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The Buddhist Take on COVID-19

A special episode in response to listener requests for perspective on the global pandemic COVID-19. Specifically, we address what Buddhism says about why global crises happen and how we can stop them from happening in the future. And what you can do right now to generate hope and take positive action for yourself, your family and your community.

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If the nation is destroyed and people’s homes are wiped out, then where can one flee for safety? If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not? MWND1-p24

Daily Daimoku Tozo to rid the land of the Coronavirus threat.

Since we are all unable to get together at the same time, we would like to invite all Westminster Chapter members to join us in Domei (chanting at the same time but not in the same place for a unified purpose) Daimoku Tozo in order to rid our land of the coronavirus threat between 7 and 8pm, time permitting, weekday evenings.

Even if you could join for just a few minutes, I have no doubt that our united strong determined prayer will clear this obstacle completely away.

Thank you for all your efforts for kosen-rufu, especially during these unusually challenging times.
Please invite everyone that can to participate where possible.

David, Ilaria, Cinzia & Meeta

President Ikeda’s 2020 New Year Message

18th November Message

Dear Friends,

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

Robert Harrap
General Director

 Taplow Court, Taplow
 Maidenhead SL6 0ER


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


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.”

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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!


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.

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SGI-UK Central London Area Men’s Inspiration Day Sun 15th July at London Ikeda Peace Centre


Announcing this year’s “summer course”, a one day “Men’s Inspiration Day” at London Ikeda Peace Centre on Sunday 15th July. 
Together we will be able to chant, study, share, refresh and inspire towards our personal and collective goals. Planning is already underway, but we do need your assistance.
Though there is no formal application form, we do require the names of those who are coming.

Some useful information:
The event is Free
It is for members and beginners (those already practicing rather than ‘guest’ focussed)
Approx times – 9–9.30 coffees/registration, end 3.30pm
Please bring packed lunch
There will be experiences, entertainments, refreshments, discussion groups, videos, lectures and as much as we can pack into the short day…
We will be studying President Ikeda’s lecture on ’The Spirit of Many In Body One In Mind’, the theme for this summer’s UK courses.
Though there is no formal application form, we do require the names of those who are coming.
Please make a commitment to participating on the day, this will enable us to fill every seat and care for those who are coming.

Please confirm at the following email address with your details:  Name, HQ, District, contact Tel. number & email.

Privacy Notice:
The information provided by you will be used for the purpose to administer “SGI-UK Central London Area Men’s Division Summer Course 2018” only. During the preparations leading to the Summer Course, we would contact you by email/Tel No. with further information about the Summer Course. This information is stored securely and not shared other than for the purpose of the Course administration.  


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,
Takako Yeung
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

Happy Monday
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!
Thank you
Lisa Cowan
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)
Best wishes
Robert Harrap