SGI Members of Benelux Nations Gather
On September 8, 2007, SGI youth members from Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux) gathered at the SGI-Belgium Culture Center in Brussels for their second youth division general meeting.
SGI-Belgium Youth Leader Denis LeBlond spoke about the significance of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda's declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons 50 years ago. Next, a young man and woman shared their experiences of applying the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism in their daily lives. SGI-Europe Chair Hideaki Takahashi encouraged everyone attending to broaden understanding of the SGI and Nichiren Buddhism among friends through one-on-one dialogue.
Student division members of the Benelux nations also gathered at the SGI-Belgium Culture Center in Brussels for a general meeting on September 9. SGI-Netherlands Student Division Leader Tadamoto Isogai, SGI-Belgium Young Men-in-charge Kazushiro Watanabe and Young Women-in-charge Danae Rist shared remarks. Representative students gave a presentation on the legacy of the three founding Soka Gakkai presidents and the history of the student division. One student shared how her practice of Nichiren Buddhism enabled her to focus on her studies and achieve her goals.
The Young Mothers Group members (with children up to six years old) of Benelux gathered at the SGI-Netherlands Culture Center on September 30 to study "Letter to the Mother of Oto," a letter Nichiren sent to a woman believer thanking and praising her, a lone woman, for making a long journey to visit him on Sado Island. Nichiren had been exiled to Sado in 1271 following a failed assassination attempt by government officials. Nichiren was persecuted for his revolutionary stance that the state exists for the sake of the people and for criticizing the military regime for suppressing the masses. Women's leaders Claudine Ries (SGI-Luxembourg), Roslyn Hashimoto-Cohen (SGI-Belgium) and Mieke Iwami (SGI-Netherlands) encouraged the women participants to deepen their faith and maintain a fresh seeking spirit so that they can raise their children to become peacebuilders as well.
[Adapted from an article in the October 6, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]