“Nothing Can Stop Us Now!”
Celebrating the grand opening of the SGI-USA Minnesota Buddhist Center.
by Tom Crouse
SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE
MINNEAPOLIS, July 10—The bustling downtown of Minneapolis was noticeably more vibrant as over 500 SGI-USA members and guests gathered for the grand opening of the SGI-USA Minnesota Buddhist Center.
Having been previously located in a much smaller facility in a quiet residential section of St. Paul since 1989, the new center will better accommodate the growing membership of Minnesota-North Dakota Region, which covers Minnesota, North Dakota and parts of western Wisconsin.
Two ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held followed by meetings in the main Gohonzon room, which was packed to full capacity with additional participants in overflow rooms.
After a stirring rendition of “Fanfare for the Common Man” by the newly created Human Revolution Horns ensemble, a proclamation was read to thunderous applause: Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges declared July 10, 2016, “Daisaku Ikeda Day” in the city. Also introduced was a letter of congratulations from Gail Hughes, board president of Citizens for Global Solutions of Minnesota.
Members and guests were brought to their feet once again when it was announced that SGI President Ikeda had sent a heartfelt message in which he called the new center a “treasure castle of peace and good fortune, which is a crystallization of your noble and sincere efforts.”
In closing remarks, SGI-USA General Director Adin Strauss addressed the recent incidents of unrest and violence all over the world, and the solution provided by Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism. “More than ever, American society is crying out for another way, a different way to truly solve our problems and create lasting peace without resorting to either passive acceptance or instinctive blame of others,” he said. “There is indeed an option—one which offers a concrete foundation for having hope.” General Director Strauss then cited President Ikeda’s words: “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind” (The Human Revolution, p. viii).
“More than ever, American society is crying out for another way, a different way to truly solve our problems and create lasting peace without resorting to either passive acceptance or instinctive blame of others.”
Minnesota-North Dakota Region celebrated the significant day with 13 Gohonzon conferrals, welcoming 21 new members. Among those who received the Gohonzon were the parents of young men’s region leader Kade Mitchell. “This is a new beginning for my family and for our region,” he said. “This is more than the opening of a center; it is an opening toward leading this part of America to genuine peace.”
The celebration also included powerful faith experiences, and announcements of leadership appointments and the formation of new chapters.
Located across from the University of St. Thomas and near Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), the new center has already been visited by many students and passersby interested in learning about Nichiren Buddhism.
MCTC student Alex Farley, who received the Gohonzon at the grand opening, expressed a deepened understanding of his mission as a student division member studying addiction, therapy and counseling. “I’m going to connect my life with the pursuit of helping others,” he said.
SGI-USA pioneer Misako Donaghy, who brought a 97- year-old guest to the event, summed up the new spirit of expansion in her state: “We are more powerful and united than ever before. We will grow and grow, and keep growing! Our great expansion and victory is the way we can respond and express our appreciation to President Ikeda. Nothing can stop us now!”
To reach the
SGI-USA Minnesota Buddhist Center:
1201 Harmon Place, Suite #100,
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Tel: (651) 645-3133