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)