Skip to main content


Realizing the Strength I Have

Strong bonds—(clockwise) Jalyn Watson (second from left) with friends at the Minneapolis Buddhist Center, 2023. Photo Courtesy of Jalyn Watson.

No matter what the circumstances, the person with firm resolve can overcome any challenge or difficulty.” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 17, p. 144)

by Jalyn Watson
Northern Minnesota Chapter Young Women’s Leader,
Cloquet, Minn.

I grew up walking on eggshells in a home marked by alcoholism and abuse. When my mother passed away in 2014 and I began college, I pledged to cut my dad out of my life.

I was introduced to Buddhism in college. In my first year of practice, I had transformed many things in my life, but the one thing I felt was impossible to change was my relationship with my dad. I knew I had to confront it one day, but at that time the best I could do was to chant to become a stronger person.

In my senior year of college, I left an abusive relationship, losing my apartment in the process. Backed into a corner, I called my dad and asked if I could live with him temporarily, to which he agreed.

Old patterns and arguments resurfaced. But I was stronger this time, and I vowed to engrave Ikeda Sensei’s guidance in my life: “No matter what the circumstances, the person with firm resolve can overcome any challenge or difficulty” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 17, p. 144). 

Even after moving out, I maintained communications with my dad. At first, the phone calls were sporadic and tense. But I continued making the effort, seeking guidance from my seniors in faith on how to remain resolute in my prayer. Over the course of four years, the calls gradually became warmer, our conversations ending with, “I love you.” He even took steps to improve his health.

But in May 2023, he was transported to the hospital for acute kidney failure. He was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer with 18 months to live. Back when I lived with him, he scoffed at my Buddhist practice. But now he listened as I explained how it has helped me and even joined in chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 

I moved back in as he underwent treatment, becoming his full-time care-giver—a one-person team taking responsibility for his health care, advocating for him and managing his confusion as his cognition declined.

Even when all I wanted to do was lay in bed and cry, I chanted morning and evening, determined to have no regrets. I continued supporting my chapter and Byakuren shifts. A women’s leader would call me regularly to study Nichiren Daishonin’s writings. I knew I had to challenge this with faith first, not through external solutions. I was resolved, no matter what, that my dad would have dignity and peace, however that looked.

My dad passed away peacefully on July 24, surrounded by friends and loved ones, and in the comfort of the proper treatment we sought.

Through this, I realized the amount of strength I had to be kind and care for others. Today, I’m more confident at work, and confrontations don’t bother me like before. I realized my dream of being involved in a local horse stable, training rescue horses, and I recently began teaching lessons for kids. 

I bought a home, setting down roots in my community. And I’ve made more friends, too—opening up my life to them, sharing Buddhism more freely and even inviting them to my chapter’s March Youth Peace Festival. 

After triumphing over something so difficult, I can now say with confidence: Don’t give up on yourself; don’t give up on Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. When things are hard, you can only put one foot in front of the other, and chanting is the best way to do so.

March 15, 2024, World Tribune, p. 9

‘Robe, Seat and Room’—Taking Dialogue to the Next Level

Priceless Gems