We are now 62 days from November 18th and we are also at the beginning of another wonderful discussion meeting week!
As inspiration for tonight’s Tozo (chanting meeting), which we are doing together all across the U.K in our “final sprint” to November 18th, I want to share a passage from Sensei’s message to 37th HQLM on September 2nd 2018.
Irrespective of the struggles we may face, as long as we continue to chant Nam-
myoho-renge-kyo for ourselves and others, there is no hardship we cannot overcome.
The more difficulties we surmount through faith based on the Buddhist principle
that earthly desires lead to enlightenment, the more we can expand our life state and the more powerfully we can encourage our friends and fellow members who are also struggling…When our lives radiate with such hope, we can brightly illuminate all whose lives are connected to ours, society as a whole, and the future.
As Sensei also encourages us in the monthly editorial in the AoL, this way of life enables us to create the greatest possible value in the most challenging times.
So in tonight’s Tozo, let’s chant confident and determined daimoku towards November 18th for the happiness of ourselves and others to create a brilliant achievement for ourselves and all those we are connected to
I hope you are finding it inspiring listening to the daily podcasts of the ‘Vow’ chapter. A Word file for accessing the podcasts is attached to this email.
Very best wishes,
(SGI-UK YMD Leader)
Recently, at the end of August, the European Study Seminar took place in Milan with lectures from SGI study department chief Masaaki Morinaka. In his message to the seminar (reported in last week’s e-bulletin number 223), President Ikeda used the quotation below to explain what it means to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and exert infinite effort in our prayer. This passage has helped me to understand even more clearly how I can draw out the power of the Buddha in my life:
“Today I have one passage that I would like to study together with you. This is a passage from The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings that I received from President Toda not long after I joined the Soka Gakkai: ‘If in a single moment of life we exhaust the pains and trials of millions of kalpas, then instant after instant there will arise in us the three Buddha bodies with which we are eternally endowed. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is such a ‘diligent’ practice. (OTT, 214) In essence, your happiness, growth, and victory are all determined by your ichinen. All of us are endowed with limitless courage, unsurpassed wisdom and infinite compassion which are the same as the Buddha’s. The ichinen to draw them out is ‘the prayer based on the vow’ to live for kosen-rufu through the oneness of mentor and disciple.” [Tentative translation of the message to the European Study Seminar 2018]
The quotation from The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings included in this passage is something that President Ikeda has shared on many occasions. He has made it come to life in his actions and it has been the motivation for the creation of the worldwide kosen-rufu movement. Following the study seminar in Milan I now understand more deeply that this quotation is describing not an austerity (exhausting pains and trials) but rather the joy that comes from single-minded concentration on our goals for kosen-rufu as we are chanting.
This Saturday (8th September) was the anniversary of President Toda’s declaration against nuclear weapons, and also saw the final instalment of President Ikeda’s 30 volume work The New Human Revolution. Let’s chant with even deeper determination for world peace, and for the development of the kosen-rufu movement. This will bring even greater joy to the world.
I hope you have a wonderful meeting on Monday evening.
We are now on day 18 of our final sprint with 83 days to go until November 18th.
We have chosen a sentence from today’s installment of the Vow chapter section 18
Our voices have the power to move people’s hearts and to change society and the world.
With this sentence in mind, let’s encourage everyone we meet this week, sharing the joy of our practice. Enjoy your daimoku
Justine and David
SGI-UK WD and MD Leader
Hello! I hope if you are at a Monday night district tozo towards November 18th 2018 you have a wonderful roaring daimoku tonight. There are 13 precious Monday night tozo opportunities between now and November 18th!
How are you finding the “Final Sprint” Vow chapter podcast-style recordings? Please share with all members this wonderful resource so we are able to study together Sensei’s most recent words and guidance. See the attached PDF for the links, as well as the SGI Newsletter numbers for each day’s instalment.
Since we have started the 100 day campaign, I have been striving to transform any doubt and inner negativity in my own heart that stops me from believing in my Buddhahood and being able to take bold action as a Bodhisattva of the Earth, because I believe that if I can do this, then those I am encouraging will be able to do this too.
Also, I have been really chanting for people close to me including those who I have introduced to the practice and are facing struggles. What I have realised through my daimoku for my friends is that sometimes my prayers have been conditional – meaning, I want them to do “this”, or to be like “that” so they can be happy…
Through a few experiences in this 100 day period already, I have realised with this kind of prayer I was not truly respecting them. This has allowed me to strive to go much deeper in my prayer now and truly pray for their unconditional happiness, no matter what. I am also determined to realise my own absolute happiness towards 18th November 2018 – because if I can do this, my friends can achieve this too!
These realisations and ‘dispelling of illusion’ in my heart have led me to determine to make much deeper efforts to care for and treasure my friends and to truly trust and respect their own journey and chant for their unconditional happiness, no matter what.
A piece of guidance that has been really encouraging me comes from the Youth Division Manual we used towards 17th March and are using towards 18th November this year:
Based on the Lotus Sutra, which reveals the Buddha’s true enlightenment, the Daishonin discovered the workings of the fundamental Law of Myoho-renge-kyo in his own life; he then went on to confirm and prove the power of the Mystic Law through his own struggles. For us to freely manifest these workings of the Law in our own lives, we need to chant with the same mind and attitude as the Daishonin. In other words, our daimoku must be based on faith, the spirit to battle darkness or illusion. The daimoku that the Daishonin spread could be described as “fighting daimoku.”
Illusion manifests in various forms—as doubt, anxiety, earthly desires, and so on. The power to break through illusion is none other than faith or belief. The Daishonin says: “Belief means to be without doubt” (OTT, 54). He also states: “The single word ‘belief’ is the sharp sword with which one confronts and overcomes fundamental darkness or ignorance” (OTT, 119–20). Belief is a sharp sword. Therefore, battling devilish functions must also essentially be an intense struggle against darkness or ignorance. We are combating devilish forces that obstruct kosen-rufu. This struggle is also fundamentally a struggle against illusion. Confronting various difficulties that occur in life is also in essence a struggle against illusion.
