Seattle, Oct. 3, 2021—Sixty-one years ago, Ikeda Sensei visited Seattle, taking in the Douglas firs dotting the highway and boat traffic winding its way through the Ballard Locks. This past October, the same month as his visit, members from Greater Seattle and East King County regions refreshed their vow to spread peace in their community at the grand opening of the new SGI-USA Seattle Buddhist Center.
A combined 202 members attended the morning and afternoon meetings in person, while over 230 members joined virtually by Zoom.
The new center, located just a few miles from downtown, is surrounded by iconic Seattle landmarks, including the Starbucks headquarters and two major sports stadiums, Lumen Field and T-Mobile Park. The area, a hub for young people, is now centrally located for the members of the Pacific Northwest Zone’s two local regions.
Pioneer member Mitsue Nakayama, who attended the center opening in person, was among the handful of members who welcomed Sensei at the Seattle airport on Oct. 6, 1960. What began as 20 members has burgeoned into a community of some 2,000 practicing in 31 districts in the greater Seattle area. To recognize the enduring efforts of those who built the foundation of the organization there, several pioneer members received the Distinguished Pioneer of American Kosen-rufu Award.
In a powerful message to the opening, Ikeda Sensei called Seattle a “global city of the Northwest, home to brilliant advances in technology and education.” He asked the members of Seattle to lead majestic lives in accord with their vow and awaken to their noble mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth while making this new center their base.
In closing remarks, SGI-USA General Director Adin Strauss asked the members to engage in dialogue to develop mutual trust and understanding with the members of their community, citing these words from Sensei:
What we refer to as worldwide kosen-rufu, therefore, is crystallized within the unrelenting efforts of individuals challenging themselves to open the hearts of others, illuminating them with the wisdom of Buddhism.
The Pacific Northwest Zone women’s leader, Angel Choi, recalled that two months prior to the opening, only a few youth had been identified to support the meeting. However, on the day of, 28 youth took part as members of the behind-the-scenes youth training groups, Byakuren, Soka Group and Gajokai.
Based on Mr. Strauss’ guidance to start a new chapter of kosen-rufu in Seattle toward 2030, the Pacific Northwest Zone leaders are determined to raise many new capable youth to fill these castle walls and bring peace and hope to their community.
—Prepared by the World Tribune staff
- Ikeda Sensei traveled to the U.S. on his inaugural overseas journey in October 1960. On Oct. 6, 1960, Sensei came to Seattle, establishing its first district, offering heartfelt guidance and sharing his hope-filled vision for the city.
- Sept. 10, 2021, World Tribune, p. 9.