Today's episode is a conversation with psychologist Elizabeth Merrick about anxiety, therapy, Buddhism, and how they all connect. Sometimes it helps to examine what Buddhability looks like from different perspectives, identifying parallels between the work of experts in different fields and how Buddhism views the potential of human beings.
Elizabeth's insights are unique because she has experience counseling young adults, training mental health professionals and being in therapy herself, all while practicing Buddhism.
1:27 How Elizabeth started practicing Buddhism
5:23 Context about her professional background as a psychologist
8:34 The most common mental health challenges she sees young adults struggle with today
11:22 Natural questions during different developmental stages
14:21 When you think something is wrong with you
21:16 Connections between Buddhism and psychology on our potential for change
27:58 What anxiety is and why we experience it
32:47 Overcoming anxiety
38:52 Why the core elements of Buddhist practice are effective
44:16 Chanting vs. mindfulness
47:00 The biggest change she’s experienced through chanting
54:49 The value of having a community
1:00 A favorite Buddhist quote
1:03:20 The difference between human revolution and self-improvement
1:08:01 Advice for anyone who is struggling with anxiety
ReferencesDiscussions on Youth, p. 5“Letter to Niike,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1027
This week’s conversation is the perfect refresher for anyone who might be feeling like they could use a little fire or motivation right now.
Our guest is Shawn Lewis, of New Orleans, who tells us the story of a period in his life when he found himself coasting, and after losing a job, also financially struggling with no sense of direction. By solidifying his Buddhist practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, he dug deep to rediscover a childhood dream to work in the video game industry that opened up a most unexpected journey, and ultimately led to him building and selling a social media channel to create his dream career.
1:07 Introduction to Shawn
1:39 When and how he started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
5:24 The circumstances that led him back to his childhood dream
9:11 How he began to build his channel
11:16 What the internal battle felt like as he balanced three jobs
12:44 How he developed a habit of winning
15:18 An unexpected opportunity
19:38 The impact of striving to encourage other people
25:27 His favorite Buddhist quote
30:48 The biggest internal change he experienced
32:34 Advice for anyone who feels like they are coasting or unhappy with their circumstances
References“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 1000–01Discussions on Youth, p. 22
During the month of July, we're on short break and playing re-runs of our most popular episodes from the archives. We'll be back with brand new episodes the first Wednesday in August. This episode originally aired May 2021.
Today we are covering one of our most highly requested topics: boundaries and self-care.
Our guest is Jessica Riley, a mental health specialist in Florida, who most recently was a military psychologist. After struggling deeply with setting boundaries, an overwhelming workload and an inability to really take care of herself, she started chanting about her situation and came to a major realization about herself that changed everything. We’ll cover how she navigated her own experience and why caring for others doesn’t have to require sacrifice.
1:28 Jessica's journey to become a military psychologist
6:31 Why she turned to chanting
15:08 What the daily workload felt like
25:36 Two Buddhist concepts that shifted her perspective
27:45 How she found time to chant
31:12 What she realized about herself
41:36 What happened after she decided to prioritize self-care and boundaries
41:15 What believing in yourself looks like in practice
50:22 Advice for anyone struggling with self-worth or burnout
During the month of July, we're on short break and playing re-runs of our most popular episodes from the archives. We'll be back with brand new episodes the first Wednesday in August. This episode originally aired November 2021.
Today we speak with Los Angeles-based actor Luca Manganaro, who shares his intertwined journey with acting and Buddhism and the lessons he learned along the way.
Key takeaway: what you do, especially if you’re currently pursuing a big dream or goal that seems far away, isn’t who you are. Who you are is based on what you practice every day, how you show up in relationships, how you treat the people around you and what you base your self-worth on.
1:46 How Luca started practicing Buddhism
6:03 How chanting helped him transform a lifelong health challenge
13:27 How he decided to pursue acting in New York
21:05 What Buddhism taught him about dealing with the ups and downs of the business
30:25 Why he believes in having a Buddhist mentor
36:02 How he developed a foundation for his life through community
42:41 What caring for other people has to do with our own growth
51:27 Advice for anyone new to Buddhism who wants to feel fulfilled
A Buddhability Guide to Self-Love
During the month of July, we're on short break and playing re-runs of our most popular episodes from the archives. We'll be back with brand new episodes the first Wednesday in August. This episode originally aired August 2021.
Today we’re talking about work and more specifically, how to deal with feeling stuck. If you’re feeling trapped by your job or routine, or if you have a secret dream that you haven’t yet had the courage to pursue, this episode is for you.
Our guest is Clara Kitongo, a young woman who started practicing Buddhism at a time when she was really feeling stuck in her career and life. Her journey with chanting opened up an entirely new perspective on what a creative life means, and now she’s living the life she always wanted.
1:04 Introduction to Clara
3:27 How she got stuck in a “treadmill type existence”
6:04 What her dreams had been before she got stuck
7:44 When and why she started practicing Buddhism
11:36 How to become free from the chains of your own mind
17:45 How she found her place in the workforce after school
33:39 How she dealt with her pain along the journey
35:36 What Buddhism says about opening the door to your life
42:18 What a creative life really means
44:49 How to deal with the opinions of others
49:55 Advice for anyone feeling afraid to open the door to their own life
During the month of July, we're on short break and playing re-runs of our most popular episodes from the archives. We'll be back with brand new episodes the first Wednesday in August. Today we’re playing an episode that originally aired November 2020 but feels more relevant than ever.
We speak with Abe Uccello about working for change in Florida’s prison system, even when he couldn’t see any forward movement. He explains how chanting can help you build trust and respect with anyone, and what unity actually means. Hint: You have to unlock your own wisdom and compassion first.
1:50 What we’re trying to understand today
4:02 Introduction to Abe
5:02 How chanting helped him feel like he had control over his life again
10:54 His experiences working with the prison system
16:20 How chanting helped him figure out what to do
17:20 What a tenacious effort to build trust helped him achieve
25:10 Why he didn’t give up
28:32 How to maintain hope even when you see the darkest parts of humanity
32:33 What the end goal in Buddhism is
35:46 Advice to anyone feeling stuck or overwhelmed by uncertainty
38:02 What “happiness for self and others” means
45:39 What else to read on Buddhability about feeling stuck and making change
“Tips & Insights” 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: karma.
References:Outshining Our Karma With the “Sun of Wisdom”For more in-depth study of the karma, check out An Introduction to Buddhism, second edition, p. 40
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