by Katy Saini
34 years old
Centreville, VA.

When I was 9 months old, I contracted bacterial meningitis and lost my hearing permanently. This experience eventually led me to become a teacher for deaf and hard of hearing children and those with other disabilities.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, I decided that my co-teacher and I would have a joyful time teaching our students virtually, despite their behavioral challenges and language delays. We also took advantage of the fact that parents were home, too, and started teaching them how to communicate with their children.

At the same time, we transitioned to virtual SGI meetings. My negative experiences with sign language interpreters were discouraging, and I was drained having to explain Buddhism to them.

But through engaging in the ABC Campaign[1] as a chapter young women’s leader, I started feeling excited about sharing this practice with my interpreters. Some of them said they want to learn American Sign Language for Buddhist terminology to help deaf Buddhists like me! Also, my co-teacher is now chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

With my Buddhist practice, I now value my mission for kosen-rufu as a person of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Notes

  1. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SGI-USA initiated the ABC Campaign: A: Abundant chanting; B: Buddhist study; C: Connect life to life with members, guests and family (by phone or videoconferencing).