2020 Year In Review
A look back at the Year of Advancement and Capable People!
Advancing Wisely, Harmoniously and Joyfully!
In his New Year’s message, Ikeda Sensei calls on SGI members to focus on three key points based on strong prayer and unity:
1. “Advance together wisely, harmoniously and joyfully, accumulating ‘treasures of the heart!’”
2. “Advance, calling forth new capable Bodhisattvas of the Earth and encouraging and fostering them!”
3. “Advance, leading the way to harmony, peace and prosperity for our families, communities, homelands and the countries where we live!”
The first installments of chapter 4, “Bells of Dawn,” volume 30 of Sensei’s epic novel The New Human Revolution are released on worldtribune.org.
‘Toward Our Shared Future’
In his 38th annual peace proposal, “Toward Our Shared Future: Constructing an Era of Human Solidarity,” released on Jan. 26, SGI Day, Sensei calls for global solidarity on climate action and nuclear weapons abolition.
‘One Youth. Infinite Hope.’
Under the banner “One Youth. Infinite Hope.” the SGI-USA introduces its new, hope-filled focus for the year to introduce Buddhism to many young people and help them begin chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
‘Castle of Capable People of Soka’
Two calligraphic works by Sensei are unveiled on New Year’s and Jan. 11, respectively: Kosen jinzai, “Capable People for Kosen-rufu,” and Soka jinzai no shiro, “Castle of Capable People of Soka.” Of these works, Sensei writes, “We have actively gone out into the midst of the suffering people and helped one person after another reveal their brilliant inner potential and stand tall as a supremely noble treasure tower of the Mystic Law.”
‘Prayer Infused With a Vow’
SGI Honorary Women’s Leader Kaneko Ikeda commemorates Women’s Month with a powerful message. “Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo infused with a vow brings forth the courage to ride out the roughest waves of adversity,” she writes in part. “It produces the wisdom to change poison into medicine and move everything in a positive direction, vibrantly creating value.”
An ‘America of Capable People’
The SGI-USA Women’s Leaders Conference (Jan. 24–27) marks the first women’s leaders conference with representation from every region in the SGI-USA. SGI Women’s Leader Yumiko Kasanuki traveled from Japan to join the participants at the SGI-USA Florida Nature and Culture Center in Weston, Florida.
Celebrating Women’s Month
The women and young women of the SGI-USA celebrate Women’s Month in February with commemorative meetings across the nation.
Our United Action Plan: the ABC Campaign
In response to the shelter-in-place order that aims to flatten the COVID-19 curve, the SGI-USA members quickly rally around the ABC Campaign:
A: Abundant daimoku [chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]
Win in the morning with powerful gongyo and abundant daimoku!
B: Buddhist study
Study The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin and The New Human Revolution.
C: Connect study life to life
Let’s use our voices to encourage members and guests using the phone or videoconference!
Gratitude for Health Care Workers
In Sensei’s essay “Winter Always Turns to Spring,” he expresses his deep gratitude for the health care workers around the world who are tirelessly working to stop the spread of COVID-19. “I am also chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo wholeheartedly with a fervent prayer for the quickest possible end to this threat and a return to normality and safety,” he writes.
How Buddhists Create Hope
The SGI-USA’s new Instagram series “How Buddhists Create Hope During COVID-19” (@sgiusa) spotlights how members across the country are uplifting themselves and others and creating hope in their communities.
SGI-USA Donates 10,000 Masks
With a nationwide shortage of essential medical supplies in the fight against COVID-19, the SGI-USA donates 10,000 masks to U.S. hospitals in dire need.
‘The Buddhist Take on COVID-19’
The SGI-USA’s podcast series, “Buddhist Solutions for Life’s Problems,” releases the episode “The Buddhist Take on COVID-19” in response to listener requests for a faith perspective on the global pandemic. The series is available on all major podcast platforms, and at sgi-usa.org and buddhistsolutions.org.
‘The New Human Revolution’ Audiobooks
The SGI-USA introduces the first audiobook of The New Human Revolution series (with the debut of volume 1). New volumes will be released monthly on audible.com and other major audiobook sites.
Happy May 3, Soka Gakkai Day!
A tribute to Sensei’s leadership over the past 60 years and his efforts for the peace and happiness of all humanity. Sensei was inaugurated the third Soka Gakkai president on May 3, 1960. Today, SGI members celebrate May 3 as Soka Gakkai Day.
