Six Thousand Converge on SGI-Brazil Nature and Culture Center to Celebrate SGI-Brazil Women's Day
On February 19 and 20, some 6,000 SGI-Brazil women gathered at the SGI-Brazil Nature and Culture Center in Itapevi, a suburb of São Paulo, to celebrate February 27, "SGI-Brazil Women's Day." The commemorative day was established during SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's visit to Brazil in 1993. In 2004, over 100,000 women participated in the annual women's general meetings. The theme for this meeting was "A Transformation of One's Heart Transforms the Environment--Like a Reflection in a Mirror; A Firm Resolve to Win Beats All." In a message, Mr. Ikeda congratulated the women for their gathering and said their current struggles are a great cause for their personal happiness, and the benefits they gain will be boundless.
Denise Silva, a group leader in her local organization, shared her personal saga of a miserable childhood with a father and a stepmother she couldn't get along with. She left home at 17, with no direction. Soon she met her future husband, a young men's division member in SGI-Brazil, who introduced her to the life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism. Told that when she changed, her environment would also change, Denise began practicing in earnest and participated in a chorus and supported other activities. She found herself learning to care about the happiness of others, while challenging her own life. Denise eventually became reacquainted with her estranged father, and also came to an understanding with her stepmother. She gained employment with ten times the pay of her former job, saved money for college and graduated. Her family life, together with her husband and children, was a happy one. The only regret she had left in life was the desire to meet her birth mother, whom she had not seen for 31 years. She continued to pray, calling forth the power of the protective forces of the universe to come to her aid. At the end of last year, she received a single phone call, confirming that her mother and a brother had been found. Today, they are part of her family.
Stating that there is no stronger force than a woman who has realized her mission in life, SGI-Brazil Women's Division Chief Jeni Ikeda called on the women present to tap and manifest their full potential in their families, in their communities and at their jobs. The Ikeda Symphony of Humanism and the White Lily Chorus performed.
On February 19, a new "Young Mrs." study group and a leadership training group, consisting of 1,100 members, were initiated. SGI-Brazil Vice Women's Division Chief Sylvia Nagayama announced new leader appointments. Lucia Takano was appointed study group secretariat, and Sonia Hara, chair; Rosa Oikawa is in charge of the leadership training group. Mrs. Ikeda said that each woman held the key to happiness in her own heart. A women's division dance group performed, and SGI-Brazil General Director Eduardo Taguchi congratulated the "Young Mrs." groups.
Also on February 19 and 20, 180 SGI-Brazil public relations representatives held a conference in Rio de Janeiro. The group exchanged reports of engaging in Buddhist dialogue and networking with like-minded groups. Speaking on "The Stance of SGI's Humanism," Vice General Director Getulino Kiyoshi Nakajima said the SGI's public relations efforts should raise public awareness about the SGI's genuine "face" and truth. He said the growth and development of each individual will reflect in behavior befitting Nichiren Daishonin's philosophy of humanism. Public Relations Director Celso Hama reminded the group that their mission is to promote the SGI's activities for peace, education and culture in society. Stating that dialogue is their "weapon," Mr. Taguchi encouraged each to become an "Ambassador of Soka" with the realization that "the voice does the Buddha's work."