They wore masks and smiled with their eyes, greeting one another with elbow bumps and hearty waves. After an 18-month hiatus, the second phase reopening of SGI-USA Buddhist Centers saw hybrid September kosen-rufu gongyo meetings held in person and by Zoom. For members at these eight centers, it was the first time to meet in person since the SGI-USA halted all in-person activities in March 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19. As such, these meetings overflowed with heartfelt gratitude to see friends in faith, old and new.

The SGI-USA in June had announced a phased plan to safely reopen our Buddhist centers (see the July 2, 2021, World Tribune). A limited number of larger SGI-USA Centers opened in August for kosen-rufu gongyo meetings, with more centers to come. All other meetings will continue to be held virtually.