Basing Our Lives on the Spirit of Challenge
Message from SGI-USA Executive Advisor Danny Nagashima
by Danny Nagashima
SGI-USA EXECUTIVE ADVISOR
Happy 2017, the Year of Developing Youth in the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu! Thank you for everything that you are doing to advance our kosen-rufu movement for the sake of the happiness of your friends, family, community, country and the world!
Our historic gathering of 50,000 capable youth in 2018 will serve as a major stepping-stone toward America becoming “the Model for Worldwide Kosen-rufu” that SGI President Ikeda envisioned in his “Four Mottoes for the New Departure of American Kosen-rufu” (see Oct. 2, 2015, World Tribune).
To become the global model of peace, our life condition, capacity and fortune have to develop and expand like never before. President Ikeda reminds us:
We, the members of the SGI, are creating a global foundation for kosen-rufu in the Latter Day. We are conducting activities not for the short term but with a view toward the next 10,000 years and more. Those who struggle to the full extent of their abilities now, at this time, will also gain eternal honor. (Learning From the Gosho: The Eternal Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 112)
Envisioning our effort to bring together 50,000 youth in 2018 to take a stand for the dignity of life, we must create an unshakable foundation to support kosen-rufu activities far into the future. One major means of doing so is through the annual May Commemorative Contribution activity.
Your spirit of challenge to contribute financially to kosen-rufu is the direct means for creating a foundation of unshakable fortune in your own life, as well.
In response to a disciple’s sincere offering of food, Nichiren Daishonin writes: “You should realize from this that polished rice is not polished rice; it is life itself” (“The Gift of Rice,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1126). In this spirit, through supporting the May Contribution activity, we can proudly declare that we are sponsors of this great Soka movement for humanity and peace.
I want to emphasize that May Contribution is a faith activity, so we should challenge it in the same way we do for every other struggle in life—by making a determination based on our vow for kosen-rufu that is backed by prayer and action. President Ikeda mentions in his New Year’s message that the first defining feature of a youthful spirit is the “spirit of challenge” (see Youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth, Be the Light of Hope for Humanity!).
With our eyes fixed on the May Contribution activity, let’s first decide to make a commitment through setting a goal that we can courageously challenge, chanting and planning ahead.
For example, I know of a men’s division member who chanted to contribute $1,000, an amount that seemed impossible, due to his family’s circumstances. Through determined prayer and effort, he eventually achieved his target. He relayed that his efforts to support kosen-rufu brought more wisdom out of his life, affecting the way he works, and resulting in a new promotion and pay increase.
Now he is encouraging the members in his district: “If you have always contributed $50, maybe you could strive to give $100. Or if you usually contribute $500, perhaps one day you could challenge $1,000 and so forth. Let’s each set a goal with the determination that ‘I will transform my circumstances to be able to freely contribute whatever amount I decide.’ ”
President Ikeda writes:
Life needs to express its greatest potential, and we must respond to life’s own yearning from its innermost depths. Offerings in Buddhism are not sacrifices; they represent the vital process of self-realization . . . our dedication to Buddhism is a catalyst for the realization of life’s full potential” (March 2002 Living Buddhism, p. 14).
This May, let’s create our own turning point based on our spirit of challenge!