Feature

“Humanism of the Lotus Sutra” Opens

A sneak peak at the exciting new exhibition at the Florida Nature and Culture Center.

Grand opening—The North America and Oceania Study Conference participants were the first to view the new exhibition “Humanism of the Lotus Sutra” at the Florida Nature and Culture Center, Weston, Fla., Feb. 13. Photo: Victor Golden.


“At all times I think to myself: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a buddha?”
Shakyamuni Buddha, The Lotus Sutra

WESTON, Fla., Feb. 13—It would be difficult to choose what to see first in the “Humanism of the Lotus Sutra” exhibition that just opened at the Florida Nature and Culture Center.

The replica of the “Ashoka Column” from Sarnath in India, the site of the Buddha’s first sermon. Or the T’ang dynasty ceiling painting from the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China, depicting 24 chapters of the Lotus Sutra, and the interactive board that allows you to locate each chapter on the mural.

The collection of coins minted during significant years in Nichiren Daishonin’s life. Or the copy of Gandhi’s daily prayer card, which has Nam-myoho-renge-kyo written three times at the top in Devanagari. Or perhaps it is the exhibit panels themselves, which depict key themes from the Lotus Sutra across its 2,500-year journey, including the enduring words of the three founding Soka Gakkai presidents, who both revived the Buddha’s core teaching of universal enlightenment and enabled its widespread transmission in contemporary times.

The three-part exhibition opened Feb. 13 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by the all-youth participants of the North America and Oceania Study Conference, including members of the Ikeda Wisdom Academy, who gather monthly to study SGI President Ikeda’s seminal series The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra.

In opening remarks, SGI-USA Senior Vice General Director Tariq Hasan said that one of the most inspiring aspects of the new exhibition is its depiction of the long and arduous struggle to transmit and spread the teachings of the Lotus Sutra across 2,500 years, including the efforts of SGI President Ikeda, who led the spread of Nichiren Buddhism to 12 million people in 192 countries and territories.

“This exhibition is not just about history; it’s about the transmission of the heart of this teaching and its fundamental message of equality and optimism, which has, at its core, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the Gohonzon,” Mr. Hasan said. “This transmission is still continuing. It is you, the youth, who are writing that history in your cities, in your communities, every single day. You are the exhibit, also.”

The “Humanism of the Lotus Sutra” exhibition is open to participants of all FNCC conferences. To learn more about the FNCC or sign up for a conference, visit www.sgi-usa.org/fncc.

Monica Soto Ouchi


Photo: Laura Mintz.
Photo: Laura Mintz.
“I’ve never seen an exhibition more beautiful than this. To see the expansion of Buddhism throughout the world brought tears to my eyes, and I reconfirmed my vow to spread this Lotus Sutra—our limitless potential as Buddhas. When I entered the hall, there was a sense of tranquillity, and I felt as if I were in the land of the Buddha. I was reminded that Nichiren Buddhism is meant to help bring out the true colors of our lotus so we can bloom into a beautiful flower.”
—Nate Flores, Albuquerque, N.M.
Photo: Noriko Kakusho.
Photo: Noriko Kakusho.
“‘Who is capable of broadly preaching the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law in this saha world?’ Before I read these words from Shakyamuni in the exhibition, I wasn’t able to make a personal connection between the Lotus Sutra and myself. Viewing it bridged the distance between Shakyamuni, Nichiren Daishonin and the three founding Soka Gakkai presidents, and I realized that I’m not only capable and worthy of spreading the Law—it’s my mission to transmit and live it, alongside them!”
—Stephanie Sawyer, Torrance, Calif.
Photo: Laura Mintz.
Photo: Laura Mintz.
“What moved me most about the exhibition is seeing how united we, as SGI members, are with Nichiren Daishonin in advancing kosen-rufu. Especially in this Year of Expansion, I realized that we’re no different from Nichiren Daishonin and his disciples. I find it amazing that centuries later, thanks to our mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, we’re fighting in the same way for the happiness of the people.”
—Jenna Pacheco, Bloomfield, N.J.
Photo: Noriko Kakusho.
Photo: Noriko Kakusho.
“The presentation opened up a new way of looking at the Lotus Sutra. From this exhibition, I gained appreciation for the individual efforts of every single ordinary human being who gave their life to spread the Lotus Sutra from Shakyamuni to the present day. There were so many parts in the chain of transmission where the Lotus Sutra could have been lost. Now when I recite the silent prayers during gongyo, I feel an even greater appreciation.”
—Sam Nardella, Los Angeles, Calif.
Photo: Victor Golden.
Photo: Victor Golden.