Creating Hope Amid COVID-19

Transforming a Loss Into Benefit and Happiness


by Swati Basu
San Francisco

When I lost my job in June 2020, I was forced to think outside the box amid the COVID-19 situation. I always had the dream of opening my own small business that would allow me to apply my skills and creativity. In the pandemic, I had rekindled my passion for cooking, and after countless hours of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, I thought of starting a catering service with healthy, fresh home-cooked food.

On July 1, I gathered my courage and began offering lunch services to just two clients. My business has grown significantly, and I now have consistent clients. Every day, I chant abundantly before I go into the kitchen, after clients pick up their food and, again, in the evening. It definitely hasn’t been easy to manage everything, but my strength comes from the Gohonzon, Ikeda Sensei’s guidance and sharing this Buddhist philosophy with others. No matter how exhausted I am, at the end of the day, I feel true happiness.

I have recently introduced Buddhism to four youth, including my former co-worker who chants every day and attends her district meetings. She said she is ready to receive the Gohonzon as soon as this pandemic is over.

Sensei says we can transform the worst circumstances into benefit and happiness through faith. I have absolute conviction in my mentor’s words, and I am determined to show actual proof to the people I have introduced and create hope in their hearts.