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On Tue 24th of May Queen Elizabeth 2 of the United Kingdom visited Ireland the first monarch to visit since the founding of the state in 1922. Prior to 1922 the UK had ruled Ireland for several hundreds of years. This occupation of Ireland had left many unresolved issues resulting in the people of my country (Ireland) angry and bitter toward the UK. In 1922 part of the northern end of Ireland remained under UK rule. About 40 years ago war broke out in this northern part of the county. About 25 years ago Mr Richard Causton the 1st Gereral Director suggested that all the mambers of the UK, Northeen Irealnd and the Republic or Ireland begin daimoku to change the karma of our two countries. Ten years ago a peace agreement was signed but implementing that peace agreement was a slow and difficult process. Last year the final pieces of that peace process were put in place. The President of Ireland invited the Queen of the UK on a state visit. I chanted for its success and I know that Sensei has included Ireland and the UK in his prayers as only last year he was awarded an doctrate from Queens University Belfast (Northern Irealnd). The vist of the Queen to Ireland finished today (20th May) and it far exceeded everybodys expectations. The karma that has existed between our two countries for many hundreds of years has changed. The Queen had visited the capital Dublin for the first 3 days of her visit and today she visited Cork (where I live) and I must say the joy I felt was great. Peace at last! I am attaching some of the photographs of the visit.
How many SGI members are there in Ireland?
What are the obstacles to practice?
We have just over 300 members in south and 150 mambers in Northern Ireland. Although Northern Ireland is part of SGI-UK we have a very close relationship as we have with SGI-UK. I would say that the one of the greatest obstacles to the spreading of Buddhism has alot to do with that relationship between Ireland and the UK outside Buddhism. I can't go into all the history but we became a nation that held a deep rooted resentment twoards the UK going back over 500 years. As a result our views on life were narrow and often distorted. As a nation we are a very passionate people but this passion is more often expressed in a distructive manner. I am hoping and praying that the changes that are taking place now which included the visit of the Queen will begin to turn that negative passion into something creative and positive.
I am so grateful for your reply.
I have an African-American friend that now lives in Dublin as a newlywed with her husband. I introduced her to the practice two years ago in our hometown of Augusta, GA. She is not a practicing or conferred member. Given her sense of independence, however,I bet that if she had contact information, she would venture to a local SGI activity.
We are all working towards changing the karma of our hearts and our land, the karma just appears in different forms for different reasons. Therefore, there is no need to judge each other; rather we share the curative compassion of our practice and dreams. Thank you again for taking time to explain your history and ambition.
Thank you for your words of encouragement. I feel not alone that 2011 is an important year for SGI world worlwide but a very important year for Ireland. We are holding our first course in the European centre in the South of France on the 1st to the 4th Sept this year. Although I have attended this centre many times this the first time Ireland has run their own course at the European centre. I believe its great chance for a great new departure for SGI-Ireland and a prelude for the 50th anniversary of Sensei's first visit to Europe in Oct and the 80th Anniversary of SGI. I attach a ichinen card that each of the Irish members are encouraged to challange their karma.
The ichinen card is an inspiration for me to make a renewed effort, alongside the "fighting Irish" towards meeting my goals for this year to show proof of practice.
I was raised Roman Catholic, attended parochial school and a Marist university. Through my continuous unity with the SGI, I am fortunate to say, that I have now been Buddhist for longer than I was Catholic.
I will ask my friend, Erika, if she wants to participate in kosen rufu activities. Please chant for our breakthrough.
Boundless blessings, Joyce