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SGI Autumn Training Course

By Paula Reich, Edmonton

Eight SGI Canada representatives at the Soka International Women's Center in TokyoEight SGI Canada representatives at the Soka International Women's Center in Tokyo

From November 12-20, eight SGI Canada leaders attended the SGI Autumn Training Course in Tokyo. Representing Canada were SGI Canada General Director Tony Meers, SGI Canada Women’s Leader Helen Izumi-Choi, SGI Canada Men’s Leader Ian Mattinson as well as other leaders from across Canada: Eddie Law, Monica Bachmann, Esther Lipton, Paula Reich and Susumu Uchida. 

The training course hosted 300 SGI members from 70 countries. The participants had the great fortune of attending the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, a commemorative meeting on November 18 at the Toda Memorial Hall, visits to the Min-On Culture Centre, the Soka International Woman’s Centre, guidance and study sessions and wonderful exchange meetings. 

The Canadian contingent attended an exchange meeting at the Fujimori Centre in Saitama prefecture and were greeted by the local members and many children and youth singing, dancing and playing Japanese instruments. Ian Mattinson shared his experience of pain and suffering culminating into victory after many years of his own human revolution. 

All in all it was a week of learning, making new friends and polishing our own mirrors of faith. President Ikeda writes:

The world appears differently depending on the viewer's state of life. Thus, the way a Buddha perceives and experiences the world will be different from that of other living beings of lower life states. However, though we may appear to be unenlightened ordinary people who have to deal with many problems and challenges, when we tap the Buddha wisdom inherent within us, we can completely transform the realm of suffering in which we dwell. This is 'perceiving the true aspect of reality' (New Century, November 2018, p. 29). 

The recurring message of the training course was that of treasuring the person in front of us and practising with the shared spirit of mentor and disciple. Mr. Ichikuzo, chief of the Tachikawa Culture Centre reiterated President Ikeda’s guidance about the meaning of making a vow: Vow is the strength to create history. Vow is the light to illuminate darkness. Vow is the sword to defeat devilish functions. As long as you continue to live with the vow of mentor and disciple there is nothing to be afraid of.