Fukushima Members Attend Prayer Meetings, "Phoenix Rallies"
Following the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck March 11, memorial prayer meetings were held at Soka Gakkai centers in Tohoku and in Tokyo during the month of June.
On June 19, Soka Gakkai members from Fukushima who were evacuated to Tokyo as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster were invited to a "Fukushima Phoenix Rally," at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada, Women's Leader Shinobu Sugimoto, Fukushima Leader Masahiko Endo and Fukushima Women's Leader Masako Ishibashi attended. Participants offered prayers for all those who had lost their lives or been affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
Soka Gakkai Vice President Hiroshi Nomoto shared a message from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda to the Fukushima members, in which he conveyed his appreciation for those who survived the disaster, acknowledging their brave and noble efforts to help others despite their own challenging circumstances.
He shared a passage from one of Nichiren's writings, "Reply to Sairen-bo" (WND, vol. 1, p.313), and emphasized that with earnest prayers and the determination to contribute to promoting world peace, people can manifest the strong life condition of the Buddha. He also stated that those who suffer the most deserve to become the happiest and spoke about the Buddhist concept of "changing poison into medicine" or using one's struggles as fuel to create positive change.
Mr. Endo encouraged the Fukushima members, saying that their bonds as friends and comrades are eternal and asking them to create a new history of hope in Fukushima, with the shared commitment of mentor and disciples. The meeting also included a performance by a youth chorus.
On June 26, a Fukushima Phoenix Rally was held at the Soka Gakkai Fukushima Peace Center in Fukushima City. The rally was the first Soka Gakkai event held in the city since the earthquake. Along with those from the evacuated zones in Fukushima, people gathered from the cities of Minamisoma, Koriyama and Iwaki and the Aizu area. Participants shared their stories of surviving the earthquake and tsunamis and their efforts toward recovery.
[Adapted from articles in the June 20 and 28, 2011, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]