Today’s episode is about learning to live your truth. Chris, of Detroit, shares the incredibly moving journey to affirm himself and how his Buddhist practice helped him find the courage to come out as a trans man. A foundational element of Chris’s experience was learning to believe that his life has unlimited value and worth, upon which he has been able to build a foundation for new dreams.
1:18 How Chris encountered Buddhism and why he started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
8:29 The experiences that lead to Chris affirming himself
17:53 How Buddhism helped him find the courage to pursue happiness
25:14 What it was like to come out
30:10 What it took to break out of lifelong limitations
33:16 Continually reaffirming himself through chanting
36:17 Chris’s favorite Buddhist concept
42:17 Building a foundation upon valuing your life
45:05 Advice for anyone struggling with self-conflict
References:December 2016 Living Buddhism, p. 40Soka Education: For the Happiness of the Individual, pp. 209-10
Today’s topic is pessimism, which can be defined as a lack of hope or confidence in the future. At different times in our lives, all of us might experience pessimism, especially if our future is uncertain or we find ourselves in a situation where the odds seem stacked against us. This can be compounded by societal conflicts and current affairs, and increasingly, teens and young adults feel a sense of worry, anxiety or futility about the future. Today, we'll unpack the Buddhist perspective on optimism. Our guest is Stuart Adams, a firefighter in California who shares the story of how chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped him transform pessimism into a life of confidence and action.
1:47 Why Stewart started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
6:17 How he discovered his dream to become a firefighter
9:56 What it took to challenge his fear
16:52 What faith means in Buddhism
23:32 How chanting helped him take initiative
32:05 Addressing mistakes without hesitation
36:33 The role of Buddhist friends
40:28 The Buddhist perspective on optimism
45:53 Advice for anyone who struggles with pessimism
Today we’re talking about self-trust, which, if you’re the type of person who is constantly berating themselves internally, can feel really hard to build. Our guest is Anivat Chanachanchai, of Hawaii, who shares how taking his Buddhist practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo seriously helped him finally let go of a cycle of toxic relationships and environments. Once he tapped into his Buddhability, he finally began to trust himself and take the steps to respect his life.
1:18 Why Anivat started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
5:17 Having a dialogue with yourself
9:11 His experiences with bullying and coming out
21:03 The challenges he faced in Hawaii
30:05 What it means to take full responsibility for your life
35:26 How chanting helped him through the hard days
45:39 Advice for anyone new to chanting
References:Discussions on Youth, p. 9Discussions on Youth, p. 291
"Tips & Insights” is a new episode series in which we’ll introduce one Buddhist concept each month and how it can be applied to your life! Today’s is: the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds.
References:The Mutual Possession of the Ten Worlds Every Situation is the Best Situation for Elevating Our LivesWhat do I do about the parts of myself I don’t like?
Today we are discussing limiting beliefs and self-doubt. Whatever form they take for you, whether it’s your own negative self-talk, the way you see yourself or limitations others have placed on you that you’ve internalized, transforming limiting beliefs can be hard. Fortunately, the essence of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is to do exactly this. By strengthening our Buddhability, we can transform our limitations.
Our guest is Rachel Mundus, who practices Buddhism in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Today she shares the many self-doubts she has had to challenge on the long journey toward her dream of becoming a dentist for the people.
1:29 Why Rachel began chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
3:09 Where her dream to provide dental care came from
5:28 The difference she felt once she started chanting
9:20 What her work is now
11:43 Her greatest challenge along the way
16:13 Key turning points in challenging her limiting beliefs
24:19 What it looks like to strengthen your determination daily
30:10 The impact of learning to enjoy the journey
35:02 How she decided to tackle school again
41:02 How she uprooted her “tree of self-doubt”
43:53 Advice for anyone struggling with limiting beliefs or self-doubt
ReferencesThe New Human Revolution, vol. 26, p. 149.The New Human Revolution, vol. 9, p. 153.The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 3, p. 363.
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Today we are talking about what it takes to become unshakable. Our guest is Brittany Jones, who recently became the youngest elementary school principal in the country's second largest school district. She shares her journey into education, and how, at a crucial turning point in her career as an educational leader, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped her challenge her own insecurities and win each day.
This episode is especially relevant for anyone who struggles with limiting themselves or easing their anxiety by trying to control their schedule a little too much. It’s also an incredible illustration of how sometimes, letting go and focusing on the present is the greatest strength of all.
