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Seikyo Shimbun Highlights for July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020
Seikyo Shimbun is a Soka Gakkai daily newspaper

News Flash

Press Release

On July 1, Soka Gakkai and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), signed a memorandum to launch a reforestation project providing income opportunities for women’s groups in two rural areas of Togo. Read more

New Video Release

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new video series, “Recollections and Impressions on Daisaku Ikeda” on our YouTube page. The video is available in English and will have Chinese and Spanish subtitles in the future. The first instalment features an interview by Prof. Lou Marinoff. Watch here

Seikyo Shimbun – Highlights

ITALY: On May 30 and 31, the Women’s Division and Young Women’s Division of  Soka Gakkai Italy held three joint online meetings. Members shared faith experiences and sang “Forever Sensei.”

SOUTH AMERICA: From May 30 to June 7, the SGI-Peru Women’s Division held online meetings in each local area. Between June 2 and 6, SGI-Panama held several district and chapter leaders training courses online. On June 10, SGI-Argentina hosted a commemorative online meeting marking the founding of the Women’s Division.

NEW ZEALAND: In June, the Women’s Division of SGI-New Zealand held chapter and general chapter meetings. In Manukau general chapter, the members studied Nichiren’s writing “The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon.”

Xiamen, CHINA: On June 9, the Research Center on the Philosophy of Daisaku Ikeda of Xiamen University held a study conference, attended by scholars of Daisaku Ikeda studies. They discussed SGI President Ikeda’s philosophy on peace and coexistence in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

JAPAN: On July 1, the Soka Gakkai  Junior High School Division’s Fuji Chorus released a video of an online performance of the song “Take a Brave Step.”

Tokyo, JAPAN: On July 1, Soka Gakkai and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) signed a memorandum on a joint project to launch a reforestation project providing income opportunities for women’s groups in two rural areas of Togo. 

The ITTO also published an article, “ITTO and Soka Gakkaito help empower women in Togo through forest restoration”, on their website. 

Media – News watch

Tricycle (USA): The Buddhist Bet (Leslie Mancillas, Summer 2020)

In this article, SGI-USA member Leslie Mancillas recounts her mother’s journey to Nichiren Buddhism and how a 100-day chanting challenge to prove her mother wrong about this practice led to her own practice and helped heal the rift in their family.

“On the train, Mom poured out her story: her grief at abandonment, her drug use, her abusive behavior toward her daughters, and the lure of suicide. Melanie quoted the president of the Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda: ‘The act of chanting Nam-myoho- renge-kyo is a drama of profound communion or interaction between ourselves and the universe… It is the revolution that rewrites the scenario of our destiny.’ … As Saturday’s sun set in gold and red on the Hudson River, Mom decided to defer death. She would try one more thing before suicide. In her journal that evening she wrote, ‘And that’s when I started to chant and began to see my life…Death can wait.’… Just then Mom was already experiencing a very palpable relief from the chanting, a shift in her energy—but I didn’t know this at the time. ‘Leslie, I dare you to become happy,’ she told me…By the twenty-fifth day of the bet, I felt a tremor of joy deep down. I was only a quarter of the way through the experiment, but already I was beginning to question my entrenched belief that my life would always be terrible, as it had for the last ten brutal years. Did Mom have buddhanature? Did I? Was transforming our horrific family karma possible? ... I followed Mom’s terms every day of the test. I chanted twice a day, went to a weekly meeting, and started learning how to turn the wheel of cause and effect in my life by transforming my obstacles into an invitation for inner growth. In a lecture, Dr. Ikeda wrote, ‘The times when we experience the most intense suffering, unbearable agony, and seemingly insurmountable deadlock are actually brilliant opportunities for doing our human revolution.’ As I learned about this philosophy, my inner transformation truly began. I felt a kind of cellular vibrational shift, as if molecules were moving in my favor. Prior to this bet, I often wondered whether happiness really existed or was just a fantasy on TV. But each day as I chanted, sorrow lifted and hope started to replace it.” Read more

CNN (USA): Finding God in the unlikeliest of places (Bella Hanesworth – July 1, 2020)

In this installment of the CNN Opinion series “Generation Resilient,” SGI-USA member Bella Hanesworth, a sophomore student at Mercy College, is one of four individuals who share how their faith has helped them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism and a member of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), I embraced the virtual platform that my Buddhist meetings were taking -- and in them, I found the strength to press on. This practice teaches that each person possesses the potential to overcome all obstacles. We refer to this potential as our ‘Buddha nature’ -- a state of life filled with limitless courage, wisdom and compassion. By chanting the phrase ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,’ we help to awaken our Buddha nature. And so, I resolved to chant daily for the knowledge to navigate through this crisis. I didn't just rely on chanting. I turned to my fellow SGI members, who showed unwavering compassion and belief in my ability to weather the worst storm. They encouraged me to consistently reach out to my friends, family and other members. In doing so, I could strengthen them -- and perhaps even myself. In other words, we could help each other, offering kind words and support as needed. After my semester ended, I felt relief and immense appreciation. I had made it through the worst of the pandemic -- and my friends and family were healthy and safe. But then yet another Black man, George Floyd, was killed -- and the racist systems embedded in our society were exposed. The goal of SGI is to achieve ‘kosen-rufu’ -- a state in which society functions based on respect for people's lives. As Buddhists, it's our mission to uproot the causes of systemic racism and transform our current reality. And still, I often feel small and powerless in the face of such large-scale and institutionalized problems. My mentor, Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda, says, ‘When the realists tell us to accept a world of suffering, a world of war and injustice, what they are really doing is displaying the stagnation and failure of their own imagination... It is the power of imagination, the power to imagine different realities, that frees us from the mistaken notion that what exists now is all that will ever exist.’ When I pause to really consider the meaning of his words, I feel hopeful again. Buddhist philosophy gives me the tools to continuously challenge my biases, engage in constructive dialogue and fight for justice. And after months of a pandemic -- and time for intense introspection -- I feel more committed to that fight than ever before.” Read more