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Nichiren Buddhism is one of the foremost schools of Buddhist thought in the world today. It centers on one of the last teachings of the historic Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama or Shakyamuni. This teaching, called the Lotus Sutra, decares that all living beings, regardless of gender or intelligence, have the potential to attain "Buddhahood," a state of life characterized by compassion, courage, wisdom, joy and life force.
Nichiren (1222Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1282) taught an easily accessible daily practice through which people can draw forth their powerful inherent Buddha nature. He taught that all of the benefits of the wisdom contained in the Lotus Sutra can be realized by chanting its title, (Nam)-myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting these words, along with excerpts from the Lotus Sutra, is the core of the Buddhist practice, supported by study and propagation of the teachings. These practices not only positively transform people's daily lives, allowing them to find happiness and fulfillment from within, but also affect their surroundings as well, since all life is intimately connected.
Thus people can use Nichiren Buddhism in an everyday, practical way, to both deal with the realities of their busy daily lives and also to actively engage with others and ultimately contribute to the betterment of society and the world at large.
About the SGI
The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is an association of 12 million Nichiren Buddhists in 190 countries.
The SGI aims to realize the absolute happiness (enlightenment) of individuals and the prosperity of each country by spreading understanding of the Buddhism of Nichiren. Toward that end, the SGI engages in various activities to promote peace, culture and education based on True Buddhism.
Nichiren Buddhism, on which the activities of the SGI are based, places special emphasis on the sanctity of human life and, as a natural outgrowth of this, on peace. In the final analysis, however, lasting peace can only be realized by challenging and overcoming the inner impulse toward hatred and violence that exists within us all - what Buddhism terms the "fundamental darkness of life." It is this dynamic process of self-reformation Ã¢â‚¬â€ "human revolution" Ã¢â‚¬â€ and the resulting rejuvenation of society that form the core of SGI's vision of a peaceful world.
The basic guidelines of the SGI's activities are:
To work for the prosperity of society by being good citizens who respect the culture, customs and laws of each country;
To promote humanistic culture and education based on the fundamental, humane principles of Buddhism; and
To join our efforts for world peace with those of the United Nations by supporting the spirit of its charter thereby helping achieve our ultimate goal of the abolition of nuclear arms and universal renouncement of war.
Faith towards creating a harmonious family
Faith for individuals to attain happiness
Faith to overcome difficulties
Faith for good health and longevity
Faith resulting in absolute victory in life
The SGI organization in the United States was officially established in 1960. In less than 40 years the American organization had grown to a multi-ethnic membership of over 330,000, with members in every state and with more than 71 community centers around the country.
Our world, as we begin a new millennium, is in a period of enormous transition. The challenges facing humanity in such fields as disarmament, environmental protection and human development are without precedent. So to are the possibilities for successes based on actions which create value in society. The members of the SGI are dedicated to the task of working for a new era based on the universal values of human equality and dignity.
For more information on the SGI-USA, go to www.sgi-usa.org