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OUR SHARED HUMANITY Soka Gakkai International
Every day over six and a half billion people around the world go about their daily lives.
People whose color, culture, occupation or lifestyle sometimes appear so very different
that on the surface they may seem to have very little in common.
Yet they inhabit the same planet and breathe the same air.
They share a common humanity.
It is this common humanity that the 2,500–year–old faith of Buddhism
embraces and reveres.
Every single person alive today is unique.
And each person's life has limitless possibilities.
Yet our world is filled with conflict and suffering.
Buddhism came into being as a response to human suffering,
and to enable men and women to reveal their full potential.
Some perceive Buddhism as a solitary, meditative religion,
but the Buddhism practiced by the members of the global lay organization SGI
– Soka Gakkai International – is dynamic, yet grounded in the realities of daily life.
... Our Shared Humanity ...
An Introduction to the SGI Buddhist Movement ... Soka Gakkai International ...
... History of Buddhism ...
Buddha means enlightened one.
Enlightened to the true nature of life. The Buddha, Shakyamuni, was born
a prince in the subcontinent of India 2,500 years ago.
The four universal sufferings, in the shape of birth, old age, sickness and death
shocked the young Shakyamuni,and he set out from his palace determined
to find a solution. After a long, austere search, he had the enlightened realization
that our inability to grasp the true nature of life was at the root of human suffering.
Through learning how to access life's unlimited potential,
humanity could transcend suffering and establish a solid, indestructible happiness.
Shakyamuni traveled around India for many years,
sharing his enlightened wisdom.
His numerous orally transmitted teachings, known as sutras, recorded after his death,
spread throughout Asia, transforming the lives of millions of people.
But in time, Shakyamuni's teachings became fragmented and ritualized
often losing sight of the original intention of Buddhism – to alleviate suffering.
In 13th century Japan a young priest called Nichiren began to question
why people suffered and why social oppression and natural disasters
continued to occur in a society that upheld the Buddhist faith.
He studied all the available sutras
in search of the essence of Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings
and found what he was looking for in the life–affirming philosophy of the Lotus Sutra
The roots submerged in the depths of a muddy pond
are capable of producing the pure lotus flower.
Likewise, all human beings, according to the Lotus Sutra,
equally possess the pure life–state of Buddhahood.
A Buddha is not a transcendent being, but an ordinary person
able to challenge and overcome their own and others' suffering
through manifesting wisdom, courage, compassion and vitality.
To enable all people to activate this state of Buddhahood
Nichiren established the practice of chanting the phrase Nam–myoho–renge–kyo
which he identified as being the expression of the fundamental law of life.
He was adamant that chanting it would release the vast potential
dormant in the heart of every single person, improving their own lives
and the lives of other people.
Nichiren's efforts to empower ordinary people and free them from suffering
angered the feudal authorities and he endured a lifetime of persecution.
But his conviction in the Lotus Sutra and Nam–myoho–renge–kyo never wavered.
Buddhism respects and embraces life.
All life. Whatever our differences, Buddhist philosophy maintains
that we are inextricably linked to one another and to the planet we all inhabit.
Causing harm to other people or to the natural world that sustains life
will inevitably have a negative impact upon our own lives.
For SGI, every existence on Earth
is a dignified and unique expression of life with untold possibilities.
The founder and first president of this lay Buddhist organization was
Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a Japanese educator
dedicated to reforming the repressive and nationalistic education system.
Makiguchi advocated a more humanistic approach to learning,
encouraging children to lead creative, fulfilled lives
and make a positive contribution to society.
In Nichiren's Buddhism he discovered a philosophy that both reflected
and revitalized his thinking,
and in 1930 he founded the Soka Gakkai – the Society for the Creation of Value.
When the Second World War broke out, the military authorities imposed oppressive
laws upon the Japanese people. All dissent was ruthlessly suppressed.
Makiguchi was imprisoned for opposing the policies of the militarist government.
He died in prison in 1944. Imprisoned alongside Makiguchi
was his fellow educator and closest supporter, Josei Toda.
Released from prison in 1945, Toda worked tirelessly to reconstruct the
Soka Gakkai organization into a broad– based, grassroots Buddhist movement
that offered a message of hope and empowerment
in the devastation, poverty and despair of postwar Japan.
