SGI Canada Newsletter, No. 45 - February 4, 2022
SGI Canada Newsletter
Issue no. 45
February 4, 2022
Welcome to the 45th issue of the SGI Canada Newsletter, a bi-weekly summary of news, upcoming events and encouragement. If you are not subscribing to the SGI Canada Newsletter, you may do so by clicking on the button below. Subscriptions are free of charge, and the SGI Canada Newsletter will be emailed directly to you.
Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda's message to Women's Group and Young Women's Group members: “Let’s Achieve Tremendous Dynamic Progress in Our Lives and Kosen-rufu!”
In her 2022 message to Women’s and Young Women’s members around the world, Mrs. Ikeda says:
There is a passage from a letter Nichiren Daishonin wrote to a female disciple that both Presidents Makiguchi and Toda underlined in their copies of the Gosho and that my husband has also frequently shared with members. It reads: “Three things are required—a good teacher, a good believer, and a good teaching—before prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land” (WND-1, 880; “How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra”).
I joined the Soka Gakkai as a child, with my parents, more than 80 years ago (on July 12, 1941). I am deeply grateful to have encountered the Mystic Law and been able to walk the path of mentor and disciple dedicated to kosen-rufu all these years, together with fellow members around the world, united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind.”
One of the five eternal guidelines of the Soka Gakkai is “Faith for overcoming obstacles.” Discussing this guideline in a lecture, my husband shared these words of President Toda: “Nichiren Buddhism is a teaching that enables those facing adversity to become happy without fail. Those who overcome hardships through faith can bring forth incredible strength. They can truly become an ally to others who are suffering.”
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our members everywhere are uniting in spirit to encourage and support one another more than ever. Persevering in “faith for overcoming obstacles,” they are tirelessly contributing to the betterment of their communities and societies.
My husband has said that our efforts to transform this global adversity will surely bring to the 21st century an even more brilliant flowering of capable individuals, each shining in their own unique way. These beautiful “human flowers” (LSOC5, 142) will carry on the vow to establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land and ensure the eternal transmission of the Law.
The Breakthrough Achievement of the “February Campaign”
By Tony Meers, SGI Canada General Director
This month marks the 70th anniversary of the famous “February Campaign” of 1952. The 24-year-old Daisaku Ikeda, in response to the call of his mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, led the members of Kamata Chapter to the breakthrough that catalyzed the meteoric growth of the Soka Gakkai and the achievement of President Toda’s vow to reach 750,000 member households within his lifetime.
The youthful Daisaku Ikeda demonstrated the power of the spirit of mentor and disciple, united as one to enable as many people as possible to overcome their sufferings and discover their limitless potential. He writes:
My first concrete step in advancing kosen-rufu was made from my local organization, Kamata Chapter [centred in Tokyo’s Ota Ward]. In a major breakthrough, we doubled the previous monthly record by welcoming a total of 201 new member households to our chapter that February.
I had personally decided on a goal of 200 member households from the outset, but as a chapter, we made it our goal to achieve two new member households per unit [present-day group], the smallest organizational level within the Soka Gakkai. That gave us all an immediate, personal target that we vowed to fulfill, as opposed to some far-off, unreachable goal. We each stood up to take initiative, with the spirit of repaying our debt of gratitude to our mentor. We prayed and took action with courage, meeting and talking with people and reaching out to encourage those around us….
At times when our sincere goodwill was rejected or scorned, we encouraged and cheered one another on: “You did great!” “All hardships for kosen-rufu turn into benefit!” “Let’s try again!”
The barrier we broke through in the campaign was actually a barrier in our own hearts, our own self-imposed limits, the temptation to give up, feeling that our goal was too difficult and we could never achieve it. (New Century, May 2021, p. 25)
Each of us can make a great breakthrough in our lives and in the advancement of kosen-rufu when we chant daimoku with the recognition that we ourselves are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the Earth, and when we pray for our friends with the recognition that every one of them is also a Buddha and a Bodhisattva of the Earth.
The February Campaign was such an outstanding new breakthrough because each person felt a great passion to help others discover the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Working together in high spirits and encouraging each other, they experienced a kind of joy and excitement they had never known before. They saw their friends transform their lives and then take on the same passion to help others in turn.
Daisaku Ikeda visited hundreds of members and their families, showing through his own actions what it means to be a Bodhisattva of the Earth. Many inactive members became active again, to the astonishment of the senior leaders in the chapter. When they asked these members what caused them to come back to the practice, each of them would say, “Mr. Ikeda visited me,” and would express how he had inspired them.
Everything starts with one determined disciple. Deciding, “I will be that disciple” is the eternal lesson of the February Campaign.
