Skip to main content

Around the SGI-USA

‘As Long as We Have Hope, There Is Nothing We Cannot Achieve’

As the world continues to face unprecedented challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the SGI-USA presents a new united action plan for 2021: the HOPE Campaign. The national youth leaders came together to convey its essence.

Hope Campaign description with a graphic

Olivia Saito (SGI-USA Youth Leader): Many of us did not expect the COVID-19 pandemic to continue for this long, not to mention all the challenges it has brought with it. The beauty of our movement is that, though many obstacles appear, the path to kosen-rufu stays the same. We transform our lives and society through our individual efforts to live based on the philosophy and practice of human revolution—a revolution of our life state.

One young woman I spoke with a few weeks ago was furloughed from her job. Rather than give in to her circumstances, she took it as an opportunity to deepen her prayer, study more and share Buddhism with others while looking for work. As a result of these causes, she has been feeling stronger and happier than ever and has confidence in opening a new path forward. Every time a difficulty emerges, we have to deepen our resolve to create a shift in our own hearts and take action for the happiness of ourselves and others. That’s what the HOPE Campaign is about.

Maya Gunaseharan (SGI-USA Young Women’s Leader): Last year, as I was preparing to become a mother, I battled to feel a sense of hope recognizing the state of our country and the world. In my immediate environment, when I faced the challenges of connecting with people who do not respect the dignity of each person’s life, it was tempting to give up. I constantly went back to Ikeda Sensei’s words:

Hope … is a decision. It is the most important decision we can make. Hope changes everything, starting with our lives. … As long as we have hope, there is nothing we cannot achieve. When we possess the treasure of hope, we can draw forth our inner potential and strength. A person of hope can always advance. (Hope is a Decision, p. 5)

Today, as a mother and in my job as a manager for diversity initiatives and community building, I am fighting every day to create hope and courageously build bridges across difference to realize a world worthy of my child’s pride, based on Sensei’s vision.

Hope is not some baseless optimism.

When everything around us seems to be going wrong, it takes courage to have hope. No matter what emotions we’re feeling, for us to decide I’m going to be hopeful is the most revolutionary thing of all.

Ryo Kuroki (SGI-USA Young Men’s Leader): Sensei refers to Napoleon’s famous words that “a leader is a dealer in hope” (see November 2002 Living Buddhism, p. 27). It’s easy to feel powerless when we look to figures in society to be the agents of change for our lives, but with Sensei’s definition, when we give hope to those around us, we become change-makers and true leaders. This is what our SGI activities and the basics of our Buddhist practice enable us to develop.

Olivia: I’m really chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo about how I can share Buddhism with others, which is helping me see my environment through the lens of Who needs to hear about the practice? While ordering takeout a few weeks ago, I introduced the cashier to the SGI, and she shared that she’s been searching for a spiritual practice for five years. People are seeking so much. We can’t just sit around; we have to actively find people who are suffering and share Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with them.

Ryo: This is the first year in the crucial decade toward the Soka Gakkai’s centennial in 2030. Because we face unexpected challenges now, we get to decide that we will not be victims of our circumstances, encourage those around us and launch into this decade courageously.

Olivia: As Sensei reminds us over and over again, when we awaken to our mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, we change from people who seek help to those who help others. Rather than wishing for this challenging time to end, it is my determination to seize this moment to help the youth and every SGI-USA member look deep into the core of their lives and, together, make a profound shift. The decision to win is where our power lies.

We Are Each “the Blacksmith of Our Own Happiness”

Value Creation In A Time of Crisis