SGI Women Hold Commemorative Meetings Throughout the World
During June, meetings were held worldwide in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Soka Gakkai Women's Division, the official women's group of the organization.
On June 6, Soka Gakkai Women's Leader Shinobu Sugimoto attended gatherings in Hitachi City, Ibaragi Prefecture--an area greatly damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake earlier in the year. At one meeting, a woman shared how Soka Gakkai members in her community came to her aid and supported her following the earthquake. Highlights of the 60-year history of the Soka Gakkai Women's Group were also presented. In her remarks, Ms. Sugimoto emphasized that through practicing Nichiren Buddhism, women can gain the courage and confidence needed to face obstacles and challenge their circumstances, thereby developing a strong and truly joyful state of life.
On June 13, women held meetings in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, and Kuji City, Iwate Prefecture--areas also damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. Hideko Shoji, a vice district leader in Natori, reported on her work as a "listening volunteer" during the past few years, providing support and encouragement for the elderly in the community.
The women in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture, met on June 12. The Soka Gakkai women's leader in Fukushima also joined the meeting and shared her hope that each woman would become a source of hope for her family and community, based on sincere Buddhist practice.
In Canada, women's meetings were held in the cities of Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and elsewhere. In a message read at the meetings, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda encouraged participants to use their Buddhist practice to overcome deadlocks and open new paths to victory.
In Panama, women's meetings were held from June 10-12 and included study sessions where participants deepened their understanding of Buddhist concepts, in particular the value of unity. The women also renewed their determination to make personal efforts to advance the cause of world peace in their local communities.
[Adapted from articles in June 8 and 15, 2011, issues of the Seiko Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]