Soka Gakkai Holds Monthly Leaders Meeting for April 2008
On April 23, 2008, the Soka Gakkai held its monthly leaders meeting, which commemorated May 3rd, Soka Gakkai Day and Soka Gakkai Mothers' Day, at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji, Tokyo. SGI members from 17 countries and territories joined Japanese representatives at the gathering, along with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada, national Soka Gakkai Women's Leader Masami Mitsui and other executive leaders. The gathering also represented the national women's leaders meeting as well as commemorating the Seikyo Shimbun's 57th anniversary and the 700th issue of the study magazine Daibyaku-renge, which it publishes.
Mr. Harada expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the women's division members and all those who deliver the Seikyo Shimbun newspaper for their dedicated efforts. He encouraged those present to cherish old friends and endeavor to cultivate new friendships while spreading understanding of the SGI and its activities that contribute to society. Ms. Mitsui asked everyone to foster young people, while Youth Division Leader Yoshinori Sato reported on the dynamic growth of the young men's and young women's divisions in recent months.
During the meeting, new executive leaders were also introduced. Following an award presentation for meritorious services, world renowned jazz musicians and SGI members trumpet player Shunzo Ohno of the USA and saxophonist César López of Cuba performed "Song for Mothers," and award-winning bands Soka Renaissance Vanguard drum-and-bugle corps and the Soka Gloria Brass Band combined to perform Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich's Festive Overture, Op. 96.
During his speech, Mr. Ikeda announced that the SGI now has members in 192 countries and territories, with the addition of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific and Montenegro in Europe, part of the former Yugoslavia. Remarking that the philosophy of Buddhism elucidates the way to lead the most humane existence, Mr. Ikeda quoted a passage from one of Nichiren's writings, "A Sage and an Unenlightened Man" (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 1, p. 122), which states, "I have believed it is most important to understand one's obligations to others, and made it my first duty to repay such debts of kindness." Mr. Ikeda also shared Buddhist scriptures and teachings that clarify the importance of fulfilling our pledge and repaying the obligations and debts we owe others. Among those teachings, repaying the debt of gratitude to one's mentor is vital. He elaborated on his own experience with second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, whom he considers his mentor, and stated he has dedicated his entire life to repaying his debt of gratitude, which includes working for people's happiness. Mr. Ikeda indicated that the global growth and development of the SGI today is a culmination of the SGI members' efforts, based on this correct way of life as a human being.
[Adapted from articles in the April 24, 25 and 28, 2008 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]