Living With Courage!

Youth Profiles: Lloyd Nelson II develops a life rooted in courage.

Lloyd Nelson II

Living Buddhism: How did you come across Nichiren Buddhism?

Lloyd Nelson: In 2013, my life on the surface was very good. My first son, Lloyd G. Nelson III, had been born in April, and I’d just gotten a wonderful new job for an IT consulting firm. Deep down, however, I wasn’t happy. While I loved my family and appreciated my new job, I felt as if I wasn’t myself, that my life was being dictated to me by society. I didn’t feel free and was filled with intense anxiety every day, so much so that living itself was painful.

Although I was raised a devout Christian, I began researching different religions and philosophies. While in a global MBA program that included studying abroad in countries such as Germany, Turkey and China, I visited beautiful cathedrals, mosques and temples. I also read books and watched videos on different religions. I finally found the SGI after searching the internet for “Buddhism in Atlanta.”

What was your impression of the SGI?

Lloyd: I couldn’t understand why everyone was chanting and wasn’t interested in trying to chant. But all of the members were very upbeat. I felt like I was at a party. I left that first meeting thinking: That was great. But I probably won’t go back. Fortunately, I had given someone there my phone number and a young men’s leader called to follow up with me.

I received the Gohonzon in October 2013. A great benefit of my Buddhist practice has been that I’ve become an active participant in life. My decisions have become rooted in courage, rather than in fear.

Lloyd with young men's division members following an activity at the Atlanta Buddhist Center, May 2016. Photo: Anthony Wallen.
Lloyd with young men’s division members following an activity at the Atlanta Buddhist Center, May 2016. Photo: Anthony Wallen.

How have you connected leadership in the SGI to achieving kosen-rufu?

Lloyd: I always hoped for a better world, but this hope remained theoretical until I took on leadership in the SGI. Through supporting young men in my zone and by chanting and spreading Buddhism alongside them for the happiness of our friends, I’m learning how happiness and peace are created. Now, as the young men’s leader for SGI-USA’s South Zone—which includes Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas— I have been able to look behind the curtain and understand how to do kosen-rufu from behind the scenes.

The following words from SGI President Ikeda have continued to inspire me:

We need to build a society in which people can discern the true nature of those who make a pretense of saintly virtue and not be led astray by deception and falsehood. The only way to do this is to encourage each individual to elevate their own spiritual condition. (March 2016 Living Buddhism, p. 34)