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Seikyo Shimbun Highlights for August 7, 2020

August 7, 2020
Seikyo Shimbun is a Soka Gakkai daily newspaper

News Flash 

On August 6, the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a press release was issued on the Soka Gakkai statement calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the early entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and on a joint interfaith statement calling for nuclear weapons abolition co-signed by the SGI and 200 diverse faith groups from around the world.  

Seikyo Shimbun – Highlights 

WORLD: Throughout July, Youth Division members around the world commemorated the founding of the Young Men’s Division and the Young Women’s Division with online meetings being held in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Mexico and Poland among others.  

NICARAGUA and KOREA: On July 5, the SGI-Nicaragua Youth Division held a general meeting, and on July 26, SGI-Korea hosted a Youth Meeting at the Ikeda Memorial Hall in Seoul. The meeting was simulcast to 143 venues across the country. In both cases,  social distancing measures were followed.  

Nouméa, NEW CALEDONIA: On July 17, the women’s division members in New Caledonia held a meeting in the city of Nouméa.  

MEXICO: On July 18, SGI-Mexico held an online nationwide leaders meeting joined by some 150 participants.  

Nagasaki and Hiroshima, JAPAN: Soka Gakkai Nagasaki and Hiroshima donated video and audio recordings of hibakusha testimonies recorded by youth and women’s division members to the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims and Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims on July 30 and 31 respectively.  

JAPAN: On July 31, the Soka Gakkai Fuji Symphony Orchestra released a video of their online performance of “The Song of Human Revolution.”  

Tokyo, JAPAN: On August 1, a statement calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons on the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was released in the name of Mr. Yoshiki Tanigawa, chair of the Soka Gakkai Council on Peace Issues.  

EUROPE: On August 1, 200 student division members from 24 countries across Europe joined an online summer training course. A new campaign to hold dialogues with 10,000 people was launched towards November 18, 2020, the 90th anniversary of the founding of Soka Gakkai.  

ONLINE: On August 2, the official Soka Gakkai Instagram account toward the virtual worldwide youth general meeting scheduled for September 27 was launched @wygm2020_sokayouth.  

MALAYSIA: On August 4, General Director of the Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) Koh Sia Feai gave an interview in Seikyo Shimbun about the organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, SGM members chant for an hour, encourage a fellow member, friend or family member and study The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, The New Human Revolution and SGM magazines. Online meetings are being held, and PDF versions of the magazines are now available for download on the SGM website. In April, the organization made a donation to the NGO MERCY Malaysia. SGM members who work in the medical field and the tourist industry are tackling many challenges with strong faith.  

SINGAPORE: On August 5, Seikyo Shimbun reported that prior to the National Day Parade (NDP) 2020 commemorating Singapore's independence, some 300 Singapore Soka Association (SSA) volunteers helped put together Singapore Together Packs, consisting of an infection control kit and materials celebrating Singapore’s history that are available to all residents of Singapore. SSA also released its virtual performance titled “United as One, Emerging Stronger Together” for the NDP.  

Kumamoto, JAPAN: On August 5, Soka Gakkai donated 10 million yen each to Kumamoto Prefecture and Hitoyoshi City, both affected by flooding in July.  

USA and UK: On August 6, Seikyo Shimbun announced that SGI President Ikeda contributed an essay to A Festschrift of Essays Honoring David Krieger published as an e-book by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. The book has also been published in The Spokesman, the journal of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation in the UK.  

Media – News watch 

Tricycle (USA): Why I Have a Mentor (Jihi Jolly, Fall, 2020)

SGI-USA member Jihii Jolly explores the concept of mentor-disciple in the Soka Gakkai and shares why it is the bedrock of her faith and practice.  

