Central Region Welcomes 31 New Practitioners
By Kate Greco, Toronto
Cosmos DistrictA number of historic precedents were set in Central Region in November, with District General Meetings being held in 70 locations and 31 new practitioners being welcomed into SGI Canada.
We were delighted that in some districts, even first-time guests brought their friends along to the meeting. It was clear that careful planning, abundant chanting and home visits were key elements that resulted in these happy, successful meetings.
Two of the people who joined SGI Canada this month were introduced to the practice through long-distance friendships, using video technology. Both of these individuals learned how to chant the liturgy of SGI and established a daily practice through the support of their far-away friends.
For the first time, a young woman living in Thunder Bay, Ontario – 1400 km northwest of Toronto – received her Gohonzon while attending a district meeting via Skype. Central Region Women’s leader, Kate Greco travelled to Thunder Bay to confer the Gohonzon, while the District General Meeting being held in London, Ontario was being broadcast using video technology. Following the conferral, Melissa shared her determination with the London members. Melissa’s mom was present at the meeting in Thunder Bay, and the members of SGI-USA who introduced Melissa to SGI Buddhism, joined the celebration virtually, from their home in Kentucky!
Kate, Melissa (centre) and Carol
Skyping friends in the US, Ken and Rob,
who introduced Melissa to Nichiren Buddhism.
Throughout the region youth members played key roles in their district meetings, leading the chanting, emceeing meetings, participating in skits, elaborating on the significance of November 18, the founding day of the Soka Gakkai and preparing thoughtful, thought-provoking presentations about important current issues.
The heart of our practice is expressed through the experiences that members share – the victory reports of overcoming challenges by chanting and participating in activities. At one of the meetings, three people shared their experiences. One couple was so moved by what they heard, that they remarked, “Hearing these experiences, we want to practise this Buddhism!”
As we put the finishing touches on 2016, and prepare to enter 2017 the Year of Developing Youth in the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, Central Region’s four divisions are continuing to work together in harmonious unity. Our next goal is to achieve record-breaking attendance at our New Year’s Day meetings. And then, “we, the youth” will embark on a brand new adventure, and create another precedent-setting year in which we will demonstrate to our mentor, President Ikeda that Canadian kosen-rufu is assured, as we share this wonderful practice far and wide.