Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
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From July 24–27, SGI-Europe’s annual summer study sessions were held on the outskirts of Milan, Italy. Some 500 people of all ages from 31 countries including Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK attended. SGI-Europe Chairman Hideaki Takahashi and SGI-Europe Women’s Leader Suzanne Pritchard were also present. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a congratulatory message.
Over the four days, participants attended lectures and Q&A sessions led by Hidetoshi Fukuda, general chief of the Soka Gakkai Young Men’s Division Study Department, who was visiting from Japan. Drawing from the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren’s teachings and President Ikeda’s writings on Buddhism, Mr. Fukuda focused on topics such as the meaning and significance of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, the importance of making a vow in Buddhism, the mentor and disciple relationship, and the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism of respecting the dignity of life as the cornerstone for building peace.
The study sessions also featured small group discussions, during which participants shared their personal experiences in faith and determinations to promote peace in ways such as employing dialogue and strengthening ties of friendship in their local communities. There were also choral and dance performances.
While in Italy, on July 27, Mr. Fukuda also gave a lecture on “The Opening of the Eyes” and other passages from The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin at the Milan Ikeda Peace Culture Center in Corsico, on the outskirts of Milan. The meeting was broadcast to SGI-Italy members at 16 other venues around the country, with a total of 5,500 people viewing the lecture. Mr. Fukuda also lectured at SGI-UK’s Taplow Court Grand Culture Centre, with a total of 900 people in attendance.
From August 8–11, some 100 SGI youth from across Europe also held their annual student division summer training course at the SGI-European Training Center in Trets, southern France. As they engaged in discussion and strengthened friendships, participants deepened their understanding of Buddhism and how to apply it in their lives. They also studied President Ikeda’s guidance to the student division and made fresh determinations toward 2030, the 100th anniversary of Soka Gakkai’s founding.
[Adapted from articles in August 6 and 20, 2014, issues of SGI-UK Online News Bulletin and articles in the August 1, 15, 16 and 21, 2014, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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