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Some 270 SGI members from 60 countries and territories gathered in Tokyo to take part in the 2014 SGI Spring Training Course. The week-long course, starting on April 17 with an opening ceremony held at the Soka International Friendship Hall in Sendagaya, Tokyo, ran until April 21.
On April 19, training course participants attended the fifth Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo. The meeting, which celebrated May 3 as both Soka Gakkai Day and Soka Gakkai Mother's Day, was held in conjunction with the Seikyo Shimbun Deliverers Anniversary General Meeting. Seikyo Shimbun is the organ newspaper of Soka Gakkai Japan and has been delivered daily by members within their local neighborhoods for the last 63 years. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada attended the meeting and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message in which he stated:
As SGI members, we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, refusing to be defeated or daunted by any painful trial or harsh karma. We rise above all sadness and grief. And while warmly encouraging and supporting those who are struggling or suffering, we seek to build and spread a realm of wisdom and compassion.
SGI-USA Women's Leader Akemi Bailey-Haynie shared her experience in faith. Her Japanese mother is a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima who moved to the United States after marrying an African-American soldier in the U.S. Army. As a child, she witnessed her mother chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and using her Buddhist practice to overcome racial discrimination, poverty, language barriers and family problems. Ms. Bailey-Haynie described how she drew on her own faith during her struggles to overcome four threats of cancer and 22 surgeries, and become an educator and mother of two healthy sons.
At the meeting, a new song titled Chikai no kimi yo [tentative translation: Youth With a Noble Vow], with lyrics by Mr. Ikeda and music by Soka Gakkai Music Corps representatives, was performed. 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.
On April 20, SGI representatives participated in exchange meetings with local Soka Gakkai members at 30 venues across Chiba Prefecture, including Chiba City, Kamagaya City and Yachiyo City. At the meetings, members shared the transformative impact their Buddhist practice has had on their lives, exchanged information on Buddhist activities in their countries and participated in musical performances.
[Adapted from articles in the April 18, 20 and 21, 2014, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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