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Hope in Times of Struggle


by Manav Mehta
27 years old

I grew up praying to external deities to solve my problems. I often begged for my wishes to be realized instead of taking action myself. When things didn’t happen in my favor, I’d call myself unlucky and blame others for my unhappiness.

My girlfriend, on the other hand, was hopeful and optimistic about everything after she began practicing Buddhism. So, I decided to give it a try. When I chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, my perspective really changed. Although my environment didn’t change right away, when challenges came up, I started asking myself, What can I change within my life to address this?

This shift served me well when I moved from India to Chicago for school in 2018. Being in a new country was difficult, but I chanted honestly about everything in my heart, which gave me the courage to squarely face my problems.

Last summer, an internship offer I received was rescinded because of my immigration status. Devastated, I chanted and studied Ikeda Sensei’s guidance, which reminded me that I have a unique mission to fulfill.

Instead of lamenting about it, I determined not to give up and continue fighting for the internship. Halfway through the summer, I started a data analytics internship. I did my best work, and my internship was extended from six weeks to six months, and then further until my graduation date.

Through my Buddhist practice, I’ve learned that there is always hope, even in times of struggle. My determination is to empower other youth to find hope, no matter how difficult things may be. While looking for new career opportunities, I know that, as long as I don’t lose confidence in myself and continue pressing forward, I will find the best path!

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