Making Big Waves for Kosen-rufu

Advancing toward our gathering of 50,000 determined youth in 2018.

Spreading joy—The student division members of Ames District hosted a meeting, where Gabriel Hicks’ parents (center) received the Gohonzon and began their Buddhist practice on Jan. 26, SGI Day, Ames, Iowa. Photo: Karishma Yadav.

sgi_40666546725by Gabriel Hicks

Three years ago, I had a near fatal drug overdose, which led me to seek out a philosophy that would help transform my life and destiny.

4-pillars-shakubukuA friend introduced me to Nichiren Buddhism the following year, and I received the Gohonzon in the summer of 2015. Shortly after, I was appointed the vice district young men’s leader.

Upon returning to college last year, my district young men’s co-leader and I established an SGI-USA student campus club at Iowa State University. We challenged ourselves to hold weekly meetings and activities inspired by the “Our New Clear Future” movement—an initiative launched by the SGI-USA student division to abolish nuclear weapons. We also became active in the Ikeda Wisdom Academy. Although our club hadn’t grown much, we kept putting our all into sharing Buddhism with others.

Then last summer, we determined to go to the SGI-USA Student Division Conference at the Florida Nature and Culture Center. In the end, all four of Ames District’s student division members attended. Upon leaving the FNCC, I personally determined to help one person receive the Gohonzon.

This past January, my chapter was gearing up for its kickoff meeting. The night before, my mother asked me if she could attend the meeting and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo together with us. I was overjoyed! Shortly after, my father shared that he wanted to receive the Gohonzon and start practicing with my mom!

On Jan. 26, the student division members of Ames District hosted a meeting to celebrate the founding of the SGI, and it was there that my parents joyfully received the Gohonzon. They enshrined the Gohonzon in the very same room where I nearly died three years ago. I felt I had transformed my family karma and changed poison into medicine.

sgi_40649204826I’m challenging myself to become a better son, and now my parents always tell me how proud they are of me. They attribute my growth to my Buddhist practice.

I’m also happy to report that three of our student division members took the Ikeda Wisdom Academy Exam II on Jan. 29. And, before the start of our exam, we had a wonderful Gohonzon conferral ceremony for my friend Keegan, who had been a longtime guest of our campus club.

Toward the gathering of 50,000 youth in 2018, Ames District will double its membership and become a champion district. We are fighting alongside all of you and Sensei toward 2018! Ames District is determined to make big waves for kosen-rufu!

Calling all youthful successors of Soka! Share photos on your social media accounts related to the 50,000 youth gathering in 2018 using the hashtag #50kstrong

Develop a Core of Youth in the Chapter

Chapters will measure youth attendance at the following activities in 2017, aiming to surpass attendance from the month before.

  • MAR.  Champions of the New Era
  • APR.  Home Visits
  • MAY  Discussion Meeting
  • JUNE  Home Visits
  • JULY  YMD & YWD General Meetings
  • AUG.  Discussion Meeting
  • SEPT.  Champions of the New Era
  • OCT.  Home Visits
  • NOV.  Discussion Meeting
  • DEC.  YMD & YWD General Meetings


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