Memorial Gongyo Meeting in Western Region
By Siu-wan Ng, Vancouver
Practitioners offering incense for the deceased (photo by Po-wah Ng)
For over 20 years, Vancouver Area 7 has continued the tradition of hosting Memorial Gongyo Meetings in Western Region. This year's Spring Memorial Gongyo Meeting was held on April 5, at the Vancouver Culture Centre with 150 practitioners and guests attending. Practitioners from the other Vancouver SGI Areas attended as well.
SGI practitioners pray for their deceased ancestors and loved ones during gongyo[i] each day. But the Memorial Gongyo Meeting gives practitioners an opportunity to pray as a community of practitioners together for the deceased. The participants expressed that they enjoy the community spirit of appreciating and chanting for the enlightenment of their deceased ancestors.
At the meeting, President Ikeda's guidance on the meaning of praying for our deceased ancestors was shared in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, part of which reads:
"However, irrespective of the form, place of suffering into which our ancestors may have been reborn, if we, their living descendants, uphold correct faith and chant for them to attain Buddhahood, our daimoku will affect their lives, removing their suffering and imparting joy. This is because Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the fundamental law of the universe that permeates the entire cosmos” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 3, pp. 56-57).
The youth in Area 7 as well as the Soka Group (young men’s behind the scenes group) supported this meeting by looking after everyone, especially the elderly. Members were very appreciative to see them working so hard.
In addition, a video clip of the World Youth General Meeting which took place in March of this year was shown with much positive reception. Many left feeling very moved and inspired by how much President Ikeda has tirelessly devoted his efforts in raising the future generations of leaders.
Most of the time, we find it very difficult to introduce people to Buddhism. But after I saw the video, seeing the youth from around the world with a strong mentor-and-disciple spirit, and vowing to succeed President Ikeda, I was filled with emotion to continue my efforts. I cannot imagine how much President Ikeda has been doing day in and day out [for all of us]. Shook L., Vancouver
It was really nice and meaningful to see practitioners from across Vancouver come together and pray for our beloved ancestors and loved ones. We are deeply moved by so many youth all over the world who gathered together and pledged to continue our common goal of kosen-rufu. That reminded us of the ceremony on March 16, 1958 when Daisaku Ikeda led 6,000 youth to accept the baton of accomplishing kosen-rufu from second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. Lisa W., Vancouver
I was so moved by the sincere and enthusiastic spirit of our SGI youth in the video, which made me re-affirm my mission toward the accomplishment of kosen-rufu. Wendy C., Vancouver
I was able to watch the World Youth General Meeting video three times. Tears came down my face because I was so happy to see so many of our youth who pledged to share President Ikeda's dream of world peace. Sandra L., Vancouver
Chanting together for our deceased ancestors and loved ones confirmed for us that they will be reconnected with Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism and become happy in their next life because of our continued faith and practice for kosen-rufu. I felt hopeful about kosen-rufu after watching so many of our youth from all over the world make a determined vow of accomplishing kosen-rufu based on the spirit of mentor and disciple. Thank you, President Ikeda, for your life-long efforts and encouragement. Fiona L., Vancouver
On March 16, 1958, President Toda assembled with 6,000 youth on the slopes of Mt. Fuji, and entrusted the responsibility of the Soka Gakkai to the young Daisaku Ikeda. Sixty years later, seeing 600,000 youth participating together in this historical event, we have witnessed the river of kosen-rufu become wider and deeper through the struggle of our mentor, President Ikeda, and we, the disciples. Witnessing the youth ever so passionate, so hearty, and in such high spirits, I am moved by their experiences to never-give-up. I am making a fresh departure by courageously and patiently introduce my loved ones and friends to this practice. Cecilia Y., Vancouver
[i] Gongyo: Literally, to exert [oneself in] practice. This refers to the twice daily Nichiren Buddhist practice of reciting portions of the 2nd and 16th chapters of the Lotus Sutra and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the Gohonzon. (see http://www.sgicanada.org/buddhism)