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On the Right Path

Queens, N.Y. Photo by Alexis Gibson.

by Anna Lane
Belmont, Mass. 

At a point in my life when I was struggling with self-confidence and being comfortable in my own skin, my young women’s leader encouraged me to join the Byakuren Group. I was inspired by her life and wanted to become joyful like many of the other young women I saw at our Buddhist meetings, and I wanted to make as many causes as possible. 

With my busy work and school schedule, I need a strong life force every day. So ever since I started supporting as a Byakuren Group member, raising my life condition has been my No. 1 goal. Every shift, I am challenged to respect myself and the person in front of me. 

Recently, I was supporting a big meeting in Boston. Those of us who support behind the scenes go early to chant daimoku for the meeting’s success and to prepare. One of the ways we train our lives is by challenging ourselves to be punctual. But that day, I was stuck in traffic and worried that I was going to be late for my shift. The parking spot I found wasn’t the best, so I was rushing to the center on foot when someone stopped me on the street. It was an SGI member who had driven from more than an hour away to attend the meeting. He asked if I knew a restaurant in the area.

My first instinct was to be frustrated, thinking, Can’t you see I’m in a rush? But then I remembered that the whole point of the Byakuren Group is to support the members. What would my Byakuren training be for if I just ran past this member and gave him a dirty look? So, I stopped, and we shared a brief conversation and a smile before I continued on my way. 

From that encounter, I realized how much everything goes back to our life condition and daimoku. Byakuren training isn’t about doing everything perfectly; it’s about the spirit and effort we put into it. I learned that I don’t have to try to fit some image of what I think the ideal Byakuren member is “supposed” to look like. I can just be my true self.  

I’ve learned a lot through my Byakuren training: I’ve been able to respond to stressful situations more calmly and manage many things at once, which I often have to do at work. I’ve learned that I have a far greater capacity than what my mind thought I did, that I am capable, and that I can believe in my own Buddhahood. Through Byakuren, I’ve learned that having Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Ikeda Sensei and this practice is the source of victory. I can be confident that I am on the right path.

July 21, 2023, World Tribune, p. 10

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