President Ikeda’s 2020 New Year Message
18th November Message
Congratulations on the 89th anniversary of the Founding of the Soka Gakkai!
I am currently in Tokyo on the SGI Autumn training course together with Justine Marchant, SGI-UK Women’s Division leader, David Woodger, SGI-UK Men’s Division leader and Jane Orr, SGI-UK vice Women’s Division leader, as part of the course including 255 members from 64 countries.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message to the course which included these words, which serve as a useful message on this anniversary:
“Every Gakkai member is the Buddha’s own child. We are all Bodhisattvas of the Earth striving to achieve kosen-rufu, a hallowed task without peer.
Nichiren Daishonin advises the following: ‘In this defiled age, you should always talk together.’ (WND-1, 449) and ‘All my disciples and followers should read and listen to this letter. Those who are serious in their resolve should discuss it with one another.’ (WND-1, 449)
While we aspire to advance kosen-rufu in this new era, the most humble yet unerring path to that end begins with dialogue, either by one person to another or with a small group of people. The axis with which this process turns is the zadankai, the discussion meetings now held all over the world. This is where everyone becomes the protagonist, where people may freely learn more about Buddhism and exchange views – a place where we join in as ‘friends in an orchid room’ by sharing faith experiences and forging heartfelt bonds, enabling us to take part in a dramatic narrative of self-rejuvenation that shines with dignity for ourselves and others. The discussion meeting represents the very basis of the Soka Gakkai, the driving force through which kosen-rufu thrives. I ask you, as leaders, to achieve new victories by taking the initiative to ensure that the cadence of discussion meeting-centric activities never wanes, and by doing so, spawn new waves of progress to drive further expansion. Use it to foster a new generation of capable individuals.”
We are very happy to report to you that we had the highest ever future division attendance at discussion meetings in October – 613 young people attended across the UK. The previous highest figure for future division attendees was 546, in October 2017. Thank you very much to the future division members and all those supporting them for their tremendous effort to bring joy and vigour to the October discussion meetings.
November discussion meeting week has now arrived, and we hope you agree that Sensei’s message today is the perfect guidance to remind us how important discussion meetings are, and to challenge the obstacles we face to bring our friends and guests to a discussion meeting, so the circle of ‘self-rejuvenation’ can spread even more widely.
Thank you for everything you are doing for kosen-rufu!
With very warm wishes from all of us,
Justine, Jane, Robert and David
Taplow Court, Taplow
Maidenhead SL6 0ER
INTRODUCTION AND THEME FOR 2020
SGI Theme for 2020 – “Year of Capable People and Advancement”
– Below are some points from President Harada announcing the theme at the 43rd HQL Meeting
- “Let’s make 2020 a year in which everyone advances and everyone becomes a capable person”
- “Now is the time to transform everything into an opportunity for the Soka Gakkai”
- “Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of Ikeda Sensei’s inauguration as third president of the SGI. When Sensei became the president in 1960, the theme of that year was also “The Year of Advancement”. Now is the time for us, Sensei’s disciples, to further advance kosen-rufu and show actual proof by expanding the network of capable people.”
- “The best way to expand the ranks of capable people is for the leaders themselves to do their human revolution and constantly strive to become exemplary models as capable individuals themselves – such earnest efforts will inspire all fellow members. Let us make “advance and more advance” our motto and make the year 2020 a year in which we encourage and foster new ranks of capable people.
Yvonne Laas, former Women’s Division Chapter Leader for Westminster died on 6th October 2019. She made a huge contribution to the movement for Kosen Rufu in Westminster and the world at large. Friends and members remember her fondly and she will be greatly missed.
Westminster Buddhists Friendship Day report published in the e-bulletin
VERY WELL DONE!
We had a great success with a packed hall and many joyful attendees. President Ikeda would surely have been delighted. Thank you to everyone involved for your relentless hard work, Daimoku and determination. Special thanks are surely due to our action team, Jo, Catherine, Claudia and Guyatri, wonderfully supported by, Sakshi – Invitation design, Beverly and Fernando – Tech, Mirka, Louise and Nikita – gift team, Jenny – Shop, Banhu and Cristina – Daimoku Tozo’s, Naomi- ebulletin reporting, Bona – MC and of course the entire Westminster Chapter membership, who’s ichinen for growth and kosen rufu provided the solid foundation on which the activity was built.
Among the many guests in attendance were 3 Westminster City councillors, one of whom, is the Deputy Cabinet Member for Sports, Culture and Community and he sits on Westminster council’s advisory committee for religious education. He was very impressed with our event and requested that we nominate an SGI delegate to join the committee going forward.
It’s now less than a week until our Friendship Day, we have confirmed attendance from at least 2 Westminster Councillors and we are putting the final touches to our plans with the final tozo’s at Jo’s on Monday and Banhu’s on Friday. Let’s keep up the momentum and especially our Daimoku.
DAIMOKU – plan, DAIMOKU – check, DAIMOKU – action!
With less than 3 weeks to go before our Friendship Day, we have received the following message from President Ikeda in response to our letter to him about the event (reprinted below);
“I read your letter. I pray for great successful meeting. Please convey my best regards to everyone.”
March 2019 Study Material
Please find below study material for March 2019. This study is specifically for youth division, but also it’s there for each of us to study together with the youth and also with Sensei. This months theme in SGI is the ‘Power of one’ Let’s use this month to demonstrate how through the mystic law we can be that one person that stands up and to really live and put into practice the ‘fierce struggle’ so we can use every obstacle as a means to show great actual proof of how we can positively transform our lives and environments!
WESTMINSTER CHAPTER ANNOUNCES JUNE 1ST FRIENDSHIP DAY
Put June 1st in the diary for Westminster Buddhists Friendship Day. The event which we intend to be inspirational and motivating will be held in the afternoon at a central London location – in Westminster, naturally.
We all have friends, colleagues and perhaps people we have merely had a conversation with, who are intrigued by the “Buddhism thing” and yet know very little about it. The friendship day is designed to introduce people to practising Buddhists, without being too ‘in their face about it’. Often a gentle introduction is much more powerful than trying to force someone one thinks is unhappy into a solution that they are not ready for. The schedule for the afternoon will be to show a short film, give guests the opportunity to speak to members on a one-to-one basis about what the practice means and does for them and more. We plan to have an SGI shop available and literature for people who want to know more and Westminster will follow up contacts who express an interest.
Westminster Chapter would love to hear from members who would be willing to give a short and inspirational experience on the day. If you have an experience or you know of someone that does who is willing to share it, please advise the steering team. We want to grab them by the heart strings!
The steering team are our chapter leaders, David, Cinzia and Ilaria. They have issued the following statement, “We want a Westminster Buddhists Friendship Day that is a soft introduction to Buddhism which is accessible to everyone, even people who have never considered religion before.” An action team has been formed and Claudia Longhin will keep members up to date about the event.