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On the Cover

SGI-USA Los Angeles Friendship Center

Photo by Gerry Hall.

In the spring of 1992, the world’s eyes were on Los Angeles, as the verdict in the Rodney King trial sparked massive social unrest and a national debate about police brutality, racial discrimination and economic inequality. In its aftermath, Ikeda Sensei delivered his poem “The Sun of Jiyu Over a New Land” on January 27, 1993, in Santa Monica, California. In it, he expressed his wish for each person to awaken to their true identity as jiyu, Bodhisattvas of the Earth who strive to help others bring forth their limitless potential.[1]

Five years later, the Los Angeles Friendship Center became the first SGI-USA center to have been built from the ground up in the city. With its September 21, 1998, opening, members living in the city had a center to call their own.[2]

A mosaic adorning the outer wall of the Friendship Center embodies the spirit of “The Sun of Jiyu.” It depicts five Bodhisattvas—representing the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo—emerging and leaping with joy. More than 130 volunteers helped create the mosaic, placing some 65,000 ceramic tiles and donated jewels and stones that had come from around the world including China, Italy, Mexico and Scotland. The mosaic embodies the shared determination of the Los Angeles members to unite people of all backgrounds in the cause of happiness and peace.[3]

The Friendship Center comprises two buildings—one that houses the main hall with seating for about 350, and a triangular building that holds the West Territory office and multipurpose rooms, centered on a two-story sky-lit atrium. An outdoor basketball court provides space to engage in sports and other activities, highlighting the center’s focus on fostering youth.[4]

In his message to the opening of the Friendship Center, Ikeda Sensei quoted the civil rights activist Rosa Parks:

[Parks wrote]: “As human beings who desire peace, we can overcome any racial or religious differences through friendship and spiritual exchange and create great value together.” …

Sensei continued:

For the sake of the young people whom we treasure, we must make the 21st century an era filled with friendship.[5]

From the November 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. January 2023 Living Buddhism, pp. 13–14. ↩︎
  2. May 9, 1997, World Tribune, p. 1 ↩︎
  3. October 29, 1999, World Tribune, p. 8. ↩︎
  4. May 9, 1997, World Tribune, pp. 1 and 4. ↩︎
  5. October 16, 1998, World Tribune, p. 3. ↩︎

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