The Fighting Spirit of SGI Members
Sensei opens his May 3 message emphasizing that he is chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for all those who have lost their lives to the coronavirus while offering his deepest condolences to their families and loved ones. He also expresses his gratitude to the medical professionals and health care workers fighting on the front lines of the pandemic.
Sensei continues: “Though we may not be able to meet or gather together under the current emergency restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, our hearts as members of the Soka family are linked firmly together by the Seikyo Shimbun and its sister publications around the world.”
New Intro Video
The SGI-USA’s new, insightful “Introduction to SGI Nichiren Buddhism” video shares a living history of Buddhism—from Shakyamuni to Nichiren Daishonin, and to our current movement in the SGI under Sensei’s leadership. Spotlighting the lives of ordinary people and featuring engaging animations, the video conveys the power of our Buddhist practice and how chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo aids us in transforming ourselves and our communities. Enjoy this video on Instagram (@sgiusa) or with closed-captioning on YouTube (@SGI-USA).
SGI-USA Launches New Online Bookstore
The newly designed SGI-USA online bookstore, bookstore.sgi-usa.org, makes its debut, offering expanded resources for members and those interested in learning more about Nichiren Buddhism. The user-friendly site features such categories as “New Arrivals,” “Bestsellers,” “E-books,” “Children’s Focus” and “Study Basics.”
Suns of Hope
On June 28, 1,181 members and guests from around the country celebrate Future Division Month by joining the SGI-USA junior high and high school videoconference themed “Suns of Hope: Illuminating the Future Toward 2030.”
“The Buddhism we uphold is the Buddhism of the Sun, which illuminates the lives of people throughout the entire world with the vast light of hope and happiness,” Sensei writes in his message commemorating Future Division Month. “It enables the dignity of each person to shine with utmost brilliance.”
Soka University Names New President
The Soka University of America Board of Trustees appoints Edward M. Feasel (left) as the university’s second president. He succeeds Daniel Y. Habuki, who completed his 27th year as the institution’s inaugural president before retiring this summer.
‘The Buddhist Perspective on Racism’
In this episode of the SGI-USA’s podcast series, we hear from Lawrence E. Carter Sr., dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, as well as a number of Black Buddhists and other members in the SGI-USA community, on the critical topic of racism. The series is available on all major podcast platforms and at buddhistsolutions.org.
Stand Tall With Majestic Dignity
In his essay “Stand Tall With the Majestic Dignity of Mount Fuji,” Sensei recalls the day of May 5, 1979, the first Soka Gakkai Successors Day since he had become the organization’s honorary president. Sensei stepped down as third Soka Gakkai president to shield the members from the perverse machinations of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood, which had colluded with corrupt former Soka Gakkai leaders to wrest control of the lay organization.
That May 5, Sensei visited the Kanagawa Culture Center, where he looked out into the ocean as he painted Mount Fuji at dawn on a folding screen. In the essay, he writes, “In the foreground, I painted cherry trees in full bloom and pine trees with outstretched branches, with the prayer that each of our future division members would grow splendidly like this.”
A New Look and Feel
The World Tribune introduces an updated look and feel with a new logo, updated fonts and more entry points into each page. The aim: to make the newspaper more accessible, readable and compelling for members and guests amid their busy lives.
Changes aside, the newspaper’s mission will always remain the same: to be a personal letter from Sensei to the members that imparts unending courage and hope.
Re-Imagining the Future of America
During this critical juncture in turning the tide of our country’s history of deeply rooted racism, the SGI-USA People of African Descent group hosts a dynamic webinar on Aug. 8, drawing nearly 5,000 members and guests who join “The Conversation We Need to Transform Our Country.”
The Marie and Pierre Curie Hall
Soka University of America’s state-of-the-art Marie and Pierre Curie Hall opens in the fall. The facility will support the new life sciences concentration for undergraduate students interested in biology, biomedical research, bio-technology, public health and medicine (pre-med). This kicks off a series of long-awaited developments toward the university’s 20th-anniversary celebrations next year.
Nurturing America’s Future Leaders
A palpable sense of joy and excitement emanates from homes throughout the country on Aug. 9 as 3,000 elementary school division (ESD) members, families and supporters join the virtual SGI-USA ESD meeting themed “One Youth. Infinite Hope. Now More Than Ever!”
