Buddhist Solutions for Life's Problems


A family rift. Debt. Finding a career you love. Heartbreak. Tap into 3,000 years of Buddhist wisdom to find real solutions to life’s problems. Journalist Jihii Jolly explores her own Nichiren Buddhist community through the lives of everyday people—mechanics, CEOs, mothers, artists—who are applying the teachings of Buddhism to win over their most aggravating problems. Jihii has written for The New York Times and The Atlantic, and is a member of the Buddhist community Soka Gakkai International (SGI).

All Episodes

Today’s episode is about mental health, which was one of our most requested topics of the year. Because there’s so much to cover, it’s divided into four parts, which you can listen to all at once, or you can check the show notes for time stamps to skip to the section that most resonates with you, though they are best understood in total.Part 1 (4:33)We discuss what the Buddhist definition of health is and how we’re defining mental health on this episode, through a conversation with two mental health professionals who happen to also practice SGI Nichiren Buddhism, therapist Mindy Milam and psychiatrist Bora Colak. Both have different backgrounds in the mental health field and were able to share some insight on the parallels they see between their personal Buddhist practice and their professional experiences in the field of mental health.Part 2 (20:55)We hear the incredible story of a young woman named Yuko Miyama about her own mental health struggles, specifically with PTSD and depression.Part 3 (37:42)We talk to Maya Gunaseharan, Young Women’s Leader of SGI-USA about what the Buddhist perspective on mental health is, and what it takes to care for someone, whether it’s a loved one or someone in your community who is struggling with a serious mental health issue. Part 4 (46:15)Ten concrete takeaways from the episode, based on Buddhist wisdom, if you are currently struggling with your mental health. It’s important to note that this looks different for everybody and Buddhism is reason, meaning it's extremely important to seek out professional help if you feel that is what you need. Buddhism is not an alternative to mental health support but instead a way to help you believe in yourself and manifest the wisdom and courage required to fight for your health and be the best version of you that you can be.

Dec 2020

57 min 9 sec

On this episode, we discuss what Buddhism calls “the creative life force,” an inner potential that exists in the life of every person to manifest their most authentic self and create art from that place. Often, self-doubt, perfectionism or arrogance can get in the way of creating great art. Special guests Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding, along with a few other artists, explain three concrete ways to use Buddhism to develop your creative life force.

Sep 2020

33 min 57 sec

At its root, racism is born of a very human tendency that exists in all of us to discriminate against others, often out of fear. Combined with power, this discrimination becomes institutionalized and we see it in virtually every social system in America—economic, health, education, policing and so on. Buddhism directly addresses the root of this problem and many more.In this episode we speak with Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., dean of the Martin Luther King International Chapel at Morehouse College, as well as a number of Black Buddhists and other members in the SGI community about how they are using their practice to grapple with and speak out against racism in their own unique ways.

Jul 2020

1 hr 7 min

The parent-child relationship is a truly universal one. We are all the children of someone, and our relationship with our parents impacts us forever. This episode explores what Buddhism says about being a parent and how to foster children who can blossom fully, just as they are.

May 2020

34 min 46 sec

A special episode in response to listener requests for perspective on the global pandemic COVID-19. Specifically, we address what Buddhism says about why global crises happen and how we can stop them from happening in the future. And what you can do right now to generate hope and take positive action for yourself, yourfamily and your community.

Apr 2020

33 min 48 sec

Feel free to send comments or suggestions to podcast@sgi-usa.org

Jan 2020

35 min 24 sec

Suggestions, feedback? Email us at podcast@sgi-usa.orgHuman beings have a complicated relationship with money. It’s often the focus of our greed, jealousy or misery. But it can also be used as a tool to help us express our compassion, creativity and freedom. Contrary to popular belief, our desires don’t necessarily have to be extinguished in order to find peace. On this episode, we explore what Buddhism says about desire, wealth and attachment.Hint: it has a lot to do with recognizing and transforming ourselves.

Nov 2019

37 min 54 sec

Today’s episode is about figuring out what to do with your life and making it happen against all odds. International Human Rights lawyer Tanya Henderson shares her journey of fighting through law school as a single mother of two. Comedian Ike Ufomado discusses how his Buddhist practice inspired him to preserve through the ups and downs of being a stand-up comedian in New York City.

Aug 2019

42 min 43 sec

You meet someone, fall in love hard, and then one day it’s over. What does Buddhism say about overcoming heartbreak? In this episode, Amelia Gonzales, of New York City, shares how her Buddhist practice taught her that happiness lies in recognizing and cultivating her own dignity. So, how do you recover from heartbreak? In short, happiness is an inward event.Find us at sgi-usa.org. Or on Instagram

Jun 2019

28 min 45 sec

We all have at least one person who knows exactly how to push our buttons. In this episode we explore what Buddhism has to say about navigating difficult relationships. Joe Peretti, of Long Island, shares his story of using his Buddhist practice to transform his relationship with his ex-wife, co-workers and ultimately with the father who abandoned him as a child. How do we change a thorny relationship? In short, it starts with changing ourselves. 

May 2019

27 min 22 sec