Interview

“It’s Never Too Late”

Cora Davis Boyd celebrates her centennial birthday in Great Gatsby/Roaring ’20s style, May 28, 2019. On April 7, Cora became an SGI-USA member. Photo by SEWELL B. JOHNSON.


On the cusp of her 100th birthday, Cora Davis Boyd, on April 7, became an SGI-USA member. The World Tribune sat down with her and her daughter, Kathleen Dockett, of Washington, D.C., to learn about Cora’s life, why she joined the SGI-USA and what advice she has for people of all ages.

World Tribune: Cora, congratulations on becoming a member of the SGI-USA on the cusp of your 100th birthday! What is your dream?

Cora Davis Boyd: My dream is to be happy. Happiness, for me, is living like I have over the last 100 years. It is meeting people and enjoying time with my family.

Kathleen Dockett: My mother’s dream to be happy merges with what we do in the SGI, which is to come together, connect heart to heart and have profound dialogue. What attracted my mother to the SGI was the tone of our joy-filled discussion meetings. She enjoys participating in them because she can meet people and engage with them.

WT: Why did you decide to become a member?

Cora: I like connecting with different SGI members at meetings. And I like that they don’t mind sharing their problems and offering help to others who have problems, too.

Kathleen: Yes, she really enjoys the activities and being around the members. Longtime members came to my house recently to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with us, and pointed out that Cora had attended many different types of SGI meetings. They asked her, “Why don’t you join?” and she responded joyfully: “OK! I’ll join!” It just took somebody asking her!

Attending meetings is like being a part of a large family. When Cora goes to the meetings, the members warmly welcome her and sing her praises. One even wrote her a song, “Cora’s Song.”

Meetings provide a sense of belonging and a strong social network of friends, which are two of the dominant characteristics of the healthiest and longest living centenarians, according to Dan Buettner’s research on people around the world who live the longest and healthiest (see the June 14 World Tribune, p. 12). I’m sure that’s why she enthusiastically said, “OK!” when she was encouraged to become a member. Ultimately, the meetings make her happy, which is her dream. So for Cora, joining the SGI meant actualizing her dream.

With her daughter, vice district women’s leader Kathleen Dockett, at the SGI-USA Washington, D.C., Culture Center. Photo by SEWELL B. JOHNSON.

“Treat others the way you would like to be treated. And help them if you can. Those are the rules I follow to live a happy life.”

WT: What advice do you have for people?

Cora: Be nice to other people. Understand their problems, and help them if you can. And to the youth: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Kathleen: We have a name for people who do that: bodhisattva! My mother is a bodhisattva who has emerged. Through my relationship with her, and my practice of Buddhism, she has awakened to her identity as a Bodhisattva of the Earth. And by watching her, I have learned how to live a victorious life.

WT: What is the secret to longevity?

Cora: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. And help them if you can. Those are the rules I follow to live a happy life.

Kathleen: From my mother’s long life, I have learned that it’s never too late to encounter and take faith in the Mystic Law, proudly become a member of the SGI and decide to lead a happy and victorious life. WT