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Caledon Women’s Conference – a Brilliant Success

By Kate Greco, Toronto

Women's Group Caledon Conference participants

Sixty- two women attended the Women’s Group Conference at the SGI Canada Caledon Centre for Culture and Education from April 19-22. Of these, 20 women were attending their first Caledon Conference. Two of these women joined SGI Canada while at the conference.  

The conference theme, “Making 2018 a Year of Everlasting Brilliant Achievement” was taken from President Ikeda’s Editorial in the February 2018 New Century, in which he says, “The cause for brilliant achievement is created in the midst of our hardest-fought efforts. Indeed, those earnest struggles themselves will become wonderful stories of brilliant achievement that live on forever. We have daimoku, the ultimate victory cry of life—our chanting itself a vow to triumph over all.” 

As women, we relish the opportunity to talk with one another, so each session included small group discussions where participants could get to know one another while discussing the key points.  

Mrs. Ikeda’s 2018 Message to the Women’s and Young Women’s Division was the focus of one of the sessions. In it, she cited three guidelines that President Ikeda had taken from the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin titled “The Bow and Arrow.” These three guidelines were re-iterated throughout the conference:   Be deeply convinced – Take care of yourself – Do not burden your mind with grief. 

Throughout the weekend, many women shared profound experiences of emerging victorious from very serious life challenges, regardless of whether they were new to the practice or had chanted for many years. 

Women (and in one case, a nine year old girl,) made hand-made gifts to share with all the participants - calendars, bookmarks, pom-poms of happiness, altar cards, beautiful painted coasters, earrings, and even a CD of original songs! 

Without exception, everyone left the conference with a deeper understanding of the mentor-disciple relationship and a renewed determination to share this practice with others in order to expand kosen-rufu throughout our vast country. 

One member summed it up this way: “Coming here, I realize that our lives have a great mission, a great purpose for kosen-rufu. We can become happy without fail and make others happy too. I am able to understand how we can support, encourage and motivate each other and tirelessly work for kosen-rufu together with our mentor and bring peace and happiness to the world and to humanity.” 

Impressions 

I have been practising for 35 years and have received great benefits in my life. I have come to the realization that there is no better religion or philosophy committed for the true happiness of human life and his/her dignity. Thank you President Ikeda for your precious guidance and for all your efforts in helping us live a life with respect and dignity. I am committed to working for the sake of the happiness for people, my precious family and friends. My vow to achieve kosen-rufu is deeply sincere and honest for the rest of my life. Norma K., Ottawa

This was my first conference. I had heard about it from others a lot—that it will change my life. They were all absolutely right. I have strengthened my faith a million-fold. It was my life’s most valuable, enriching and rewarding experience. I have learned so much and have connected with other regions’ practitioners, as if I'd always known them. I’m taking with me true and great friendships. Valuable guidance and incredible stories of victory have helped me to refresh my vow. My best part was to send a memo to President Ikeda, in which I promised to overcome all obstacles. Richa B., Surrey, B.C. 

This is the second time for me to attend the Caledon Conference. Coming here I realized that our lives have a great mission, a great purpose for kosen-rufu. We can become happy without fail and make others happy too, and also I am able to understand the importance of friendship and friends. Ekta N., Regina, SK 

This conference was the first one for me. I came to the conference as a believer in the power of the Gohonzon and am leaving with the impression that the Gohonzon has taught me to respect humanity. It is not only a personal journey but a journey of humanity. It has taught me to respect humankind as never before. All the people have left an everlasting impression on my mind and shown that love can conquer more hearts and supporting each other at hard times is the essence of humanity. Sandhya K., Mississauga, Ontario 

Every experience was a treasure to me. I will never be more grateful for this opportunity which I hope will mark a new beginning in my life. Thank you so much.  I love you all.

Beatriz F., Toronto 

This was my first Caledon Conference and I am overwhelmed by the warmth, friendship and care everyone extended. Most importantly was the materials covered in the conference and the encouragement the leaders gave. Everything starts with daimoku! Those vibrant sessions lifted my life condition up so I can start the day with a positive note. I especially liked the small group discussions. I have deepened my faith and understand better the mentor-disciple spirit and feel a strong connection to President Ikeda. Let’s be victorious! Emily L., Calgary 

This is a beautiful place. I heard lots of great experiences. We made lots of friends and connections. It gives me a lot of confidence that I will be able to deal with challenges ahead.

Zenia W., Toronto

With this conference I feel that I’ve renewed the spirit of Caledon in my heart. The spirit of Caledon is the heart of President Ikeda and Mrs. Ikeda—the caring, love and support we feel when we connect with our friends. Nothing will ever replace the love and feeling we get there—and it will never be lost or forgotten. Caledon is not a building. Caledon is a spirit!

Barb F., Toronto 

I love this beautiful nature and space. I really treasure President Ikeda and Mrs. Ikeda’s message to the Women’s Group and I will take these encouragements and wisdom in my heart always. I really enjoyed the preciousness of this experience and all the beautiful spirited women that I connected with here. Michelle M., Toronto 

This is a beautiful place! Caledon Conference Centre. We always find the spirit of friendliness and compassion. This conference has made me renew my determination to work to spread this Buddhism to others and keep on helping the ones I have introduced already. Nora R., Vancouver 

I really appreciate all the attention and caring toward me and the others. This is a conference that forms new activists for kosen-rufu. I will keep fighting and working toward propagating this Buddhism. It has been the best way to see ourselves through the eyes of others and challenging our deepest darkness. I will treasure forever this experience and I appreciate all the caring for the rest of my life. Agueda M., Vancouver 

Caledon will always be a beautiful place. At the same time, Caledon is for me, all about the people—our evolving Soka Gakkai Buddha. I want to see the light of this Caledon spirit grow in my ever expanding community and I determine to do so. Virginia A., Ottawa 

It was wonderful. Although I have been practising for 33 years it was my first time in Caledon. It has been a life-changing experience. The study material, the sharing of experiences, the encouragement received and the guidance. Meeting practitioners from all over Canada has been priceless. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to come. I believe this is what I really needed at this moment of my practice. I have renewed my commitment toward kosen-rufu by breaking through my obstacles and sharing with others. Mila M., Ottawa