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Fostering Hope for the Future

By Dwight Rudisuela, Ottawa

Educators Caledon conference participants

From August 3-6, 36 SGI Canada members from Prairie, Central, Eastern and Quebec regions met for the 7th annual Educator’s Conference at the Caledon Centre for Culture and Education. 

The eagerness to learn how to apply the practice of Buddhism to their lives not only as educators but as members of families and society was evident in their daily powerful voices of chanting. 

This year's theme Fostering Hope for the Future was emphasized by the presence of several youth fully participating and adding their energy to the conference. 

Each day we read President Ikeda's heartfelt message in which he encouraged the participants to chant with the roar of a lion to confront head-on the fierce winds that are blowing in this time of turbulent change. Keeping his encouragement in mind the participants engaged in many activities that included sessions on How Buddhism Helped Foster Hope in Your Daily Life, an Introduction to "The Dawn of a Century of Humanistic Education" and "The Voice does the Buddha's work", Why from a brain science perspective compassion requires courage, a Q&A session with General Director Tony Meers, the study of "Reply to a Believer" and a culture show. 

The exhibition Seeds of Hope: Visions of sustainability, steps toward change was set up in the foyer for all to view and discuss its important message on sustainability and how we might promote it in society. 

The experiences at the culture show were uplifting and many mini-experiences called cameos were scattered throughout the conference were also very moving. 

On the last day, when participants gave their comments on the conference and determinations to move forward, everyone felt renewed in their quest for a peaceful society. 


Impressions 

The Caledon Centre is really a spiritual powerhouse. I learned that this conference is not only for educators but that it could relate  to everyone's daily life. In fact, all of us are educators in one way or another. Excellent conference. Wey Herng L., Markham, Ontario 

I find that this Caledon conference was kosen-rufu in miniature. The friendships and goodwill here is incredible. I also leave with inspiration and valuable insights to apply to my daily life. John P., Saskatoon 

Very comfortable with many, many considerations (food, new beds). Having 38 participants made it possible for me to meet everyone at least once. This conference meant challenging my own comforts and familiarities so that I could truly deepen my faith and become a more confidant person. Honey N., Toronto 

Wonderful participants - warm, talented and courageous. I had a great time! John C., Ottawa 

Coming to this conference is like going on a vacation with the most wonderful and loving people. It is relaxing and at the same time mentally and emotionally rejuvenating. The location in the midst of a forest helps clear the mind and feel at one with nature. The warmth of the staff makes the stay so nice and comforting. I leave brimming with hope and lots of energy and passion to further my faith and achieve my goals. I would recommend everyone to attend if they can. Vrati M., Brampton, Ontario 

This Educators Conference definitely helped me strengthen my faith. I was so inspired by other members and made so many wonderful friends. Very touching and heart-warming. Jamie J., Toronto

This Caledon conference has been a place for inspiration, motivation to reconnect with myself and get above self-doubt and stress. It helped me see the vast potential of myself and has given me the confidence to make a difference as an individual. Also, it helped me see the work of my mentor in a broader sense. The interactions with other members were amazing and very uplifting. Vanshika A., Toronto 

The best Educators conference yet. The sessions really helped me to amalgamate Buddhism and education. The head, heart, gut presentation helped me to better understand compassion and how human interaction works. Lillian P., Saskatoon 

It is always a joy to attend the Educators conference. Old friends and new gather at the beautiful Caledon Centre. Experiences are shared, new things are learned. I leave refreshed and invigorated. There are tears and so much laughter. Most of all there is hope and courage to continue creating a culture of value and peace in our communities. Mary H., Guelph, Ontario 

This Educators conference was a great opportunity for me. It has been a life-transforming experience. I will remind myself to always act in a more peaceful way. I wish to come back next year to keep my transformation alive and report about it to others. Sylvie A., Montreal 

This conference has been a wonderful chance to share precious memories that are like beautiful diamonds. What a joy to learn together with people whom I trust implicitly and to refresh our determination together. Patrick H., Guelph, Ontario