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Carrying on My Mom’s Fighting Spirit


by Jasmine Pogue
33 years old 
Baton Rouge, LA.

I was 15 when my mom died from cancer. I tried to understand and reconcile what had happened.

Around that time, a friend told me that by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, I could reconnect with my mom’s life. I wasn’t seeking spirituality, but a few years later, I accepted her invitation to an SGI meeting. I longed for a sense of community, and the Buddhist concept of not relying on an outside deity motivated me to start practicing. I received the Gohonzon in 2007.

I had always felt a lot of anger inside, and not knowing what to do with it, I just let it sit in my heart. As I chanted, I understood why I felt angry and, more importantly, how to transform it and create value.

Buddhism also answered the questions I had about my mom’s passing, helping me recognize the unique mission and beauty of her life. Throughout her battle with stage 4 cancer, nurses said my mom was always cheerful, bringing smiles to their faces.

I look at her life as an example of persevering in the midst of life—because death is a part of life, not the end. And I can continue my mom’s legacy by carrying on her fighting spirit every day. Most importantly, I’m practicing Buddhism because of her. She gave me the most wonderful gift, because it means I can see the infinite value of my life and help my friends discover the same.

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