Never Be Defeated
A look at the expanded tools and services the SGI-USA has introduced this year to support the members and advance kosen-rufu during challenging times.
by World Tribune
When the SGI-USA suspended all in-person activities in early March to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the well-being of our members, the headquarters found new and expanded ways to respond to members’ needs during these challenging times. Below are highlights of the developments that have taken place since then to better serve each member, as we pray for and anticipate the soonest-possible day when we can reopen and physically meet again.
In support of the front-line healthcare responders who are working around the clock to save lives, the SGI-USA held a First Responders Encouragement Call on March 24 with SGI-USA Women’s Leader Naoko Leslie and SGI-USA General Director Adin Strauss, with a second call to follow. Also, to provide them with encouragement, World Tribune Press quickly republished Ikeda Sensei’s book Florence Nightingale: In Tribute to the Century of Women as an e-book, available at major bookstores.
SGI-USA Donates 15,000 Masks
With a nationwide shortage of essential medical supplies in the fight against COVID-19, the SGI-USA donated more than 15,000 filtering respirator masks and plastic face shields to U.S. and Puerto Rico hospitals in dire need.
The SGI-USA launched new social media initiatives and programs to provide additional resources for members and guests.
Intro to Buddhism Video
The SGI-USA debuted an all-new “Introduction to SGI Nichiren Buddhism” video which shares a living history of Buddhism from Shakyamuni to Nichiren Daishonin to the SGI’s global grassroots movement. The video includes compelling animation from Leo Matsuda, an animator, storyboard artist and the Oscar-nominated director of the Disney short “Inner Workings.” Click here to watch
World Tribune Newsletter
The World Tribune launched a bimonthly newsletter featuring curated content sent to subscribers and guests.
The SGI-USA also began offering a newsletter for guests with curated introductory content from the publications. District leaders can add guests who would like to opt in via the SGI-USA portal.
Podcast: Buddhist Solutions to Life’s Problems
The SGI-USA podcast “Buddhist Solutions to Life’s Problems” has introduced three compelling and relevant episodes amid the pandemic, including the Buddhist view on COVID-19, parenting and transforming racism. The series is ranked in the top 5% of all podcasts by downloads. Click here to listen to our latest podcast, “The Buddhist Perspective on Racism”
Video Series: How Buddhists Create Hope
The video series features the stories of members who are manifesting courage and hope through the A-B-C Campaign, which encourages abundant chanting, Buddhist study and connecting life-to-life with members, guests and family by phone and videoconferencing. Click here to watch
The SGI-USA Instagram account, now with 50,000-plus followers, is updated daily with inspiring experiences, photos, videos and Buddhist concepts that are accessible to guests and new members. Click here and select “follow”
As the SGI-USA suspended all in-person activities in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it quickly provided the technology and member support necessary to move activities online.
The SGI-USA in March provided hundreds of paid Zoom accounts to each region and zone, which allow members to hold virtual discussion meetings and other activities. The paid service provides unlimited meeting duration, a higher number of participants and access to other tools, including webinars and encouragement calls, such as those for the Culture Department, First Responders and People of African Descent.
SGI-USA zone and territory offices are staffed during the work week for business purposes, which include answering calls and providing support to the members.
Resources for Members
Studying Nichiren Buddhism is a key component of our practice for attaining Buddhahood. This year, the SGI-USA has introduced new titles and formats to support the practice of each member and enable them to gain a deeper sense of joy and conviction in the greatness of Nichiren Buddhism and, ultimately, themselves.
New Online Bookstore Launched
The newly designed SGI-USA online bookstore, https://bookstore.sgi-usa.org, launched in June, offering expanded resources for members and those interested in learning more about Nichiren Buddhism. Click here to visit the site
New Books Available
Enjoy these new titles, which are available on the SGI-USA online bookstore: https://bookstore.sgi-usa.org
The Books of My Youth explores the world-class literature the young Daisaku Ikeda read under the tutelage of his mentor, Josei Toda, and which formed his life’s “spiritual framework.” Purchase here
Champions of Hope brings together five lectures in the ongoing series titled “The Buddhism of the Sun—Illuminating the World.” These five first appeared in Living Buddhism from October 2018 to February 2019. Purchase here
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 3, features key selections from Ikeda Sensei’s collected works on the topic “Kosen-rufu and World Peace,” taking up the ideals and principles of worldwide kosen-rufu; the movement and humanistic organization of the SGI; the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple; world peace; and respect for the dignity of life. Purchase here
The New Human Revolution for All
In January 2019, SGI members around the world began studying Ikeda Sensei’s lifework The New Human Revolution, which in 30 volumes chronicles the development of the global kosen-rufu movement following his inauguration as third Soka Gakkai president on May 3, 1960. To aid the study of the novelized series, the SGI-USA is introducing volumes in multiple formats:
Book: vols. 1–26 available in book form. Purchase here
E-book: vols. 1–13 now available, with vols. 14–20 out this year. Purchase here
My New Human Revolution Diary: a journal where you can record your thoughts while reading the novelized series. Purchase here
New and Ongoing Construction Projects to Serve Our Members
With 100 Buddhist centers and facilities throughout the country, the SGI-USA continues to introduce new locations to support the members.
SGI Ikeda Peace and Culture Center, Guam
The center is currently being built on a site directly adjacent to Guam’s International Trade Center, the historic site where 158 representatives from 51 countries and territories gathered on Jan. 26, 1975, for the First World Peace Conference and formed the Soka Gakkai International, naming Daisaku Ikeda its president.
The 15,000-square-foot, two-story building will house an interactive exhibit on the SGI’s founding and Ikeda Sensei’s decades-long efforts to lay the foundation for peace throughout the world. Construction is scheduled to be completed in summer 2021.
Queens Buddhist Center
The center is being developed in Long Island City, N.Y., one of the fastest developing cities in the U.S. The three-story center is roughly 23,000 square feet and includes a rehearsal space for youth activities.
El Monte Center
The top-to-bottom renovation of this 14,000-square-foot building, located in El Monte, California, and completed in June, replaces one of the original SGI-USA centers and will serve as the center for two regions in the East Los Angeles area.
New Orleans Center
The renovation of the New Orleans center started early this year and, despite the challenges prevented by the pandemic, is nearly complete. The center, which serves as the SGI-USA South Central Zone Office, doubled in size to 8,000 square feet of usable space, expanding from two to four Gohonzon rooms, with additional space for the members to meet.
The 6,600 square-foot center is situated in the heart of Detroit, a quick hop from Wayne State University and Motown’s birthplace on West Grand Boulevard. Construction is slated for August and will include upgraded Gohonzon rooms and meeting spaces. It will serve as the SGI-USA Mideast Zone office.
The 4,000 square-foot center, located near the University of Arizona, will feature three Gohonzon rooms and serve as the hub of activities for Central Arizona. Construction will begin in August.