The Best Time of Our Lives
By Lynne Hussey, Toronto
I sat down with a young woman to talk about the Young Women’s and Women’s Caledon Conference we attended on September 21-24. Stephanie was among 18 first time participants and 28 young women at the conference. She and I were among the 60 participants altogether.
Stephanie: My favourite thing was from the session that reported on the youth training course in Japan, the phrase “crush your doubt with daimoku (chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo).”
Lynne: Remember how hard everyone laughed during the skit on Saturday night when one of the “devils” reported to the Devil of the Sixth Heaven, “Doubt didn’t make it, boss”?
S: Also, [SGI Canada young women’s leader] Mai [Ogushi] saying we should never forget to enjoy life reminded me of “Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy,” from the Five Eternal Guidelines presentations. Hearing about them made me want to chant with more determination.
L: Caledon is amazing, isn’t it, those woods and the lake and the night sky full of stars?
S: We had such a benefit on the road just before we arrived: a sunset that was like love from the universe. Once we got there the beautiful scenery blew me away. I was really moved by the mothers and daughters [5 pairs] present. Their effort to attend together touched my heart. It gave me the determination to bring my mom here next time.
What stuck out for you?
L: The presentation of the first volume of The New Human Revolution really stayed with me, no matter how many times I’ve heard about and read it before.
S: After that session, another young woman and I made a determination to read that volume by the end of October.
L: What about the group discussions?
S: I loved that during the discussions and at mealtimes I learned about people’s struggles. There were so many experiences!
What did you get out of the conference this time?
L: Something I am always encouraged by is seeing the growth of long time members each time. Plus the powerful effect of two hours of chanting every day!
I loved the exuberance that you young women brought, and the sense of huge potential in all of you.
At the same time, there was a seriousness of intention. Mai laid it out clearly when she said our goal of bringing happiness to 2000 more people will never come again, and we can make this campaign the best time of our lives. Really enjoy it.
Finally, there was SGI Canada Women’s Leader Helen Izumi-Choi’s simple declaration on Sunday morning: “I am determined.” Her quiet passion made me want to stand up and join her. I am sure her voice still reverberates in all of our hearts.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. What a wonderful and inspiring place. Karen S., Washago, Ontario
Thank you for the most wonderful experience of my life. I am taking back with me perseverance and dedication from members who have been chanting for over 30 years plus youthfulness and confidence from the young women. Malobee C., Edmonton
This conference showed me how to strengthen my faith and care for other people. Also, I could open my mind and connect with other members. I hope to attend next year. Sophia K., Vancouver
This "Buds and Blossoms" conference was deeply bathed in the spirit of mentor and disciple. It was a very honest, enthralling, invigorating and directional encounter among the participants. A true garden of fragrant flowers. Pratima N., Regina
I am totally refreshed by an awe of the energy, enthusiasm, wisdom and compassion found in abundance at this conference. The presentation on The New Human Revolution went straight to my heart and connected me to President Ikeda in a manner I had never experienced before. The beauty of the young women with their sincerity and seeking spirit was a joy. The ability to connect with my "myoho sisters" of many decades was encouraging and profound. I came to refresh my practice and determination. That goal happened in spades! Thank you! Lela G., Huntsville, Ontario
Coming to Caledon always strengthens my resolve and helps me feel close to members from across the country. My hope is that every member be able to attend a conference here—the workshops, the friendships, the peaceful setting, the love and joy, the new understandings. Thank you President Ikeda and all who work to make these conferences a success! Anne B., Halifax
Wonderfully organized; very welcoming. This is my eighth conference and it is always different and, always fantastic. I am returning to my district filled with energy, hope and determination to work for kosen-rufu, for SGI Canada's goals. Thank you to one and all for taking such care to put this together. I'll see you next year to report on my victories spurred on by this conference! Dale R., Montreal
This was the best conference ever. Great learning, great friends great culture night! I will be back. Kate W., London, Ontario
The atmosphere of the SGI family is always encouraging in the most sincerest form. My faith and spirit strengthens every time I step foot into Caledon. The karmic connections we have with each member are unbreakable and together will achieve kosen-rufu! Bronté L., Toronto
My daughter and I attended this conference together for the first time. We really enjoyed hearing the many great experiences, studying The New Human Revolution and President Ikeda's guidance. I believe those study sessions gave my daughter insight into her great inner potential. Kimiko W., Richmond Hill, Ontario