(New Century, February 2022, p.5)
Calgary Area Women’s Leaders Launch 2022 Activities
By Chris Eddy, Calgary Area Women’s Leader
Calgary Area Women’s leaders met online on January 25 to launch the Year of Youth and Dynamic Progress. We began with the SGI Canada Women’s Group guidelines for 2022, which showed us the means to advance with ever-greater purpose and resolve, leaving no one behind.
Prairie Region Women’s Leader Paula Reich shared that, at the beginning of this pandemic, her first thought was a deep concern about what would happen to our SGI community. However, over the last two years, Paula has found that there have been even greater opportunities to get to know each person better. She has also noticed that more and more people have very naturally stepped forward to contribute to their districts and introduce their friends and family to SGI and this practice.
SGI Canada Women’s Leader Helen Izumi-Choi gave a moving experience of how she faced the loss of her mother, Mrs. Akiko Elizabeth Izumi. Helen said that what got her through this most challenging of times was the fact she was a women's group leader – not moving forward was not an option. She reminded us that the 2021 Women’s Group General Meetings took place soon after the death of her mother. Helen was able to participate in many meetings across Canada and encourage many other women who had also suffered the loss of a loved one.
To conclude our time together, Helen spoke about two major points from the 2nd Online Study Lecture by SGI Study Department Chief Mr. Masaaki Morinaka:
● If our heart changes, our situation also changes.
● When we have the inner resolve to produce results without fail, we will experience waves of joy.
Central Region Women’s Leaders Conference Sets the Tone for 2022!
By Kate Greco, Central Region Women’s Leader
Last month’s Central Region Women’s Group Leaders Conference began with a reading of President Ikeda’s message to the Women’s Group Leaders of SGI Canada in September 2020. In it, Sensei encouraged us as follows:
Since you are striving together with the Mystic Law, the principle of universal respect for human dignity, each of you, without exception, can make your inherent Buddha nature shine its brightest, illuminating and dispelling the darkness of any suffering. No matter what stormy seas of adversity you may come up against, you can overcome every hardship one by one.
The experiences shared by three of our participants confirmed the truth of this message. We were moved to tears listening to their heartfelt stories of their challenges and victories.
We also studied Sensei’s speech from his visit to Vancouver in 1993 which was the source for our theme for 2022 – “Live so that Life Itself is a Joy.”
The women of Toronto West area presented a thought-provoking skit, while Central Chinese Area sang a song from SGI Hong Kong. And, as always, the opportunity to share with one another in breakout rooms was a highlight of the conference.
SGI Canada Women’s Leader Helen Izumi-Choi encouraged us with the poem that President Ikeda wrote for her mother Mrs. Izumi in 1975. The unofficial translation of this poem reads:
You have taken a courageous stand
The flowers from the distant past of kuon
Will bloom without fail.”
We are the flowers that have bloomed, as predicted by Sensei in that poem over 45 years ago! We are so fortunate to have been raised by Mrs. Izumi, who always strove to connect us with our mentor, President Ikeda. Now it is up to us to repay our debt of gratitude to her, through our efforts for kosen-rufu.
Helen also shared a portion of the recent message from Mrs. Ikeda; “Let’s vow together to achieve tremendous dynamic progress in our lives and kosen-rufu.” Nourished by the encouragement we shared with one another at our conference, we are ready to make this vow together with Mrs. Ikeda!
Young Women’s Leaders in Central Region launch the Year of Youth and Dynamic Progress
By Casey Ng, Central Region Young Women’s Leader
On January 30, Central Region young women's leaders gathered to kick off the Year of Youth and Dynamic Progress. We started the morning with a drop-in 2 hour chanting session, where we chanted for the success of our meeting and the Central Region Women's Group Leaders' Conference, and for the health and happiness of all young women in our region.
Forty-eight leaders attended the training session in the afternoon, focusing their dialogues on creating successful discussion meetings, sharing personal experiences about the spirit of leadership, and then taking turns to practise leading daimoku in a virtual environment.
A main takeaway from our training session was to be joyful in our practice, and seek to find people's strengths, so that we have the wisdom and life force to foster capable successors.
SGI President Ikeda Releases
2022 Peace Proposal
On January 26, SGI President Ikeda issued his 40th annual peace proposal, titled “Transforming Human History: The Light of Peace and Dignity,” marking the anniversary of the founding of the SGI. The proposal offers concrete ideas for tackling the climate crisis and achieving inclusive education and nuclear disarmament. The full text in English will be available in mid-February, and in French later in the year.
We hope you found this newsletter beneficial. Please email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the next SGI Canada Newsletter will appear on February 18, 2022. See you then!