The Spirit of Home Visits
The network of life-to-life bonds that is the Soka Gakkai was built through the efforts to personally encourage others.
The following guidance from SGI President Ikeda is excerpted from The New Human Revolution, vol. 8, pp. 90–92.
The Soka Gakkai is made up of all kinds of people. Some may refuse to meet or speak with other members, while others perhaps joined as children along with their parents but do not consider themselves believers. We may even come across members highly critical of the Soka Gakkai. Others may be suffering so deeply from financial difficulties or illness that they are bereft of any hope for the future.
It is no easy task to visit the homes of such members, to try and make conversation, forge bonds of friendship, talk about the importance of faith, and teach them about gongyo and Buddhist principles. Doing so is far more challenging than talking with members we see at meetings or organizing various activities.
In striving to help others grow, we grow too.
But it is these very efforts that enable us to polish ourselves. In striving to help others grow, we grow too. Furthermore, struggling in this way constitutes true Buddhist practice. Promoting activities together with those who regularly attend meetings is simple, but this in itself will not enable Nichiren Buddhism to spread. To concern ourselves only with such members would be comparable to the captain of a ship bound for a distant shore contenting himself with sailing around the harbor. Leaders must realize that the main stage of Soka Gakkai activities is not meetings themselves, but the hard work that takes place beyond the meetings. The network of life-to-life bonds that is the Soka Gakkai was built through the efforts of individuals to visit and personally encourage their fellow members. Just as a broad interwoven nexus of roots that sink deep into the earth supports a mighty tree, it is the consistent and painstaking actions of members to offer personal guidance at the grass-roots level that hold up the Soka Gakkai.
Tips for a Successful Home Visit
• Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the happiness of the person you are visiting.
• Be on time! If you are running late, however, please make a courtesy call to the member.
• Bring the latest World Tribune and Living Buddhism to use as the basis for faith encouragement.
• Feel free to bring an offering for the Gohonzon, such as fruit.
• Whenever possible, chant and do gongyo together.
• Be aware of and follow the social norms of the person you are visiting and his or her family. And make sure the visit is not too long or late at night.
• Listen and offer guidance based on faith.
• Update the person on activities happening locally and the latest organizational direction.
• If he or she asks you to keep the conversation confidential, please honor the request.
• Don’t worry if you can’t answer every question on faith. Arrange to seek guidance from one of your seniors in faith.
• Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the member’s victory and growth.
• Continue to follow up with him or her until the person has breakthrough.