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Moving Toward 2030 With Joy and Courage

Photo by Jennifer Moore / Pexels.

Message from SGI-USA General Director
Adin Strauss

In Buddhism, we have three treasures that we revere as central to our practice: the Buddha, the Law and the sangha. The third of these, the sangha, corresponds to the Buddhist Order or community of believers—our Soka community.

This year marks my 40th year of practice. Through thick and thin, ups and downs, this Soka community—my Soka family, my sangha (like my Buddhist posse)—has always been there for me.

One particular episode I recorded in my diary that took place in my sixth year of practice was when the Soka Gakkai split from the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood.

At that time, so many members around me felt confused. And between trying to keep myself encouraged and embracing the members I had the privilege of supporting, I felt exhausted and wondered how I could carry forward.

One of the things that sustained me was a series of magnificent poems—small couplets, really—that Ikeda Sensei wrote, praising the “Soka sangha.”

I carefully cut out and saved these couplets (I keep them in my phone at all times). I loved to read them when I felt my spirit flagging.

Never fearful,
never daunted,
joyfully carry on the journey
to spread the Mystic Law
throughout the world.

We are the proud
children of the Buddha,
our actions
perfectly according
with the sacred teachings.

We are living
up to the ultimate principle
with supreme and unequaled faith,
creating eternal, abundant joy.

The group of Buddhists
who have stood up
in solemn response
to the injunction of the Buddha
is called by the name Soka. (November 19, 1990, World Tribune, p. 3)

We’ve endured a few harrowing moments in these last few years: the COVID-19 pandemic and the swirling contradictions and divisions surrounding its spread and treatment; George Floyd’s murder and its aftermath and ensuing political instability that seemed to reach a crescendo.

But throughout, our Soka family has hung in there.

Indeed, now is the time to grow our community by stepping forward with new vigor and energy!

Our May Commemorative Contribution initiative is a vital vehicle for expressing appreciation for our Soka family, which can so easily be taken for granted until threatened.

I grew up on the East Coast—born in New York City and attended college in Philadelphia—where there are no earthquakes.

At 22, I moved to Kobe, Japan, where I encountered Nichiren Buddhism. I also encountered an earthquake for the first time!

I remember lying in bed one workday morning, too tired to get up, my radio alarm clock blaring.

I felt something moving—no, everything was moving. 

I was terrified. I later found out that it had been a “level 4” quake, not such a big deal, but scary enough for me.

Two years later, after I moved back to my small New York apartment on the 17th floor of a 29-story building, I was so appreciative of  solid ground.

And now that I live in Los Angeles—not quite as seismically active as Kobe, but active enough—I have so much more appreciation for solid ground!

Our SGI community is that solid ground. Now is the time to express that appreciation. 

Thank you very much,
Adin Strauss

From the April 2024 Living Buddhism

The Enduring Self

2024 SGI-USA Introductory Exam Review Questions