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Frontline News

How the SGI-USA Is Advancing Amid the Pandemic

Photos by Yvonne Ng and Natsuki Hirano

by Adin Strauss, Naoko Leslie, Kevin Moncrief, Olivia Saito, Ryo Kuroki, Maya Gunaseharan
SGI-USA Leaders

To our precious SGI-USA members:

First of all, allow us to extend one more time a very heartfelt Thank you! for your incredible support during our May Commemorative Contribution period amid these most extraordinary and trying times.

It’s been more than five months since March 9, when the SGI-USA called a temporary halt to all activities and home visits.

We undertook this action with reluctance and after much discussion.

On one level, it seems like a contradiction: Why urge our members to effectively stop all face-to-face contact in a Buddhist community that values such contact so highly?

Ikeda Sensei clarified the goal of our practice in the Five Eternal Guidelines of the Soka Gakkai: 

1. Faith for a harmonious family
2. Faith for achieving happiness
3. Faith for overcoming obstacles
4. Faith for health and long life
5. Faith for absolute victory

Underlying all these is the core principle that the happiness, health and well-being of our members are an end, not a means. You are the highest priority. Activities of any sort that could possibly impede or damage that happiness or health must be stopped, regardless of good intentions.

With the passage of time, it’s become all too clear that the COVID-19 crisis isn’t going away any time soon; alarmingly, it’s worse than ever as of now in many states where the SGI-USA has substantial membership. Medical research indicates that indoor gatherings of large numbers of people who are singing or chanting together could potentially create a “super-spreader” environment. Unfortunately, evidence of this is based on the rapid spread of the virus at indoor church gatherings. In addition, we never want to risk even in the slightest the health of our Many Treasures Group members.

Going forward, we will continue to closely track the situation in each locale, based on solid facts, and stay abreast of the latest scientific developments and their impact on the timing and scale of any decision to restart activities.

One thing is for sure—we’re 1,000% united in our prayer to be able to restart activities at the earliest possible date—safely, securely and joyfully. Until then, let’s continue supporting one another with our A-B-C Campaign,[1] reaching out to our families, friends and SGI comrades—whether it be offering encouragement, sharing our worries and cares, or listening to theirs.

Action to Serve Our Members

Although our Buddhist centers are closed for activities until further notice, the SGI-USA continues to move ahead on many fronts to better serve each of you, our precious members, eagerly anticipating the day when we can reopen and be physically together again. Please enjoy this brief visual report on our advancements during this time.

Thank you for your incredible, untiring support. Please be well, and stay in the highest of spirits!


  1. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SGI-USA initiated the A-B-C Campaign: A: Abundant chanting; B: Buddhist study; C: Connect life-to-life with members, guests and family (by phone or videoconferencing). ↩︎

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