50kstrong

SGI-USA Campus Clubs

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

Photo: Emily Terada.


Student division campus clubs can be traced back to the 1950s under the direction of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. During this time, two Tokyo University students who sought to learn about Buddhism attended a Soka Gakkai meeting where they met President Toda, who would become their mentor in life.

The two students introduced their fellow classmates to Buddhism until a core group of seven young practitioners formed the Lotus Sutra Research Society. On one occasion, a student asked about finding a job after graduation. To this, Mr. Toda answered:

Remember that you now have the Gohonzon with you—the fundamental Law that enables you to bring forth the greatest life force from within you. Stick to your work, no matter how disgusting it is, pray to the Gohonzon and exert yourself completely. The time will come when you will find an occupation you like, which benefits you and which brings a great deal of good to society. The bits and pieces of work you will have done by that time will all become living, precious experiences. Faith equals daily life, and it equals society. This is the power of the Daishonin’s Buddhism.

You might not yet realize it, but each of you was born into this world with a glorious mission to fulfill. Every one of you will be performing great tasks in your respective fields in the future. So, while you are young, it is important that you squarely face all hardships, cultivate a broad perspective and build up the great power with which to act. (The Human Revolution, pp. 1075–76)

This group of students received lectures from President Toda starting on April 18, 1953, until Sept. 27, 1955. During this time, they spared no effort to introduce their classmates and friends to Buddhism, expanding the network of students who upheld faith in the Mystic Law. Regarding the spirit behind these lectures, SGI President Ikeda writes:

Why, in spite of his tight schedule, had Toda personally taken charge of this difficult task of teaching the Lotus Sutra to such a small group of students? It was because he had long been conscious of the roles the students would assume on the path to the attainment of kosen-rufu. He envisioned the brilliant activities that the students of the Mystic Law would perform 20 or 30 years later.

Just as Toda expected, the youthful students of the Lotus Sutra Research Society are now leading figures in their respective fields—in the political arena, the educational world and various other key positions both in society and within the Soka Gakkai.

Toda dealt with these students, who were at times impertinent and had a tendency to veer off in the wrong direction, with great patience. His efforts would later prove to be the foundation for the establishment of the 500-member student division of the Soka Gakkai on June 30, 1957. (The Human Revolution, pp. 1077–78)

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the student division’s founding. Today, members of the group engage in SGI-USA campus club activities at universities across the U.S., and have helped over 350 students begin their practice this year! (To read more, see June 2017 Living Buddhism, pp. 12–27.)


The Mission of Campus Clubs

The purpose of SGI-USA campus clubs is to advance kosen-rufu and spread the humanistic ideals of Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism. By creating a force for peace on campus, student division members develop the skills and foundation of faith to become capable leaders in society. Through these activities, club members develop the means to transform their inner state of life, manifest the condition of Buddhahood and stand up for the dignity of life.

The suggested campus club agenda includes:

• Gongyo
• Introduction to Buddhism
• Experience
• Q&A with an invited SGI-USA line leader
• Informal dialogue among students and friends

Each school is different, and club leaders together with the line leaders should first and foremost review the guidelines provided by the governing student body.


Are You Registered?

Register as a student division member at www.sgi-usa.org/studentdivisionregistration.


Photo: Eddie Chen

Join Us This Summer!

SGI-USA Student Division Conference • Aug. 11–14
Florida Nature and Culture Center, Weston, Fla.
Open to all SGI-USA youth division members who are junior college, undergraduate or graduate students. High school seniors are also invited.
To register, go to portal.sgi-usa.org or contact your local zone office. For any questions, contact studentdivision@sgi-usa.org.

 

(p. 10)