The Buddhist Response to COVID-19
This Is a Teachable Moment
by NaKia Morgan
Fresh Meadows District Young Women’s Leader
Hospital Care Investigator
As a hospital care investigator, I ensure that each person who comes to our hospital can be admitted without hindrances due to insurance or payment issues. The hospital climate, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, is mixed. Some days people operate with fear, and other days they are more cheerful. Because of my Buddhist practice, I want to be the example of supporting others and not giving up.
Recently, I was reassigned to work on death certificates. Not knowing what to expect, I received a list of names of deceased patients and was asked to call their next of kin. I had to confirm with them that they were aware of their family member’s passing and had made arrangements to move their bodies from the hospital. I chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo softly three times and started making calls. One of the first people I called was very shocked and upset. Through our interaction, I determined to touch her Buddha nature and make her feel that she was being fully supported.
By the end of the conversation, her tone had shifted, and she thanked me deeply. At the end of the day, I realized that making these calls was my opportunity to pull forth their Buddha nature, as well as my own, and help them in their time of need.
I’m working many hours but haven’t missed a beat in my Buddhist practice. During a break at work, I joined my district meeting via Zoom and invited a co-worker. She was really encouraged and is looking forward to the next one!
“One Youth. Infinite Hope.” is about seeing one another’s perspectives and coming together to create infinite hope—not just during this pandemic but for anything else we will have to battle in the future. This is a teachable moment.
A Strong Life Force Is the Key to Victory!
by Marlyn Miller
Whidbey Island Chapter Men’s Leader
Oak Harbor, Wash.
Each time I’ve found myself in a dire situation, whether it’s regarding finances or health issues like cancer, thanks to my Buddhist practice, I’ve beaten it all. That’s why I know that nothing can stop me—not even COVID-19.
I was sent to Washington, D.C., for a work course in February when the first case of COVID-19 in Maryland was detected right across the street from where I was staying. Soon after, I found myself in my hotel room shaking with the chills and unable to breathe well. I was admitted into the emergency room, testing positive for coronavirus, in addition to Influenza A and pneumonia. My condition was so bad that the doctor told me I would likely have to be put in a coma and placed on a ventilator.
My first thought was No way! and immediately started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I thought about other SGI members’ experiences and Ikeda Sensei’s guidance that our life force has to be stronger than any obstacle. I chanted nonstop with the determination that I would recover no matter what, imagining the fluid in my lungs disappearing.
Before long, my temperature started to drop, and my breathing improved. Nurses and doctors were shocked that I made a complete turnaround in only 14 hours. I continued to chant to be stronger than this illness and was released from the hospital after just three days. Soon after, test results came back showing I was free of the virus and even had the antibodies for COVID-19. I’m determined to encourage young people who are isolated and struggling right now. Everyone has the capability to overcome this challenge, but we need life force. All we have to do is exercise caution, make a clear determination and chant!