The Driving Force for Peace

On the SGI tradition of discussion meetings.

Seikyo Press.

“I always feel a rising excitement in my heart when the week for discussion meetings comes around each month. I envision the warm light glowing in the windows of meeting places throughout Japan. I hear the happy voices of members singing Soka Gakkai songs and their joyous laughter. I imagine the topics being discussed and the determinations everyone is conveying. I wish that I could sit inconspicuously in the back of each room, wholeheartedly applauding and cheering on every speaker. I love discussion meetings.”—SGI President Ikeda, Feb. 17, 2006, World Tribune, p. 2

Daisaku Ikeda, at 19 years old, first met his mentor in life, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, at a district discussion meeting on the evening of Aug. 14, 1947. The following day was the second anniversary of the end of World War II.

President Ikeda later wrote of that encounter: “Against the backdrop of a devastated Japan, my young heart was searching for a sound path through life, and Mr. Toda’s intense resolve as he gave his lecture on Nichiren Daishonin’s treatise ‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land’ struck to the very core of my being. I was overpowered by his personality, and at the same time, deeply impressed by the optimism and profound philosophical focus of this gathering of ordinary citizens. Like so many others, a discussion meeting was my introduction to the Soka Gakkai” (Feb. 17, 2006, World Tribune, p. 2).

Today, discussion meetings continue to serve as the driving force for the development of the SGI’s movement for world peace, based on the conviction that kosen-rufu begins with heart-to-heart dialogue.

This month marks 69 years since President Ikeda began his journey in faith by attending his first district meeting.

1 Hour Meeting

With the purpose of returning to the heart of discussion meetings and reinforcing our mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth to share Buddhism, the SGI-USA Central Executive Committee last fall introduced the 1-hour discussion meeting format.

What are the building blocks of a 1-hour discussion meeting?

• Gongyo
• Powerful faith experience
• Study from Living Buddhism
• Q&A with the central figure
• Following the meeting, 30 minutes of informal dialogue to discuss Buddhism with guests, for members to receive guidance and for the district to deepen heart-to-heart bonds.
(p. 6)