Young Lions Launch Toward 50,000
1,200 gather at SGI-USA Young Men’s Meeting.
by Martin Saito
Launching a bold struggle toward the unprecedented gathering of 50,000 capable youth in 2018, the young men of the SGI-USA created history in their own right on Dec. 11, 2016.
Over 1,200 young lions gathered for the first SGI-USA Young Men’s Division Meeting, broadcast live in Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Laguna Hills, Calif.; Los Angeles; New York; and Washington, D.C.
Leading up to the event, young men strove to reconnect with their friends who hadn’t attended SGI activities for months, or even years, and encouraged them to participate in these gatherings.
From the Los Angeles Friendship Center, L.A. Mountain View Region brought 81 members and guests, and helped 11 bodhisattvas receive the Gohonzon.
Crystallizing the themes of friendship and faith, New Jerseyans Kazufumi (Kazu) Nakatani and Chris Scaturro delivered powerful experiences from the New York Culture Center. Through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Kazu learned to both embrace and overcome his inner struggles. He started sharing Buddhism at therapy sessions and would invite friends from there to Buddhist intro meetings, including Chris, who received the Gohonzon in May 2015.
Buddhism enabled Chris to overcome his depression, anxiety and paranoia. After 10 years of not being in school due to fear, he recently enrolled in college and was granted a scholarship. “Through this practice, I was able to start moving forward in areas I had previously left unaddressed,” he said. “The young men’s training groups have given me a new sense of self-confidence that I struggled to find before.”
Other highlights from across the nation included riveting brass band and gymnastic performances, and a short film made by the young men titled “Rallying a Force for Great Good,” depicting President Ikeda’s efforts to expand the membership of the young men’s division and the mission of the group today. Echoing their mentor’s call, the young men helped 34 of their friends receive the Gohonzon during the nationwide event.
In his remarks, SGI-USA Young Men’s Leader Mike O’Malley touched on the SGI-USA’s goal to gather 50,000 youth in 2018. He declared to the young men across America: “If we want to eradicate misery from our country and world, then one by one, we need to change the heart of each person! We need to help the universal principles of Nichiren Buddhism, and its belief in the dignity of all life, become the guiding philosophy of our world. Today’s meeting is just the beginning of our great revolution!”
TOP 22 CHAPTERS
Congratulations to the following chapters that achieved the goal of bringing 10 or more young men to the first SGI-USA Young Men’s Division Meeting, held across seven cities on Dec. 11, 2016.
Chicago Culture Center:
Downtown Loop: 11
Dallas Buddhist Center:
Denver Culture Center:
Greater Boulder: 13
Cherry Creek: 10
Los Angeles Friendship Center:
Verdugo Hills: 19
North East LA: 15
West Hollywood: 11
Hollywood Hills: 10
Royal Palms: 10
New York Culture Center:
Midtown West: 21
Washington Heights: 16
South Bronx: 13
West Bergen: 11
Great Falls: 10
Orange County Buddhist Center:
South Aliso Viejo: 11