1:50 Why Brittany started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
8:58 How she became interested in education
13:01 Her journey to become an elementary school principal
29:28 Finding the courage to stay the course
34:17 How her Buddhist practice helps her identify her priorities
37:54 Supporting the Buddhability of children
39:19 The importance of winning in the morning
45:44 How Brittany learned to let go of the need for control
50:00 The impact of chanting on becoming unshakable
53:05 Brittany’s favorite Buddhist quote
55:09 How she defines her Buddhability
57:13 Her vision for what’s next
59:40 Advice for anyone new to Buddhism
ReferencesThe New Human Revolution, vol. 30, p. 53.April 2016 Living Buddhism, p. 49.The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, vol. 1, p. 70. How to start chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
Today we’re about talking about how to find your path forward during a period of uncertainty. We’re joined by Shota Okajima, of New Jersey, who shares how chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped him overcome tremendous anxiety about his path forward after college. Until then, Shota’s identity had been entirely tied to his ice hockey career, but once he started chanting, he discovered so much more of himself.
1:23 Why Shota started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
4:05 Letting go of his ice hockey career
10:02 What shifted once he began chanting about his situation
15:25 How he discovered a new career path
20:53 What it means to win where you are by transforming your life condition
24:17 Thinking about Buddhism as a sport
25:21 The power of having a community or team
29:06 What daily effort in Buddhist practice looks like
33:06 The Buddhist quote that kept Shota going
40:57 How Shota defines his own Buddhability
43:41 Advice to anyone who feels stuck about their future
References:The New Human Revolution, vol. 24, p. 117.Hope is Life’s Treasure
Today we’re talking about identity and relationships. Briana Boche, of Seattle, shares her story of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and how she developed confidence in the practice of human revolution, that is, the process of continually chanting to reveal our Buddhability—courage, wisdom and compassion for ourselves and others.
One aspect of Briana’s life where her Buddhist practice carried her through was exploring her own relationship with sexuality and eventually realizing that she is ace, short for asexual.
1:40 How Briana started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
7:06 How a setback after college helped her find a new path
11:19 Getting connected to the Buddhist community in Seattle
20:20 Briana’s journey of exploring her sexuality and identity
27:53 What happened when she started chanting to find a partner
31:44 Coming to terms with a big realization
40:21 What it took to challenge her own insecurities
44:06 How she’s chanting about the future
47:45 Her favorite Buddhist quote
50:37 Advice for anyone new to Buddhism
References mentioned:“On the Buddha’s Prophecy,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 402.Discussions on Youth, p. 27.Discussions on Youth, p. 8.
Today we’re talking about the impact our environment has on us. In Buddhism, a crucial concept called “the oneness of life and environment” teaches that our environment is simply a reflection of our own life. Because they are interconnected, when we change internally, it’s reflected in our environment. For an explainer on the topic, check out this video.
To unpack this idea, we’re speaking with Nile Ross, of Santa Monica, California, about how his practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has enabled him to become someone whose internal sense of confidence and self-love outweighs any negativity he experiences from his environment. Based on this shift, he has created a life and career he truly loves.
1:24 Nile’s early experiences with chanting Nam-myoho-reng-kyo
15:51 The turning point he experienced in 2018
25:28 How he came to redefine happiness for himself
30:51 The impact of making chanting a priority
37:08 How he transformed early experiences with bullying and racism into a sense of purpose
44:08 Becoming a better person by overcoming struggles
49:04 Nile’s favorite Buddhist quotes about revolution
52:29 Advice for anyone new to Buddhism
References:Video: Oneness of Life and Environment Explained The New Human Revolution, vol. 2, p. 39The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, p. 110
Correction: It was mentioned that the 50k Lions of Justice Festival took place in 3 cities, but it actually took place in 9.
Today we’re speaking with Asia Harvey-Wright, who goes by Harvey, about their first steps practicing Buddhism after encountering the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in 2020, during one of the darkest periods of their life.
This episode is all about the courage it takes to be open to one's Buddhability. Harvey shares how, in the face of addiction and mental health challenges, they unearthed their own hope, creativity and desire to move forward.
1:35 How Harvey encountered Buddhism
4:45 What their initial experience of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo was like
7:10 The struggles they were facing at the time
12:58 Initial steps they took to begin their practice
15:58 The difference they saw through chanting
22:30 A Buddhist concept that stuck with them
25:39 Their experience with the Buddhist community
27:55 How chanting is helping them navigate mental health challenges
34:21 Their goals for the future
36:58 Advice for anyone who is new to chanting
References:Discussions on Youth, p. xLearning From the Writings: The Hope-filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 107
Today we’re talking with journalist Melissa Hirsch about how her Buddhist practice helped her navigate her career journey. This episode is especially relevant for anyone who may have a dream they are pursuing but is finding the path to get there a bit more winding than they expected. Melissa explains how chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped her transform her childhood dream of becoming a journalist into a deep desire to use her voice for justice.
