A Shinran Follower from Portugal

“Portugal had colonized Brazil and many countries in Africa for a long time. I have been thinking about how I could help people in those countries. I believe that conveying Buddhism is the answer,” says Pedro Magalhães (47), a Portuguese architect, He became a Shinran Follower in January. He has been working as an interior design consultant, moving from one country to another in Europe, Brazil and Africa. He was doing well in business and opened his own office, but money and fortune could not bring him a sense of fulfillment.

“I turned to Christianity for salvation, but they just said, ‘Believe in God,’ and they didn’t give me a clear answer to my questions, such as ‘Does God really exist?’ or ‘Will he save me into Heaven after I die?’ I was disappointed,” he says

Two years ago, when he moved to Angola in South-Central Africa, he met Celestino Carlos, who was living in the same apartment building. “One day, when I asked him, “How are you?” he replied, “I’m not so good.” Then I talked to him and found that he had a strong interest in world religions and thought. At that time, I was interested in Eastern thought and suggested to him that he learn about it too.”

Then, last December, Celestino said to him, “I’m learning Buddhism from a Buddhist teacher. Buddhism teaches the meaning of living; it’s written in this book.” He proceeded to hand Pedro the Portuguese translation of You Were Born For a Reason. As he heard about Buddhist teachings from Celestino, he became interested in Buddhism and sent a message to the Buddhist teacher Hiroshi Morita, whom Celestino had introduced to him. Since then, he has been listening to Mr. Morita’s lectures via the Internet. Due to the time difference, the lecture begins at 5 a.m., but Pedro said, “I’m so thankful to start my day with a Buddhist lecture.”

“I am surprised to know that within short phrases taught by the Buddha, there is a deep meaning.” Each of the lectures, such as The Law of Cause and Effect or the True Nature of Human Existence, was so logical that I was quite impressed.”

Inspired by Celestino’s attending the Gotan-e gathering as a Shinran Follower, he also attended the 10th anniversary of the 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall in October. “I'm glad that I took part in all the events, from preparation of the lecture hall to the training sessions for overseas Shinran Followers held in the Buddhist Academy,” he said.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #57 | 2015, A Shinran Follower from Portugal

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