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From January 16–18, an SGI-Europe Kosen-rufu Summit brought together more than 250 SGI leaders from 31 countries across Europe. The summit was held at SGI-UK’s Taplow Court Grand Culture Centre near London.
A core theme of the summit was the “True Friends—Actual Proof Together” initiative that was launched by SGI-Europe youth on SGI World Peace Day (March 16) in 2014. Against a backdrop of division in an increasingly turbulent Europe, the campaign aims to create a network of true friendship across Europe that, transcending arbitrary boundaries, will contribute to the peace of the continent. Taking action toward this end, SGI-Europe youth have been focusing on supporting and encouraging others to recognize their inherent power to overcome their sufferings and become happy.
In his message of encouragement to the summit participants, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda stated:
“True joy is something you win and spread through your actions for others and society. It is not joy only for yourself or happiness just for yourself. The important thing is, while encouraging and polishing one another as friends, you display your wisdom and compassion in order to lead both your life and the local community to victory and prosperity . . . The best driving force for this is the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.”
At the summit, there were study sessions and group discussions, and six people shared their experiences of the challenges of putting the “True Friends” campaign into practice in their daily interactions with those around them. A youth division member from Italy shared how she had always struggled to recognize the value of her own life and felt that there was a wall between her and other people. She described how, encouraged by the campaign and through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the happiness of those around her, she had opened her heart to others, stating: “Friendship gives a deep meaning to our lives and reminds us that we are born to be happy.”
[Adapted from articles in the October 2014 issue of Art of Living, SGI-UK, the January 21, 2015, issue of the SGI-UK Online News Bulletin and a report from SGI-UK; photos courtesy of SGI-UK]
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