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Blossoming Inner Strength in Her Smile

Hew Mei Foong, Kelantan

The key is to broaden one’s state of life. Mei Foong embraced this principle by challenging herself daily in front of the Gohonzon. Chanting daimoku, she vowed to bring about change and strove to create a happy family.

Hew Mei FoongHew Mei Foong regularly visits the home of an elderly couple whose son grapples with mental illness. Recognizing the emotional toll of caregiving and understanding the unique challenges involved, Mei Foong offers empathetic support. She chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with them and assists with personal grooming, providing comfort and friendship.

Upon returning home, Mei Fong is welcomed by the resonant chanting of her husband. Mei Fong, who once played the vital role of caregiver to her husband, gazes at him with a warm smile.

Her husband’s severe struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder greatly affected his daily life and social interactions. Despite this, over their more than 30 years of marriage, Mei Foong consistently held firm to the belief that unwavering and pure faith is crucial for achieving happiness. She confidently declares, “The Mystic Law can unquestionably transform one’s karma!”

Mei Foong encountered Nichiren Buddhism during the global economic crisis in 1988 at the age of 22, while visiting her elder sister in Kelantan. Intrigued by the joyful atmosphere when she attended a discussion meeting, she became a member of Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) in December that year.

Six months later, Mei Foong was involved in a serious accident when a car rammed into her motorcycle. Grateful for surviving, she attributed this protection to her Buddhist faith. This experience reinforced her commitment to practise her faith earnestly and to demonstrate actual proof of Buddhism in her life.

While residing in Kelantan, Mei Foong encountered her life partner. Soon after getting married, Mei Foong discovered that her husband was a “cleanliness freak”. At first, she thought that he merely liked to be very clean and hygienic but his actions began disrupting his work.

The dermatology clinic operated by her husband was conveniently located just one floor below their home. However, his extensive hand washing and bathing routines, each lasting over an hour, became a source of frustration and anger for patients who had to endure prolonged waiting times. Moreover, his resistance to heed Mei Foong’s advice, coupled with her struggle to understand his behaviour, escalated into frequent quarrels between them.

The significant reduction in the income of the clinic combined with the stress of looking after the three young children, and managing the household and clinic affairs caused Mei Foong to fall ill frequently.

Being an introvert by nature, Mei Foong felt unsure and reserved about sharing her problems. Consequently, she kept all her worries to herself, leading to depression and frequently breaking down in tears.

Despite facing these tough times, she was grateful for her husband’s willingness to drive her to attend monthly SGM discussion meetings. Eagerly looking forward to these gatherings, she felt refreshed and gained strength from the wisdom of SGI President Ikeda’s guidance and the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. These meetings served as an oasis in a desert, inspiring and encouraging her.

Unshackling Boundaries

In 2004, when her husband sought consultation from a psychologist for persistent insomnia and stress, they discovered that what he was dealing with was obsessive-compulsive disorder. Surprised by this revelation, Mei Foong firmly resolved, “I will overcome this with the transformative power of Buddhism!”

However, despite Mei Foong’s determined resolve, she remained worried. Mental illnesses can sometimes evoke feelings of fear. What would happen if her husband could not work anymore? If the disorder worsened, what could she do about it? What if it affected their children’s emotions? Whenever she was clouded by such depressing circumstances, Mei Foong would see a friend named Kim Youp who was also an SGM member. Just as stated in Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, “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.” (WND-1, pg 598), Kim Youp’s encouragement not only eased Mei Foong’s inner turmoil but also provided her with a clear direction forward.

hew mei foong & comrades
Under the patient encouragement of comrade-in-faith Kim Youp (right), Mei Foong was able to find relief and move forward boldly.


With the belief that “each attendance is a victory,” Mei Foong challenged herself to attend SGM activities, putting in effort to bring along her children. Every day, Mei Foong would complete all household chores before going out to participate in SGM activities. However busy she was, she never complained.

The key is to broaden one’s state of life. Mei Foong embraced this principle by challenging herself daily in front of the Gohonzon. Chanting daimoku, she vowed to bring about change and strove to create a happy family.

As a leader in SGM, she did her best to take care of her members too. By elevating her life condition and striving for others’ happiness, Mei Foong experienced a transformation within, revealing her stronger, greater self, and liberating herself from the challenges that were once seen as a heavy burden.

With time, her negative attitude transformed into confidence, revealing an emerging inner strength. Her husband’s condition also improved, enabling him to return to work.

