Back to listJul 26, 2009

Lectures on Nichiren Buddhism Held Throughout Europe


From July 17-20, 2009, 461 SGI members from 28 countries in Europe gathered for an SGI-Europe summer study session in a suburb of Milan, Italy. SGI Study Department Chief Katsuji Saito lectured and answered questions on key concepts in Nichiren Buddhism.

The lectures were based on Nichiren's writings "Lessening One's Karmic Retribution," "The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra" sent to his disciple Shijo Kingo, a samurai, and "The Drum at the Gate of Thunder" sent to the lay nun Sennichi. Topics covered in the lectures included the Gohonzon--the object of fundamental respect in the practice of Nichiren Buddhism--and changing one's negative karma. Referring to a passage from the "The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra" that states, "It is the heart that is important," Mr. Saito clarified that one of its meanings is to possess the heartfelt wish for the happiness of oneself and others.

Following the study session, an SGI-Europe Youth Summit was held. An SGI-Iceland representative reported on how SGI-Iceland members have expanded friendships through dialogue in the midst of the country's current recession. SGI-Europe Youth Summit Chair Daiki Nakamoto (also SGI-Germany's youth leader) urged everyone to take the lead in creating friendships based on dialogue.

090820italy_study.jpg Study session in Italy

From July 20-21, SGI-Italy hosted two other lecture meetings with Mr. Saito. On July 20, some 1,800 members from northern and central Italy gathered for the meeting held in Milan, followed by an attendance of 1,400 members from central and southern regions of the country at the meeting held in Rome on July 21.

On both days, Mr. Saito touched on the concept of transforming one's karma into mission, stressing that especially during hardships we can strengthen and "polish" our lives based on ever-deepening confidence in our innate potential to develop our lives. He also spoke about how a change in the destiny of just one person can be the catalyst for change in the destiny of humankind.

From July 24-26, SGI-Germany young women gathered to study at the Villa Sachsen Culture Center in Bingen, Germany. SGI-Europe Vice Women's Leader Kimiko Brummer encouraged the young women to lead happy lives based on faith and the shared commitment of mentor and disciple.

2009/090830germany_ywd_training.jpg Study session in Germany

[Adapted from articles in the July 31, August 20 and 30, 2009 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]