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Some 250 SGI youth representatives from 60 countries and territories gathered in Tokyo to take part in the SGI Youth Training Course from September 5-9.
On September 6, SGI members attended a study lecture by SGI Study Department Chief Masaaki Morinaka on Nichiren's writing "Letter to Jakunichi-bo." The following day, the youth attended the 67th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting that was held in conjunction with Soka Gakkai Japan's Nationwide Youth Division Leaders Meeting and the Nationwide Student Division General Meeting at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo. At the meeting, SGI Student Division leaders from USA, UK and India reported on student division activities in their respective countries.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message in which he encouraged the youth present to never give up on the potential within their own lives and those of others. He stated: "I can say with complete confidence that there is absolutely no adversity that you cannot transform, based on the Buddhist principle of 'changing poison into medicine.'"
One highlight of the SGI Youth Training Course was exchange meetings with local Soka Gakkai members held at 32 locations in Kanagawa Prefecture on September 8. The exchange meetings included sharing experiences of how Buddhist practice serves as the source of strength to overcome difficult circumstances. There were also dance, musical and choral performances by the Japanese members that were spontaneously reciprocated by the visiting SGI youth.
Following an exchange meeting involving joining a traditional Japanese bon odori dance, one of the youth from Canada stated, "I will never forget the joy I experienced when I was dancing with them! It was a true example of how SGI activities bring us happiness."
There was also an exchange in the Tohoku region in the east of Japan. A group of SGI youth working in agriculture joined their counterparts for the Soka Gakkai 1st World Farming and Fishing Communities Youth Conference. This was the first such exchange meeting since the 2011 tsunami that devastated the area. One participant commented that she had been moved by the spirit of the Japanese members to never be defeated despite overwhelming odds in the face of the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami. related article 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 September 6, 8, and 10, 2013, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan, September 20, 2013, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA, October 2013 issue of the SGI-Canada Online News, and September 18, 2013, issue of the SGI-UK Online Bulletin, SGI-UK; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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