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What’s the SGI-USA’s Focus for March?

Los Angeles. Photo by YVONNE NG.

Based on the “2020 Roadmap to Victory,” in March, we will continue our propagation focus while gathering youth division members and guests for chapter-level March Youth Discussion Meetings, themed “One Youth. Infinite Hope.” (from March 7 to 15).

Addressing the Challenges of American Youth

The following topics are prevalent issues youth face today, accompanied by SGI President Ikeda’s guidance.

Failure and Self-Worth

Nothing is irredeemable in youth. Rather, the worst mistake you can make when young is to give up and not challenge yourselves for fear of failure. The past is the past and the future is the future. Keep moving forward with a steady eye on the future, telling yourselves: “I’ll start from today!” “I’ll start fresh from now, from this moment!” This is the essence of Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddhism of true cause, the spirit to start from the present moment.

This is the heart of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. (Discussions on Youth, new edition, p. 26)

Lacking Confidence

Chanting [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] creates the strongest “life waves” possible, as Nichiren Daishonin states: “There is nowhere throughout the worlds of the ten directions that the sound of our voices chanting daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] do not reach” (Gosho zenshu, p. 808). With this in mind, I hope you’ll also chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in your own great growth and victory. This is chanting with the shared spirit of mentor and disciple, by which our lives will definitely connect. So even if you lack self-confidence now, there’s nothing to worry about. The “sun” of self-
confidence is certain to rise in the hearts of those who make efforts. (The Victorious Teen, p. 109)

Comparing Ourselves to Others

It’s not important how you compare yourself to others but how you compare yourself to whom you were yesterday. If you see that you’ve advanced even one step, then you’ve achieved a victory. … When you hold fast to your beliefs and live true to yourself, your true value as a human being shines through. Buddhism teaches the concept of manifesting one’s true nature. This means to reveal your genuine innate self, your true inherent potential, and bring it to shine, illuminating all around you. It refers to your most refined individuality and uniqueness. (Discussions on Youth, new edition, pp. 6–8)

Substance Abuse

Drinking or taking drugs is actually a trap, and once you are ensnared in that trap, your true independence is stripped from you. You become bound by your emotions and your cravings for more of those substances. Those who become victims of their own natures and cravings are, strictly speaking, no different from beasts.

In 1275, referring to a teaching from thousands of years earlier, Nichiren [Daishonin] offered this timeless advice to a follower: “Become the master of your mind rather than letting your mind master you.” (The Way of Youth, p. 27)

The Power of the Human Spirit

A Buddhist Perspective on Living in a Stress-Filled Society