1:04 How Melissa started practicing Buddhism
6:46 Why she wanted to pursue journalism
9:05 Her first steps on her career path
15:03 The tension between survival and purpose
18:08 The challenges she faced in graduate school
22:35 How chanting helped her succeed in her investigative work
25:54 Overcoming social anxiety and imposter syndrome
32:40 Melissa’s favorite Buddhist quote
37:35 How her growing sense of purpose allowed her to open a new career path
45:48 What she does now
49:05 The role that the Buddhist community played in her journey
51:20 What true confidence is
53:10 Advice for anyone navigating their career
References:The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, volume 6, p. 244Discussions on Youth, p. 73
Today we’re talking about the startup journey, though this episode is filled with lessons for anyone starting anything, be it a company, a project or just a fresh path in life. Creating something new, especially together with other people, requires tremendous wisdom, courage and compassion, which are the very qualities of our Buddhability.
Tushar Dadlani, of Dublin, California, shares his journey of moving to Silicon Valley to start a company, and exactly how chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped him navigate the rollercoaster.
1:10 How Tushar started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
3:11 The perspective on world peace that intrigued him
5:07 Why he came to the U.S. to pursue his dreams of working in tech
8:04 How he decided to start a company
12:33 How his Buddhist practice helped him manifest courage
15:55 The key turning points in his journey as an entrepreneur
18:56 How he learned not to be swayed
22:44 Mastering the art of dialogue
28:27 How he battled his own arrogance
33:12 Applying the Buddhist concept “many in body, one in mind” to work
38:46 Nine takeaways on the abilities entrepreneurs need
40:13 The importance of staying true to himself
43:58 How he thinks about peace now
46:56 Advice for anyone on a journey to create something
ReferencesDiscussions on Youth, pp. 101–102
Today we’re talking about how to persevere on a career path when the odds are stacked against you. Mardi Tan, of Long Beach, California, shares her incredible journey to pursue a career in aviation, an industry in which less than 5% of pilots are women. Her Buddhist practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped her navigate being a woman, being out, and overcoming every obstacle that came her way in order to open a path for other female pilots.
0:47 How Mardi starting practicing Buddhism
6:45 Discovering her dream to become a pilot
14:25 How chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped her navigate fear
18:26 What it took for her to bring her authentic self to a male-dominated industry
21:22 How she dealt with discrimination
28:04 The Buddhist concept that helped her persevere
30:44 The ups and downs that almost made her give up
38:17 How lifting up others helped her keep going
40:19 Her vision for the future of aviation
41:46 Advice for anyone struggling to pursue their dream
References:Discussions on Youth, p. 105
Today we’re talking how to move on after experiencing loss. Our guest is Hannah Jones, of Ohio, who shares how she encountered SGI Nichiren Buddhism while in high school, and how it helped her navigate the loss of her best friend—her older brother—and ultimately find her way back to her dreams.
1:03 How Hannah started practicing Buddhism as a teenager
5:05 Her first experience chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
10:00 The family dynamics she chanted about
15:53 How Buddhism helped her deal with the loss of her brother
28:09 The shift in their relationship
32:01 How having Buddhist friends helped at the darkest time
37:59 Hannah’s favorite Buddhist quote
41:06 The internal breakthrough she experienced
47:07 Her dream to go into psychology
48:43 Advice for anyone grappling with loss
References:Discussions on Youth, p. 69A Piece of Mirror and Other Essays, p. 83
Today we’re talking about what it takes to tear down your walls if you have trouble showing up as your authentic self. Jermira Trapp, of Chicago, shares how chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has enabled her to transform painful family dynamics into fuel to show up as her most authentic self. This shift has impacted every aspect of her life, especially her work in law enforcement, where it can be difficult to be vulnerable and transcend differences. Still, she has learned to do both.
0:55 Introduction to Jermira
2:24 Why she wanted to join the police force
3:28 What happened when she started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
12:33 Her dream to create a harmonious family
17:13 How Jermira healed from the loss of her mother
24:20 How she learned to be vulnerable
27:47 The impact this inner transformation has had on her work in law enforcement
32:13 Jermira’s favorite Buddhist concepts
35:48 How she sees her purpose
41:39 How she defines her own Buddhability
42:41 Advice for anyone who struggles to show up authentically in a challenging environment
Congratulations to everyone who completed the 31-day chanting challenge on Friday! We'd love to hear how it went, especially if you are new to chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. To submit, just send a voice memo of no more than 2 minutes to [email protected] sharing your name, where you’re located, and what you feel you learned or changed through the chanting challenge. We're also always open to questions about Buddhism, which we'll try to address on future episodes. Selected voice memos might be included on future episodes, so please only submit if you are comfortable having it shared on the podcast.
