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Not Giving Up Is the Key


by Shirsa Udgata
27 years old

I used to hate myself because of how much I was compared to my sister. My relatives would always say: “Look at your sister. She’s so great. She’s amazing at her studies.” Things got worse for me when I moved to the United States in 2015. I had zero friends and even ended up sleeping at the campus library to avoid bullying from my roommates.

My mom was worried and encouraged me to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and join the SGI community. I was skeptical, so after attending one SGI gathering, I disappeared. But I started seeing changes from chanting consistently and was eventually embraced by SGI members who taught me the basics of Buddhist practice. As I learned about this life-affirming philosophy, I began to take responsibility for my life. And as I changed inside, I began attracting people who respected me.

In 2018, my work was preparing for a huge presentation at one of the world’s foremost medical research centers. They worried about whether I could handle such a big presentation, but I confidently assured them that I could do it. Chanting every step of the way, I confronted my doubts and, to my surprise, my idea was accepted. We received funding to hire a team to work on a revolutionary approach to pancreatic cancer research. Our findings will be published soon in a leading medical journal, with me as the lead author.

I’ve always wanted to help people. Buddhism enabled me to find my lifelong mission. This fall, I will be starting my doctoral program in cancer biology. I want to prove with my life that even if you fail 50 times, the 51st time you will win. Not giving up is the key.

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