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HOPE Champion

Chanting Helps Me Believe in Myself

Photo by Eric Falcone.

by Rajani Falcone 
Cambridge, Mass. 

For many years, I suffered from anxiety and depression. I was locked into a narrow view of myself and had lost sight of my potential and what I could accomplish. Even though I wanted to be a positive person and had many dreams, I was in such a dark place mentally that I couldn’t find a way out. 

When I was really looking for something to help me overcome this negative pattern, in January 2021, I saw one of my friend’s social media posts about Nichiren Buddhism. It was beautiful. I strongly felt that it was for me and needed to know what it was about. 

After reaching out to my friend and talking with her about Buddhism, I thought it seemed too good to be true. But, I felt instantly connected. I started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that same day and felt good right away. After dealing with mental health challenges for so long, I honestly couldn’t believe it. 

I wanted to test the “new me” after I started chanting and see if I could pass a project management certification exam. Studying for it takes a lot of time, dedication and patience, so when I started in 2020, I felt overwhelmed. 

But I chanted for strength and a can-do attitude. Suddenly, I dared to study for four hours every day, and did so for two straight months. I’m not a morning person, so I don’t know what happened, but I would wake up every morning at 6 a.m. to study before work. I was determined to pass the exam and encourage my friends and family who also struggle with low self-esteem. 

On July 16, 2021, I passed the exam. I was over the moon! I realized that I am a smart person and can do anything if I put my heart into it. I can’t appreciate my Buddhist practice enough for giving me that type of strength and belief in myself.

I used to be the person who always questioned why things were happening to me. But now, I can say I’m actually happy when I’m dealing with a challenge because it only makes me stronger. That’s how I take it, and that’s what I teach others.

Q: As I get older, I feel lonelier. What practical steps can I take to feel more a part of society?

This Month in Soka Gakkai History (August)