On this episode, we’re speaking with Nikolas Spayne, of Chicago, who started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo just last year, when he remembered having heard about Buddhism and decided to look it up. Like many of us, the stress of the pandemic, the constant stream of negative news and big questions about his own life and future had him seeking a fresh path forward.
Today he walks us step-by-step through his first year of Buddhist practice.
00:54 How Nikolas encountered Buddhism
8:02 Why he decided to start chanting on his own
10:41 How his mornings transformed when he started chanting
15:13 His approach to goal-setting
17:37 When he decided to reach out to the Buddhist community
21:18 What his first Buddhist meeting was like
29:39 How bringing all three elements of Buddhist practice together impacted his life
34:38 The biggest change he has experienced
38:12 His favorite Buddhist concepts
42:20 How he developed a sense of mission
47:57 How he defines his Buddhability
50:19 Advice for anyone new to chanting
You Were Born to Win, pp. 10-12
Today we’re speaking with two friends and scientists, Tee Ponsukcharoen and Siraput Jongaramrungruang, about their intertwined journeys from studying science to practicing Buddhism together.
Originally from Thailand, they both came to California to complete their doctorates, but along the way, they discovered a far greater sense of purpose than they could have imagined.
We cover everything from how and why they were attracted to Buddhism, how they navigated their own attachments to logic, and how concepts from physics, like relativity and string theory, connect to Buddhism.
1:00 Introduction to Tee and Siraput
2:34 Why Siraput started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
5:23 How he introduced Tee to chanting
10:31 The dilemma Tee faced after completing his Ph.D.
18:11 Siraput’s experience encouraging his friend
20:58 What changed after Tee started practicing Buddhism
27:16 How Buddhism enables us to see ourselves clearly
32:17 Two concepts that Buddhism and science have in common
42:25 Siraput’s favorite Buddhist quote
46:53 Tee’s favorite Buddhist quote
49:31 How Tee views his work as a scientist now
52:08 Advice for anyone who values logic over spirituality
56:35 Key takeaways from today’s episode
References Mentioned:The Third Stage of Life: Aging in Contemporary Society by Daisaku IkedaDiscussions on Youth, p. 16The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, p. 23
Today we’re talking about the battle with our own inner negativity, whatever form it may take: self-doubt, self-hatred, regret, worry or anything else.
Jimmy Anicet, of Boston, shares about the significant personal journey he went on during 2019. Jimmy decided to tackle his own sense of regret and self-doubt once and for all by digging deeply into his Buddhist practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Then, just a month after he arrived at a significant epiphany and things started looking up, he experienced a profound family tragedy. But this time, he decided he would use it as a catalyst for his truest happiness.
CHEAT SHEET1:14 Why Jimmy started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo 5:56 What changed for him and his comedy work7:15 His turning point in 201911:51 How he decided to tackle his inner negativity for once and for all17:18 How his Buddhist practice helped him cope with the loss of his brother22:37 Jimmy’s favorite Buddhist quote27:51 What his transformation allowed him to tackle next29:46 How he gained the courage to be a leader32:26 How he sees comedy now33:45 Advice for anyone struggling with their own self-doubt or inner negativity
References Mentioned:On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime: SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series, pp. 30-31Discussions on Youth, p. 327
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Today we are talking about how to open a new path if you’re feeling stuck where you are, whether at work or in any other situation.
Our guest is Fernanda Kelly, actress, entrepreneur and TV and radio host. While her career in media has been successful, Fernanda’s childhood dream was always to be an actress. Today, she opens up about what it took for her to grapple with that dream not coming true in the way she hoped, and how she used her Buddhist practice to deepen her faith in herself and become a person of action.
0:57 How and why Fernanda starting chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
3:13 The first benefits she saw from her practice
6:39 The internal shift she began to experience naturally
10:24 Where her dream of acting was born
12:29 How she dealt with the struggle of achieving this dream
18:36 What steps she took to open a new path for herself
21:45 What winning means
23:54 Her favorite Buddhist concept
25:20 What she’s working on now
27:00 Her “why”
28:49 Advice for anyone who might be feeling stuck right now
29:53 How having a sense of purpose helps us unlock our Buddhability
References mentioned:Discussions on Youth, p. 10
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