SGI Youth Celebrate the Month of Youth
During July 2008, SGI youth members around the world gathered to commemorate SGI's month of youth.
From July 6-13, some 2,500 SGI-Thailand young men met at five venues throughout the country. At a meeting in Nonthaburi Province on July 6, one young man joyfully shared how he is now able to appreciate and use his hardships for his personal growth as a result of Nichiren Buddhism. Following dance, brass band and chorus performances, SGI-Thailand Young Men's Leader Phuriphak Phuchongkawarin spoke about courageously challenging and overcoming difficulties in daily life, based on the strength, wisdom and compassion gained from a correct practice of Nichiren Buddhism.
On July 20, Singapore Soka Association (SSA) young men and young women met for general meetings at the SSA Headquarters. Some 1,600 young women gathered for performances by the Sunflower Dance Group and the Fife-and-Drum Corps. The young women then held a symposium on "What is happiness?" SSA Young Women's Leader Yeap Lay Huay encouraged those attending to continuously strive to develop themselves and lead victorious and fulfilled lives. SSA young men hosted an opera and dance concert for some 3,000 which included over 1,000 friends.
On July 3-6, SGI-Canada young men held a four-day conference at the SGI-Canada Caledon Centre for Culture and Education, about 80 kilometers northwest of Toronto. Participants studied and discussed SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2008 peace proposal and his book, Youthful Readings.
SGI-Ecuador youth met on July 20 in Guayaquil. SGI-Ecuador Chapter Leader Mitsuo Hanzawa shared his conviction that courage is one of life's greatest treasures and also the key for achieving victories.
From July 12 to August 3, a total of 4,100 young men and young women members of SGI-Argentina gathered for many small meetings throughout the country. Events included panel discussions, skits and displays on Buddhist concepts such as "earthly desires are enlightenment" as well as the role of women in the 21st century and the importance of having a good mentor in life.
On July 20, SGI-Bolivia held a national youth convention at the SGI-Bolivia Culture Center in Santa Cruz. Among the approximately 350 participants, some traveled for 1,300 kilometers from Entre Rios City in Tarija and others traveled 20 hours by bus from La Paz to attend. Newly appointed Young Men's Leader Hideaki Matsumura shared his aspirations to build a "castle of capable individuals" for the peace and prosperity of Bolivia.
SGI Vice President Carlos Shima quoted from "The Eight Winds," one of Nichiren's writings, emphasizing that the ultimate purpose of Buddhist practice lies in building unshakeable inner strength and resolve with which to face all kinds of hardships. He encouraged everyone to achieve personal victories toward 2030, the 100th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai's founding.
SGI-Portugal youth met on June 29 in Lisbon. At the gathering, the formation of a young women's behind-the-scenes support group and leader appointments were announced. Young Men's Leader Mario Barba Sanchez, Young Women's Leader Joana Craveiro and Youth Leader Etsuko Motoki expressed their resolve to work together in unity for the sake of building lasting peace in their country. SGI-Europe Women's Chair Sakae Takahashi also attended the meeting.
[Adapted from articles in the August 7, 10, 19, 21 and 22, 2008 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]