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Back to listJun 28, 2008

SGI-USA West Territory Holds Men's Meeting

080628x_west_terr_men1.jpg West Territory Men's Division Leader Steve Mortan greeting men arriving from Southern California

On June 28, 2008, some 1,000 men gathered in Oakland, California, USA, to kick off their grassroots efforts aimed at local activities that will take place during August, SGI-USA Men's Division Month. More than 200 men traveled on buses overnight from southern California, including one man in his 80s.

Northern California Zone Men's Leader Jim Krampf remarked that what made the meeting so amazing was that so many men, young and old, new and longtime members, were able to come together in one place.

Actor Jesse Goins and baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda shared how they achieved their own personal victories using their practice of Nichiren Buddhism. Singing also permeated the gathering. Men from southern California sang an original song, "Emerging from the Earth." A San Francisco Bay Area men's chorus performed "The Lion's Roar" and the "Waterfall," adopted as the official SGI-USA men's song, based on a poem by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.

In his message for the meeting, Mr. Ikeda acknowledged the hardships that many of the men currently are facing in their daily lives. He stated that by taking bold action with confidence in their inherent potential, each of them would be able to call forth the necessary wisdom to create a personal victory and generate hope for the future.

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SGI-USA Men's Leader Tariq Hasan and Vice Leader Steve Saperstein traveled from the East Coast to participate in the meeting. In his closing words, Mr. Hasan reminded all the men present that they had joined SGI-USA and began their practice of Buddhism to become happy. He asked the audience, "What does real happiness look like?" and then elaborated on six conditions for happiness that Mr. Ikeda had introduced in 1996 while in Florida: having a sense of fulfillment every day; possessing a profound philosophy; having unwavering conviction; living cheerfully and vibrantly; having courage; and developing tolerance and broad-mindedness. Mr. Ikeda had also affirmed, "Ultimately happiness rests on how we establish a solid sense of self or being." Mr. Hasan encouraged the men to challenge their tendency to live or practice halfway and to develop a "fighting spirit" to win, and continue winning, in their daily lives.

On the following day, the visiting men's leaders met with local members at five locations throughout northern California--San Francisco, Sacramento, Silicon Valley, Oakland and Santa Rosa.

[Adapted from an article in the July 18, 2008 issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photos courtesy of Kingmond Young]