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Never Give Up, and Never Give In!

Visionary—Brenda Mettle in Dover, Del., January 2024.

Brenda Mettle: My husband was the one who taught me how to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in 1983. We had a young son and a baby on the way. While I was struggling with depression and difficult relationships, what actually got me chanting was a prob-
lem with my hip—something that would require four surgeries along the way.

Now, looking back on 40 years of Buddhist practice, I’ve accumulated many treasures of the heart. I’ve helped my mother and sister begin their own practice, my kids and grandkids chant, and we’ve overcome family disharmony. With my hip, I’ve been so protected. At the crucial moment, we discovered and treated a faulty hip implant that could’ve killed me if left untreated.

Brenda: In 2019, I felt this sense of urgency that there was more I could do for kosen-rufu—I just didn’t know what.

As I chanted, I remembered how I enjoyed drawing when I was younger. I had some talent but never did anything with it. My prayer was to use everything in my life for kosen-rufu, and I knew art had to be a part of it.

Then, one day, as I was reading the SGI-USA publications, I thought to myself, Someday, Sensei won’t be here, and I want the world to see him and his compassion and humanity. I decided I will paint portraits of him and display them for the general public to learn about him.

But, I had no idea how! So, I went to the library and got some books on painting and dove in, starting with portraits of my mother and grandmother.

Brenda: My tendency to procrastinate took center stage. I either couldn’t get started with a project or left them unfinished. I remembered what Sensei said: 

Instead of becoming discouraged by setbacks or changes in our circumstances, we need to lift ourselves up and take on new challenges with greater energy. The important thing is that we remain true to the goal we have pledged to achieve, that we burn with ever-brighter fighting spirit to win in the end.[1]

I developed a routine of chanting, then painting and chanting some more. Repeating this process, I finished many paintings—including one of the historic photo of Sensei about to board his flight to the U.S. in October 1960. Just as the doors to worldwide kosen-rufu opened up then, the doors to my painting opened up.

By my birthday, I had a few art shows in my community and completed my goal of 15 paintings! To celebrate this, my daughter surprised me with a birthday art show at a hotel—with a big buffet and my children, my 11 grandkids and my friends in attendance. I was awestruck. My tears of joy overflowed.

Brenda:My grandkids are my inspiration—they keep me going. I’m always chanting for them. And whenever my grandkids visit me, they know it’s a must that we chant.

I want to see each of them grow and develop their own practice. They’re the next generation. There’s so much violence in the world, so I want them to not only become happy but to teach others how to become happy, too.

Brenda: Yes. I want to see an SGI-USA Buddhist center in the Delmarva Peninsula. I want to paint more and open my own art gallery. And I want to help young people find Nichiren Buddhism.

Toward the “Advance With 10 Friends”[2] effort, I started chanting to meet young people that really need this practice. I recently shared Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with a young woman at a store. The next time I went in, she said, “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!” She had shared it with her friends and asked me for Nam-myoho-renge-kyo cards to give them. I thought, Wow, I didn’t need to do much work, did I?

This year’s theme, Year of Fresh Departure for a Youthful Soka Gakkai Worldwide, is the fuel for my determinations. As my friends say to me: “You still have that youthful look!”

Brenda: Have your own goal to chant for even 5 minutes a day. And little by little, you can chant more. Most importantly, never give up and never give in!

February 9, 2024, World Tribune, p. 10


  1. April 5, 2013, World Tribune, p. 3. ↩︎
  2. In March, SGI-USA will join members around the world in hosting country-specific youth peace gatherings. For the SGI-USA, the youth have pledged to gather 10,000 young people at chapter-level March Youth Peace Festivals. The SGI-USA motto toward March is “Advance With 10 Friends.” This is based on Sensei’s guidance, “If each of you can cultivate 10 genuine friendships, then kosen-rufu will surely advance!” (Feb. 18, 2022, World Tribune, p. 8). ↩︎

Always Seeking, Always Growing

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