“At all times I think to myself: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a buddha?”
—Shakyamuni Buddha, The Lotus Sutra
WESTON, Fla., Feb. 13—It would be difficult to choose what to see first in the “Humanism of the Lotus Sutra” exhibition that just opened at the Florida Nature and Culture Center.
The replica of the “Ashoka Column” from Sarnath in India, the site of the Buddha’s first sermon. Or the T’ang dynasty ceiling painting from the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China, depicting 24 chapters of the Lotus Sutra, and the interactive board that allows you to locate each chapter on the mural.
The collection of coins minted during significant years in Nichiren Daishonin’s life. Or the copy of Gandhi’s daily prayer card, which has Nam-myoho-renge-kyo written three times at the top in Devanagari. Or perhaps it is the exhibit panels themselves, which depict key themes from the Lotus Sutra across its 2,500-year journey, including the enduring words of the three founding Soka Gakkai presidents, who both revived the Buddha’s core teaching of universal enlightenment and enabled its widespread transmission in contemporary times.
The three-part exhibition opened Feb. 13 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by the all-youth participants of the North America and Oceania Study Conference, including members of the Ikeda Wisdom Academy, who gather monthly to study SGI President Ikeda’s seminal series The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra.
In opening remarks, SGI-USA Senior Vice General Director Tariq Hasan said that one of the most inspir- ing aspects of the new exhibition is its depiction of the long and arduous struggle to transmit and spread the teachings of the Lotus Sutra across 2,500 years, including the efforts of SGI President Ikeda, who led the spread of Nichiren Buddhism to 12 million people in 192 countries and territories.
“This exhibition is not just about history; it’s about the transmission of the heart of this teaching and its fundamental message of equality and optimism, which has, at its core, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the Gohonzon,” Mr. Hasan said. “This transmission is still continuing. It is you, the youth, who are writing that history in your cities, in your communities, every single day. You are the exhibit, also.”
The “Humanism of the Lotus Sutra” exhibition is open to participants of all FNCC conferences. To learn more about the FNCC or sign up for a conference, visit www.sgi-usa.org/fncc.
—Monica Soto Ouchi