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Initiating a Great Wave of Personal Encouragement

Photo by MARY D’ELIA.

Let’s welcome 50,000 members and guests to our February district discussion meetings through doing home visits and sharing Buddhism!

by Naoko Leslie, Maya Gunaseharan and Olivia Saito
SGI-USA Women’s Leader, Young Women’s Leader and Youth Leader

To the most wonderful members of the SGI-USA, thank you for your efforts toward the great success of the Ikeda Wisdom Academy Exam III! On Jan. 27, more than 1,600 youth leaders across the country took the exam, and over 90 percent passed! (See p. 8 for further coverage.) We heard many reports of men and women studying together with the youth, as well as proctoring exams and providing transportation. It was truly a four-divisional victory.

In this same spirit of joyful unity, preparations are underway toward creating the most encouraging district discussion meetings in February. This month, we honor SGI-USA Women’s Day (Feb. 27), as well as the births of Nichiren Daishonin (Feb. 16, 1222) and second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda (Feb. 11, 1900).

With these significant anniversaries, let’s welcome 50,000 members and guests to our February discussion meetings across the country.

How can we accomplish this? It will be through our one-to-one, heart-to-heart dialogues. As SGI-USA frontline leaders, let’s initiate a great wave of personal encouragement through visiting members at their homes, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with them, listening to their challenges and encouraging them, with great conviction, that attending and contributing to their discussion meeting will bring great fortune to their lives.

SGI President Ikeda writes: “The network of life-to-life bonds that is the Soka Gakkai was built through the efforts of individuals to visit and personally encourage their fellow members. Just as a broad interwoven nexus of roots that sink deep into the earth supports a mighty tree, it is the consistent and painstaking actions of members to offer personal guidance at the grassroots level that hold up the Soka Gakkai” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 8, p. 91).
For the friends we are introducing to Buddhism, the warm and familylike atmosphere of the district is one of the best places to begin one’s Buddhist practice and receive the Gohonzon! Let’s welcome many new members to our Soka family this month, fulfilling our great mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

With SGI-USA Women’s Day fast approaching, we declare that the women and young women will take the lead to ensure the victories of our districts! See you on the frontlines! WT

Individuality concept, birds on a wire alone against mass

Loneliness, a Modern Epidemic

The U.K. has an official minister for loneliness.

The appointment, the first of its kind in the world, was introduced last year in response to an alarming study revealing that over 9 million adults in the U.K. feel “often or always lonely,” according to a 2017 report published by Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.

Recent statistics revealed that about 200,000 British citizens tend not to communicate with friends or relatives even once per month, on average. Doctors also said they frequently encounter multiple patients a day whose primary concern is isolation.

In an article published in 2017 by the Harvard Business Review, former United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy wrote that loneliness and weak social connections are associated “with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and anxiety.”

From the perspective of Nichiren Buddhism, SGI President Ikeda addresses the issue of loneliness, saying: “We have chosen, in accord with our vow as bodhisattvas, to be born into the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law with all sorts of destinies, or karma—illness, financial hardship, family discord, loneliness, low self-esteem and the list goes on—to help guide others to enlightenment. But by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, striving in our Buddhist practice for ourselves and others, and dedicating our lives to kosen-rufu, our vibrant life force as Bodhisattvas of the Earth and the expansive life state of Buddhahood well forth within us” (March 2019 Living Buddhism, p. 16).

The SGI-USA’s current leadership focus—to center their activities on home visits and personal encouragement—is perhaps the antidote to this modern epidemic. WT


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