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Center Openings

Securing the Eternal Flow of Kosen-rufu in Puerto Rico

Members gather for the opening of the new San Juan Buddhist Center, San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 2022. Photo by Sammy Goire Baez.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, Aug. 7—Members and guests entered the new SGI-USA San Juan Buddhist Center in amazement as pioneer members leaped with joy to welcome them home. In their first in-person SGI-USA activity in over two years, Puerto Rico Region hosted a hybrid kosen-rufu gongyo meeting at the new center.

With 60 attendees joining via Zoom and 89 in person, Puerto Rico Region accomplished a unique feat. Puerto Rico Region’s August Kosen-rufu Gongyo matched in-person attendance of years past. “It was an explosion of joy and hope” said Abe Uccello, Florida Zone leader.

At the meeting, a proclamation from Miguel A. Romero Lugo, mayor of San Juan, was read, naming May 3 “Day of Dr. Daisaku Ikeda.” The proclamation honored Ikeda Sensei for his “commitment to world peace, and to the promotion of culture and education.”

Two women, representing different generations of Puerto Rican kosen-rufu champions, shared their personal experiences in faith. One was Brenda Reyes, an SGI-USA member of over 45 years, who told her journey of transforming her family woes and expressed the joy she experiences planting seeds of Buddhahood every day. The other was Alejandra Rentas, a young woman and HOPE Champion who started practicing Buddhism a year ago. In that short amount of time, Ms. Rentas has empowered herself to transform both a challenging relationship and financial hardship. 

For one new member who received the Gohonzon, the meeting served as a new beginning. She brought her husband and two sons to share in the joy, has attended other meetings with her, exploring his own interest in practicing Buddhism.

The many guests in attendance didn’t hold back their excitement to try chanting. “People are seeking” said Mónica Lladó, Puerto Rico Region women’s leader. “There is so much suffering on this island, people are eager to learn about a philosophy that can uplift them.” 

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, numerous earthquakes, the COVID-19 pandemic and continued economic disparity, the people of Puerto Rico face no shortage of hardships. From where do the members on this island derive their joy and inspiration? 

“Unity based on the oneness of mentor and disciple” said Mr. Uccello. “Their purehearted spirit to respond to Sensei is clear, and they are so sincerely focused on propagation.”

Ms. Lladó explained: “Sensei has taught us the path to embrace everybody, because everyone is a Buddha. The way to transform the land is to connect people to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and awaken them to their unlimited potential.”

In his closing words, Kwan Choi, East Territory leader, congratulated the members for the opening of their new “castle of kosen-rufu” and emphasized that the best way to respond with appreciation is to continue advancing in propagation and raising youth. 

“This is the most beautiful center we’ve ever had” said Mrs. Lladó. “With this new castle, we will secure the eternal flow of kosen-rufu in Puerto Rico.”

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

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