SGI Canada Newsletter, No.6 - July 31, 2020
SGI Canada Newsletter
Issue no. 6
July 31, 2020
Welcome to the sixth issue of the SGI Canada Newsletter, a bi-weekly summary of news, upcoming events and encouragement. The SGI Canada Newsletter replaces the previous SGI Canada Online News. All subscribers will automatically receive the SGI Canada Newsletter from now on. If you are not subscribing, 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 subscribers.
COVID-19 Update #8
The recent spike in COVID-19 infections in parts of Canada and around the world comes as a reminder that we must all continue to take precautions and maintain our steadfast determination to overcome this obstacle.
SGI Canada recognizes that there is now a wide range of guidelines and laws across the country aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. We hope everyone will continue to follow the public health guidelines of the municipalities and provinces in which they live. There are also local variations, and what is allowed in some municipalities may not be allowed in others. Guidelines have also fluctuated between opening up more and then pulling back.
In our individual situations, mainly among our family members, we have our own personal “bubbles.” SGI Canada, as a national organization, is composed of thousands of people all across the country. Our members have many connections locally as well as in other parts of the country. It is therefore important to be consistent in our guidelines and practices in order to prevent confusion or misunderstandings. For example, if we allowed certain limited activities in one location but not in another, this could be misunderstood to apply everywhere. We would also not be able to rapidly and effectively communicate sudden changes in local situations. We therefore ask for everyone’s cooperation and solidarity in maintaining the national guidelines we have established in relation to our interactions with fellow members. We remind everyone that all in-person SGI Canada activities continue to be suspended until further notice. This includes individual home visits and meetings and gatherings of any size.
While this may seem overly cautious in some locations, the safety of our members, their families and friends must be our first concern. It would be disastrous for someone to become sick because of participating in an SGI Canada activity, even if it were a simple social interaction. We can show our respect for others by doing our best to keep everyone safe. In the study material for July, SGI President Ikeda highlights Nichiren Daishonin’s guidance that “true victory constitutes winning the trust and praise of others through one’s behaviour as a member of society and a Buddhist practitioner” (New Century, June 2020, p.32).
We believe that through our strong determination to keep our members, families and friends safe, and by following the guidelines set by our local public health authorities in our personal lives, we can contribute to ending this pandemic and continue to show everyone the depth of our respect for all life. As President Ikeda says, this is a great cause for our own happiness:
In other words, to always act respectfully toward others, no matter who they are, out of an unwavering belief in the Buddha nature of all people—that behaviour is itself the fundamental cause for attaining Buddhahood. (Ibid)
Through our online meetings, we have created countless “treasures of the heart,” and many new members have joined SGI Canada. Let’s continue to transcend our physical limitations by strengthening and deepening our bonds of friendship, care and compassion.
We sincerely thank everyone for your remarkable efforts during these challenging times.
Study Exam Results to Be Mailed to Participants
For the last few months, those who wrote the Level 1 Basics of Nichiren Buddhism Exam last October have been able to obtain their marks by emailing the Study Department. However, we realize that not everyone has had the opportunity to do this.
In order to make sure that all participants receive their marks, the Study Department will be mailing out the results. Each person who wrote the exam will receive a card with a congratulatory message and their exam mark. These cards would normally have been given to participants personally by their district leaders, but with the suspension of SGI Canada activities, we cannot be sure when this might be possible. Exam participants can now expect to receive their results in the mail in four to six weeks.
October Publications to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of
President Ikeda’s First Visit to Canada
October 2020 marks two very significant anniversaries for SGI Canada—the 60th anniversary of Daisaku Ikeda’s inauguration as third president of Soka Gakkai; and the 60th anniversary of President Ikeda’s first visit to Canada. To celebrate these deeply significant milestones, our monthly publications—New Century, Ère nouvelle and Chinese New Century— will all publish special editions. Each publication will reprint sections from The New Human Revolution, Volumes 1 and 30, in which President Ikeda writes about his visits to Canada in 1960 and 1981. In addition, the October issue of our publications will carry a four-page colour photo essay illustrating President Ikeda’s three visits to Canada in 1960, 1981 and 1993, and the conferrals of the two honorary doctorates he received from Canadian universities: from Université Laval in 2010 and the University of Guelph in 2012.
Youth Activities in the Month of July
July is the month of youth in the Soka Gakkai. In 1951, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda established the young men’s division on July 11 and the young women’s division on July 19. The following special commemorative meetings were held during the month of July.
Monthly National Young Phoenix Group Meeting
On July 19, the Prairie Region Young Phoenix members (13-17 years old) shone as the rainbow of hope as they took the lead in hosting the monthly online National Young Phoenix Group Meeting, supported by their older brothers and sisters of the youth division! We had a total of 99 participants! We will be holding our next monthly online National Young Phoenix Meeting on Sunday, August 16 at 4:00 pm ET and would like to invite all Young Phoenix Group members (13-17 years old) as well as youth division members and guests.
National Young Women’s Commemorative Meeting
On July 25, the SGI Canada young women held a special national online meeting to commemorate Young Women’s Division Founding Day. It was our first bilingual meeting for the young women’s group, which was a huge milestone. The meeting kicked off with a warm message from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. The message reads, in part:
Our solidly united force of young people who are enthusiastically growing together and positively moving forward, is the brightest and most powerful force in the world. Each of you is an irreplaceable Soka successor, a beacon of hope, and a treasure of global society.
