Today  marks a milestone in America where we wake up to the news that over 4000 Americans have died in Iraq, we have record high gas prices, a fallen dollar, government financial bailout of the bank Bear Stearns and a historic number of home foreclosures in America.

In the middle of a firestorm of hopelessness in America I remember a young man who once called himself a skinny little kid with a funny name now flies around America in a corporate jet shouting the message; “Yes We Can!” or “CHANGE” That once skinny little kid with a once funny name is no longer a skinny little kid and his name Barack Hussein Obama is no longer a funny name but, he is now a ubiquitous representation of an almost impossibility of a Black man who could become the leader of the most powerful nation in the world.

My lecture today is called Barack Obama & Buddhism. This lecture is perhaps the most important lecture of my almost 33 years of Buddhist practice because it allows a time for conversation.  Barack had the courage to talk about racism while Nichiren Shohsu Priests or SGI leader Daisaku Ikeda will shy away from the issue.I pray that this lecture helps at lease one person to “wake up the Buddha nature within their hearts.” I make the point clear that this lecture does not represent any Buddhist organization although I am formally a member of the over 750 year old Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist sect based in Taisekiji just at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.

The Gosho A ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering (our Buddhist Bible) reads; the Daishonin (True Buddha) writes: "If there is someone whether man or woman, who secretly teaches to one person even a single phase of the Lotus Sutra, let it be known that he is the envoy of the Buddha." "This means that anyone who teaches others even a single phase of the Lotus Sutra is clearly the Buddha's envoy, whether he be priest or nun, lay man or woman." I would like to think that based on Nichiren Daishonin's Gosho that our writing this lecture we are acting as the envoy of the Buddha.

Thirty three years ago when I joined a Buddhist organization called NSA or Nichiren Shoshu of America the exact thing that you see at Barack Obama rallies like American flags, young, old, Blacks, Whites, Latino, Asians, Native Americans and others one would see at our NSA Buddhist rallies. Barack Obama represents the epitome of SGI's Daisaku Ikeda (Buddhist Leader once associated with Nichiren Shoshu) human revolution message “The change in the character of a single individual can be enough to change the destiny of a nation. " The NSA Buddhist rallies inspired hope and courage and the idea that we can build a “New America” just like a Barack Obama Campaign rallies, but the NSA Buddhist teachings gave more than lofty speeches, they inspired thousands to look within themselves and bring out their “Buddha Nature” or their “Enlighten life Condition or Buddha hood.  The NSA was years ahead of Barack Obama and his message.

Barack Hussein Obama
Picture from and SGI Buddhist We love America Rally. The rally inclued all races. While the organization had a 30% African/American membership. African/Americans were not on its board or directors nor was there an African/American male on its paid staff. This is case of hypocrisy in America. I complained to death ears about this reality.  Perhaps the SGI and Nichiren Shoshu can talk about this subject now that it is on the table.
Barack Obama and Buddhism
A Buddhist Lecture by Anthony "Amp" Elmore Sr.