SGI Autumn Training Session Held in Tokyo, Japan
On November 12, 2009, 250 leaders from 60 countries and territories participated in the opening meeting of the 2009 SGI Autumn Training Session at the Soka International Friendship Hall in Sendagaya, Tokyo.
In his message to the SGI members attending the training course, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda expressed his appreciation for those who traveled a great distance to Japan and stated they were "pioneers" of the worldwide effort to create lasting peace.
Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada was present at the introductory session to answer questions. Mr. Harada emphasized that a leader should be able to encourage those who are struggling, and that leaders should impart to members the joy and conviction that arises from practicing Buddhism.
SGI-Hong Kong General Director John Ng Chor Yuk and SGI-Peru General Director José Juárez Salazar reported on recent SGI activities in their respective countries. Lastly, SGI General Director Yoshitaka Oba stated that a leader with strong conviction and faith can impart hope for others.
On November 13, participants attended a lecture at the Soka International Friendship Hall. SGI Study Department Chief Katsuji Saito spoke about the true nature of benefit which practitioners derive from the Lotus Sutra and emphasized that through correct Buddhist practice each person can bring forth the courage to break through their limitations.
On November 15, training session participants attended local Soka Gakkai exchange meetings at thirty-two venues in five prefectures within the Kanto region. SGI members from Italy, Sweden, Iceland, Greece and Norway attended a meeting at the Urayasu Peace Center in Chiba at which a boys and girls chorus performed.
Members from Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica attended an exchange meeting in Tochigi Prefecture. SGI-Panama General Director Gabriel Martínez Garcés reminisced about his visit to Tochigi 26 years ago and expressed his appreciation for being able to visit once again. Local members performed a classical Japanese dance for the visitors. Several representatives shared experiences of practicing Buddhism.
[Adapted from articles in the November 13, 14 and 16, 2009, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]