Have a wonderful, enjoyable tozo tonight fuelled with fighting spirit, as well as warm and vibrant discussion meetings this week and let’s dispell the ‘illusions’ and crush the doubts! Thank you so much everyone!
We have also put the link for the podcast of the daily ‘Vow’ instalments on the Home Page of the SGI-UK members site https://members.sgi-uk.org. In case you don’t have login details please ask your HQ or Area leader.
SGI-UK Young Men’s Division Leader
Message for Monday Tozo – 13th August
Happy Monday! We have 97 days to go until 18th November: 14 Mondays including today! As we are also enjoying daily instalments of ‘Vow’ chapter of the New Human Revolution, I’ve chosen an excerpt from President Ikeda’s poem for tonight’s tozo inspiration. The word ‘jiyu’ is the word for ‘emerging from the earth’ and we know that the Bodhisattvas of the Earth all emerged ‘dancing’:
From “The Sun of ‘jiyu’ over a New Land”
As each group seeks its separate
roots and origins,
society fractures along a thousand fissure lines.
When neighbours distance themselves
from neighbours, continue your uncompromising quest
for your truer roots
in the deepest regions of your life.
Seek out the primordial “roots” of humankind. Then you will without fail discover
the stately expanse of ‘jiyu’
unfolding in the depths of your life.
Here is the home, the dwelling place to which humankind traces
its original existence—
beyond all borders,
beyond all difference of gender and race. Here is a world offering true proof
of our humanity.
If one reaches back to these fundamental roots,
all become friends and comrades.
To realize this is to “emerge from the earth.”
This year’s summer courses have been focusing on the study of unity, and here again we can see Sensei’s beautiful vision of true unity and what that can create. This world he describes is reflected in our wonderfully diverse districts, where people from all walks of life are welcomed and celebrate our shared humanity together.
Let’s continue our efforts to connect across these ‘fissure lines’ as we build and strengthen bonds through treasuring each person in front of us.
Have a great tozo!
SGI-UK Young Women’s leader
Message for Monday tozo – 6th August
Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. In their joint appeal to the youth of the world on 5th June this year, President Ikeda and Adolpho Perez Esquivel wrote:
“It is necessary to remember history. Such memory illuminates the present. Through it, we can see that people have the capacity and the strength to create new alternatives and to be beacons of hope demonstrating that ‘another world is possible.'”
The Soka Gakkai has a proud history of taking action for peace. Our SGI-UK target of 18,000 Bodhisattvas of the Earth by 18th November as well as our own personal targets are our way of contributing to this action for peace and ensuring that events such as the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki never happen again.
It can be difficult to see the connection between our own human revolution to realise our goals and the achievement of world peace. However peace starts in the hearts of people. Our efforts to eradicate any and all doubt in our Buddha nature and the Buddha nature of others is therefore the surest way to peace.
On Friday this week (10th August) we begin our final sprint, 100 days towards our ‘Brilliant Achievement’. I am determined to make these 100 days count and am taking on the challenge of the 0, 1, 2, 3 campaign. These 100 days don’t mean doing more than I’ve already been doing, instead it’s a way to make all the actions that I’m already taking really count. Am I chanting daimoku for the happiness of myself and those around me? When I’m reading Sensei’s guidance or the Gosho am I taking it as direct personal guidance? When I’m having dialogue with people am I basing it on absolute respect for their life? My challenge is to make my answer to these questions more ‘yes’ than ‘no’.
Whatever you do in these 100 days, lets together determine to have no regrets and be able to report our great victory to President Ikeda on 18th November. This is an opportunity for us to deepen our conviction in the greatness of our lives, fight alongside our mentor and transform the world around us. In their message Sensei and Esquivel also wrote:
“There is no challenge that cannot be resolved if we unite in solidarity.”
I am determined to make these words a reality. Let’s do it together.
Very best wishes,
SGI-UK Youth Division Leader
Message for Monday Daimoku Tozo 30th July 2018
In September 2016 President Ikeda stated:
“Please promise with me to work hard over the next two years with our fellow members around the world to expand our network of Bodhisattvas of the Earth, and forge ahead with energy, wisdom, and good cheer to make the triumph of mentor and disciple resound into the eternal future of the Latter Day of the Law.” (NL9446) The period of two years will end, as we know, in November 2018 with the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu in Tokyo, Japan.
In the UK we have responded to Sensei’s request in an amazing way, with a desire to see our organisation welcome more and more people who can benefit from the practice of Nichiren Buddhism and be part of the SGI family, and so make a positive contribution to society, and create a world that is truly based on respect and the dignity of life.
Our Youth Division responded with an ambitious proposal to hold a large scale event which could introduce our socially engaged Buddhist movement to many thousands of young people, and the Generation Hope event on 17th March was a truly great success, with the three venues in Bristol, London and Manchester all full. There was a lot of very positive feedback from our guests afterwards.
The Generation Hope events were successful because everyone got behind them – men, women as well as the youth division. We were all chanting for their success, and also looking for opportunities to invite people to attend.
This year, as I am sure you all remember, is the SGI year of ‘Brilliant Achievement in the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu’. In his New Year message printed in the January Art of Living Sensei said “Precisely because we live in an age where many lack conviction and a sound guiding philosophy, we who hold the steadfast banner of conviction and philosophy – of faith in Nichiren Buddhism – must make our lives shine brightly with life’s ultimate and eternal brilliant achievement – that is, attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime.” He also referred to brilliant achievement in volume 29 of ‘The New Human Revolution’ when he said: “There is no more brilliant achievement in life than enabling another person to practise the Daishonin’s Buddhism.”
It is not long now before the two year period is up. In fact, on 10th August it will be one hundred days up to 18th November. I am thinking deeply about what I can do to ensure both a personal expression of brilliant achievement, as well as one for the whole of SGI-UK. It is really helping me to think of this period as the ‘Brilliant Achievement – final sprint’! It has been a very joyful year so far, and I want to make sure that this last phase is also something that will bring happiness to me and other people.
