A Message from the National Leaders of SGI Canada
As neighbours and friends of the people of the United States of America, we share your shock and grief at the horrific death of Mr. George Floyd. We express our sincerest condolences to the family, friends and community of Mr. Floyd, and we absolutely reject the culture of hatred and violence that led to his death.
Humanity has been traumatized by this unspeakable incident, as has been demonstrated through numerous protests in our two countries and around the world.
The blazing, unfiltered light of truth has been shone into our eyes, and we can no longer turn away from it. We are not distant, disconnected bystanders. The purpose of this message is to acknowledge the underlying causes of systemic racism— and with the pain of this incident still fresh—to recognize our responsibility to transform our society by reflecting on ourselves and changing the ways we treat each other and live with each other. Canada has its own struggles with racism. As practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism, we take full responsibility to transform not only our own society, but our global community. With this recognition, we would like to offer a message of hope; understanding that hope does not come to us from elsewhere. We can and must create hope.
SGI Canada is part of the Soka Gakkai International, a worldwide Buddhist organization dedicated to peace, culture and education. Our president and mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, visited North America for the first time in October 1960. He witnessed racism during that first visit and wrote about it in his 30-volume chronicle The New Human Revolution. After the incident he witnessed, he met with a group of young people and discussed the issue with them. One young black man asked a question: “You said that Buddhism will bring people’s hearts together. What exactly does Buddhism teach with respect to how people are connected with one another?”
In responding, Mr. Ikeda explained:
“Buddhism teaches that no human being can exist in a state of total isolation; instead we congregate and live by supporting and helping one another. This philosophy opposes the idea of rejecting or shutting out certain persons or groups of people. If anything, the principle of dependent origination leads us to give the utmost consideration to how to enable others to reveal their potential, how to establish better human relations and how to create the greatest possible value.
“In short, we—indeed, all people—are brothers and sisters from the infinite past who share a mission to bring peace and happiness to the world we live in. What we base ourselves on has a drastic influence on the meaning of our own individual lives.
“The earth belongs equally to everyone. It revitalizes all human beings, transcending racial, ethnic and national distinctions, and supports a flourishing of culture. A vibrant wellspring of pure altruism, of compassion, surges forth from its soil. If everyone were to awaken to their missions as Bodhisattvas of the Earth* and take action based on it, there would not be the slightest doubt that we could build true world peace and human harmony.” (The New Human Revolution Volume 1, excerpted from pages 146-157)
The world has been plunged into a global pandemic, with conflicts raging and people suffering and dying because of ignorance, anger and greed. As Buddhists, we pray for healing and for the awakening of our inherent goodness, wisdom and compassion. Our mentor encourages us to overcome every hardship together, leaving no one behind and understanding the value of every life. By building solidarity with our fellow human beings, we can revitalize our society.
We renew our vow to advance with great joy, revealing our unique capabilities, and fulfilling our mission to shine as a rainbow of hope, illuminating the lives of our families, our friends, our communities, and the world.
June 5, 2020
Tony Meers General Director
Helen Izumi-Choi Women’s Leader
Ian Mattinson Men’s Leader
Ryan Brouwer Youth Leader
Mai Ogushi Young Women’s Leader
Alex Meers Young Men’s Leader
*Bodhisattvas of the Earth - A bodhisattva seeks enlightenment both for self and others. The predominant characteristic of a bodhisattva is therefore compassion. The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are described in the Lotus Sutra as an innumerable host of bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the earth and to whom Shakyamuni Buddha entrusts the propagation of the Mystic Law, or the essence of the Lotus Sutra, in the age after his passing.
Tony Meers (東尼梅亞斯) 理事長
Helen Izumi-Choi 婦人部長
Ian Mattinson 壯年部長
Ryan Brouwer 青年部長
Mai Ogushi 女子部長
Alex Meers 男子部長
*地涌菩薩 – 追求自他成佛的菩薩，因此主要特徵是慈悲。地涌菩薩描繪於釋尊托付其滅後妙法(法華經要義) 弘通之任務時從地面湧出的無數菩薩。