A little while ago, I was aked to attend a youth panel at a religious forum. There were about 8 youths from different religious backgrounds, I gave this experience, and then answered questions from the audience. If you have any questioins, about buddhism, or about myself, please ask, I will try to be active here in the forums.
As a youth living in Australia
Hello, I am Tim Steains. I was born in Newcastle, am half Japanese, and am a lay Nichiren Buddhist. My parent’s are both Buddhists, but I only started practising this Buddhism about a year ago. I’ve learnt and developed so much however, in that small time. Looking back at my personality before practicing, I was angry and weak, but mostly lost. I didn’t know where to go with my life, and often longed to be an adult, and get a job, get a car, as if life would be easy as an adult. I didn’t put any effort into high-school too and simply suffered wanting to get out. I was also quite timid. I rarely went up to someone I didn’t know and ask them a question. Even in class, I very rarely put up my hand, and gave my point of view. What I didn’t realise was, if I didn’t take my life on now, I would never develop as an individual. If I constantly longed to escape, I would simply sink lower and lower into suffering. I also had no real understanding of who I was. I think I started practicing during a holiday break last year. I was really really bored, and I came to realise, I don’t want to do nothing, I want to live life. i.e go to school. But strangely, or not so strangely, that’s when I wanted to start Buddhism. I began to read about Buddhism, and practise it. I could really relate to it, and could feel a deep change, right from the beginning. What I realised when practising and studying Buddhism was that, if I have a strong faith and conviction in my life, I can take on any problem, and I can win in anything. When I have this solid confidence and relationship with my life, that is when benefits will start coming in. What Buddhism also helped me in school with, was organisation. I had no medium for concentration or contemplation. I was very disorganised, and lazy. Due assignments would just go over the top of my head, or I just couldn’t find the motivation to do them properly. Buddhist practise helps me to look at my current situation, and figure out what I will do, and when and how I will do it. Otherwise, I would probably just be blindly watching TV, as I did, thinking that the struggle of school and homework was unnecessary. I would say to myself; “I could do it, if I wanted to”, and then not do it. So now I’m doing very well in school now, and am enjoying it immensely. Even though I am doing well in school, I still want to develop my character and personality further. I want to be able to encourage my friends and the people around me. Before Buddhism, I had no real sense of helping others; evidently I didn’t really want to help myself. I often put others down, I was self-righteous, and uncompassionate. It seems as if, when you don’t know yourself, you don’t others. I’m just going to quote Daisaku Ikeda, the president of the SGI: “You should become the kind of individual who is sort after by everyone. People should say of you ‘There is a certain brightness about him. He makes me feel at ease, inspiring me and giving me a new sense of courage’. Also, amid the harsh realities of society, you must raise your banner as victors in life.” This sense of compassion and awareness works hand in hand with living life. Because when you sincerely advance, your innate wisdom grows, and you will be able to relate to, and help those around you. What can I do to help my environment, friends and acquaintances? How will I achieve my goals? This is what Buddhist practise gives me, and I use this in my life. I have a strong relationship with many friends, and I try to help them when they seem down. I won’t brag so much if I do well in a test or something, even though they normally will, when they do well. But I think it’s important that I connect with them, if I want to encourage them. I go to a selective school, so it’s very competitive, but I try to praise them when they achieve something, and support them when they are in hard times. Another more light-hearted thing is; Buddhism has in fact helped me a lot in playing soccer. I play soccer for the local club, and am the Goal Keeper in the A team. This year we won our age group for the area, and we now represent it, against other area winners. Goal Keeping is a demanding position. It requires good judgement and courage. You need to be able to know when to come out off the line, and you need to know that you can do it. Otherwise, you’ve lost already. Since practicing Buddhism, I have far more courage, and understanding in soccer. It has really forced me to show my potential. So, really it comes down to my faith. When I understand my potential, and my life, I can really develop and advance, and also help my friends. I’ll end with a poem-quote about youth again from Daisaku Ikeda: “Youth! Embracing the sun in your hearts, Advance again with heads held high! Ahead! Only when bathed in sunlight will a Young sapling become a mighty tree. The light will never reach you if you Hide behind a wall of sorrow, Despising your surroundings, or swept Away by the past.”
17th June 2002
I sincerely hope that you're not trying to use that nice anecdote to suggest that people without buddhism are incomplete and inferior... it sounds like you're trying to offer alternatives, but I think we should clear that one up.
Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
As a youth living in Australia
I?m just going to quote Daisaku Ikeda, the president of the SGI: ?You should become the kind of individual who is sort after by everyone. People should say of you ?There is a certain brightness about him. He makes me feel at ease, inspiring me and giving me a new sense of courage?.
This is all very well but it runs the danger of feeling your better than others. As for questions there are a few , do you worship a god ,how respectfull are you of other religions ,do you allow dual beliefs and last but not least , who is Daisaku Ikeda and what is the SGI.
"I sincerely hope that you're not trying to use that nice anecdote to suggest that people without buddhism are incomplete and inferior... it sounds like you're trying to offer alternatives, but I think we should clear that one up" nonono, What I'm saying here, is that buddhism(this is just my experience) has given me, personally the courage to achieve great things in life. ANy religon, belief or way of life that gives this to you is great and really fulfilling. "This is all very well but it runs the danger of feeling your better than others." That's only if you choose to be like that though. It doesn't run into danger if you don't be like that. "do you worship a god ,how respectfull are you of other religions ,do you allow dual beliefs and last but not least , who is Daisaku Ikeda and what is the SGI" No we don't worship Gods. We are sincerely against people discriminate other religions. We like to see the similarities in religon, and try to give and gain wisdom from everyone's point of view. We do not see other religions as inferior, or us to be better than them. Dual Belief? We aren't against other religions, but like all religions I suppose if you have a sincere faith in it then you don't need other sources of faith, because buddhism is all encompassing. Christianity can do he same sort of things for you, but if you don't believe in it then it's different right. If you know a lot about Judaism, and you have full faith in it, then you probably won't want to look for another faith(I'm not saying anything negative against Judaism). So what I'm saying is that, if you are truly religious in a certain faith, or truly believe in something, then unless someone shows you another way that you can understand then you don't need another way of life. BTW, why do you ask? Do you want more from that question? The SGI(Soka Gakkai International) is a lay Nichiren Buddhist organisation, which has almost 20 million members all around the world I believe and in something like 180 countries. It is an organisation to support Nichiren Buddhists and also does a lot of work to create peace in it's community, not only through teaching buddhism, eventhough we do pracise it(not in a forceful manner) Soka Gakkai means value creating society. Daisaku Ikeda is the President of the SGI, he's a mentor. He gives us guidance all the time to strengthen our faith, he also has dialgoues with world renowned poets, thinkers, leaders. He submits a yearly peace proposal to the UN too. He is not a buddha who we worship or anything, he's a human being who has achieved great things, who is continuing to do so, and is teaching us the essence of budshim for us to live happy lives. oh yeh and he's from Japan, Japan is where Nichiren Buddhism originated. We call him sensei, which is Japanese for teacher.
17th June 2002
nonono, What I'm saying here, is that buddhism(this is just my experience) has given me, personally the courage to achieve great things in life. ANy religon, belief or way of life that gives this to you is great and really fulfilling.
:thumbsup: That's all I needed to know. With that out of the way, good for you. Glad you found something to make you feel a part of something, and something that gave you confidence.
hehe, thanx Matt :)