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SGI-USA San Fernando Valley Buddhist Center

Photo by Yvonne Ng

Ikeda Sensei once gave this guidance at the opening of a new SGI center:

Soka Gakkai culture centers are not idle palaces of luxury; they are bastions of kosen-rufu. Bastions are a base from which a struggle is carried out. So the most fitting way to mark the completion of a new bastion is with victory in a struggle.[1]

In the spirit of these words, the grand opening of the SGI-USA San Fernando Valley Buddhist Center was marked by more than 30 new members receiving the Gohonzon and proclamations issued by the City of Los Angeles to the SGI and Sensei. Outside the center, an oroblanco (citrus) tree was dedicated to Sensei, and the city recognized him as a “Hero of Humanity” on the accompanying plaque.[2] The center is the headquarters for LA North Coast Lion’s Roar Zone, which stretches some 200 miles, from the San Fernando Valley in northern Los Angeles County to San Luis Obispo.

While these ceremonies took place on April 12, 2015, the history of kosen-rufu in what is today known as the NoHo Arts District can be traced back nearly 50 years, when the North Hollywood Community Center opened in 1975.[3] That center stood on what is now the present-day center’s parking lot, and it served members in the area for many years.

Eventually, that center closed and in the intervening years, land owners planned to turn the site of the original center into a larger development, benefitting from its location as a transit hub. When those plans were shuttered, however, it paved the way for the SGI-USA to return and build a new citadel of kosen-rufu.

The construction process for the new center remodeled an existing structure for Buddhist activities. The SGI-USA San Fernando Valley Buddhist Center, or “NoHo Center,” as it is often called by local members, was designed to blend in with the neighborhood architecture. On the inside, glass doors and an inviting lobby welcomes members and guests.

In his message to the center’s opening, Sensei encouraged the members to “please make good use of this center as a forum of friendship and goodwill for our friends and neighbors in the community.” True to these words, in addition to its Buddhist activities, the center has hosted a number of events for community members, including graduations for the elementary school across the street.

From the August 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, p. 315. ↩︎
  2. May 3, 2015, World Tribune, p. 7. ↩︎
  3. July 7, 1975, World Tribune, pp. 3 and 12. ↩︎

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