“In SGI Nichiren Buddhism, the purpose of the mentor-disciple relationship is to achieve a life-state of unshakable happiness, a unity of spirit that allows both parties to manifest their inherent power… Ikeda writes: ‘The Buddha vows to elevate all people to the same state of life as his own. This is the spirit to raise capable people, to enable people to develop to their fullest potential. This is also the spirit underlying the mentor-disciple relationship’.… reading Ikeda’s words reminded me that one could create the life one wanted, because we are made of buddhahood. This is when I decided I wanted Ikeda to be my mentor—in other words, I wanted to be his disciple, and not just a member of a Buddhist organization that he leads. I now call this my prime point in Buddhist faith—a point to which I can always return to remember why I am doing what I am doing… In SGI, there is no ‘process’ of taking on a mentor. Simply put, because we study the writings of Ikeda so thoroughly, we appreciate him as a mentor. Whether or not we consider ourselves disciples is an individual decision. I do, because I want to see how far Buddhism can take me in this lifetime… In SGI, we call Ikeda ‘sensei’ which means ‘teacher’ or ‘mentor.’ But Ikeda calls himself a disciple…There are a few things that happen when you take on a mentor. In the beginning, you feel small and in awe, soaking in every bit of wisdom your teacher has to offer. If you are a serious disciple, you aspire to join their ranks and so you practice what they show you. Eventually, through some combination of your age and skill advancing, you do join their ranks. And in many cases, especially if both you and your mentor are not ruled by ego, you surpass them. Ikeda describes his experience as follows in an episode that he recounts in the New Human Revolution: ‘I also strove to make President Toda’s spirit my own and to be in rhythm with him. In doing so, I gradually began to find the confidence to tackle problems that had at first seemed daunting and even impossible. No matter how painful or difficult the situation, I felt courage and strength. And day by day, I was able to break through my own inner barriers. This was possible because I tapped into the great life force of President Toda.’…In this way, the oneness of mentor and disciple allows each individual to transcend what they would not have been capable of alone in a single lifetime.” Read more  

Globe NewsWire (USA): 75 Years Later: The Hiroshima/Nagasaki Accord (Online Event) (August 3, 2020) 

On August 6 and 9, four of the world’s leading interfaith organizations are leading the call to abolish nuclear weapons in two online events. The Soka Gakkai International is one of the organizations listed as endorsing the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Accord. 

“The 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be commemorated on August 6, and 9, 2020 by four of the world’s leading interfaith/intercultural organizations with a call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. The appeal will be part of an hour-long online video presentation with supporting statements from former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, former US Secretary of State George Shultz, and other prominent voices. It will be held on August 6 and 9…The world is at a quiet, ultimately consequential, crossroads concerning nuclear weapons. More hands are poised over nuclear ’buttons,’ and the nuclear armed counties have decided to move rapidly in the direction of raising, rather than lowering, the nuclear threat to the world… Both former President Gorbachev and Secretary Shultz will be honored for their efforts that brought the world tantalizingly close to the total elimination of nuclear weapons at the 1986 Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. An award to young people pursuing nuclear disarmament is being established in perpetuity in their names. The Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemoration will be streamed online globally, across various time zones on Facebook, YouTube and other platforms.” Read more

Anglia Ruskin University (U.K.): School nurse wins award after pandemic support (August 4, 2020) 

SGI-UK member Tracey Torrie has been awarded the Queen’s Nursing Institute Dora Roylance memorial prize for her nursing work in schools at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tracey explains how her Buddhist practice inspired her during these tough times. 

“Tracey Torrie, from Great Leighs, was working in the school nursing service before joining her BSc Specialist Community Public Health Nursing course at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) last September… During the peak of the pandemic in the UK, Tracey was redeployed into the school nursing service to provide much needed assistance. She had a caseload of eight primary and one secondary school, and found parents and children were suffering from stress and anxiety due to the pressures of lockdown.Tracey impressed tutors by taking her learning, particularly around stress and resilience, to help people in need during her time in the field. She was nominated for the QNI’s Dora Roylance Prize for outstanding achievement as a health visitor student by her tutors, and has now been notified of her success. Tracey, who is a practicing Nichiren Buddhist Soka Gakkai International, said … ‘At times it was difficult working remotely or having to undertake a visit dressed in PPE. However both my Buddhist practice, which resonates with the research and evidence ARU has been teaching us, enabled me to keep feeling hopeful and positive and attempting to share this with parents and children and colleagues. It also encouraged me to not feel overwhelmed by some of the desperate situations children and families were in.’” Read more

Our Websites – What’s new?

SGI Website 

Press Release: Soka Gakkai Urges Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on 75th Anniversary of Atomic Bombings 

Statement on the 75th Anniversary of the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 

Sitio web de la SGI 

Nota de prensa: La Soka Gakkai pide eliminar las armas nucleares en el 75º aniversario de las bombas atómicas 

Declaración por el 75º aniversario de las bombas de Hiroshima y Nagasaki