Soka Gakkai Holds Final Monthly Leaders Meeting for 2008
On December 13, 2008, Soka Gakkai held its final monthly leaders meeting for 2008 in conjunction with a nationwide youth leaders gathering. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda attended, together with national Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada, Women's Division Leader Asami Mitsui and Youth Division Leader Yoshinori Sato, as well as SGI members from 16 countries and territories.
SGI-Netherlands Young Women's Leader Eva Gjaltema reported that the young women in her country are endeavoring to study and apply the hope-filled life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, each determined to positively transform her life and become a person who can inspire and encourage others. Mr. Harada thanked the many volunteers who supported the Soka Gakkai during the past year, especially the Seikyo Shimbun newspaper deliverers. Referring to the Soka Gakkai's theme for 2009, "Year of Youth and Victory," he asked everyone to harness and manifest a winning spirit with a youthful heart. Ms. Mitsui encouraged the women to develop their lives and shine with sun-like warmth in their respective communities. Mr. Sato asked the young people to remain true to themselves and courageously uphold and speak out on behalf of truth and justice.
Also present at the meeting were Vladimir I. Tolstoy, great-great-grandson of the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and director of the Tolstoy museum-estate, his daughter Anastasia Tolstaya, and Alexander Sholokhov, grandson of the Russian Nobel literature laureate Mikhail Sholokhov (1905-84) and director of the State M. Sholokhov Museum-Reserve. Mr. Tolstoy and Mr. Sholokhov presented Mr. Ikeda with, respectively, the Time of Tolstoy Award and a medal commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mikhail Sholokhov. [See the article on the Daisaku Ikeda website.]
In his address, Mr. Ikeda stated that happiness is born of spiritual fulfillment, which is found in a life dedicated to helping others to become happy, in developing the strength to confront and overcome all adversity and arises from a sense of appreciation for others. He also thanked the efforts of the SGI women, who he sees as the backbone of the organization and whose bright spirits and persistent grassroots efforts have contributed the most to advancing the SGI's peace movement.
[Adapted from articles in the December 14, 16 and 18, 2008 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]