Buddhist Solutions for Life’s Problems, Soka Gakkai International (US)

Soka Gakkai International (US) launched this podcast in late 2019, and we love it! It’s hosted by Jihii Jolly, a journalist who grew up in an SGI home and developed a personal practice as an adult. Jolly talks with fellow SGI members about their experiences with heartbreak, money, career advancement, and other 21st-century problems, and how Buddhist practice supported them through these challenges. A great primer for those unfamiliar with chanting and the Nichiren Buddhist traditions on which SGI is based.


If the SGI podcast piqued your interest, you may want to learn more about chanting. Chanting is the main practice of Nichiren Buddhism, an order started in 13th-century Japan. Nichiren Buddhists chant “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,” the title of the Lotus Sutra, which acknowledges the buddhanature in all beings. We recommend watching this video of Tina Turner chanting the daimoku on YouTube (“Tina Turner Chant ‘Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo’”) or listening to the recording of a group daimoku chant on Insight Timer (“Nichiren Buddhist Chant (Group): Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,” Chantelle Diachina).


Strangers, “Do You Like My Little Lie?

Just about all the precepts are broken in this chilling true story, which according to host Lea Thau would make for a perfect film noir— if it weren’t true. Claudia tells the story of her family’s dark secret, revealed after hours of cocktails at an idyllic home in New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. We’re including this story because it illustrates, on an extreme level, the choices we make to continue as if nothing is wrong when everything is. There’s also a brief appearance from David Kaczynski, who credits Buddhist teachings as one of the deciding factors his family considered when turning in his brother—the Unabomber—to the FBI.


Space Garden, Optic Bloom

In the words of Lama Rod Owens, a Buddhist teacher trained in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, “their shit is hot!” And we agree. This “queer future soul” duo from Boston—nominated for New Artist of the Year in 2019 by the Boston Music Awards—cites Buddhism as an influence on their music and draws inspiration from teachers including Owens, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei, and Zenju Earthlyn Manuel. Optic Bloom’s lead vocalist, flowerthief, is also a healing artist and cofounder of the Black Lotus Collective, a group that offers meditation and other healing practices for the queer, trans, black, indigenous, and people of color community (QTBIPOC).