How Contributions Have Supported the Recent Advance of American Kosen-rufu
May Contribution: April 28–June 4
“From nothing—no funding, no support, no human resources, no time—we have forged a path where none before had existed. And now, true to my conviction, Bodhisattvas of the Earth have appeared in  countries [and territories] around the world.”
—SGI President Ikeda, from The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, p. 214
Since the decade began in 2010, members’ financial contributions have fueled the progress of American kosen-rufu with many new and ongoing projects. They have supported expansion efforts to raise the visibility of the SGI and the values of Buddhist humanism in society. Contributions have also been used to provide opportunities and resources to help members deepen their faith, practices and study, including special activities to support the youth. Some are highlighted below:
REACHING PEOPLE ONLINE
WITH A MESSAGE OF HOPE
Joe Perretti’s life was in crisis when he saw an inspiring quote about courage on a friend’s Facebook page. He asked about it and was invited to an SGI-USA meeting. “Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo relieved the tightness and pressure I felt in my chest,” he said. “And I found myself smiling.” Joe received the Gohonzon soon after. The deep pain he carried for most of his life is gone now and replaced with hope, compassion and joy. Today, Joe takes responsibility as a young men’s leader in Queens, New York, to help others also lead happy, fulfilled lives.
Since the SGI-USA’s social media program began in 2012:
Some 6,000 individuals visit SGI-USA’s Facebook page weekly with many of them expressing interest in attending a meeting.
SGI-USA members can enjoy and share these sources of encouragement—including experiences, articles and the “Learning Gongyo Workout Session/Introduction” YouTube video for new members.
BRINGS NEW TITLES
Since 2013, the SGI-USA Books Department has released:
More than 30 new titles and nearly 30 e-books.
New books for children, teens and parents plush other special topics of interest.
“When I began chanting in 1971, there were few study materials translated into English. I remember when Japanese members, who were able to read Nichiren Daishonin’s letters in their native language, shared them with us to the best of their ability. I am so appreciative of the amount of materials available today. Now, I see new members quickly grasping Buddhist concepts because of all the resources at their fingertips!”
—Francie Koehmstedt, Fort Collins, Colorado
SHARING A MESSAGE OF PEACE
AND BUDDHIST HUMANISM WITH THE PUBLIC
Begun in 2001, SGI-USA’s Culture of Peace (COP) Program works to raise public awareness on how to foster a culture of peace in one’s immediate environment and on a global scale.
Since 2010, guest speakers at the COP Distinguished Speaker Series have included internationally known peace activists & educators whose talks focus on human rights, nonviolence, sustainable development and other topics that resonate with the values of Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism.
To share these dialogues and insights with a broader audience, a series of books and videos were created (see www.sgi-usa.org/cop-resource-center).
The speaker series takes place at SGI-USA Culture of Peace Resource centers in Chicago; Honolulu; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica, California; and Washington, D.C.
The speakers include:
SGI-USA’S TRAVELING EXHIBITIONS
SGI-USA’s traveling exhibitions communicate the social ideals embedded in the SGI Charter. In the past several years, events showcasing SGI-USA exhibitions or guest speakers have appeared at: Harvard, UCLA, the University of Chicago, MIT, Arizona State University, Claremont McKenna College, Columbia University and a variety of schools, libraries and other public venues. These exhibitions include Victory Over Violence, Seeds of Hope and Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World.
NEW SGI BUDDHIST CENTERS
Since 2010, 32 Buddhist Centers have opened across the United States and several more will open soon.
In some cases, centers moved to larger spaces in more convenient locations. Others, like Charlotte, North Carolina, are the first SGI Buddhist centers in their city.
Recently, centers have opened in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Minneapolis; Teaneck, New Jersey; Brookline, Massachusetts; Sacramento, California; and in Central America’s Belize, which is part of SGI-USA Caribbean Region.
Since 2010, the SGI-USA has also purchased eight buildings or properties in key metropolitan areas.
SPECIAL EVENTS PROVIDING ENCOURAGEMENT
FOR MEMBERS AND GUESTS
Special events, rehearsals and other preparations provide opportunities for training and encouragement for members and guests. Contributions support SGI-USA’s rentals of event venues as well as the rental of schools and other facilities for youth practices, Kosen-rufu Gongyo meetings and other activities.