Interview

Why I Support “Lions of Justice”

Josh Scobey and Teiko Tsukui share why they support the youth toward the 2018 gathering of 50K Lions of Justice.

Philadelphia. Photo: Jonathan Wilson.


Josh Scobey, Santan Chapter men’s leader, in Chandler, Arizona, and Teiko Tsukui, North Florida Region women’s leader, in Jacksonville, Florida, discuss why they support the youth toward the 2018 gathering of 50,000 “Lions of Justice,” starting with the Young Men’s and Young Women’s General Meetings in July.

What inspired you to support the Young Men’s and Young Women’s General Meetings in July?

JOSH SCOBEY (chapter men’s leader in Chandler, Ariz.): Growing up in the SGI, many men’s division members helped steer my life in the best direction. When I joined the men’s division a couple years ago, I vowed to repay my debt of gratitude and live out the oneness of mentor and disciple by wholeheartedly supporting the youth, the future of our movement.

TEIKO TSUKUI (region women’s leader in Jacksonville, Florida): I started practicing Nichiren Buddhism with my family when I was 5 years old. Every difficulty or struggle I faced in life, I overcame because of good friends in faith, who encouraged me wholeheartedly and chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with me. They are my treasures in life.

As a good friend in faith to the young women, I want them to have confidence that SGI activities are the direct route to happiness, as SGI President Ikeda teaches us.

What efforts did you make together with the youth?

JOSH: Santan Chapter made clear attendance goals and collaborated on home visiting the young men. On the day of the general meeting, the men provided rides. I personally drove three young men who hadn’t met one another before, but I was inspired to see the bonds they created just by being in the car together!

I also made every effort to bring my friend who received the Gohonzon several years ago. Through continued dialogue, building trust and giving him a ride, he attended the gathering. He enjoyed the meeting so much that he said he wants to participate in more SGI activities! The diverse group of guys of all ages fighting to be happy and create a better world impacted him.

TEIKO: In our region, we reviewed the membership list of 92 young women. We realized, however, that many were disconnected and some had moved. We united together with the chapter leaders to follow up. I also sent postcards and letters to the young women who could not be reached by phone. We confirmed and then reconfirmed them to attend the general meeting and made sure they all received follow-up encouragement.

Uniting with the chapter young women’s and women’s leaders, I visited over 20 young women, sometimes driving several hours to meet one person. I met and chanted with one young woman who hadn’t come out to meetings in a while because of her many struggles. Afterward, she told me, “I have hope now.” That was my deep prayer: for each young woman to awaken to her unlimited potential and mission for kosen-rufu.

 

What did you gain from the process of supporting the youth?

JOSH: When you go into the homes of these young men, you think you’re going there to offer encouragement, but they end up inspiring you! The youth are very aware of and connected to the times. For us to grow as an organization, we all have to be connected to the times and ask ourselves: “What is going on in the present?” “Where are we at?” and “How can we advance?”

TEIKO: Supporting the youth comes down to my human revolution. Nichiren Daishonin promises those who advance kosen-rufu: “You will grow younger, and your good fortune will accumulate” (“The Unity of Husband and Wife,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 464). In the process of supporting the youth, my once debilitating headaches have gone away, and I feel healthier day by day.

JOSH: Supporting the young men has taught me how to wholeheartedly fight for kosen-rufu. Regardless of what is going on in my personal life, I make it a priority to build bonds with them from my heart. I’m taking what my mentor is teaching and putting it into action.

 

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