My First Days of Practice: Ria & Angel

Ria Hall and Angel Colon share their first experiences practicing Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism.

Ria Hall
Orange, Calif.
Joined: Nov. 22, 2016

I’ve suffered with anxiety my whole life, but in the last two years, it got so severe that I was afraid to go to restaurants, movie theaters and grocery stores, or even to hang out with friends. Although I went to therapy, I knew there was something far deeper that I had to resolve: I didn’t believe I could ever overcome my anxiety.

My boyfriend encouraged me to attend an intro-to-Buddhism meeting, and I was drawn in by the sense of community and encouragement. I had never felt so welcomed, and that night, I decided to receive the Gohonzon at my next opportunity.

At a low point, I realized that even though I didn’t believe I could overcome my anxiety, my friends in the SGI believed I could, and I wanted to prove them right. I started to really chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the determination to overcome every obstacle! Since then, I’ve overcome much of my anxiety.

I’ve helped my cousin, friend and mother receive the Gohonzon, and I’m determined to introduce even more people to the practice this year. Now, as a recently appointed district young women’s leader, I’m determined to be a source of encouragement for other young women!

Angel Colon
New York
Joined: March 13, 2017

Practicing SGI Nichiren Buddhism is very exciting because it fills me with positivity. The more I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the more I want to be a part of the SGI, help others and pursue my artistic goals.

When I chant to the Gohonzon, I pray for the success of my friends and family more than anything else. I can’t think of being at the top of the mountain by myself; I can’t be at my best while my friends are not at theirs. After I started practicing Buddhism, my daughter’s mother found a career path, my friend was able to finish his album and another friend even asked me to chant with her!

As for me, I’ve been filled with inspiration and a new drive for my music, finding the words to a song I’ve been trying to make for a long time, and meeting other artists to work with. I want to convey through my art that our lives are not defined by others’ actions. Now, I’m chanting for the happiness of my whole family.


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