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Propagating Buddhism on Campus

Photo by Lilartsy on Unsplash.

This month, we celebrate 65 years since second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda founded the student division on June 30, 1957. SGI-USA student division members are striving to expose their friends on campus to the power of Nichiren Buddhism to discover the great purpose of their lives. Ikeda Sensei recalled guidance from Mr. Toda on spreading the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism at universities.

We need to let the world know that the Buddhist teachings of compassion and respect for the sanctity of life, the philosophy upheld by the Soka Gakkai, are important ideas that can lead all people to happiness. Universities can play a key role in this regard. When universities around the world come to appreciate the significance of Buddhist philosophy and begin to study and research it, a new intellectual movement will be born. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 19, p. 180)

In this section we will highlight courageous SGI-USA student division members who are propagating Buddhism on campus.

Megha Mozumdar

Temple University
Major: International Business

I started college in August 2020, when classes were still virtual. It was so isolating, moving to a new city without any friends or family, with life online.

When I finally got connected to an SGI district and my university’s campus club, I felt grounded. I realized that no matter where I am, with the SGI, I have familiarity with people and know that I’m not alone. Having members chanting for you and being there to listen to you has been so gratifying and nourishing for my life.

I knew that if I was suffering from isolation, so many other students must be going through similar challenges. I determined to share Buddhism with people, especially starting last year, as in-person events increased on campus. I’ve been inviting friends and promoting our SGI campus activities throughout campus. As a result, we have had more guests attend our campus club meetings!

When you go to college, you want to explore yourself, which is a very exciting yet scary process. In a sense, we are becoming adults, and going through this transition during a global pandemic has made this process very challenging. Buddhist practice gives you a path to overcoming your struggles and believing in yourself. And the SGI community provides an anchor of support, which is crucial for students especially at this time.

As the Temple University campus club president, I want to put my all into growing the club for the happiness of my friends and classmates.

Anderson Pequero

New York University
Major: Social Work

I learned about the SGI during a difficult time. I had just graduated with my bachelor’s from Columbia University and wasn’t accepted to a graduate program. A member of the gym where I was working, who became a good friend, introduced me to chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and brought me to SGI meetings. I received the Gohonzon in February 2020.

The more I chanted and studied Buddhism, the more I moved my life forward. I found clarity on my career goal to be a therapist and was accepted to NYU’s Silver School of Social Work master’s program!

Starting graduate school during the COVID-19 pandemic was an isolating experience, especially with virtual classes. So the NYU SGI campus club became my lifeline, where I made close friends. I was also happy to introduce a friend to Buddhism who joined one of our meetings.

Being a student is fraught with challenges. With all the new opportunities and independence come responsibilities and pressures. I’ve learned that Buddhist practice empowers and disciplines us to deal with the problems life throws at you during this formative time in life. This is why I love sharing Buddhism with my friends.

I will receive my master’s in social work this year and am determined to become a therapist who can empower others to transform their lives, so that they too can become agents of hope.

The Engaged Intellects of the Student Division

A Lifelong Quest for Peace