SGI 2013 Spring Training Course and Cultural Exchange Meetings Held




participants in the SGI Spring Training CourseParticipants in the SGI Spring Training Course

Some 250 SGI members from 55 countries and territories around the world attended the week-long 2013 SGI Spring Training Course in Japan, starting on April 11 with an opening ceremony held at the Soka International Friendship Hall in Sendagaya, Tokyo.

On April 13, the Soka Gakkai monthly Headquarters Leaders Meeting, which commemorated May 3 as both Soka Gakkai Day and Soka Gakkai Mother's Day, was held at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo.

Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada and the SGI representatives attending the training course attended the meeting. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message to the meeting, noting that this year marks the 760th anniversary of the establishment of Nichiren Buddhism on April 28, 1253, and stating:

In these times marked by uncertainty, both we as individuals and society as a whole face many challenges. Precisely because we live in an age of conflict and confusion, the hope-filled philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism--with its power to awaken and draw forth the invincible life-state of Buddhahood from within all people--shines so brightly.

SGI members from AfricaSGI members from Africa join in a traditional Japanese dance at an exchange meeting in Sakura City, Chiba

He went on to commend the efforts of SGI members, who, he said, are working "to expand a global network of happiness and peace as ordinary people supporting and encouraging one another and overcoming their problems with courage and wisdom."

Joëlle Leblond, a member of SGI-Belgium, shared her experience of being able to contribute to society through her work as a lawyer and of drawing on her Buddhist practice in the face of illness, which she went on to overcome.

On April 14, exchange meetings between the visiting SGI members and local Soka Gakkai members were held at 32 venues in Chiba Prefecture, the region where Nichiren was born. Members performed songs and dances and shared their experiences of putting their Buddhist faith into practice to challenge and surmount difficulties in their daily lives. related article SGI Youth from Across Asia  Deepen Bonds of Friendship in Kyushu SGI Youth from Across Asia Deepen Bonds of Friendship in Kyushu From May 17-19, a group of 24 SGI youth leaders from India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand traveled to Kyushu, southernmost of the four main islands of Japan, for a weekend of exchange with youth members in the region. The trip was part of an SGI training course that began in Tokyo on May 15.

[Adapted from articles in the April 14 and 16, 2013, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]

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