Now the head of the wives’ group at the Chichibu Dharma Center in Saitama Prefecture in Japan, Ms. Hiroko Magara describes her birth in Brazil as one of three children of a Japanese couple who emigrated there in 1963 and settled as farmers in the Amazonian jungle highlands. Her young father died just before their first harvest. Farming alone was hard, so her mother chose to return to Japan---but jumped overboard and drowned just after the ship sailed.
Hiroko and her sister were taken in by relatives, but for years she felt abandoned by her parents. She married at twenty and soon had three children herself. On a visit to Rissho Kosei-kai’s Chichibu Dharma Center seeking advice, she was persuaded to join, which she did in 1995.
She described her personal spiritual experience at the center’s thirty-fifth anniversary ceremony. A copy of her text was sent in advance to the Brazil Dharma Center by Rev. Masuo Nezu, a former vice chair of Rissho Kosei-kai’s board of trustees. Its members invited her back to Brazil to pray for the repose of her parents. Through Rev. Norio Sakai, a former chair of the board of trustees who traveled to Brazil, she learned that her father’s grave was not deep in the jungle but in the southern town of Tomé-Açu. Rev. Takayuki Nagashima visted the grave and held a memorial service and informed her about her uncle who had tended the grave for nearly forty years.
On September 6, 2008, Ms. Magara was able to fly to Brazil, meet her uncle, and visit the grave. The journey was made possible through the compassionate help and prayers of many people, both in Japan and in Brazil. She has learned through reflecting on the lives of her parents that living by the Buddha’s teachings has enabled her to overcome her troubles and fulfill her dreams.
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