Never Be Defeated!

Impressions from the historic training course

SGI-USA youth division representatives at the Osaka City Central Public Hall (Nakanoshima Civic Hall), in Nakanoshima, Osaka. (February 4, 2017). Photo by Seikyo Press.

Connected by Our Vow

Nile Ruff

Nile Ruff
Dayton, Ohio
Born Into SGI

As a member of a touring dance company, I initially wasn’t able to take time off to participate in the training course, but I was determined not to miss the opportunity. I began chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in abundance every day, but my request for time off was rejected a second time. Although at first discouraged, I returned to the Gohonzon and, with the support of fellow SGI members, chanted abundantly and studied The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin. When I asked a third time, I was allowed to attend the historic training course, full of victory!

During our trip, I was so appreciative of the Soka Gakkai members who greeted us full of love, like family. And I realized that we were all connected by our shared commitment to fight side by side with SGI President Ikeda for worldwide kosen-rufu. Putting Sensei’s spirit to encourage others at the center of my life—a spirit that I learned from the Kansai members—I’m determined to show actual proof by helping my dance company become the greatest, most humanistic company! In this spirit, upon my return to the U.S., a third co-worker received the Gohonzon!

Seeing the Soka Gakkai Buddha
Jesse Ellis

Jesse Ellis

Providence, Rhode Island
Joined: May 2016

At our Kansai exchange meeting, I really felt like I met the Soka Gakkai Buddha. Kansai isn’t just an organization. It is a living, breathing embodiment of SGI President Ikeda’s spirit to advance kosenrufu, built through the warmth and one-to-one care of the members.

When the youth read our joint U.S.– Kansai “Ever-Victorious Declaration in the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu” (see pp. 8-9), there was no separation between us. It was really about people, about Bodhisattvas of the Earth, uniting together to usher in an era of hope and respect for the people.

Through participating in the training course, I removed any hesitation toward my vow. I want to live out every piece of guidance Sensei shares, and transform my life and society. Sensei, you can count on Rhode Island and me!

Never Give Up
Sheena Tiller
Paso Robles, Calif.

Sheena Tiller

Joined: December 2016

Leading up to the training course, I lost the most important person in my life, my mother. I was devastated, but I promised her that I would become the happiest daughter and fight for kosen-rufu. With the support of my fellow members, I determined to still participate because I knew that’s what my mother would’ve wanted.

When we did gongyo at the Hall of the Great Vow, I felt a deep connection to my mentor, SGI President Ikeda, and our shared vow for kosen-rufu. I determined to become someone who never gives up, regardless of my circumstances. I realized that Sensei is advancing alongside me at each step of the way, always believing in my potential. I’m now determined to help other young women feel they’re never alone in their struggles.

With the Same Conviction and Heart
Steven Marron
Oxnard, Cailf.
Joined:August 2013

Steven Marron

My main prayer toward the training course was to truly understand SGI President Ikeda’s heart. Everywhere we went in Japan, I felt appreciation, warmth and joy from the members, and a camaraderie that transcended nations. At one of our meetings, we watched a video of Sensei and his travels around world. It opened my eyes to his sincerity and his deep compassion for people, and I determined to take action with the same heart.

I live in an environment where many people struggle with poverty and lack hope. I have many challenges at home, too. But I’m determined to battle my own doubts about my capabilities, and speak with conviction to encourage other struggling young men to stand up in faith and win in their lives. With the Kansai spirit in my heart, I’m going to run with Sensei and bring forth the potential of my city.

Don’t Give Up Until You Win
Sid Paralkar
Tempe, Ariz.
Joined:November 2006

I was struggling with my tendency to doubt myself and give in to defeat. Through this training course, I really learned SGI

Sid Paralkar

President Ikeda’s spirit—the Kansai spirit—that, when a battle has begun, you don’t give up until you win.

The Kansai members have a spirit to joyfully but seriously challenge every obstacle, alongside their mentor. They never give up on anyone. Even in the meetings, I saw Sensei’s spirit in action. Little mistakes didn’t faze anyone; everyone was joyful and warm.

Now, I’m determined to win myself, and make sure that the young men in my area win too. I want to eternalize Sensei’s spirit to never give up.

Revolutionizing Myself First
Megan Weinstein
Memphis, Tenn.
Born into SGI

Our experience in Kansai was exceptional, meaningful and invigorating. Speaking with the student division leader there, I was astounded by the heart and effort the members poured into planning the event, and their determination to share Buddhism with others to greet us with their own absolute victory.

Megan Weinstein

I realized that I had to revolutionize myself first to joyfully create memorable experiences with the members in my hometown of Memphis. I believe that’s the essence of Sensei’s heart.

Each step of the way, Sensei sent us messages. They were not generic statements but resonated deeply with the struggles that we were all going through. During this training course, my lifelong battle for good health continued to manifest, but with Sensei’s encouragement throughout the trip, I used it to deepen my faith.





(p. 11)