Awakening the Lion Within
The following are excerpts of speeches given at the Young Women’s General Meetings on July 15 and the Young Men’s General Meetings on July 9.
by Olivia Saito
SGI-USA YOUNG WOMEN’S LEADER
Thank you for attending today’s historic gathering of powerful young women themed “Warriors of Jiyu”!
SGI President Ikeda has likened the young women of Soka to French heroine Joan of Arc.
As a teenager, Joan of Arc was driven by her sense of mission to defy all odds and break all barriers. She decisively stood up when everyone else was defeated and led an army in a victorious battle, opening the way for the victory of an entire nation.
Like Joan of Arc, the young women of the SGI are warriors.
The word Jiyu in the theme “Warriors of Jiyu” is a Japanese term that means “to spring from the earth,” and it teaches us the importance of facing our present reality and transforming it into a Buddha land.
As young women who chant Nam-myoho- renge-kyo, we have the power to transform our destiny. We pave the way for peace by courageously undergoing our own inner transformation, becoming happy and helping others do the same. We are warriors of peace and justice, who have the mission to wipe away the darkness and misery from the world.
When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon, based on a sense of mission and vow to support the lives of others, our inherent power wells forth, and we are able to dramatically transform our own destinies and brighten our families, communities and humanity’s future.
It takes courage to become happy. It takes courage to fight for your dreams in life. It takes courage to stand up for the sake of peace and happiness when all of what surrounds you seems to scream the opposite.
But let’s join together and increase our strength. President Ikeda says: “We are living in a turbulent age. Separate, we are weak. Those who can join together like a powerful alloy will triumph” (April 19, 2002, World Tribune, p. 7).
by Mike O’Malley
SGI-USA YOUNG MEN’S LEADER
Thank you to all the young men’s division members of America, “Lions of Justice,” for coming out today!
We constantly hear stories of discrimination, hopelessness, violence and greed throughout our world. But these aren’t just things we read about in the news; they surround our everyday lives and the people around us.
From my own experience of battling crippling debt, eviction notices, total lack of direction and purpose in my career and coming out on the other side stronger than ever—landing my dream job and creating the most beautiful family with my wife and newborn son—I can say with complete conviction that nothing on this earth is more powerful than chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon.
When you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, you are roaring, awakening the most fearless, noble, dignified, courageous lion within your life!
SGI President Ikeda sent us a heartwarming message today, don’t you agree? He said: “I was 19 years old when I encountered my mentor in life, Josei Toda. He taught me everything I know about the Buddhism of the Sun, which I have ceaselessly put into practice for the last 70 years. As a result, I can say with absolute conviction that this is the best way to live the most glorious drama of victory during your youth and throughout your life” (p. 2).
I can say that having encountered my mentor, President Ikeda, at 21, has led me on the ultimate path to happiness, has allowed me to change my surroundings, and has enabled me to create tremendous fortune for myself and my family!
Today, please join us in our movement for peace, a movement that is built on your happiness and victory! Let’s be fearless lions who can bring happiness to our families!
Let’s be fearless lions who can create peace in our homes, workplaces and neighborhoods! Let’s be “Lions of Justice” who intrepidly usher in an “era of hope and respect”!