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Hey Buddha, Tell Me About Yourself

Home Visit Revolution

Photo by BECCA HENRY.


With “home visits” and “personal encouragement” as the bywords for the SGI-USA in 2019, this new World Tribune series features SGI-USA leaders who discuss their personal experiences of being home visited, home visiting others and the lessons they’ve learned.

by Kevin Moncrief
SGI-USA Men’s Leader

I recently met with a district men’s leader in Oakland, California. Initially he was rather quiet, but through dialogue it became clear that he was a person of action and results.

Despite his health and work challenges, he supports his district wholeheartedly. In fact, there are 10 young men in the district growing dynamically, and they each respect him for his friendliness and rich experience. I was reminded by him that the young men can soar when there’s men’s division support.

Q: What are three things you keep in mind as you prepare for home visits?

In the morning, I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo abundantly for the person I’m visiting to feel SGI President Ikeda’s heart and for their suffering to be relieved.

Next, I listen and learn about them and their struggles. It’s always good to start with, Tell me about yourself. Our role is to make them feel comfortable to open up, and I personally utilize my sense of humor and maintain humility to create that kind of environment.

Photo by BECCA HENRY.

Last, I keep in mind that if I do five home visits, I’m the one five times more encouraged. Each home visit is powerful—it’s the most joyful SGI activity. We find countless ordinary heroes fighting through various challenges, and it’s an honor to meet these heroes in the intimacy of their homes or over a cup of coffee.

Q: How did you learn the Soka Gakkai spirit to treasure the person in front of you?

Back when I was in St. Louis, a senior in faith would call me up and say, Hey Kevin, let’s do gongyo together. He lived out of the way, so I was really touched by his efforts to drive hours to come chant with me.

And when I joined my seniors on home visits, I always saw them listening to the members with an open heart. They would form genuine bonds by relating their personal experiences in faith. More importantly, they would form connections between the members and President Ikeda by sharing his encouragement.

Sensei has traveled all over to visit countless members, based on his determination to awaken each person to their mission, no matter how long it took or what obstacles he was personally facing. To President Ikeda, each person truly is a Buddha. I want to embody that same courage and conviction.

Q: What’s most important in doing home visits?

Nichiren Daishonin and President Ikeda have consistently taught us the importance of the heart. Sensei writes: “Above all, it is important to have confidence that everything that contributes to kosen-rufu leads to great benefit and fortune. Those with this belief feel joy and gratitude; they are unlikely to complain or be dissatisfied.

“I have been practicing faith with this conviction. I have always cheerfully challenged even the bitterest and most difficult obstacles. To support [second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda, I went anywhere necessary for kosen-rufu, juggling my job commitments as best as I could. And if I couldn’t scrape together enough money to pay the fare to get there, I was still determined to go even if I had to walk. I believe this is the source of the benefit and good fortune I enjoy today” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 2, pp. 111–12).

Challenging home visits with this seeking spirit is how we break through. This isn’t charity work; we’re standing side by side with others to win together. WT