I don’t want to be prescriptive about what we all do in these hundred days, but something which might be useful to consider is using this period of time to do the 0-1-2-3. That is 1 hour’s daimoku a day, 20 minutes of study and encouraging three people. And the 0 is for zero complaining! I think it is important to mention that when we are chanting, if we focus on encouraging three people rather than being limited by our own circumstances, then it will help us to meet the people who want to hear about Buddhism. I had that experience on Friday morning, when I was able to have a very natural conversation with a young man who said he’s always been interested in Buddhism and was very keen to hear about chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the SGI.
Have a great tozo, and let’s remember this period of 100 days from 10th August and all work together to make sure that we all have our own brilliant achievements, as well as the important one of seeing SGI-UK grow and have even more impact in the wider world. I look forward to seeing you soon. Warm wishes, Robert Harrap
SGI-UK General Director
I hope you are all well. Today’s encouragement below is written by Koichi Samuels, SGI-UK’s Young Men’s Division leader, in light of various youth division anniversaries around this time. Whatever our stage of life, I am sure we will all be encouraged to chant this evening with a wonderful youthful spirit for the development of SGI-UK.
Many congratulations to the Youth Division for July 11th Young Men’s Division founding day and July 19th (this Thursday) Young Women’s Division founding day!
Last Wednesday (July 11th) I was chanting about the significance of the anniversary of the Young Men’s Division founding day and I deeply decided I will respond to Sensei’s trust in the youth for Kosen-rufu this year, no matter what!
In the message to the recent Headquarters Leader’s Meeting held in Kyushu, Sensei states:
Mr. Makiguchi declared: “Countless young people will follow in my footsteps.” The letter containing those words was later confiscated by an officer of the Special Higher Police, the “thought police” of the Japanese militarist government, but today just look at the great numbers of youth that are emerging all around the world!
Embracing the noble vow to blaze new trails, let us fearlessly stand in the forefront of our movement to realize kosen-rufu and the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” Let us continue to carry out our struggle for peace and the happiness of all humankind. Here, we find a life of unsurpassed honor and good fortune and the path that enables all people to enjoy an expansive and indestructible life state of eternity, happiness, true self, and purity.
I feel that Sensei profoundly trusts the youth division (and of course all of us) to live out our very best lives, win in our human revolution and become truly happy, whilst sharing the law with those around us.
I am determined to respond to Sensei’s great trust and live this kind of life!
This week is discussion meeting week. I am striving every day to share the practice with those around me, based on prayers to draw into my life Bodhisattvas of the Earth I can share this practice with and prayers for the happiness of those in my environment.
I am convinced that these efforts are the path to my own human revolution and happiness. I am aiming towards each discussion meeting to bring my friends along so they can experience the warm and vibrant, inspiring discussion meetings of SGI-UK.
Let’s aim together towards 18th November 2018, and break through our limitations with the spirit that “this will be the year!”, have brilliant achievements in our lives, and bring many treasured friends to our SGI-UK discussion meetings!
Thank you so much!
(SGI-UK Young Men’s Division leader)
We now have 19 Monday tozos before 18th November including tonight! I’m sure you will agree that whilst this is ample time for us to achieve great personal and district victories, let’s not waste a single moment. I am determined to take a small step forward everyday to ensure that ‘this will be the year’ and to report the absolute victory of my district to Sensei. In February 1952, the 24-year-old Daisaku Ikeda initiated a historic propagation campaign as chapter advisor of Kamata Chapter in Tokyo. As a single chapter, Kamata introduced 201 households to Nichiren Buddhism in a single month—a crucial breakthrough in achieving President Toda’s cherished lifetime goal of introducing 750,000 families to Buddhism. Inspired by this, I am determined that my district will be the Kamata Chapter of the UK! Please feel free to challenge us for the crown! The victory of our districts of course starts with each individual winning over any doubt we have in our Buddhahood, and this is why our Monday tozos are the key to victory. This weekend we held the summer courses for the Mimosas, Young Eagles and Rising Phoenixes at Taplow Court. Thank you so much to everyone who made it such a great success. The grounds of Taplow were filled with hot, joyful and energetic children each embodying the hope for a better world and the eternalisation of our organisation. If ever we needed the motivation to achieve our goal of 18,000 members it was the sight of these beaming champions of hope and the desire to create a world where they can truly flourish. In NL9936 Sensei says:
When we dedicate ourselves to kosen-rufu together with the Soka Gakkai, we activate and give expression to our inherent nature as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. And when we advance with pride and confidence in that fact, we have nothing to fear, and no obstacle can stop us. Soka Gakkai members who steadfastly exert themselves in faith for the sake of kosen-rufu are certain to attain a life state brimming with the “boundless joy of the Law.” The efforts that we make to attend the Monday tozos, to create the most vibrant and joyful districts and to do our utmost to encourage the person standing in front of us are the most noble actions that demonstrate our inherent nature as a Bodhisattva of the Earth. Based on our confidence in this, our true identity, we can have the courage to challenge any obstacle that might stand in our path. Let’s determine to prove the truth of Sensei’s words, and armed with daimoku, let us achieve unimaginable personal victories and growth in our districts that is beyond what we think we’re capable of achieving. I am ready to win an all out victory, and I hope that you will join me! Very best wishes, Takako Yeung
SGI-UK Youth Division Leader
Thank you for gathering this evening to chant towards SGI-UK’s shared goal so that more people can connect with the Mystic Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reveal their enlightened Buddha state.
Tomorrow is 3rd July – known in the SGI as the Day of Mentor and Disciple. In 1945 Josei Toda was released from prison on that date and re-built the Soka Gakkai, and in 1957 Daisaku Ikeda was arrested on that date and detained as part of the ‘Osaka Incident’. President Ikeda has referred to the significance of these dates: ‘On this day of release and imprisonment are found the bonds of mentor and disciple.’
The Gosho reminds us: “Those who become Nichiren’s disciples and lay believers should realize the profound karmic relationship they share with him and spread the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] as he does” (WND-1, 994). Let’s chant this evening to realise more deeply the profound karmic relationship we have with the mentors of Soka, and also to be able to spread Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as they have done.
Have a great meeting!
Dear friends, On this incredibly sunny day, thank you for your efforts to gather and chant daimoku together, uniting towards 18th November with our mentor!
