Monthly Soka Gakkai Leaders Meeting Celebrates Youth and Tohoku
Soka Gakkai's July leaders meeting was held in conjunction with the New Tohoku General Meeting at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji on July 9. The event also celebrated 60 years since the establishment of Soka Gakkai's youth groups. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada, General Director Masaaki Masaki and Women's Leader Shinobu Sugimoto attended, along with representatives from Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, areas heavily damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011. SGI members from 13 countries and territories also attended.
The meeting, centered around the rebuilding of Tohoku, included various performances. The Soka Gakkai music band performed a song about Tohoku, and a poem that SGI President Daisaku Ikeda wrote in 2000 about those living in Tohoku was read.
Also celebrated was the 55th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai Fife-and-Drum Corps, founded on July 22, 1956. Current members of the music group performed.
Soka Gakkai Women's Leader from Tohoku, Shizue Chida, introduced the Tohoku members' new guidelines: "Never give up! Let's courageously advance to create the happiest and most glorious Tohoku, making Tohoku a place that embodies the ideal of world peace." She also shared three points the Tohoku members are striving to put into practice: change poison into medicine with strong faith and the shared spirit of mentor and disciple; give courage and hope to the local community through sincere dialogue; and raise capable youth based on strong unity.
SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda introduced a message from SGI President Ikeda in which he stated that exerting ourselves in the two ways of practice and study, together with taking leadership for our own happiness and the happiness of others and for world peace, can open an expansive state of life in accord with the Buddha's teachings.
The meeting also included a faith-based experience by a family from Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu. The husband, a doctor, spoke about his battle with depression and how he used his Buddhist practice to gain wisdom to identify the best treatment, eventually overcoming his illness. His wife spoke about her struggles to care for him while also raising their daughter, who was only a toddler at the time. The daughter, now in elementary school, reported that she had won a songwriting contest initiated to support local farmers following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
During his remarks, Mr. Harada announced that some of the Soka Gakkai centers in Tohoku that were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami would be rebuilt in the near future. He also emphasized the importance of encouraging and nurturing capable youth for the sake of the future.
[Adapted from an article in the July 10, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]