With Toda as second president the organization rapidly expanded.
He encouraged its members to take up the challenge of "human revolution"
a process of self–mastery whereby a positive change in the inner life of
an individual is reflected in their external environment,
and ultimately in society itself.
Toda was determined to see an end to war.
In 1957 he made an impassioned appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons
which he believed were a manifestation of the darkest aspects of the human heart.
Achieving world peace became a fundamental aim of the organization.
Constantly at Toda's side was a young man named Daisaku Ikeda, who wholeheartedly
devoted himself to supporting the growth and development of the Soka Gakkai.
In 1960, two years after Toda's death, Ikeda became its third president.
This was the era of the Cold War.
Global tensions were high and the threat of nuclear devastation hung over humanity.
Ikeda believed that the Lotus Sutra's message of the dignity of all life
could contribute to the advancement of world peace.
On the island of Guam in 1975, he helped establish a new, global organization – SGI.
Ikeda has also promoted dialogue between people of different countries, cultures and
belief–systems, as a fundamental step towards building world peace.
As leader of the lay Buddhist movement, he has continued to meet with leading
activists and thinkers from around the world.
The resulting dialogues and publications, which encompass
politics, culture, philosophy and science, explore life and the universe
and seek solutions to the problems that confront our rapidly changing world.
Ikeda has also founded peace–research, educational and cultural institutions
with a view to promoting greater mutual understanding between nations.
Since its formation, SGI has developed into an international movement
with 12 million members in 190 countries and territories around the world.
Each SGI organization shares the same philosophy and basic practice but has the
freedom to operate independently within the customs and laws of its own country.
Respecting and celebrating individual and cultural differences
is the lifeblood of SGI.
The core activity for SGI members around the world is the local discussion meeting.
The monthly meeting provides a relaxed ,informal space
for both members and friends to share their experiences and learn more about
how to apply the principles of Buddhism to their daily lives.
Howard Hunter – Emeritus Professor of Religion at Tufts University
"Discussion groups are an embodiment of a commitment to respect for other people's
point of view, so one does not have to act completely isolated and alone and confused
one can relate to other people who are working through their problems,
one can benefit from their experience
and one can contribute positive values to their experience."
SGI members around the world participate in a variety of cultural,
social and educational activities that are an expression of common humanity,
and demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility
and the promotion of world citizenship.
Majid Tehranian – Director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research
"To be a world citizen does not mean that you have to give up your religion,
your ethnicity, your nationality and so on
it means that you have to assume responsibility – global responsibility,
and to understand what is going on in the world."
For SGI members, faith, practice and study
are the three interdependent, yet vital elements of their Buddhist practice.
The daily practice consists of reciting a portion of the Lotus Sutra and
chanting Nam–myoho–renge–kyo to activate the Buddha nature and create
happiness and value for oneself and other people.
Studying the writings of Nichiren, both alone and in groups,
helps members to understand the principles of Buddhism
and how to apply them to contemporary life.
Faith involves taking action
and it’s important for members to see actual proof that Buddhism is working
in their day–to–day lives.
SGI members consider that sharing the philosophy
and practice of Buddhism with others is a compassionate act.
Inner spiritual transformation or – human revolution –
is the focus of an SGI member's Buddhist practice.
Khosi Kubeka is currently studying for her doctorate at a university in the US.
The social and educational system Khosi was born into in South Africa
deliberately discouraged black people from pursuing their goals.
Khosi Kubeka: "Growing up in Soweto in the 1980s
this was the height of apartheid, when things were so much
in upheaval, chaotic really. I ended up having a sense of powerlessness
and low self–esteem but at the same time I did have the ambition to succeed
and saw myself as someone who was successful in the future,
educated because education is the key really.
Being born in that kind of oppressive
environment you feel like this is your destiny
and this is also something that was ingrained by people around you
that you need to accept your circumstances because this is what you were meant to be."
Khosi decided to take responsibility for her situation.
"When I started practicing then I realized there are so many possibilities
I can do anything I want, and my life is in my hands,
that means I have to take responsibility for myself – so that was very empowering to me."
Battling with her negative internal beliefs
played a major part in Khosi's human revolution.
"It felt like I had two voices.
One that said ‘Now who do you think you are? You're just a girl from Soweto,
you should just accept your destiny because this is what you were meant to be.'
