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One Youth. Infinite Hope. More Than Ever!

Advancing toward May 3, let’s enable 6,000 youth to start chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and elevate the life state of humanity.

by Olivia Saito
SGI-USA Youth Leader

To all our courageous members of the SGI-USA,

First, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for your efforts during this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have been heartened to hear of the many individuals who, while going through difficulties of their own, are asking what they can do for others. In the darkest of times, I am convinced that the SGI shines the brightest.

This year, our “One Youth. Infinite Hope.” campaign to welcome 6,000 young people to the SGI-USA began as a movement to transform our country from the inside out and create a tidal wave of hope throughout the world. This initiative was a call to all SGI-USA members to share this practice with one young person this year, with the confidence that one youth awakening to their Buddhahood can change the world.

Little did we know that this movement would be more crucial than ever.

In a lecture by SGI President Ikeda on Nichiren Daishonin’s letter “King Rinda,” he explains that the poisons in people’s hearts result in the three calamities of famine, pestilence and warfare. Sensei says:

In a kalpa of decrease, when people’s life force wanes, the three calamities of famine, pestilence and warfare occur, and Nichiren notes that there is a close connection between such calamities and the three poisons of greed, anger and foolishness, which pollute people’s lives. He writes, “Famine occurs as a result of greed, pestilence as a result of foolishness and warfare as a result of anger.” (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 2, p. 136)

Sensei explains further about pestilence:

Epidemics, meanwhile, are said to be caused by the poison of foolishness. It’s certainly true that even today, in spite of remarkable advances in scientific knowledge, many illnesses still spread because of our ignorance of their causes. Others spread because, though their causes have been identified, no effective treatment has been found. And in still other cases, the cause may be known and proven ways of preventing and treating the disease may exist, but disasters in the form of epidemics nevertheless occur because the proper steps cannot be taken due to economic or cultural reasons. In some instances, the scope of an epidemic is exacerbated by the folly of people thinking of profit first and failing to work together to swiftly deal with the problem at hand.” (p. 137)

However, President Ikeda shares that Nichiren’s teaching has the ability to transform the root of the three poisons and three calamities, fundamentally offering a solution to the various maladies of our world. He gives three concrete means to do so: 1) chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo powerfully, 2) introduce others to our Buddhist practice and 3) unite with the mentor’s heart.

In the same lecture, Sensei also states:

Even when the very survival of the country and its people is in question, those who confidently chant and propagate the Mystic Law can tap the fundamental life force of the universe in their own lives and stand up as agents of positive change in such a time of peril. …

The more troubled and confused the times, the more powerful the unity of the oneness of mentor and disciple becomes. When mentor and disciples are united in chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, it becomes the most powerful means for overcoming negative karma, dispelling the dark clouds looming over society and achieving the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” (pp. 138–39)

Let’s increase the positive forces of the universe with the vibrant sound of the Mystic Law!

Our efforts to awaken one youth after another have not been deterred by the rapidly growing COVID-19. In fact, we feel that it is all the more crucial to inspire others and share our hope-filled Buddhist practice with countless people in our environment, now, more than ever!

Although we cannot confer the Gohonzon at this time, uniting together as the SGI-USA, let’s enable 6,000 youth to start chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo right now. People are seeking hope and spiritual connection in these times of great isolation. With 6,000 new youth chanting, we will definitely increase the positive forces of the universe with the vibrant sound of the Mystic Law!

Let’s encourage our friends to experience the power of chanting at this crucial time.

I was recently on a call with two young women’s division members and a guest. The guest had been to one in-person meeting previously and, although she has not yet received the Gohonzon, she has been chanting and seeing tremendous benefits during the quarantine order. She was so touched by the SGI leader’s efforts to consistently check in on her and make sure she has been doing OK. I am confident that she will receive the Gohonzon as soon as she is able to.

As another inspiring example, a district men’s leader, who is an acting teacher at a university, started sharing Buddhism with some of his students. His efforts to talk about the practice became so popular that he was asked by the school to host consistent introductory Buddhist sessions to help students deal with their stress and anxiety (see above).

I know that there are many more stories similar to this. Our friends are eager to start chanting and experience the benefits of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in this uncertain time filled with anxiety. Our mentor states:

We who chant based on the shared vow of mentor and disciple and dedicate our lives to kosen-rufu have absolutely nothing to fear. Let’s boldly and vigorously stride forward on the great path of absolute victory, filled with self-confidence and vitality, as we chant vibrantly day after day and year after year. (p. 139)

Based on Sensei’s guidance, let’s give our friends hope and encourage them to experience the power of chanting at this crucial time. In this way, we can celebrate Soka Gakkai Day on May 3—the 60th anniversary of our mentor’s inauguration as the third Soka Gakkai president—with decisive victories that elevate the life state of humanity!

Q: How do I encourage others while trying to remain hopeful during this pandemic?

Important Changes to This Year’s May Contribution Focus