Soka Gakkai Conducts Spring Equinox Memorial Prayers
On March 21, the day of the spring equinox, Soka Gakkai held memorial services to pray for the peaceful repose of deceased family members and friends at Soka Gakkai centers and memorial parks throughout Japan. Prayers were also offered for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11 and for the rapid recovery of the people and the affected region.
On the same day, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, together with representative Soka Gakkai members, led prayers at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Tokyo. In his message, Mr. Ikeda spoke about the significance of the equinox from a Buddhist perspective, saying it is a time to strive with greater hope and determination toward manifesting our inherent Buddhahood or enlightened nature. *
He also encouraged all SGI members to summon courage and strong faith so they can better help those who are suffering and to advance together with one another toward creating world peace.
On the same day, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada and Women's Leader Shinobu Sugimoto led prayers at the Soka Gakkai Chuo Culture Center in Tokyo. Mr. Harada expressed his belief that it is through challenging and overcoming adversity in life that we become truly happy.
*In Japan, the Spring and Fall equinoxes (" higan" in Japanese) are times when people offer prayers for deceased relatives and ancestors. The original meaning of higan in Buddhism is "the other shore," meaning the state of enlightenment or the practice that leads to reaching the state of enlightenment. On a deeper level, it symbolizes striving for enlightenment on a daily basis. The equinoxes are times when Soka Gakkai members gather at various Soka Gakkai centers and memorial parks, together with their families, to express appreciation for departed loved ones. It is also a time of renewing one's determination to work for the happiness and security of one's family and society.
[Adapted from an article in the March 22, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]