Changing the Destiny of Humankind
Sensei expresses his hopes for the SGI members toward the next 10 years, in his message to the 46th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, on Aug. 26. “The decade from the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary to its centennial in 2030 will be crucial,” he writes. “We must be even more determined to show victorious proof of our own human revolution, to transform all great evil into great good and to effect a powerful change in the destiny of all humankind.”
No Man Left Behind
Men’s division members join lively virtual gatherings through-out the nation in August to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of Sensei joining the Soka Gakkai on Aug. 24, 1947. In his commemorative message, Sensei calls on them to “win decisively in every situation as you write an unparalleled personal history of happiness and victory.”
Sixty Years of Global Kosen-rufu
The 41-page commemorative issue pays tribute to the 60th anniversary of global kosen-rufu with Sensei’s first overseas trip to the U.S. on Oct. 2, 1960. The issue highlights our history of advancing kosen-rufu in America with Sensei from 1960 to the present. This includes his key guidance and coverage of his activities, accompanied by historic photos, and recollections by SGI-USA pioneers.
Setting Out Anew
In virtual celebrations across the nation on Oct. 4, SGI-USA members join commemorative general meetings to mark the 60th anniversary of kosen-rufu in the U.S. while making a fresh departure at the start of this crucial decade leading up to 2030.
Sensei sends a powerful message to the members of America in which he says: “Today, as you face unprecedented hardships, you continue each day to win over your problems, encouraging one another, determined to ‘leave no one behind.’ With the youth in the lead, everyone is advancing with youthful hearts to pioneer a new era of worldwide kosen-rufu.”
World Youth General Meeting
SGI youth from across the globe join the broadcast of the World Youth General Meeting on Sept. 27 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the start of Sensei’s journey for worldwide kosen-rufu. In his congratulatory message, Sensei says: “‘Faith for absolute victory’— the conviction that we will win in the end without fail—this is the spirit I have upheld throughout with the heart of a lion king, together with members who made my vow their own. I now entrust that spirit of ‘faith for absolute victory’ to you.”
Top Rankings for SUA
U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2021” ranks Soka University of America in a tie for 28th among national liberal arts colleges and fourth among liberal arts colleges in California. SUA also came in at No. 1 for study abroad and No. 4 for faculty resources.
Buddhability, the SGI-USA’s new digital ecosystem, introduces Buddhist principles to a new generation of youth in America. The innovative online platform features a website, podcast, newsletter, videos and more spread across multiple social media channels.
Happy 90th Anniversary!
Honoring the 90th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding on Nov. 18, 1930.
‘Happiness Becomes You’
In a World Tribune interview, legendary singer, songwriter and actress Tina Turner introduces her new book, Happiness Becomes You, in which she discusses her journey of finding inner strength and joy through her practice of Nichiren Buddhism with the SGI.
Year of Hope and Victory
The theme for 2021, the Year of Hope and Victory, is announced on Nov. 1 at the 47th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting commemorating the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary on Nov. 18. At the meeting, Sensei introduces a calligraphic work he had inscribed on Nov. 18, 1985, “Vast Heart,” which refers to an expansive, all-encompassing spirit or state of life.
Winning as First Responders
As the world faces the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the SGI-USA hosts a nationwide First Responders Encouragement Webinar, on Sept. 12, to bring together members serving on the front lines as doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement.
DEC. 11 WORLD TRIBUNE
‘In Pursuit of Peace’
On the heels of Veterans Day, members and guests across the nation join the SGI-USA Military Personnel Group Webinar themed “In Pursuit of Peace Through the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple.”
The Nov. 15 meeting commences with exciting news: In honor of Ikeda Sensei’s “lifelong pursuit of peace and 60 years of American Kosen-rufu,” the American flag was raised at two historic landmarks in Honolulu— 1) the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and 2) the USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial. The ceremony took place on Sept. 2, the 75th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War.
Our Founding Spirit
Sensei writes an essay commemorating Nov. 18, the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary.
“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage throughout Japan and the world, and uncertainty shrouds the future, the members of our Soka family are chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo tirelessly and encouraging others unstintingly,” he says. “They are imparting the light of hope and courage to one person after another—to friends, fellow members and others around them. They are rising to the challenge and carrying out their great mission, wisely putting the principles of Buddhism into practice in society and daily life.”