Ben Yoshida, 17, uses his Buddhist faith to strive to make the world a better place. Buddhism focuses on reaching a sense of peace and learning the meaning of life by following in the footsteps of …
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Ben Yoshida, 17, uses his Buddhist faith to strive to make the world a better place. Buddhism focuses on reaching a sense of peace and learning the meaning of life by following in the footsteps of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. A high school senior, he is an editor of his school magazine. His faith, he says, gives him hope and something to look forward to. He wants to attend college to study politics and business.
Being Buddhist “didn’t really shape my life until recently. I went to a camp over the summer in California that really changed my perspective. I wouldn’t say that my life really revolves around it or it’s the most important part of my life, but I’d say that it’s a community that I have friends in also — outside of school, outside of clubs. It’s just additional support, so it’s kind of cool.
“I think it’s helped me be more open-minded. I like to hear stories from everyone. It’s one of the reasons I still like journalism, too, and still do it. I want to hear the stories of other people. I want to know. I want to be open to different perspectives. I think that being Buddhist has kind of helped me stay open to different possibilities, different options in my life in general.
“I don’t hate anyone. One thing that I’m proud of is that I don’t really hold a grudge against anyone and I try to be as happy as possible all the time. I feel like I’m able to accomplish that through Buddhism, but also through my everyday life. I feel that one of my strong suits is that I have been able to meet a lot of people and make a lot of connections. I guess Buddhism has helped me because I’ve met a whole different group of people who have similar ideas as me. I like to not hate people.”
“We’re all coming from different points of view. We are all working towards a common goal, and we shouldn’t be working against each other.
“I want to bring a sense of understanding to other people and to myself because no one is exactly the same … We don’t necessarily have to like what someone else thinks or even want to know it, but we should have a sense of understanding and compassion for their situation. We shouldn’t feel the need to dislike someone for what they think ... Everyone’s opinions should be valued.
“I want to pursue business and politics as a career, although I’m not exactly sure yet. I also hope to travel internationally to experience different cultures. I want to make an impact environmentally by doing a lot of community service and helping with alternative energy sources.”
“I believe that it’s important for people to listen to young people because we offer a unique perspective from growing up with technology. Most people in our generation are very passionate: Our generation’s drive will not only benefit us but society as a whole.”
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