West Territory advances toward the gathering of 50,000 youth in 2018, standing up for peace and the dignity of all life.

TORRANCE, Calif., March 4—“Each of us has chosen to be born precisely during the darkest times to show through our life the unlimited potential of humanity to transform any poison into medicine.”

“If America can overcome racism, discrimination and intolerance, the world will be able to coexist

Photo: Debra Williams

Photo: Debra Williams


With these powerful declarations, territory youth leaders Takako Mino and Masato Tsuchiya opened the West Territory Champions of the New Era youth meeting, which drew nearly 2,000 young people from Southern California, with representatives from Nevada, Washington and Hawaii, to El Camino College’s Marsee Auditorium.

Themed “Limitless Champions of Hope!” the meeting served as a dress rehearsal toward the 2018 national gathering of 50,000 determined youth, who will stand up for peace and the dignity of all life. SGI Vice President Yoshiki Tanigawa traveled from Tokyo to offer encouragement and guidance, on behalf of SGI President Ikeda.

President Ikeda in a message asked the youth to uphold the greatest vow in the world—the vow for kosen-rufu. “Kosen-rufu means to rid the world of all unhappiness and misery,” he said. “Kosen-rufu means building the path toward eternal peace and happiness for all humanity. Kosen-rufu means establishing in the heart of each person the philosophy of respect for the dignity of life.”

Ikeda Youth Ensemble: Feeling the Heartbeat of Bodhisattvas

Photo: Debra Williams

Photo: Debra Williams

The Ikeda Youth Ensemble performing groups commanded the stage with a dignified presence echoing the spirit of SGI President Ikeda’s touchstone poem to Los Angeles “Sun of Jiyu Over a New Land” and his three mottoes to the youth of the SGI: 1. Be the pillar of peace for all the world’s peoples!; 2. Be the eyes of respect for the dignity of life!; and 3. Be the great ship of hope for the triumph of humanity!

SGI-USA Youth Leader David Witkowski noted that some performing groups had just three weeks to prepare for the meeting, but that everyone was united based on the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple. “They cast off the transient and revealed the true based on pure determination and unity,” he said.

Home Visits: The Decisive Victory Toward 2018

Photo: Debra Williams

Photo: Debra Williams

SGI-USA Youth Leader David Witkowski said that while advancing toward the meeting, he felt a strong desire from the youth leaders to bring out members who had not come to a meeting in some time. “Through phone calls, postcards and visits, the youth leaders set out to re-establish bonds of trust and friendship with their members and invite them to the meeting,” he said. “Such efforts to go out and encourage all of the youth are going to decide the victory of 2018 and beyond.”

Shakabuku: 47 New Bodhisattvas Emerge for Peace

Forty-seven new Bodhisattvas of the Earth joined the Soka family, with 39 receiving the Gohonzon.