This weekend we celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Student Division, who will gather at Taplow to deepen friendships and faith. This is a quote from ‘Youth and the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin’, where President Ikeda discusses the famous Gosho ‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land’ with youth leaders:-
Tanano: Recently, a student division member asked me about the significance of the Daishonin‘s treatise in modern terms, given that it was written in the 13th century.
President Ikeda: That‘s a tough question! [Laughter.] But I‘m glad that the student division members are thinking seriously about such things. It‘s a succinct question that strikes directly at the heart of the matter.
I believe that we are living in a time when this teaching is taking on ever greater importance. It is an indispensable concept for attaining humanity‘s long-cherished wish for world peace.
Major natural disasters are occurring all over the world. The global economic crisis continues and people are filled with uncertainty. More and more people are seeking a solid spiritual and philosophical mainstay. Establishing the correct teaching means setting forth what is right, raising the banner of truth and justice. It means making genuine respect for the sanctity of life our foundation. Establishing the correct teaching essentially comes down to young people like all of you, who embrace a truly humanistic philosophy and sound principles, standing up courageously and taking action in society.
Additionally, I have been very moved to read Tokie Tani’s speech at President Toda’s funeral, which is in our Youth Division study manual and the Human Revolution volume 12 Tranquil Light chapter:
“The opportunities that we members of the young women’s division have had to receive guidance from you, President Toda, are too numerous to mention. Among these, in particular, we will never forget your declaration last September calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, which represents your foremost legacy to us. In addition, you always strongly encouraged us to live and practice so that each and every member of the YWD would definitely become happy. You taught us again and again to advance with resolute dignity along the path of kosen-rufu, the highest path of human existence, and that this is the way to achieve true and unsurpassed happiness. As a result, we will absolutely never betray the pledge we have made to you, and will dedicate our lives to advancing steadfastly toward the goal of kosen-rufu. From your vantage point in the Treasure Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, please watch over the future development of the young women’s division.”
Have great tozos, uniting with our mentor and redetermining to lead the most value-creating, joyful and fulfilling lives together!
Anna Hashimoto, SGI-UK Young Women’s division leader
Over the last few days I have been reading and reading President Ikeda’s and Esquivel’s recent call to the Youth of the World ‘An Appeal for Resilience and Hope’ (that’s in the latest e-bulletin) and am so deeply encouraged that they have never given up in their efforts to build a peaceful world where the dignity of each precious life is enabled.
We are almost half way through this year: no matter what our current situation let’s continue to lay cause after cause after cause confident that we are constructing steadily and surely the peace of the land (which includes our own happiness!).
For this week I’ve chosen a passage from
what will be our August study which takes up the theme of peace (NL9829):
“Universal Religion That Celebrates Diversity
The crucial point is that the teaching of the Mystic Law enables all people, irrespective of their differences, to attain enlightenment. It presents a way to realize peace and happiness, the common wish of humanity across all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
When people go around excluding and discriminating against those who are different from themselves, they create a breeding ground for a culture of war that gives rise to strife and conflict. But when they welcome and accept each other’s differences as a rich source of diversity, they create a culture of peace.
The wisdom of Nichiren Buddhism awakens us to the supreme dignity of all people, regardless of what country they are from or what language they speak, and has the power to help every single person become happy, without exception. It is the shining light of a universal religion capable of creating a genuine culture of peace.”
With deepest gratitude,
SGI-UK Women’s Division Leader
I wish everyone a really invigorating, joyful tozo meeting, and a glorious week ahead!
I would like to share some encouragement from the summer course material for SGI-UK this year on “Many in Body, One in Mind”.
I felt this is really great guidance to use moving forward to November 18th 2018.
I believe this is an encouragement towards our own individual human revolution and victory, to deepen our connection in our hearts with our mentor, and also to forge a strong unity together as wonderful friends and fellow members!
The key message: “Many in Body, One in Mind” is the path to absolute victory!
“By each of us uniting together and fully expressing our own unique potential through the power of the Mystic Law, we can manifest the invincible strength of the spirit of many in body, one in mind.
The Buddha became enlightened to the fundamental power that connects all things in the universe – namely, the Mystic Law. He also awakened to the fact that all people have the potential to manifest the power of this Law in their own lives. This potential is what in Buddhism is termed as the Buddha nature or Dharma nature. Only when each of us brings forth the wisdom of our enlightened Buddha nature can we truly actualize the unity of diverse individuals as taught in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Because we each rise above our attachment to self and reveal our highest potential and individuality, the path of ‘many in body, one in mind’ becomes a path for absolute victory.” (2018 Summer Course Material p20, NL7657)
Very best wishes,
(National YMD Leader)
Today’s quote comes from p20 of the Youth Division Study Manual, from Sensei’s lectures on ‘The Opening of the Eyes’. The young women are focusing on this gosho in June as part of our monthly study of the 30 key gosho which Sensei recommended to the Ikeda Kayo Kai. Next month will be our final one!
This quote was picked out by our wonderful vice national YW leader Nozomi Maeda:
<Study manual P.20>
Our vow to work for kosen-rufu serves as a fundamental source of strength, giving us the courage to remain undaunted by even the greatest hardships and trials. When we dedicate ourselves to this vow, then no matter what obstacles and devilish functions arise, our lives will shine with a lofty, indomitable spirit. No matter what kind of karma should assail us, our lives will glow with the spirit of invincible champions
So, we can be confident that we are walking the path of eternal happiness! Our happiness makes others happy. Let’s report our victory to Sensei so that we can make our mentor very happy! Let’s cheerfully and joyfully advance together!
Have a great Monday tozo!
SGI -UK Young Women’s leader
Dearest friends in faith,
I hope you’re all able to enjoy this Bank Holiday Monday. Thank you for everything you are doing day in and day out towards November 18th (and beyond) and for your warm hearted actions to embrace and encourage your families, your communities and one another in your local districts.
As May 3rd is Soka Gakkai Mother’s Day, May is a time of celebration and vow for women of Soka around the world. WD General meetings are currently taking place not only across Europe but also in 500,000 places across Japan. How incredible!
