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Youth Experiences Key to Kosen-rufu Day

By Ocean Chen, Toronto

Edmonton

For SGI practitioners, March is one of the most important months of the year. March 16 is called Kosen-rufu Day as it was on that day in 1958 that the youth of Soka Gakkai were handed the responsibility of world peace by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. SGI Canada celebrated this event during the month of March at each district meeting throughout the country as well as at various youth meetings. 

As part of the March campaign, youth from across the globe stood up to take responsibility for the happiness of each person by overcoming their own personal struggles and encouraging and helping others to do the same. The youth vowed to step up to the challenge of achieving victories for self and others. 

Calgary's Harmony District (left), Calgary's Woodbine District

On March 16, over 600,000 youth participated in the World Youth General Meeting in Japan, where every youth re-determined to work toward world peace through instilling the philosophy of Buddhist humanism. 

SGI Canada embarked on a 10,000-member campaign toward October 2018.  Ahead of this goal, we launched the March Dialogue Campaign, where members are encouraged to reach out to others in their community and engage in meaningful discussions. 

The importance of the absolute happiness of each individual can never be overstated. Through the struggles in our own lives, we can better understand the suffering that others experience. And it is through becoming victorious in our own lives that we begin to build infallible confidence in ourselves, and others. Youth in Canada have also been challenging themselves, working tirelessly to be victorious. They’ve determined to share their experiences below to enrich the community. 

Halifax (left), Ottawa

Experiences 

Since the start of my Buddhist practice, March has been about re-determining and strengthening my own conviction. Practising Buddhism has helped me solidify my goals and grow by standing strong in the face of the noise and clamour of everyday challenges. This past March, my determination and my human revolution were about discipline and consistency. I had recently been challenged by an experience that reminded me of the importance of being consistent and disciplined in my practice. For eight months I worked at a job in isolation with almost no one to talk to and had very little contact with friends and family. I slipped into a state of hopelessness seeing no way out of my situation. After months of being influenced heavily by this environment, I found a quote that set my determination and reaffirmed my conviction: “No matter what our personal circumstances may be, if we ourselves become a source of light, then there will be no darkness in the world” (www.ikedaquotes.org). This quote by Daisaku Ikeda reminded me that I can’t sit and wait for my environment to bestow upon me gifts, I must be my own happiness and bring myself out of the lows. In March, I made two determinations: to be a source of light both in my own life and in the lives of those around me; and bring discipline to my practice and smile every day. In this way I can make sure that myself  and those around me can fight that darkness. Tristan M., University student  

Maple Ridge, BC (left), Vancouver Area 7 youth

To make the 60th anniversary of March 16 meaningful in my own life this year, I exerted wholehearted effort into my last semester of university, maintaining strong faith and encouraging other practitioners at least once per week. My last semester in nursing is a practicum at the hospital. I was fortunate to get my first option in the field of my choice. The first few weeks were quite hard as I struggled with my own anxiety and self-doubt. However, chanting daily and studying President Ikeda's lectures in the New Century helped me build the resolve to find courage and strength from within and to challenge myself to bring out my fullest potential. My determination spurred me to find time to do home visits whenever I had a day off. Despite my busy schedule, I was also able to engage in the dialogue campaign by sharing Buddhist philosophy with patients who were interested in spirituality and the meaning of life's hardships. As I'm approaching my last two weeks of the practicum, I was able to transform my struggles into victories by developing strong rapport and building trust in my workplace. Olivia H., University student 

Toronto's Mount Pleasant District (left), Toronto's Starlight District

Throughout the last few years, my faith and practice have gone through cycles of strength and weakness. But as things became more difficult in my life, the stronger my practice grew. As I honed my sword through chanting, goals I had set out came to fruition. I am finally graduating, found a part time job that fit my schedule, started a new student club with my friends, and was even appointed as a district young women’s leader! But as Nichiren Daishonin warns, as we strive toward enlightenment, devilish functions will challenge you. A few weeks ago, my friend who has been fighting many mental health problems for many years was admitted to the hospital. That night as I stayed by her bedside, I had never been so scared in my life. I did what I could only do, and that was to chant. I chanted to have the courage for myself and for my friend. It was then, that I realized that even when things are going well, I needed to be vigilant and strong in faith. That night the devilish functions manifested, and that night I defeated them.

My friend told me later that the chanting has helped. She knows and has heard me chant in my room before, and I always hoped that I could introduce her to this practice that has saved me from my own mental health issues. This was truly my victory for the 60th anniversary of March 16. Lulu C., University student  

Calgary's Treasure Tower District (left), Vancouver's White Lotus District

Alors, j'ai obtenu un drôle de résultat... Franchement, 200 mots, c'est bien trop court ! Surtout avec ce que ça a suscité comme réflexion. Mais rien n'est perdu, je pense que je tiens mon expérience, que l'on s'était donnée pour mandat de rédiger, avec la jeunesse. Étant donné que je n'arrivais pas à réduire correctement le volume de mes paragraphes, j'ai décidé d'y aller avec mon «guts», et j'ai rédigé un «poème». Évidemment, j'ignore si ça convient au format et au propos recherchés... mais bien humblement, c'est la meilleure façon de synthétiser mes réflexions autour de ce 16 mars. Il y a trop à dire, trop à expliquer sur mon éveil à tout ce qui se passe autour de ma pratique présentement, et c'est trop important pour juste le «dropper» comme ça... Bref. Je tente ma chance, et si ça ne passe pas, on trouvera autre chose.

Bien à toi.

J'ai hâte que tu lises mon expérience, qui suivra bientôt. Je pense que je garderai les vers libres: cette version pourra toujours être un témoignage connexe ! Pascal G., Montréal  

Quebec City youth

Toronto's Dufferin District

In November 2017, I was unexpectedly offered a full-time work contract, and while this was a great benefit, I was initially intending to focus on school by taking three courses so I could graduate by summer 2018. Although this course load is considered full time studies, I determined to challenge myself by taking on these courses while working full-time. I was feeling overwhelmed from the very beginning of the semester and was often tired and unmotivated. I shared my challenges with the young men in my district and they supported me by chanting together for my victory.

In hindsight, these challenges expanded my capacity and were opportunities to grow. I am happy to say that I was recently awarded first place in a case competition and I have proven to myself that anything is possible with courageous faith. This is not just my victory, but also a victory for those that supported me. Jovan T., University student

 Victoria