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On the Cover

SGI-USA Phoenix Buddhist Center

Photo by George Nakamura

When the time came to open a new center in Phoenix, the search for a location led to a property in a residential neighborhood on East Myrtle Avenue. People in the community pass through the eastern edge of the property to hike, bike or ride horses in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. However, when vacating it in 1999, the prior owner of the land erected a fence that blocked off this path.[1]

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the SGI-USA Phoenix Buddhist Center, held on April 21, 2001, SGI-USA dedicated the eastern edge of the land to the city so that community members would always be able to access the trail. Right after the ceremony, you could see neighbors already taking their horses on the trail.[2]

The center’s grand opening took place on August 24, 2002. The new center, designed with its environment in mind, uses natural colors and landscaping that match the surrounding hillside. The building blends in with the neigh-boring architecture and is even lower in profile than some nearby homes. It is intentionally located at the back of the property to minimize its impact on residents.[3]

Participants from across Arizona and as far away as New Mexico and western Texas traveled to the opening. The places that these members and guests hailed from can be said to represent both the diversity and challenges of American history. Within SGI-USA’s Southwest Zone, in fact, lies the site of the Trinity test in New Mexico, the first ever detonation of a nuclear weapon.

Like the city of Phoenix’s mythical namesake, SGI-USA members of the American Southwest are determined to rise from the hardships of the present and lead all people toward a hope-filled future. They embody the spirit expressed in a poem given to Ikeda Sensei by his mentor, Josei Toda:

Live eternally, like the phoenix
Soaring across the vault of the sky.[4]

From the July 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. May 18, 2001, World Tribune, p. 10. ↩︎
  2. April 25, 2001, The Arizona Republic, pp. 5 and 15. ↩︎
  3. See the September 27, 2002, World Tribune, p. 12. ↩︎
  4. Ibid. ↩︎

Spreading the Hope-Inspiring Breezes of Eternity, Happiness, True Self and Purity

Bringing Forth Protection From Without