This coming Thursday – May 31st – is SGI-UK Women’s Division Day and we have wonderfully received a message from Sensei and Mrs Ikeda for our Women’s General Meetings across Europe. In the message they write in part:
“Let us, therefore, continue, more than ever, to chant strong daimoku to fulfil our vow for kosen-rufu, and expand the world’s foremost grand march of peace out into our communities, the world, and into the future, as we cheerfully and harmoniously encourage one another and sincerely help people connect to Nichiren Buddhism!”
Many congratulations to all our incredible WD!
Wishing you all strong and vibrant daimoku meetings,
SGI-UK WD Leader
In SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s message to the UK for 3rd May he reminded us that chanting daimoku can lead to the greatest happiness. Quoting from the ‘Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings’ he shared that ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys’. We are chanting to become absolutely happy ourselves, and for that happiness to affect all the people around us.
He says: “With the awareness that our ‘mind’ or life itself is the Buddha, we must take courageous actions for the happiness of ourselves and others to build a better society. Buddhism exists for each of us to lead a life of ‘the greatest of all joys’. Herein lies the purpose of our daily practice.”
As we chant this evening, let’s remember this important principle that chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to experience the most wonderful joy, and when we share this teaching with others and it affects them in the same way, the joy multiplies so that we all feel even happier.
Next week is the 20th anniversary of President Ikeda’s visit to University of Sussex on May 20th, the 9th anniversary of Sensei’s honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast of May 18th and also the anniversary of the Toynbee and Ikeda Dialogue: “Choose Life”, which started around May 19th in 1972.
What a significant week we are entering!
I would like to share a passage from a dialogue between Sensei and youth leaders in Japan on On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, which is a study material for the youth of Europe this summer. Of course, the guidance is to youth but we know this means all who have a youthful spirit!!
“The important thing is to engage in dialogue that is based on strong and deep prayers for your friends’ happiness. Words imbued with such prayer are certain to reach the Buddha nature in the depths of their lives. Whether they are aware of it or not, their Buddha nature will be activated. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables our voice, when we speak to others, to do the Buddha’s work. To be a youth is to boldly and courageously speak out for one’s beliefs. It is to engage others in dialogue for the supremely noble cause of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land. If you can state your convictions with a bright, confident spirit, you have succeeded.”
The spirit of dialogue is to open our hearts to others, to share our sincere feelings, and especially regarding our practice, share our honest thoughts and experiences.
Personally for me, this can be the hardest thing in the world to do!!!
But I know that it is in my efforts to use my daimoku to open my heart to others, that I am able to treasure the person in front of me and forge true friendship with that person.
Thus, the challenge to open my heart in dialogue = advancing Kosen-Rufu!
Through sharing in this way with others I know I can gain hope and revitalisation to breakthrough whatever obstacles I am facing!
What a fantastic challenge!
Let’s win a clear victory this significant week in our efforts to open our hearts to others in dialogue – this I believe is the best way to respond to Sensei and celebrate these significant May dates (and onwards to 18/11/18!) with our mentor!
Thank you so much – congratulations one and all!
SGI-UK YMD leader
It’s another Monday and another tozo: each one bringing us closer to November 18th. Each Monday is a stepping stone towards our goal of 18,000 bodhisattvas of the earth, and the efforts to gather together and focus our united prayer is such a beautiful thing. With this spirit, let’s “freshly advance” with evening gongyo tonight!
“As the Daishonin said, ‘Life is limited, and we must not begrudge it. What we should aspire to, after all, is the Buddha land’ (WND-1, p214). In this spirit, why don’t we make today’s meeting our first step in a new period of powerful progress and begin a fresh advance toward kosen-rufu, filled with hope, courage and confidence!”
-New Dawn 4, The Human Revolution Vol.12
SGI-UK YW leader
Happy May 3rd (in a few days!) – how amazing that we can celebrate Soka Gakkai Day together with our mentor. Last week we had the great good fortune to welcome to the UK President Harada, Mrs Kasanuki, and other leaders from Japan and Europe. On this occasion we received the following message (attached!) from Sensei!! Many congratulations!
I’m amazed and touched by this very personal and detailed message – and felt so proud and grateful to read about the history of Kosen Rufu we already have in the UK. Sensei writes:
“Dr. Arnold Toynbee stressed in his dialogue with me that in order to recognise the dignity of human life, humanity must shift from a way of life that prioritises economic gains, and that the most desirable spiritual change “has to be made at the religious level, not at the economic level, and it has to be made by every human being individually.”
-This was a point that struck me deeply, and last week President Harada also reminded us to focus on our human revolution. As we strive to realise 18,000 Bodhisattvas of the Earth, what that means for me is to strive in my own faith, practice and study to realise my dreams and live as the best version of me!
The national Youth Division leaders last week could have a study session with President Harada and Mrs Kasanuki. In many of the answers President Harada referred to passages from the Human Revolution and New Human Revolution. One such passage was talking about the ‘seven bells’ and is also in our youth division study manual. Reading it this morning, I was touched to read Sensei’s determination in New Dawn 2 (Human Revolution vol 12)
“May 3, that significant day, is just around the corner. Will this be the day on which I effectively take leadership of the Gakkai? My heart is heavy – a pressing weight. I will powerfully strike the Fifth Bell. I will fight – to prove my mentor’s greatness to the world.”
With six months to go towards 18th November, I’m refreshing my spirits today. Together with Sensei, let’s continue fighting for Kosen Rufu, joyfully!!
Once again, Happy May 3rd!
SGI-UK young womens leader
“Many of our members once gave up all thoughts of ever attaining happiness in this lifetime. But as they continued to devote themselves to their practice of faith, they started to find themselves becoming happy and free from worry before they realised it. We have seen and heard of many cases of such marvellous facts. They are proof that our practice and strong prayers can turn the impossible into possible in our lives. I want you to know that this is what the Mystic Law and our faith is all about. By now you have probably realised that our campaign can only begin with the single-minded prayers of each and every member. When all members pray to the Gohonzon with one mind, they will naturally find a way opening before them – a way to make the impossible possible.”
