“Treasure Castle” Opens in Ohio Region
by Anita Ampadu
SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE
HILLIARD, Ohio, Aug. 5—Just 49 days before the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival, over 200 members of Ohio Region celebrated the grand opening of the SGI-USA Columbus Buddhist Center.
Located in Hilliard, a suburb outside Columbus, the nearly 6,000-square-foot facility is over twice the size of the previous center and includes four Gohonzon rooms. The Columbus Buddhist Center will not only serve members in and around Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, but also those in northern Kentucky.
SGI President Ikeda, in a congratulatory message, called the new center a “treasure castle of happiness and friendship,” from where members can fulfill their noble mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
The grand opening included a ribbon-cutting, powerful experiences, an Ikeda Youth Ensemble dance performance, and a Gohonzon conferral ceremony, welcoming five new SGI-USA members. During a Lions of Justice progress report, members learned that Ohio Region had surpassed its registration goal of 200 youth to attend the 50K Festival in Chicago. Their next goal is 270.
To reach the SGI-USA Columbus Buddhist Center: 3626 Main St. Hilliard, OH 43026 614-541-9016
In closing remarks, SGI-USA Senior Vice General Director Tariq Hasan reminded each person of their great mission for kosen-rufu, especially living in Ohio, which is the epicenter of America in so many ways. “We’re living in a country where people’s hearts are divided,” he said. “Our mission as Nichiren Buddhists is to unite this country and enable every person to become happy. I sincerely believe that this can only happen if you—members of Ohio Region—can unite with your leaders based on your sense of mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth.”
Mr. Hasan later said he was deeply humbled by the behind-the-scenes efforts leading up to the center’s opening, as well as the ongoing support to maintain it. The chapter leaders in Cincinnati, for instance, live two hours away but have volunteered for weekend shifts to bring their members to clean and have activities there. In another act of earnestness, before the opening, two women’s division members drove three hours to train an individual at the center’s bookstore.
Said Mr. Hasan: “Being there reminded me, once again, of the wonderful volunteer spirit of our members; how they work tirelessly and in unity to expand another foothold for kosen-rufu in America.”
Iowa City Welcomes “Everything You Treasure”
The Physicians for Social Responsibility, Iowa Chapter, debuted the exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons” on Aug. 1 at the Iowa City Public Library. The exhibition, to be displayed throughout August, was co-created by the SGI and last year’s Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the Inter-national Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. This August marks 73 years since the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.