Two members from Western Region and Central Region shared their experiences on how their Buddhist practice helped them to emerge victorious through this challenging pandemic situation and their feelings of despair. We are happy to report that 185 participants joined across Canada! Next up—SGI Canada Youth Festival!
National Young Men’s Commemorative Meeting
On July 25, young men from across Canada gathered online to commemorate the founding day of the Young Men's Division on July 11, 1951. A total of 85 participants representing over 21 communities across Canada attended the meeting.
Deeply encouraged by a message received from Ikeda Sensei, the meeting’s theme was “Advancing with Unity and Courage, Together with Sensei.” With this motto, the SGI Canada Young Men’s Group is determined to move forward through any obstacles with courage and unity. Amid the current challenges of the COVID pandemic, and tensions arising from racism and discriminatory forms of nationalism, the meeting emphasized the importance of each young man having the courage to confront his own obstacles while also creating hope, justice and peace in society. With a renewed sense of determination as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, the young men are resolutely living out their Vow together with Sensei, expanding the united force of victorious young people who are striving to establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land.
First National Student Division Meeting
SGI Canada held its first ever National Student Division Meeting on Sunday, July 19. The bilingual online meeting, attended by 52 youth from across the country, aimed to encourage all participants and connect friends from all over Canada. The meeting kicked off with a study of the “Young Eagles” chapter of The New Human Revolution, Volume 6. It was followed by an update from our University of Waterloo Student Club, displaying the hard work the group has put into fostering strong friendships and their success in engaging the local community. The audience also had the pleasure of hearing from Navya Nagpal, who spoke about her recent struggles as an international student with great aspirations, and about the absolute trust she developed from her practice to emerge victorious. The meeting concluded with encouragement from National Youth Leader Ryan Brouwer and a message to the youth division from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. Both messages acknowledged the trying times we find ourselves in, but assured us of a bright future, led by youth growing together.
In Sensei’s message, he writes:
You have embraced the correct teaching, the world’s foremost life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism at a young age. Also, you have true friends, genuine comrades in faith, who are carrying out their Buddhist practice together with you. That is why you will definitely not be defeated by any suffering, hardship or trial you may be facing now.
As we continue to host these meetings on the third Sunday of every month, we would like to invite all youth in Canada to join us in sharing their experiences of struggle and victory, and we hope that they leave each meeting encouraged by their friends and fellow student division members.
Young Men in Central Region Stand Up as Disciples for Justice and Peace!
On July 18, the young men of Central Region held an online conference from 9:30am to 3:00pm ET via four short online meetings attended by thirty-eight young men.
The theme of the conference was “Advancing toward a Golden Autumn”, and it had several objectives. It marked the 60th anniversary of our Canadian Kosen-Rufu movement, it commemorated the founding of the Young Men’s & Young Women’s Division and Mentor & Disciple day, and it refreshed our determination to stand up with Sensei as disciples for justice and peace!
Throughout the conference, we received encouragement from our National YMG leaders and attended many activities including chanting and gongyo, breakthrough impressions and experiences, study, and lively discussions of essential passages from the “Golden Autumn” chapter of The New Human Revolution, Volume 1.
The central region young men presented an incredible 20-minute video on key passages of the study, which emphasized the dignity, equality and inherent potential of all human beings. Each one of us is an irreplaceable Soka successor. President Ikeda says, “If you ever face a problem, please chant daimoku.” We should never regret any situation. The power of one courageous person can change the world for the better. We were enthusiastically encouraged to deepen our faith, hope, courage to stand alone with the bodhisattva vow to encourage one person after another.
It is clear that the solution to any problem in society is the human revolution of each individual. We are determined to actualize President Ikeda’s guidance in The New Human Revolution and share what we’ve learned with more young men!
Men’s Annual Meetings, August 24 to September 24
A reminder that the SGI Canada Men’s Annual Meetings will be held across Canada from August 24 to September 24. Further information was published in the last issue of the SGI Canada Newsletter: https://www.sgicanada.org/news/sgi-canada-newsletter/sgi-canada-newsletter-no-5-july-17-2020
Youth Festival - Daimoku Campaign
Preparations are ramping up for our youth festival taking place virtually in seven cities on October 3 and 4! We ask for everyone’s support by joining in a weekly national daimoku wave campaign. To join is simple! Every Saturday starting on August 22 until October 3, between the hours of 9:00am to 12:00pm local time, each region will host an online call with hourly encouragement. With this whirlwind of daimoku across the country, let’s unite toward this historic youth festival and respond to our mentor’s call!
Subscribing to “To My Friends / À mes amis”
“To My Friends / À mes amis” is a short passage of President Ikeda’s guidance that appears in the Seikyo Shimbun newspaper every day. You can subscribe without cost to receive English and French translations of the guidance by following the link at the bottom of the home page of www.sgicanada.org .
Please note that once you have registered and clicked on “Sign Up”, you will receive an email message from email@example.com. If you do not receive it immediately, please check the Junk Mail folder in your email. The email will ask you to confirm your subscription by clicking on a link. Once you have clicked on the link, “To My Friends / À mes amis” will be delivered to your mailbox every day.
If you know other people who would like to subscribe, please encourage them to sign up individually in the same way. If you simply forward “To my friends / À mes amis” to other people, you may risk being unsubscribed if one of those people tries to unsubscribe. If you lose your daily subscription, you should simply re-register, following the same instructions.
We hope you found this newsletter beneficial. Please email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org . The next SGI Canada Newsletter will be out on August 14, 2020. See you then!