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Hope in Uncertain Circumstances

Photo by Michael Coffey.

by Mark Allison
Athens, Tenn.

When I first encountered Nichiren Buddhism around February 2020, I had resigned from my job due to health issues, and my marriage was falling apart. I felt like I wasn’t a good husband or friend, and I didn’t like who I had become. It was hard to look at myself in the mirror, and I considered escaping everything by taking my own life. I was skeptical about chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and with all the challenges that kept happening, I couldn’t stick with it.

But that December, I was still miserable and decided to get back into chanting. Some of the skepticism went away, and I did gongyo and chanted wholeheartedly, sometimes for several hours a day. Slowly but surely, the negative thoughts and self-doubt faded, and hope appeared. I started taking responsibility for my situation, and one month later, I found the strength to return to my job.

Then, on March 16, 2021, I got into a near-fatal car accident. It was a wake-up call. I could see how chanting since December had not only protected my life but transformed my heart. I was happy to be alive.

I started actively chanting to move my life forward. In the process, I mended my relationship with my ex and repaired our friendship.

Athens is a small town, but I’m hoping we can grow our SGI-USA district here. Whenever I see someone who seems like they could use the practice, I tell them that chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo gave me the power to change my life. I am trying to turn my whole life around and show people that even in really uncertain circumstances, you can have belief, hope and happiness.

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