by Andy Utsumi
Arlington, Texas

I’m an assistant principal of an elementary school, where we currently have about a third learning virtually (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Many of them are having a hard time with online learning, so I have been encouraging our virtual students by phone and having cafeteria lunches on Zoom together.

We also had a devastating storm a few weeks ago, so I have been reaching out to students’ families and finding assistance for them.

Every day, I’m trying to infuse my daimoku (chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo) with Buddhist study and plant as many seeds of Buddhahood as possible by sharing Buddhism with others. Last month, one of our teachers had a flat tire, so I called for roadside assistance. I introduced the service guy to the practice and gave him a Nam-myoho-renge-kyo card. At the end of our conversation, he said: “I’m almost in tears. I really need something like this.”

Someone connected me to a young man in December. He is chanting consistently and recently got a job. He now has hope that he can break through his visa situation. Hearing these kinds of experiences reminds me that another person’s victory is my victory, and that my victory is Ikeda Sensei’s victory.

Hope is such a necessary aspect of life, not only to survive but to thrive. And through our practice of Nichiren Buddhism, we have hope every day.