I am delighted that this week we will welcome Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada and SGI Women’s Leader Yumiko Kasanuki as part of a delegation of SGI leaders visiting the UK. This will be a wonderful opportunity to hear guidance and inspiration from disciples who are so close to SGI President Ikeda. I am sure that this week will be a great cause for the even deeper ‘casting off the transient, and revealing the true’ for SGI-UK and each one of us who decides to go deeper in our vow for kosen-rufu. Naturally we will report on President Harada and Ms Kasanuki’s activities in the next e-bulletin.
Finally, I am sure you are aware that Sensei is writing about the UK at the moment in the ‘Vow’ chapter of ‘The New Human Revolution’. Attached is part 22 which refers to the united prayers of both the UK and Argentinian members at the time of the military conflict in the South Atlantic.
Have a great meeting tonight!
Very best wishes,
As inspiration for this week’s Monday night daimoku I share some recent guidance from President Ikeda on the topic of fostering and encouraging youth. Please share with the members in your districts. President Ikeda writes:
Buddhism teaches that “One’s body and mind at a single moment pervade the entire realm of phenomena” (WND-1, 366).
The “body and mind” of a single individual can create waves of change that ripple out to their family members and friends, their workplace, their community, their country, and the entire world.
Everything starts with one person. Change starts with one person. The way forward opens with one person. That’s why it’s important to start by meeting and speaking with one person, and taking action together with them.
Because we are living in a time of declining birth rates in Japan and many other parts of the world, we should treasure each young person. One youth will in turn call forth other youth.
Following the principle of “from the indigo, an even deeper blue,” it’s important that we foster a surging tide of capable individuals who will go on to become more capable than ourselves. The Soka Gakkai is what it is today because we have advanced in this spirit.
NL9828 President Ikeda talks here about our the power of the efforts we can make as individuals to cherish the life of the person in front of us that we are encouraging, emphasising: “that’s why it’s important to start by meeting and speaking with one person, and taking action together with them”. This is a clear theme recurring in many of President Ikeda’s guidances in this Year of Brilliant Achievement, and as such we can take this as a guideline as we advance towards November 18th 2018. Have a fantastic tozo with your district and a great week ahead. David Woodger
SGI-UK Men’s Division Leader
I wish to take this opportunity to firstly say one more huge thank you so much to everyone for your efforts towards and now after Generation Hope!
We are onto our fourth week into our new advance towards November 18th 2018!
For inspiration for tonight’s tozo, I would like to share the following passage from Sensei’s editorial in the April Art of Living magazine.
In the early days of our movement, a dedicated young women’s division member from the Tohoku region in northeastern Japan earnestly asked me how she could contribute to worldwide kosen-rufu. I praised her and told her that to ponder that question itself was the spirit of the Buddha.
“Everything,” I said, “starts from sincerely encouraging the person right in front of you. From there, the way forward will definitely open.”
Each person’s life is a precious treasure tower. Based on the Buddhist principles of the “mutual possession of the Ten Worlds,” the “hundred worlds and thousand factors,” and the “three thousand realms in a single moment of life,” each individual possesses the supremely noble world of Buddhahood.
Therefore, encouraging another person can transform our community, our land, and even the future. It constitutes the sacred work of the Buddha—the surest and steadiest way to elevate the life state of all humanity, which was my mentor second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda’s deepest wish.
This is the ‘Year of Brilliant Achievement In the New Era of Worldwide Kosen Rufu’ and Sensei shared in ‘The New Human Revolution’ – vol29: ‘There is no more brilliant achievement than enabling another person to practice the Daishonin’s Buddhism’ – I feel now is the perfect opportunity to solidify our determination towards our personal goal, as well as our district goals towards November 18th 2018, and in introducing our friends to Nichiren Buddhism and the SGI!
Have a fantastic tozo and wonderful week,
Koichi SGI-UK YMD Leader
Warmest greetings on this cold and damp Bank Holiday. Thank you again and again for all your extraordinary efforts towards Generation Hope. I hope you’ve been able to have a good rest with family and friends, thoroughly refreshed and raring to go again towards May 3rd and beyond.
For our daimoku this evening, reflecting on the 60th anniversary of President Toda’s passing I have chosen a passage from President Ikeda’s message to the recent 32nd HQLM:
“Anxiety and turbulence are intensifying around the world. Let us, therefore, take to heart the Daishonin’s message to “Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life” (WND-1, 681), and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. By doing so, we can make the sun of time without beginning—our innate Buddhahood—rise within us, day after day, and bring our lives to shine with the light of hope, wisdom, and peace.
In that context, I would like to reaffirm the three points that we pledged to fulfill many years ago (in October 1977), at the opening of the Toda Memorial Cemetery Park in Atsuta, of which I have such fond memories:
(1) Start with your own human revolution
(2) Spread friendship and trust in the community
(3) Pass on your faith to the next generation and foster capable successors
When the cherry trees begin to blossom in Japan each spring, their flowering starts in the south and moves steadily northward—the daily progress of which has been dubbed the “cherry blossom front.” The 8,000 cherry trees at the Toda Memorial Cemetery Park, where a statue of Mr. Toda stands, reach full bloom in early May.
As we aim toward our next two milestones of April 2 (the anniversary of Mr. Toda’s passing) and May 3 (Soka Gakkai Day), let’s joyfully resolve together to engage in an exciting journey of creating a fresh flowering of dialogue, benefit, and capable individuals—Soka cherry trees blooming in beautiful profusion everywhere.
I call on my dear friends of the youth division, who share my spirit, to respond to the prayers of the men’s and women’s division members to “make truth and justice triumph,” in the spirit of the Soka Gakkai song “Atsuta Village,” and continue to forge ahead dynamically, cheerfully, and positively.”
I wish you powerful daimoku sessions where (with deepest appreciation to Nichiren and the 3 Presidents) we can ‘make the sun of time without beginning—our innate Buddhahood—rise within us’ and set out again to give hope and encouragement to everyone around us,
SGI-UK WD Leader
Dear friends across the UK!
Today, we have super fresh encouragement for our Monday tozos focussing now on 18th November, thanks to the amazing SGI Newsletter team.
