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Transforming Grief Into Hope for Others

by Hiro Uryu
New York

Last year, I experienced the sudden and tragic loss of a dear friend. I couldn’t pick myself up and began questioning the meaning of life, faith and kosen-rufu. I desperately chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and sought guidance from my seniors in faith. I felt that chanting on its own wasn’t enough. I also had to take action to break through the heavy clouds in my heart.

The SGI-USA men’s division launched the “55 Challenge” (in which each man determined to plant 55 seeds of the Mystic Law to mark the 55th anniversary of the men’s division in 2021). I decided that I would plant 55 seeds for myself and plant another 55 on behalf of my friend who had passed away.

Every day, I would chant, go to Central Park and find young men I could talk to. I asked them if I could have 30 seconds of their time and shared about my recent loss and let them know that their lives were precious. I would say: “Please believe in yourself and your future! Even in the darkest moments, please choose hope. When you can’t feel hope, reach out to someone. I am a Buddhist. If you don’t have anything to rely on, I’d love to share Buddhism with you. I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which has the power to bring out your greatest life state.”

Halfway through my goal of planting 110 seeds, I started questioning whether I was having any impact on others. As I read Ikeda Sensei’s guidance in The New Human Revolution, I was reminded that I must have conviction in the causes I was making. Every day, I picked myself up and went out to speak to even one person about Buddhism regardless of how unmotivated I felt. Slowly, but surely, I got my energy back, and I felt hope again.

Within a month, I shared Buddhism with 120 young people: Joe, Abdur, Isaac, Antonio, Hamid and many more. There were high school kids who listened intently, teenagers who expressed deep emotion and a group of young men in ROTC who shed tears as they listened. In that one month, my apathy disappeared, and I felt the joy and sadness of others. I understood that kosen-rufu is achieved through waves of countless people doing their human revolution. Thus, it cannot be realized without continuous heartfelt dialogues to inspire people to live a hope-filled life. The way I can establish a life of hope and conviction is through my daily efforts to awaken others to their potential.

I still sometimes feel pain, but I feel closer to my friend than ever. This experience helped me understand that our victories lie in walking the path of kosen-rufu. I have immense gratitude to my friend for providing me with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grasp this point. I am determined to continue to initiate hopeful dialogues and plant the seed of happiness in the lives of those around me and fight against the negative functions that deny human dignity.

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At a Glance