In consideration of the health and well-being of SGI-USA members amid the continued spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), all organizational meetings and home visitations are suspended until further notice. Furthermore, all conferences from March 13 to June 1 at the SGI-USA Florida Nature and Culture Center are cancelled.
Members are encouraged to use this time to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo abundantly, conduct Buddhist study and use phone or video/audio conferencing tools to encourage one another remotely and to engage in Buddhist dialogue (learn about the A-B-C Campaign below). Through such efforts, we can lay the groundwork for vigorous and healthy expansion when activities start up again.
As SGI members, let us unite at this crucial moment based on prayer and action to transform the destiny of all people. Let us pray to end this pandemic not just in the U.S. but the world over, as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Please be safe and well.
“There Are No Deadlocks With the Mystic Law”
by Adin Strauss and Naoko Leslie
SGI-USA General Director and Women’s Leaders
As we, SGI-USA members, take precautions in light of the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), let’s seek together from SGI President Ikeda’s encouragement.
In the March 3 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, President Ikeda writes that countries around the world are making all-out efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
He continues: “Let us chant the lion’s roar of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo even more powerfully, praying together with one heart for an early end to the outbreak and a return to normality”
During the 2002–03 coronavirus outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), SGI members in Hong Kong and Taiwan stayed indoors, as large gatherings were not held for a significant period. Because of these circumstances, local members initiated a daily campaign in which they focused on chanting, studying Buddhism and encouraging members by phone.
Speaking of their efforts, President Ikeda, in his message “Advance With Vigor Along the Path of Your Mission” (published in the June 17, 2003, Seikyo Shimbun), said that because most citizens were staying home at night, local SGI leaders could much more easily contact friends, members and guests, who may have been previously difficult to connect with by phone. Therefore, the situation became a great opportunity for members to engage in wonderful dialogues, strengthening their bonds with one another and deepening their friendships.
Sensei also said that because families were often at home together, parents were able to make time for family activities, such as teaching gongyo to their children. Many family members who were not practicing at the time also began reading SGI publications, naturally deepening their understanding of our faith as a result.
In this same message, Sensei writes: “In his writings, the Daishonin clearly indicates: ‘Myo means to revive, that is to return to life’ (“The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 149). There are no deadlocks with the Mystic Law.”
With this in mind, let’s use the current situation as our opportunity to continue advancing kosen-rufu while powerfully contributing to our societies.
Specifically, we would like to invite all SGI-USA members to join us in our united action plan, the A-B-C Campaign, under the banner of our clarion call “One Youth. Infinite Hope.” More Than Ever!
A: Abundant daimoku—“Win in the morning with powerful gongyo and abundant daimoku!”
B: Buddhist study—“Study The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin and The New Human Revolution.”
C: Connect life to life—“Let’s use our voices to encourage members and guests using the phone or video conferencing!”
Let’s make this moment, when there is so much confusion and worry in the world, an opportunity for us to shine as individuals and as an SGI community. Several members have recently shared that relatives who were previously resistant to practicing Buddhism have started chanting. This change was the result of them looking carefully at the lives of the SGI members around them, and seeing their strength and unwavering resolve at this turbulent time.
They are witnessing how powerful chanting daimoku and having the anchors of Nichiren’s writings and Sensei’s guidance are. So, in the end, let’s make this moment a great opportunity to share Buddhism with everyone around us in the most natural way, through our behavior as human beings.