We had heard that Sensei is writing the final chapter of the final volume of New Human Revolution, and this is entitled ‘Vow’. Attached here is the first instalment which appeared in today’s Seikyo Shimbun newspaper, which is about YOUTH CULTURE FESTIVALS! What truly incredible timing, how amazing for us in the UK to be so in rhythm with our mentor! Here is a little excerpt from today’s (full text attached):-
“Soka Gakkai culture festivals are celebrations of the triumph of ordinary people, giving expression to the joy and vitality gained through their practice of Nichiren Buddhism. They are microcosms of human harmony, showing the beauty and strength of unity arising from trust and friendship. They are festivals of hope, proclaiming a vow for the realization of kosen-rufu, or world peace.” (my highlight)
With this, I’m reminded of the encouragement we were given recently on the Youth Division Japan Training Course, to live every day with the spirit of 16th March. Our Generation Hope events may be over, but now is the time to live with the passion of Generation Hope every day, joyfully sharing our experiences and conviction with those around us. That’s how we can transform the UK!
Finally I want to share a line from our Youth Division study manual which I share quite a lot, because it reminds me of the heart of our mentor. It’s p116 Tranquil Light 32:
“Shin’ichi wanted to put an arm around each person, squeeze their hand in reassurance, and dry their tears. He firmly vowed to support each member, to pave the way to a peaceful world and help all establish happiness that would endure eternally.”
-This will be my manual now, post-Generation Hope, to encourage each person around me with this spirit.
Have wonderful tozos this evening, and thank you all so much for your support!
SGI-UK Young Women’s Division leader on behalf of the national team
It is one week to go until our Youth Generation Hope meeting on 17th March 2018.
MD and WD can support Youth division with our Daimoku on that day. LIPC will be open from 7am to 7pm. We would like to invite many people for this chanting.
With best wishes,
on behalf of HQ team
We have now reached the penultimate Monday daimoku tozo before Generation Hope on 17th March!! There is a huge amount that can be achieved in these final 12 days, so let us continue to strive to use Generation Hope as the opportunity to deepen our understanding of shakubuku, solidify our prayer to be absolutely happy, and unite with our fellow district members to create welcoming oases of hope in our communities.
A couple of important reminders – first, about the event on 17th March:
· The event is open to ALL YOUTH whether they practise this Buddhism or not. The meeting is aimed at guests, supported by ALL our Youth Division members (who are able to be there). It will be a joyful, powerful and inspiring introduction to Nichiren Buddhism for guests, and an opportunity to re-invigorate the faith of those already practising.
· Men’s and Women’s Division members are very welcome to attend IF they are bringing a youth guest.
· We are aware that there are some technical issues with the Eventbrite ticketing system. If you know that the confirmation email has been sent to you, but you haven’t received it, please let your District Champion know so that this can be passed on to and resolved by your venue admin team.
· PLEASE click ‘Attend’ when you receive your email from Eventbrite and follow the process to confirm that you will be attending.
So far, (as of Monday morning) we have 1327 tickets confirmed for Apollo, 251 tickets for Bristol and 330 tickets for Manchester. We have many more applications for tickets than this (approximately double), so please, please do confirm your tickets when you receive the Eventbrite email.
Secondly, around the world SGI organisations are completing their final preparations to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Kosen-rufu Day. As well as Generation Hope, we have the incredible opportunity to join the World Youth General Meeting taking place on 11th March in Japan. This meeting will be attended by representatives from around the world, including 5 Youth from SGI-UK, and will be streamed to 600,000 Youth Division members in Japan.
In his essay on 29th December, Sensei wrote:
‘Right now, there’s something I’m really excited about. And that is the World Youth General Meeting scheduled for 11th March 2018 [commemorating the 60th anniversary of 16th March, Kosen-rufu Day].
Youth division members throughout Japan, shining with the radiance of a brilliant new day, will reaffirm their vow to carry on and spread our movement for kosen-rufu in the 21st century. Across the globe as well, young Bodhisattvas of the Earth will hold general meetings brimming with hope and friendship.
Transcending all limitations of physical distance, these gatherings taking place worldwide in celebration of 16th March will together form an assembly of the shared vow of mentor and disciple.’
Wonderfully, wherever we are in the world we all (whether we are Youth Division or not!) have the opportunity to join and support this meeting on 11th March, which is the crystallisation of Sensei’s determination and a gathering that is bringing him much joy and excitement. For further information on how to follow the meeting on Instagram, please see the latest edition of the E-Bulletin.
For the majority of Men and Women’s Division members not attending Generation Hope in person, let’s create waves of daimoku giving our full support in prayer over the next two weeks especially on the weekend of 10th & 11th March and the period 16th to 18th March in the best ways in our respective localities.
Let’s continue our fight to transform our lives and our world, together with our fellow members around the world, and side by side with our mentor. Let’s strive harder than we ever have before in these final 12 days to open our hearts and share our wonderful philosophy with all those who are yearning for it. And let’s all have a great experience of personal transformation through Generation Hope that can carry us and our organisation to victory on 18th November.
Very best wishes,
Takako Yeung, Justine Marchant and David Woodger
Dear friends in faith,
Thank you for attending another Monday tozo towards Generation Hope and our target of 18,000 members by November 18th. We now have only 3 Mondays before March 17th!!
Each venue is in the midst of busy preparations towards the event, and your daimoku to support them is really appreciated. We would like to now ask for your support in chanting towards a few key things in these final weeks.
1) ALL YOUTH are able to attend the event. Anyone who is currently a member of the Youth Division, or guests who would be in the Youth Division if they were practising are welcome to attend. The event is open to ALL YOUTH, so let’s really encourage all the youth division members and guests in our environment to apply for tickets via their district champions.
2) Requests for tickets are coming in, but there is still a way to go before we reach our target. As of Monday morning we had: 418 confirmed tickets for Apollo, 151 confirmed for Manchester and 109 confirmed for Bristol. Please send your requests for tickets to your district champions, and if you have applied for a ticket, please check your junk mail folder in case the email from Eventbrite to confirm your ticket is in there.
3) Please can we send strong daimoku into the universe for glorious weather to support all those travelling from near and far, and for no accidents or incidents on the day.
