Actor Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman remembers finding enlightenment on set.

Bowyer-Chapman practices Nichiren Buddhism in Brooklyn, New York's Prospect Park, all photography by Sania Tharani

Growing up, I had no sense of religion.

I didn’t go to church or read the Bible, and I always felt like I had a hole inside of myself that I couldn’t fill. That changed six years ago when I discovered Nichiren Buddhism.

At the time, I was filming the movie The Skinny, and one day I heard a beautiful vibrational frequency with a deep bass coming from the bathroom on set.

I was drawn to the noise, so I stuck my ear to the door.

The humming coming from the other side vibrated throughout my entire body.

I opened it and found my cast member, BLAKE YOUNG FOUNTAIN, and the film’s art director, LISA GREEN, sitting on the floor chanting ‘Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.’

Nichiren Buddhists believe that chanting ‘Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo’ synchronizes them with the vibrational frequency of the universe, connecting them with the flow and harmony of life. It’s a practice that can be observed anywhere, and doesn’t require a house of worship.

Lisa and Blake looked up and nodded their heads at me, inviting me to join them.

I had no idea what they were doing, or why they were doing it, but I immediately connected to the practice on a primal level — their chanting gave me a sense of peace.

I saw the light that was ignited in Blake and Lisa, and could feel it within myself.

I had to further explore it.

In the days that followed, Lisa brought me prayer beads and a book, [and taught me about Nichiren Buddhism]. We started chanting together on set, and eventually I began practicing on my own.

Now, I can’t start a day without doing so.

My entire physical being and spirit have been lifted, and the void has been filled.

I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect, but the practice has served as a catalyst to manifest the life of my dreams.

— as told to The Thick

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