I Awakened One Lion!

Two youth who recently introduced other young people to the practice talk about what motivates them to share Buddhism.

World Tribune: How did you introduce your friend to Buddhism?

Joe Schoendorf(Los Angeles): I met him through work in another city. I’m usually very open about introducing Buddhism to others, so I shared SGI President Ikeda’s quotes with him. When he moved to Los Angeles, I invited him to
an intro-to-Buddhism meeting here, and a lot of the Buddhist philosophy resonated with him.

Sara Luther(Texas): I was chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to introduce a friend to the practice. Then, I naturally began to develop a friendship with someone at the gym, and we started hanging out outside of classes. I gently mentioned that I was Buddhist, and she asked me about it. She told me that I was always positive, and was wondering how someone could be so happy.

WT: How has sharing Buddhism impacted your life?

Joe: I’m developing more appreciation for my own life and the lives of others. I used to feel the need to show off and let others define my life, but now I feel genuine confidence in myself. The way I connect with others is really changing and it’s now based on respect.

Because of these internal changes, my work has been opening up too. I received a new job opportunity around the same time that my friend received the Gohonzon. I feel that I’m in the right place and that I’m in control of my life.

Sara: At work, I’m eligible to receive monthly bonuses, but I would usually receive one here and there. Since I started challenging myself to talk to more people about Buddhism, I’ve been getting a bonus each month.

I think chanting and making efforts to introduce people to the practice make me more aware of how I live my life at each moment. I have so much more appreciation and feel more joy when I do. And my bosses have noticed a change in my attitude, which definitely played a major role in my receiving these bonuses.

WT: Why do you tell people about Buddhism?

Joe: I do it because of the changes I’ve seen in my own life. Through my Buddhist practice, I feel that I’m actually living my life. I used to be focused on superficial appearances, but now I’m creating a strong foundation. I want other youth to be able to take control of their lives and impact the direction of our society.

Sara: Shakubuku is important to me because this practice and the SGI have brought me happiness. It would be wrong of me to not want other people in my life to experience this same joy. I want people in Texas to know that happiness exists within each of us. Also, I want to become a stronger woman in my career and not be afraid of any challenges.