My friend Rodney happily volunteered to participate in this series of interviews. Read his replies below on why he follows this form of Buddhism;
1. How long have you practiced this form of spirituality? 38 years
2. What about it fulfills your spiritual needs? I feel tremendous confidence — even when faced with the most daunting outward situations, and by the negative workings of my spiritual interior — that I can transform everything into the positive. I do this through my diligent practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and staying connected with my faith community (a.k.a., sangha), SGI-USA.
3. What challenges (if any) does being a (fill in the blank) pose in everyday life? In the first couple years of my Buddhist practice, I sometimes encountered awkward social situations rooted in the double-whammy of others misunderstanding my faith as an SGI Nichiren Buddhist, and my own shyness about it. But as I grew more comfortable with explaining my beliefs, the awkwardness went away. Now it’s just a happy part of my daily life.
4. Are there any misconceptions people have about your belief system you’d like to clear up? Misconceptions? I guess the biggie is the notion that *the* spiritual practice for all Buddhists is to depart the trappings of society for meditation on a mountaintop. Rather, with the SGI practice, we are completely engaged in the comings & goings of day-to-day life. My practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo before the Gohonzon (our object of devotion) causes a vast spiritual landscape to unfold before me, right in my own living room (or when chanting with friends — at their home)! So, it’s not necessary to physically go to another place, when I have somewhere special to go in my own heart. But words cannot do it justice: it’s like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. It’s kind of like taking a “spiritual shower” or “the best drugs ever” — but without any of the negative side effects, legality issues, or cost (since it’s completely free).