Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
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In September SGI centers around Europe marked the European Heritage Days initiative, holding open days with a variety of cultural and recreational activities.
This year marked the 18th year SGI-Germany's Villa Sachsen has participated, and more than 1,400 people visited on September 8. Activities included musical contributions by SGI-Germany's Green Hill Orchestra and its chamber choir, dance performances, lectures on Buddhism, guided tours, workshops, games and refreshments. Actress Anja Kruse, author of Mein Weg mit Buddha (tentative translation: My Path with Buddha), took part in a public dialogue with SGI-Germany representative Yoshiharu Matsuno.
On August 17, SGI-Germany's center in Mörfelden-Walldorf near Frankfurt also held an open day that attracted some 350 people. Apart from musical performances, a buffet, a book market and games, there was also a Buddhist meeting with a question and answer session that visitors could participate in. SGI member Katrin Lindig performed her original one-woman play on human existence that was inspired by the educational philosophy of Soka Gakkai founder Tsunesaburo Makiguchi.
In France, for the second consecutive year, the Soka centers at Sceaux, Chartrettes and Trets were opened to the public on September 14 and 15 to mark European Heritage Days. The common element at the three locations was the showing of an exhibition entitled "Compassion, Wisdom and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence" that was created around the themes of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2013 peace proposal. In addition to the exhibition there were musical performances, presentations on Nichiren Buddhism and a demonstration of the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that visitors could observe or join.
At the Trets center there was also a display on the origins and history of the Lotus Sutra that included facsimiles of ancient sutra manuscripts.
SGI-UK's Taplow Court center was also open to the public on September 15, where in addition to an exhibition on SGI President Ikeda's contributions to the promotion of peace, culture and education, visitors could view a display on George Hamilton, the 1st Earl of Orkney (1666 –1737), the owner of Taplow Court in the early 18th century.
[Compiled from reports from SGI-Germany, the Consistoire Soka du bouddhisme de Nichiren website and the October 19, 2013, issue of Seikyo Shimbun; photos courtesy of Bärbel Psula and ACSBN]
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