Listen to our latest 'phlog' below
SGI-UK is the UK branch of Soka Gakkai International.SGI is a movement for culture, education and peace, based on the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Nichiren was a 13th Century Japanese priest whose philosophy centred around the final teaching of the first historically recognized Buddha (known as Siddhartha Gautama or Shakyamuni Buddha). This teaching, called the Lotus Sutra, declares that all living beings have the potential to attain enlightenment, or Buddhahood, in this lifetime.
Currently, there are more than 12 million members in just under 200 countries and territories worldwide. For SGI members, Buddhism is a practical philosophy of individual empowerment and inner transformation that enables people to develop themselves and take responsibility for their lives.
As lay believers and "engaged Buddhists," SGI members strive in their everyday lives to develop the ability to live with confidence, to create value in any circumstances and to contribute to the well-being of friends, family and community. The promotion of peace, culture and education is central to SGI activities.
Until the 1930s the followers of Nichiren were a relatively small group of lay believers. In 1930, a lay organisation was founded by educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi. During World War II, he was imprisoned for refusing to compromise his religious beliefs in spite of pressure from the Japanese government to accept the State religion, Shinto, which was used to unify the public in support of the war. Makiguchi died in prison in 1944. His successor, Josei Toda, was also imprisoned, but survived to help lead the post-war growth of the Soka Gakkai ("Value Creation Society") from a handful of members to more than 750,000 households before his death in 1958. The third President, Daisaku Ikeda, has guided the movement to its present day strength of approximately 12 million members world-wide. The international organisation, Soka Gakkai International (SGI), was established in 1975.
SGI actively supports the work of the United Nations and is a registered UN NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation).
SGI-UK, whose motto is "Trust through friendship, peace through trust", organises cultural and educational activities on both a local level and at the UK centre, Taplow Court. At Taplow Court regular Conflict and Peace Forums have been held since 1997 in association with the TRANSCEND Peace and Development Network. These forums attended by scholars, journalists and development workers examine conflict transformation methods and promote a new school of "peace journalism." This encourages journalists to use the insights of conflict analysis to give a more complex analysis of conflict situations and coverage to initiatives for peace. However SGI-UK exists first and foremost to enable people to learn about Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism and to mutually support each other in their practise.