But on the other hand this burning desire, feeling that 'I am capable of more,
I can do more with my life. I can create value' – was also powerful.
Life is about struggling. You just have to decide whether you are going to win or lose.
That's what this practice has taught me: you have the power to decide.
I plan to go back to South Africa to teach at the university
but also my greatest desire is to go back and inspire other people
who come from the same place that I come from and I'm looking forward to that."
Dr. Howard Hunter: "I think the Buddhist message in the SGI
of cultivating, with as much fervor and passion and dedication and discipline
as we can, our own self–awareness... that self–awareness is going to lead
to what I think is the greatest glory of Buddhism
and that is compassion."
Sue Yeadon works for the English National Health Service as part of a small team
that supports people in her community with the HIV virus.
Sue's involvement in this area began 20 years ago
when she met a young woman with the virus.
Sue Yeadon: "What she needed was encouragement
and compassion rather than people reacting
with fear and horror and dread, and so I decided that the only way
I could overcome my own fear and prejudice was to find out more about it.
I remember thinking that as a Buddhist it was time that I started to do something
meaningful in society that would make a difference somehow."
Over the last two years Sue's work has taken her to Africa
where she visits children hospitalized with the virus.
"When we first arrived there were no children on treatment,
now they have nearly 100 children ...
If I hadn't started practicing Buddhism I don't think I'd have been able to develop
my compassion or my courage or wisdom in the way I've been able to."
SGI is committed to making a difference.
All its activities are based on the compassionate desire to relieve
suffering and make an active contribution to society.
Projects and awareness–raising activities initiated at local and community levels
encourage people to feel a sense of connection to global issues
such as disarmament and sustainable development.
As a non–governmental organization affiliated to the United Nations,
SGI believes that despite its flaws,
the UN has the potential to effect a positive change in the world.
Hiro Sakurai – SGI's Representative to the United Nations in New York
"One of the ways that SGI tries to bring people's voices back to the UN is through
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's annual peace proposals.
He's been issuing peace proposals over 20 years.
These proposals have been reflected in UN initiatives such as
the World Program for Human Rights Education.
We have also conducted petition drives for the abolition of nuclear weapons and
presented the signatures of millions of ordinary citizens to the UN."
In the public domain, as a NGO, SGI has launched educational campaigns
and created a range of international exhibitions that promote
human rights, peace and disarmament.
Every year thousands are killed, injured and displaced in the wake of natural disasters
such as tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes.
SGI has mounted numerous relief programs for war refugees and victims
of environmental and climatic disasters.
SGI supports the Earth Charter movement, which is working towards the establishment
of a sustainable and peaceful world.
A proposal initially put forward by SGI representatives for
an "International Decade of Education for Sustainable Development"
gathered international support
and was eventually adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2002.
In support of this educational initiative, SGI has created "Seeds of Change"
an exhibition that highlights how each person can make a difference.
In the Amazon basin in Brazil,
where there is an urgent need to promote reforestation and sustainable development,
SGI has set up the Amazon Environmental Conservation Center.
In response to the tragic Columbine High School massacre in Colorado,
SGI–USA's Youth Peace Committee launched a "Victory Over Violence" campaign.
Culture festivals and outreach programs which have been adopted by schools
and communities form part of the initiative which helps young people
identify and counteract the root causes of violence in their lives.
This campaign, which promotes a culture of peace, has now spread overseas.
Anthony Lansiquot: "I have tremendous optimism for the future,
and I think this is one of the greatest things about my practice,
that it does give me that optimism, because I'm aware of who I really am,
and I know I can effect change in my own life, and in other people's lives."
Takako Yeung: "For me what's more important
about being a teacher is nurturing young people and
making them believe they can make a positive contribution to society
and to give them the confidence to follow whatever their dreams are."
SGI believes that the empowering message of Buddhist humanism and
the compassionate commitment and vision of young people can make the 21st century
a century which cherishes life
where sustainability and the alleviation of suffering become universal concerns
and where, for future generations, world peace becomes a reality.
Each person has the power to make a difference.
Soka Gakkai International


SGI Buddhist Movement: An Introduction (full-length version) Buddhist介紹

8953 分類 收藏
發佈於 2013 年 6 月 29 日
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