The Prayers of Mentor and Disciple

When the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, Mei Foong’s husband fell ill again. As the lockdown was repeatedly extended, he suffered from insomnia, anxiety, and depression. His sickness worsened so much that he had to be hospitalised.

Having had her faith tempered over the years, Mei Foong faced the situation differently this time. Even Kim Youp sensed this transformation in Mei Foong. Instead of succumbing to helplessness and tears, Mei Foong realised that times of great adversity are opportunities for great transformation.

Even when her husband was hospitalised, she continued to encourage others around her. With prayers infused with the vow to “turn great evil into great good”, Mei Foong was determined to activate the protective functions in the universe.

Hew Mei Foong

After a thorough and meticulous examination of her husband’s condition, the doctor prescribed medication that, to her surprise, completely cured him of the obsessive-compulsive disorder he had battled for more than 20 years. Furthermore, her husband’s dermatology practice also saw an increase in patients, with people traveling from afar to consult him.

Filled with gratitude, Mei Foong prays for continued good health and to share Buddhism with others, aspiring to guide more people in transforming their problems and challenges into happiness. She vows to persist in these efforts until her final moments, unfolding even more victories in her ongoing journey of human revolution.

Adapted from January 2022 COSMIC

Siow Yoon Kee had a long-standing ambition to become a doctor since his secondary school days. However, his motivation to save lives had not taken deep root.

During his college years, he battled gastrointestinal diseases and sought medical treatment from numerous doctors but to no avail. Coupled with a demanding schedule, he experienced immense stress and despair, even contemplating ending his life. Eventually, through the power of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (daimoku), he realised that his illness was a consequence of an irregular lifestyle, and acknowledged his own arrogance and negligence in his faith. This profound experience led to a shift in his perspective on the purpose of becoming a doctor.

After graduating, he was filled with joy and excitement on his first day of work, being addressed as a doctor. However, that excitement didn’t last. The overwhelming workload, long hours, and the constant fear of being reprimanded for mistakes quickly diminished his initial joy. As a result, the tough realities of the job made him less motivated and less excited about the work he had to do.

Yoon Kee reflected, “I would feel annoyed by patients, especially during night shifts when they complained of pain. I would question them with a skeptical tone. It seemed like I had become a terrible doctor, losing my passion for the job. During those unpleasant days, it was through repeatedly chanting the daimoku that I gradually reflected on my own attitude.”

“I recall a training session for the Beacon Group, a medical group within Soka Gakkai Malaysia, where our seniors encouraged us to face the Gohonzon with our most authentic selves. Inspired by their guidance, I wholeheartedly put it into practice and truly felt the profound joy that daimoku brings. Chanting the daimoku is indeed the greatest of all joys.”

Doctor Siow Yoon Kee

The power of daimoku awakened a profound sense of compassion in Yoon Kee, inspiring him to strive in his human revolution and towards becoming a doctor who could genuinely listen to his patients’ voices.

“After a change in mindset, it was incredible how I found myself wanting to treat patients like family and making an effort to truly listen to their words. My colleagues also noticed that I was more energetic and confident.”

However, transformation takes time and effort. Yoon Kee realised that the biggest hurdle for a doctor is their own sense of superiority. Therefore, his aim was to cultivate resilience and to serve selflessly without seeking personal gain. With the goal of becoming a skilled listener, step by step he made steady progress.

“Once, there was a patient in the final stages of cancer who told me he felt hungry and wanted something to eat. Although I was busy with work, I took a couple of minutes to feed the patient before tending to other patients and resuming my duties. Sadly, the patient passed away thirty minutes later. It was a moment that made me appreciate the power and significance of chanting daimoku, as it enabled me to be there at a crucial time and fulfill the patient’s last wish.

“On another occasion, there was a patient who complained to me, pointing out, “You see, my hands are still swollen, and the medication you prescribed is not effective!” In that moment, I patiently reassured the patient, emphasizing the importance of trusting in the medication’s effectiveness. I assured them that if they maintained their belief, they would experience improvement quickly. As a result, after a few days, the patient’s hand recovered, and the swelling subsided.”

Yoon Kee’s transformation became increasingly apparent over time. Through the practice of faith, he has been forged into becoming a doctor with a sense of mission who confronts the challenges of society with determination. While he humbly recognizes his own areas for growth, he consistently emphasises his resolute dedication to becoming a proficient listener and continuously improving himself.

Adapted from Cosmic May 2017