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Some 250 members from the Spanish-speaking countries of Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela gathered in Panama for a Latin America Buddhist study training course from January 28 to 30. SGI Study Department Vice Chief Masaaki Morinaka was invited as guest lecturer and spoke on three of Nichiren's writings.
The three-day study course was held for the second consecutive year at the SGI-Panama Culture Center in Panama City, where participants were welcomed with local folk music upon arrival. The first day's lecture focused on Nichiren's writing "On the Treasure Tower," which elucidates the inherent equality and dignity of all life. A question and answer session followed, with the day closing with a song and dance performance by youth members.
On the second day, Mr. Morinaka spoke on the letter "The Drum at the Gate of Thunder," in which Nichiren emphasizes the benefits of sincere offerings. Mr. Morinaka stressed that it is the sincerity of one’s heart that matters, and that true happiness is not something we must seek elsewhere; it can be experienced right where we are, within our present lives.
On the final day of the training course, participants studied Nichiren's letter "On the Offering of a Mud Pie," which paints a vivid picture of Nichiren's warm compassion towards his youthful disciple Nanjo Tokimitsu, then aged 16, who had recently lost his elder brother, having also lost his father nine years earlier. In the letter, Nichiren encourages Nanjo Tokimitsu not to give up and to take a stand against injustice.
From January 25-28, before the training course in Panama, Mr. Morinaka also lectured at the first North America SGI Youth Leaders Conference at the SGI-USA Florida Nature and Culture Center in Weston, Florida. Some 200 youth gathered to study material centered on SGI President Ikeda'sThe Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra dialogue series.
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