Experience

Opening the Doors to New Possibilities

Tee Ponsukcharoen and Rachel Rubinstein share their experience taking the Introductory Exam.


by Tee Ponsukcharoen
San Fransisco

Before I was introduced to the SGI, I personally saw life in a very scientific way—just a construct of physical laws and chemical processes—and there was no room for happiness or emotions. But the sincerity and conviction in my friend who introduced me to Nichiren Buddhism made me curious about what more was there. I decided to give it a try and received the Gohonzon in February 2017.

When I learned that study was a pillar of the practice and that there was going to be an Introductory Exam, I was surprised. What does taking an exam have to do with Buddhism? I thought. But the members helped me prepare, and the experiences they shared enabled me to see how these Buddhist concepts came alive in their lives.

This process deepened my faith and inspired in me a seeking spirit. Although I’m new to it all and was once someone who didn’t care for happiness, I shared this practice with my mother with deep confidence that she could become happy through Buddhism, too. I also feel more connected with my father who had passed.

I want to continue expanding my life so I can empathize with others even more. Practicing Buddhism, supported by study, enables me to open new doors that I wasn’t seeing before.

 

by Rachel Rubinstein
Chicago

Earlier this year, I ran into a friend and we ended up in a discussion about Buddhism—something I had always been interested in. He invited me to a kosen-rufu gongyo meeting, and I was inspired by the experiences and diversity of the members there. I was able to see myself practicing this Buddhism; something just felt right.

This April, I decided to receive the Gohonzon and also participate in the chorus group for the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival. And a few months later, I was also encouraged to take the Introductory Exam. I really jumped into it all.

The concepts I found in Buddhism made sense, and they resonated with what I already believed: the interconnectedness of life, each person possessing limitless potential and the power of supporting others. But through studying for the Introductory Exam, I felt I was becoming more aware of who I was—a leader who can serve others.

This awareness, along with the support I received, empowered me to take on responsibilities in the 50K chorus group. Challenging my faith, practice and study in this way gave me hope that I can lead myself and help others to new possibilities.

With so much going on in the world, kosen-rufu must be achieved!