4) I’m going to repeat this because it’s really important!! ALL YOUTH are invited to the event. If they are a member of the Youth Division or would be if they were practising, they need to be there on the day!
Generation Hope is going to be an extraordinary opportunity for people to come into contact with Sensei’s heart. There will be dynamic cultural performances such as live music, dance and spoken word that will help the audience go on a journey that expresses the joy and power of human revolution.
Each venue will have between 5 and 7 inspiring experiences of transformation and actual proof that will show people the effect of our individual battle to become happy and the extraordinary impact of our victories.
We will also have 3 videos – ‘What We Chant and Why’, the Future Division song ‘The Power of Hope’ and ‘Global Network for Peace’.
I am chanting to not have a single regret towards Generation Hope and I am therefore determined to seize every opportunity to invite the youth I know to attend. I hope that you can join me in this determination!
In the New Human Revolution volume 12 Successors chapter, Sensei writes:
Toda had often told them “what matters is whether, at a critical moment, you can rush to the battlefield of kosen-rufu.” The youth now sensed that that moment had come. It might be said that a staunch inner resolve for kosen-rufu reveals itself at a crucial moment.
Let’s make no mistake, our crucial moment is now. Through the power of our Monday daimoku let’s ensure that ALL YOUTH can attend on March 17th and experience for themselves the heart of our mentor and the power of youth.
Together, let’s make this the year that successive generations in SGI-UK look back on as the turning point for our Kosen-rufu movement.
Very best wishes,
SGI-UK Youth Division Leader
February 1st sees the beginning of our Encouraging Dialogues campaign towards inviting youth to Generation Hope, would like to share some guidance from Sensei on dialogue as encouragement:
“The dialogue carried out by Soka Gakkai members is fueled by a belief in the Buddha nature of all people. Awakening the Buddha nature in others is key to realizing true happiness for ourselves and others. This is because a shared conviction in our and others’ potential for Buddhahood has the power to transcend all differences and become the foundation of shared happiness and shared peace. This is precisely the kind of dialogue that the world so badly needs today.” (NL9710)
Taking two points from an article Sensei wrote in the December 29th Seikyo Shinbun, this February campaign let’s:
– Stand up as a Bodhisattva of the Earth and break through our limitations!
– Encourage the person in front of us from the depths of our hearts!
With sincere thanks,
Koichi on behalf of Youth Division Generation Hope team
Thank you to everyone taking part in the Monday night daimoku for Generation Hope. It is making such a difference to the preparation efforts behind the scenes.
And thank you to the district champions all over the UK who have taken on the crucial role of supporting youth from the district to be able to attend Generation Hope.
While we are preparing for a gathering of 6000 young people from all over the UK, our friends in Japan are preparing for a gathering of 600,000 youth from all over the world!!
On March 11th, around 14:20-14:30 Japan time, there will be Gongyo and daimoku as part of the World General Youth Meeting, and youth from all over the world are invited to join if they wish. For us in the UK it’s 05:30 in the morning – so very early. One of the materials being studied ahead of this meeting is Volume 12 of the Human Revolution which is also in the UK’s study Manual towards March 17th.
Here is an extract for us to read before/during/after the Monday night daimoku!
“One morning when Shin’ichi went to his mentor’s room, Toda called out cheerfully from his bed, “Shin’ichi, yesterday I dreamt I went to Mexico.”
Sitting down beside him, Shin’ichi returned his mentor’s smile.
“They were all waiting. Everyone was waiting. They were all seeking Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. I want to go–to travel the world on a journey for kosen-rufu.”
“Sensei. . . .”
Shin’ichi keenly understood Toda’s wish. He was suddenly overwhelmed with a rush of emotion.
“Shin’ichi, the world is your challenge; it is your true stage. It is a vast world. There are many peoples, many races. Some nations are democratic and some socialist. And religious beliefs differ from country to country as well. Some do not permit religious propagation. We’ll have to start thinking about how to disseminate the Mystic Law in such places. After all, realizing peace and happiness for humanity is the fundamental aim of Buddhism.”
Human Revolution, Volume 12, Tranquil Light 3
I am determined to support the great success of this gathering of Bodhisattva’s of the earth from all over the world, before we hold our own incredible gathering of 6000 youth in the UK.
I am also looking forward to chanting with many of you this evening!
General Youth Leader
Today’s inspiration has been chosen by the wonderful Nia Evans, action chief for Generation Hope Bristol!
Regarding her choice she says, ‘there are so many sections I could have chosen, but I decided to share this one. It’s one of those which I keep returning to and re-reading. I like the simplicity of ‘Belief means to be without doubt’ and ‘belief is a sharp sword’. I can find it difficult to not doubt; as much as I fight it, there’s usually a little voice in the back of my head questioning and doubting. In preparing for Generation Hope, I’ve realised that there is no room for doubt, to win I have to have belief. It’s about developing my fighting daimoku, absolutely based on faith.’
“In other words, our Daimoku must be based on faith, the spirit to battle darkness or illusion. The Daimoku that the Daishonin spread could be described as ‘fighting Daimoku’.
Illusion manifests in various forms – as doubt, anxiety, earthly desires, and so on. The power to break through illusion is none other than faith or belief. The Daishonin says: “Belief means to be without doubt” (OTT, 54). He also states: “The single word belief is the sharp sword with which one confronts and overcomes fundamental darkness or ignorance” (OTT 119 – 20). Belief is a sharp sword. Therefore, battling devilish functions must also essentially be an intense struggle against darkness or ignorance. We are combatting devilish forces that obstruct kosen-rufu. This struggle is also fundamentally a struggle against illusion. Confronting various difficulties that occur in life is also in essence a struggle against illusion.
If we should lose our faith or belief in the Mystic Law – that is to say, if we lose the conviction that we can definitely become happy and attain Buddhahood along with the desire to accomplish Kosen-Rufu without fail – then we will also be defeated by hardships in life and by obstacles and devilish functions on the path to Kosen-Rufu.” (‘I and my disciples’ – Attaining Buddhahood through Steadfast Faith At the Crucial Moment)