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The Most Fundamental Cause

Vow—Sudarshan (right) and his friend Brian at the Florida Nature and Culture Center in Weston, Fla., March 2023. Photo courtesy of Sudarshan Srinivasan.

by Sudarshan Srinivasan 
Fargo, N.D.

When I was 13, I had the opportunity to welcome Ikeda Sensei and Mrs. Ikeda to a culture festival in New Delhi, India. It seemed to me that Sensei’s life state was like the ocean, encompassing the auditorium and everyone in it. The atmosphere completely transformed when he entered the venue.

This was a turning point in my life. I was really struggling at the time, having problems at home and school. After the festival, I read my dad’s copy of The Human Revolution and developed a connection with Sensei without even realizing it. 

Soon after, I began doing well in school, and my relationships with my friends changed for the better. They started asking me for help with math. It sparked my interest in teaching, and now I am a professor teaching computer engineering in North Dakota.  

In 2015, I went to a conference at the Florida Nature and Culture Center, where we saw trees that Sensei had planted for each state in the U.S. After seeing the tree for North Dakota, my wife and I renewed our vow to do kosen-rufu here and shared our determination with Sensei. As Nichiren Daishonin says, “I entrust you with the propagation of Buddhism in your province” (“The Properties of Rice,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1117). It was a fresh start. 

Since 2020, I have given presentations about Nichiren Buddhism in the world religions classes at the university where I teach. And, last year, I planted over 150 seeds of Buddhahood, giving out Nam-myoho-renge-kyo cards at coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores—wherever I had an opportunity to meet people, especially youth. 

There are two main reasons why I share Buddhism. First, I have seen how people—especially young people—have turned their lives around and become happy by practicing Buddhism. My determination is to see many more capable youth emerge in North Dakota and the Midwest; that is what I am always praying for. Second, I want to transform society. We live in a society where there is so much suffering and violence. From my experience, kosen-rufu is the only way to transform it. 

I have been seeing the benefit of planting seeds in my personal life. My 4-year-old daughter, after being home for two years due to the pandemic, had anxiety about going out and back to daycare. It was really difficult watching her suffer. My wife and I chanted, planted seeds and started to take her out to help her reengage with others. Since then, while she is still a little reserved and shy, she’s made a lot of progress and has even made new friends. 

People who share Buddhism see benefit in their own lives and the lives of their kids and grandkids. It has a generational impact. I plant seeds for the happiness of my friends, community and society, as well as for the happiness of myself and my family too. It is the most fundamental cause I can make. 

Feb. 3, 2023, World Tribune, p. 10

Respect and Equality for All People

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