Message From the General Director

How can we enter 2018 with charging momentum? Chapter kickoff meetings.

Worcester Chapter Kickoff Meeting, Worcester, Mass., 2017. Photo: Vikram Dave.

Happy New Year to all of the precious members and friends of the SGI-USA!

Many congratulations on your efforts and victories in 2017. As we welcome this auspicious 2018, the Year of Brilliant Achievement in the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, we will celebrate a number of wonderful milestones in our kosen-rufu movement, which aims to bring about an age of humanism and respect for the dignity of life. These
milestones are:

JAN. 2: SGI President Ikeda will turn 90 years old—an occasion that the SGI-USA celebrated with powerful December Youth General Meetings that brought out thousands of youth and their guests. Happy birthday to our mentor!

MARCH 16: the 60th anniversary of Kosen-rufu Day, commemorating the day on March 16, 1958, when second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda bequeathed the mission and responsibility to accomplish kosen-rufu to the youth.

AUG. 6: the 25th anniversary of The New Human Revolution, which President Ikeda began writing in 1993 to record the history of the progress of the Soka Gakkai following his inauguration in 1960 as its third president, and as a record of the modern development of the Soka Gakkai.

NOV. 18: the fifth anniversary of the opening of The Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu in Shinanomachi, Tokyo.

Amid our nation’s struggles withdiscrimination, widening divisions and lack of respect for life, the SGI-USA continues to serve as a beacon of hope, where countless capable young people are emerging who have the determination and will to combat society’s negativity and bring about an era of humanism.

In 2017, thanks to all your efforts, we increased our active youth from 7,000 in March to some 14,000 youth taking part in the Youth General Meetings in December. And this September, we will gather 50,000 youth at our Lions of Justice Festival to be held Sept. 23 in nine cities across the U.S. (see Festival Date and New Locations Announced!).

I ask all members and friends of the SGI-USA to take on the challenge of awakening one lion, while aiming to achieve your personal goals and dreams.

What does it mean to awaken one lion? It means to introduce one youth to the SGI, help them solidify their Buddhist practice and ensure that they attend the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival on Sept. 23. Given the state of our society, we have no choice but to expose more and more young people to the hope-filled philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism and the humanism of our mentor, President Ikeda. This is our express ticket to a bright future, where all people are free to hope for and reach for their dreams.

How can we enter 2018 with charging momentum? The key will be for each chapter to invite every single youth to their respective chapter kickoff meetings in January, starting with those who were visited in 2017 or who attended one or both of the July and December youth meetings. These are the core SGI-USA youth, whom we must inspire to strive wholeheartedly with Sensei toward the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival. When discussing the significance of striving for kosen-rufu in one’s chapter, President Ikeda has said:

Kosen-rufu is not somewhere far off. It lies within our own lives, in our families, in our relationships with neighbors, in our circle of fellow members. That’s where we must build a model for kosen-rufu. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, p. 300)

This campaign in 2018 to gather 50,000 youth is not just for the youth. Rather, this is a campaign for SGI-USA members of every age to be a part of ensuring the future succession of kosen-rufu, together with President Ikeda. I am personally determined to ensure the complete victory of the youth and all SGI-USA members in 2018!

With deepest appreciation,
Adin Strauss
SGI-USA General Director

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