"March 16" Celebrated in Brazil, USA and Japan
On or around March 16, SGI members throughout the world commemorated March 16, 1958, a day epitomizing youth awakening to their mission and accepting responsibility for creating lasting peace.
Brazil: Some 1,500 SGI-Brazil representatives attended a "victory rally" on March 13 at the SGI-Brazil Nature and Culture Center in a São Paulo suburb. In a message, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda praised the SGI-Brazil members for their daily efforts "to create a great history of ordinary people" and asked them to unite with the spirit of "many in body, one in mind" to establish a "Soka Citadel" of happiness and peace in the community and society at large, that is as brilliant and indestructible as a diamond. Representatives shared experiences of practicing Buddhism and activity reports. Leaders of the four divisions spoke. The Taiyo (Sun) Brass Band performed "Song of Victory" and "Century of Heroes" at the end of the meeting.USA: On March 13, 4,000 SGI-USA Southeastern Region members, representing 13 states and Washington, D.C., held a rally at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., USA. In a message, Mr. Ikeda asked the SGI-USA members to peal loudly the bell heralding the dawning of a Century of Humanism and Hope and send into the world a groundswell of a "culture of peace" and "joy infused with happiness."
Southeastern Region Leader Cliff Sawyer and Women's Leader Sheila Edwards expanded on the theme, "Create a Victorious Life and Open a Path to Peace," and encouraged everyone to create a healthy SGI family by cherishing each person. Newly joined members shared experiences of creating a "renaissance" in their lives through the practice of Nichiren Buddhism. Some 77 new youth division leaders were introduced on stage. SGI-USA Men's Leader Tariq Hasan called on the Southeastern Region members to create peace that begins in eastern United States, in the same way the USA had its beginnings in the colonies that developed on the East Coast. Emphasizing that Nichiren Buddhism is the ultimate philosophy of humanism that elucidates the principle of bonpu-soku-goku, "achieving enlightenment as an ordinary person," Mr. Hasan refuted the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood's doctrine of religious authority that discriminates against the laity. SGI-USA General Director Daniel Nagashima announced the construction of a new culture center in the Washington, D.C. area. A 300-member youth chorus, brass band, men's and women's New Century Chorus, African drummers, and a traditional Korean drum dance troupe performed.
Japan: Soka Gakkai's monthly district meetings for March all commemorated March 16. On March 18, representatives from Inagoe West and Inagoe East Districts of Soya Chapter in Chiba Prefecture attended a reciprocal exchange meeting with Nakano Toda and Todai West Districts in Nakano Ward, Tokyo. The Chiba members said they had been inspired by a visit from members of the host districts in Nakano in February. Soka Gakkai Vice President Yoshiki Tanigawa, in charge of Tokyo Metropolitan, lecturing on Nichiren's writing, "On Repaying Debts of Gratitude," stated that the departure point of faith comes from our appreciation for having been introduced to the Wonderful Law and Soka Gakkai in this lifetime. He affirmed that achieving victory in one's life as a disciple is the way to repay a debt of gratitude toward one's mentor.