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On the Cover

The Caribbean Islands


“When islands are happy, the world will be happy.”[1]

—SGI President Ikeda

For many travelers, the islands of the Caribbean Sea represent the ultimate vacation destination, with their warm, tropical climate, diverse food, music and art, and customs influenced by African and European cultures. Scenic though they are, the Caribbean Islands have also been an arena where colonial powers have wrestled for dominance at the cost of ordinary people. For that reason, SGI President Ikeda says that islands are a mirror that clearly reflects a nation’s true face.

How many islands have suffered the brutal tragedies of war? This is precisely why President Ikeda has always chosen islands as starting points for fresh endeavors, including his first steps for worldwide kosen-rufu from Hawaii in October 1960 and the establishment of the SGI in January 1975 on Guam.

Today, SGI-USA Caribbean Region members are joyfully advancing kosen-rufu on more than 18 of the islands. In this excerpt, President Ikeda writes about the impact a single individual can have when they stand up and illuminate their community, in his 2003 essay titled “The Treasure Islands of the Bahamas.”

One Individual Can Illuminate the Entire Island

Island life is never easy. Transportation for both people and goods can be far from convenient and efficient. Employment opportunities are limited, and human relations can be complex and restrictive. Our Japanese members living on small islands have overcome these and many other obstacles, tangible and intangible.

They are a courageous lot. A men’s division member pledges to dedicate his life to bringing happiness to every person living on his island home. A youth prays not just for his own good fortune but the welfare of his entire island. A member of the women’s division laughs at trouble, having seen the worst and come through it convinced of the power of Buddhism and the human spirit. All such members are like lighthouses, illuminating the islands on which they live.

It all begins with the individual. And on an island, in particular, a single individual can have the effect of a thousand elsewhere.

I was surprised, on my visit to the Bahamas[in 1996], to find SGI members there. Both of them, a man and a woman, met me in the lobby of the hotel where I had taken a room to rest. Now, seven years later, there is a new Bahamas District. The district leader is a chef at a top restaurant, and the district women’s leader is the Bahamas’ ambassador to the United Nations.

Just as the rising sun illuminates the entire world, a single person rising up to take action can bring a brilliant new day to an entire island, making it a “treasure island” in the truest sense.[2]


  1. September 19, 2003, World Tribune, p. 8. ↩︎
  2. Ibid. ↩︎

Q: I often hesitate to share Buddhism. How can I have more courage?

Advancing Kosen-rufu on the Caribbean Islands