My First Days of Practice: Apoorva & Chris
Apoorva Chaturvedi and Chris Scaturro share their first experiences practicing Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism.
Joined: July 2015
A little over a year ago, I noticed my roommate chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and asked her what she was doing. She explained and shared all the wonderful benefits she had received from practicing Buddhism. I was fascinated and started chanting with her every day, and not too long after, I received the Gohonzon.
At the time, I was wishing my graduate studies and in desperate search for a job that would sponsor my visa. Fellow members encouraged me to never give up. I kept chanting and doing many SGI activities and in September, I finally received a job offer! The job was everything I chanted for, and my visa was approved the next year through a lottery system.
This experience taught me not to doubt myself or my faith, and it feels good to encourage others to do the same. I’ve helped two friends receive the Gohonzon and, today, I’m the Omaha Chapter young women’s leader. I’m determined to encourage many young women to awaken to their Buddhist practice again and introduce many more people to the SGI!
Perth Amboy, N.J.
Joined: May 5, 2015
In 2012, I lost my job, forcing me to become homeless and live on trains. I developed depression, anxiety and paranoia, and sought out a mental health program. There, I met a young man who introduced me to Nichiren Buddhism. After chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and listening to people’s experiences, I felt an unshakable happiness that I hadn’t ever experienced. I received the Gohonzon on May 5, 2015, and determined to restore my youth and completely transform my life.
I learned how to cope and overcome my obstacles through chanting, and the SGI has been the perfect support system. Today, I’m back in school to pursue a public health degree.
I feel great every day knowing that I am making causes for my own happiness and that of others. I even helped a friend receive the Gohonzon, and I am now the Old Bridge District young men’s leader. I also enjoy protecting our new SGI center in Teaneck, New Jersey, as a Gajokai! My challenges no longer define who I am; rather, my mission is to overcome them and live life more joyfully.