Soka Gakkai Holds Monthly Leaders Meeting in Tokyo
On February 26, Soka Gakkai held its monthly leaders meeting at the Soka International Friendship Hall in Tokyo, Japan. The meeting also functioned as a gathering of national youth leaders and men's leaders and the Soka Gakkai Artists Division. The meeting was led by Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada, General Director Masaaki Masaki and Women's Division Leader Shinobu Sugimoto, with SGI representatives from six countries and territories attending.
In a message to the meeting, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda stressed that capable people are a country's greatest asset. He also cited a passage from Nichiren: "Three things are required-a good teacher, a good believer, and a good teaching-before prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land" (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 880).
Mr. Ikeda encouraged participants to achieve victory in life through having strong faith based on the invincible spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple and to solidly unite in purpose with fellow practitioners.
A video featuring scenes from the recent 2011 SGI-Hong Kong Culture Festival celebrating 50 years since Mr. Ikeda's visit to the country in 1961 was shown, followed by experiences in faith from representative Soka Gakkai members Tadaomi Ozawa and Nobuko Asai.
Mr. Ozawa, a professional actor for 30 years and a Soka Gakkai men's leader in Tokyo's Koto Ward, spoke about his encounter with Mr. Ikeda in the 1960s, and how through Mr. Ikeda's example, he learned the importance of humility and respect for everyone. He described his dilemma over how to approach a career in which he was most often cast as a villain and his efforts over the years to polish his own life and contribute to society.
Ms. Asai, Soka Gakkai young women's leader in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, shared how her Buddhist practice helped her to support her family in the face of her mother's depression. As a result of her family uniting during this difficult period, they were able to help her mother improve her health and develop deeper bonds of friendship and trust with each other and within their community. Ms. Asai also explained how going through this experience has enabled her to empathize with and encourage others.
In his remarks, Mr. Harada emphasized that leaders who devote their lives to the betterment of society are necessary in today's world. He encouraged everyone present to expand their capacity to encourage and empower others through sharing their own experiences of personal transformation based on Buddhist practice.
[Adapted from articles in the February 27 and March 4, 2011, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]