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Becoming My Own Friend

Headshot of Kara Durham

by Kara Durham
Salt Lake City, Utah

Over 10 years ago, I was introduced to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but because my life was shaken by a health condition, I forgot about Buddhism.

Then, in 2018, I lost four people who were very important to me. The depression that followed felt insurmountable. I started therapy but couldn’t muster the will or desire to see the good around me.

I decided to reconnect with the SGI in March 2020. Together with a wonderful SGI member, I read the first volume of The New Human Revolution, and my life started to change.

Soon after, an internal voice crept in, saying: What’s the point? Nothing really matters. When I heard this voice in the past, I was usually overcome with an unshakable fog of depression and self-loathing and had to pretend that everything was fine. But this time, something was different. Almost immediately, another voice inside me said: I deserve to be happy. I don’t have to accept this anymore.

For the first time, I had the desire to fight back. After chanting every day for a week, the negative voice was gone. The other voice remained, like a hero who had chased off a monster. After a lifetime of self-hatred, at last I had become my own friend.

My vow for 2021 to be a year of victory has already been realized. I have found belief. I am emboldened by Ikeda Sensei’s wisdom. I no longer face my demons alone. Instead, I am filled with the light of hope and strength from my SGI family and, most of all, from my own life.

‘When We Change, Our Land Will Change’

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado