Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
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The Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu located in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, officially opened on November 18 to commemorate the founding of the Soka Gakkai in 1930 and the 69th anniversary of the passing of first Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi. This new building will serve as a focal point of SGI’s global movement for kosen-rufu, or world peace. Its completion signifies a new phase in the development of the SGI as an international movement of lay practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism.
On November 5, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda presided over the ceremony in which the Gohonzon was enshrined in the prayer hall of the building. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada and other senior Soka Gakkai leaders were present at the ceremony.
During the SGI Autumn Training Course, on November 8, a commemorative gongyo meeting was held in the building, led by Mr. Harada. Participants included 330 SGI leaders from 85 countries and territories around the world.
In a message for the occasion, President Ikeda expressed his hope that the new hall will be a place where people come together to renew their commitment to work for “the happiness and security of the people, the flourishing of society, the realization of world peace and the transformation of the destiny of all humankind.”
The Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu has seven floors. To ensure protection against earthquakes, its foundations reach to a depth of 22 meters.
related article Bringing Buddhist Concepts to Life in Mexico and Panama On February 13, SGI-Mexico youth members in Mexico City organized a seminar on the theme of “Love and Friendship” at the SGI-Mexico culture center. A panel of four youth members presented Buddhist perspectives on this theme, stressing that both love and friendship are based on profound connections between people. In their presentation, the youth drew on the book Way of Youth by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. The book has chapters devoted to both topics and covers true love, handling heartbreak, good friends versus bad and peer pressure. Stone and other material for the building was gathered from throughout the world and, over the two-year period of construction, thousands of skilled workers and craftsmen from across Japan were involved in its creation.
Stones collected from all 47 prefectures of Japan and from the 192 countries and territories around the world in which SGI has members, have been placed in the base of the altar in the prayer hall on the third floor, which seats 1,400 people.
The building has eight pillars on its southern and northern sides, symbolizing the eight character passage from the Lotus Sutra which reads: “You should rise and greet them from afar, showing them the same respect you would a Buddha.” This signifies the key Soka Gakkai spirit of treasuring each individual as a Buddha.
The new building will be used for gongyo meetings starting from December.
[Adapted from the October 3, November 6, 9 and 18, 2013, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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