acting as a person of the same mind as the mentor. But although she respected President Ikeda and thought he was "a great guy" as she put it; her heart was closed to him. And this troubled her. She was frustrated by the fact that she "just didn't get it." This was some thing she pondered through many prayers. Then one night as she was standing alone out under the stars at the Florida Nature and Culture Center, she had an awakening, a realization. It was a matter of trust It wasn't President Ikeda; it was her ability to open her heart to him. Her father had been a very respected professional, but behind closed doors he was an abuser feared by the family. She realized that this was the "wall" between herself and President Ikeda. All of her chanting and prayers had led her to see this and suddenly she "got it" and tears began to flow down her cheeks. Her receiver was turned on."