SGI-USA Hosts Leadership Study Conference for North America-Oceania
From July 28-30, SGI-USA hosted the SGI Leadership Study Conference for 200 North America and Oceania representatives at the SGI-USA headquarters in Santa Monica, California, USA. SGI leaders from Canada, New Zealand and Australia joined their USA counterparts at the conference. Soka Gakkai Study Department Secretariat Masaaki Morinaka also flew in from Tokyo to lecture on the "Opening of the Eyes" and other writings by Nichiren.
In a message, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda quoted from Nichiren's writings: "Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism" ("The True Aspect of All Phenomena," The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 386) and stated that when we deepen our faith, we will naturally strengthen our practice and study. In turn, when we strengthen our practice and study, our faith will deepen. When we mesh our gears in this interconnected process, we will gain benefit and happiness. Reminding them that "Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat" ("The Hero of the World," WND, p. 835), he affirmed that Buddhism is a "battle" to defeat "unhappiness" and to create "happiness," as well as a battle to defeat negative forces and uphold justice. Mr. Ikeda expressed his expectations for the participants to develop into capable leaders who advance with the spirit of "refuting the erroneous and revealing the true."
A highlight of the conference was Mr. Morinaka's lecture elucidating salient points from President Ikeda's "Lecture on the 'Opening of the Eyes.'" Participants refreshed their resolve to engage in dialogues to share the humanistic life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism with others.