Experience

Making a Difference, No Matter How Big or Small

Photo by Rebecca Owens.


by Daniel Asato Gonzalez
Lafayette, LA.

I’m a film student in my last semester of college, and I’ll be the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. One of the things I’ve been challenging the most in our HOPE Campaign is study. Since I’m a student, the thought of doing more study can be overwhelming, but I’ve realized the benefit you gain from Buddhist study is not just intellectual.

By reading Ikeda Sensei’s guidance and Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, I can sense their compassion, and this allows me to open my eyes and heart to the people around me, including my parents and many friends who are stifled by the quarantine and feel alone. This year, I became a young men’s chapter leader.

Every Sunday, the young men and I have a virtual study meeting, which challenges me to tailor the encouragement for each specific week—whether it’s based on something that we’re struggling with or a subject that has come up in our conversations. Most recently, we read Sensei’s guidance in the World Tribune about how to share Nichiren Buddhism from the heart.

I try to really listen to others and understand them. This, in turn, helps me understand myself better.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m also able to interact with people at the grocery store where I work. My goal every day is to genuinely connect with others, even if for just a brief moment, and make them smile. Although I am only one person, I want to have some kind of impact on society, no matter how big or small.