Feature

What Are The July Youth Discussion Meetings?

Combating the isolation that many young Americans experience today, the SGI-USA will hold chapter-level Youth Discussion Meetings in July, where participants can develop bonds of friendship and learn about the Buddhist philosophy of dignity and hope.

LAURA HAMM


Combating the isolation that many young Americans experience today, the
SGI-USA will hold chapter-level Youth Discussion Meetings in July, where
participants can develop bonds of friendship and learn about the Buddhist philosophy of dignity and hope.

by Maya Gunaseharan, Ryo Kuroki and Olivia Saito
SGI-USA Young Women’s, Young Men’s and Youth Leaders

Thank you to the most wonderful members of the SGI-USA for all your efforts to advance kosen-rufu by fostering youthful successors, who will become great contributors to American society!

In our recent travels across the country, many youth expressed the pervasive sense of loneliness that their friends and peers experience in communities big and small.

In our society today, young people in general have no sense of belonging and lack the tools to deal with their pain. As a result, as many as 1 out of 15 people between the ages of 15–24 attempt to take their lives each year.

We realize that while the younger generation is more digitally connected to the world than ever, they rarely have meaningful interactions. They are thirsting for heart-to-heart connections with others.

It’s for this reason that, from July 13–21, the SGI-USA youth will hold chapter-level Youth Discussion Meetings to create intimate, warm gatherings, where youth can develop bonds of friendship and learn about the Buddhist philosophy of dignity and hope.

Our theme for these meetings is: “Connecting Beyond the Screen—Overcoming Barriers Through Friendship.”

Through these youth discussion meetings, we hope to gain many fresh ideas to invigorate our monthly four divisional district discussion meetings!

In that sense, these youth discussion meetings represent part of our broader efforts to make the monthly discussion meetings a gathering where the youth feel, I gotta be there!

This past spring, the SGI-USA held Buddhist seminars at Northwestern University, just outside Chicago; Columbia University in New York; and the University of California, Los Angeles. We discussed the antidote to the loneliness epidemic: our Buddhist philosophy of human revolution.

The students who attended these seminars expressed feeling warmth and belonging through their interactions with SGI youth. Many said that they lack a space where they can openly share their thoughts, struggles and opinions without feeling judged.

Inspired by these discussions, many students decided to receive the Gohonzon and begin their Buddhist practice.

In a message to the SGI-USA youth, SGI President Ikeda states:

My friends whose hearts burn brightly so early in life with the supreme philosophy of the Mystic Law, I ask this of you: Wield the light of wisdom to vanquish the darkness brought on by the myriad sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death. Wield it to brighten the lives of your friends, those with whom you share profound karmic bonds of humanity’s collective future. Let this light shine without end. (March 2, 2018, World Tribune, p. 4)

With these youth discussion meetings taking place in 550 communities across America, we are determined to vanquish the suffering of young people in our communities and impart in them boundless hope for the future.

Let’s ask ourselves, How do I want to see my community transform, and what part will I play in making it happen? With that spirit, let’s not hold back in our efforts to share the life affirming philosophy of hope with our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, and invite them to our local youth discussion meetings in July! WT