Youth is never ending in SGI Buddhism, but this is a chance to look back for all of you who were the few, the proud, the brave; Young Mens Division, so if you have experiences from Brass Band, TCD(Soka group), Toban(Gajokai) TK, STK, Let's share!

Members: 17
Latest Activity: Oct 30, 2011

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Daddy, what did you do during the KOFU Wars?!

Started by Ben Burton. Last reply by Gordon Mar 25, 2008. 1 Reply

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Comment by James Michael Woodman on June 7, 2011 at 4:13pm
i received my gohonzon in december 1975 my wife whom has passed on introduced me in Koea she had only been practicing for at the time for two weeks i cant say it was my GOHONZONit was ours i was in ymd for maybe three years before our daughter was born  of course i will never forget those years  there was a lot of activities i wanted to get to but couldnt because of my lack of true faith  i guess i recently really challenged the real power and channel it to my life                                                                                         i had several attempts at finding a young lady to be able to appologize to her for something i had done in middle school  this particular lady was my best friend my competition ny next door neighbor she was everything another human could ever want from another  we had plans of college med school and all around life plans together  well last week i found her  she had accomplished her goals and then some i am so proud of her  i had thought about her constantly even throughout my marriage (i believe i even called out her name in my sleep, wife didn't like that) any way I KNO IT WAS THE POWER OF THE GOHONZON Why? Myfriend's mother is half paralyzed from a stroke about 10 yrs ago she is now getting better since we have brought her into the prayer room at my friend's house  i really started chanting for her health and movement to be restored today her paralyzed foot moved not much mind you but i noticed it helping her to the bathroom and he does most of the heavy lifting i just help make sure she doesnt fall ank in the wheelchair straight it was while she was setting down that i noticed it mom is 84  1st my friend now mom  only one thing can make it the best  mombeing able to get up and do what she needes on her own again  
Comment by Philip Claude Andermann on December 6, 2010 at 1:40pm

I received my Gohonzon in New York City on October 12, 1967, at age 19. I became serious about my practice in July, 1968, after I witnessed an SGI International Culture Festival in Japan. I was stunned to actually experience a miniature of world peace. At first I just chanted for President Ikeda, if he was indeed such a great leader for peace, not to get assassinated, as so many great leaders for peace had recently been. I received numerous benefits.

In June my father started practicing. He had been especially moved by reading about Toda's experience going to prison for justice, and his infinite determination for peace following WWII. He befriended top New York leaders. At his last meeting, he vigorously defended the SGI against a belligerent guest.

A few days later, he died within a few seconds of a massive heart attack returning home from work as a doctor. Coworkers said they had never seen him so happy or full of plans for the future, coordinating hospitals.

I could not help being stunned. He had just started practicing. What kind of benefit for him was this? The New York SGI leader, who had just met him, was also stunned, but then he said, "Now make President Ikeda your father."

I could not help but chant hour after hour after hour. The only way this could be a benefit was if I made it a benefit, if I made something wonderful happen because of my father’s death. I recalled how, growing up in Germany, he had barely escaped the Jewish holocaust. He had extended his life by 25 years, so that I could be born and encounter this Buddhism, and so could he. He had introduced new medical procedures into India, saved many lives, corresponded with Einstein and other eminences, written many dramas, even Buddhist, sought to support Gandhi… Especially if now my father was now really President Ikeda, my only choice to respond to the death was to resolve, “As a result there will be no more holocausts, of any kind. There will be only nonviolence.” I knew how impossible this sounded. I did not really honestly understand about reincarnation, but anyway my father would be reborn safely in me. If President Ikeda was my new father, then Sensei’s spirit would have to be born in me.

I had just graduated from New York University (NYU), majoring in mathematics. I was accepted with Fellowship to the New York Courant Institute of Mathematics, a renowned graduate institute in New York City. It would have been easy to live cheaply with my mother in New York and commute there by a short subway ride. I was also offered a Teacher Assistantship with Rutgers State University Graduate School of Mathematics, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, a less prestigious school 40 miles away, where I had to totally support myself, knowing almost no-one. The same New York SGI leader told me, “Why don’t you stay in New York? It makes much more sense.” But I thought of how there were already hundreds of American members, while in New Jersey at that time there seemed to be only three active American members. To me, to fulfill my vow it made more sense to be more of a pioneer for kosen-rufu. This was such a glowing opportunity. I replied, “No, because I will do SHAKUBUKU in New Jersey.” The leader responded, “Well, if you will truly do shakubuku in New Jersey, then that’s fine!”

I enshrined my Gohonzon in New Brunswick and chanted four hours straight, for kosen-rufu in New Jersey and especially in New Brunswick and in Rutgers University, a humongous composite campus. I was absolutely going to shakubuku everybody at Rutgers. Very unexpectedly, at the same time a brand new member from California arrived in Princeton University 10-15 miles away, burning with a shakubuku spirit.

My initial salary for teaching calculus and grading calculus tests was only $35 a week. I lived in an off-campus $8/wk room with no heat in winter. I had no car. As well as support New Jersey, I was supposed to somehow keep taking care of about 30 members in New York. I was at least calling New York every night. I’d take the bus to New York or Princeton whenever I could. Then I learned to hitchhike. There was almost no money left over for food.

Almost no food. No heat. So no sleep. Someone I had shakubukued secretly used my phone to make calls around the world, and my phone was shut off. Weak and shaking with cold, it became unspeakably difficult to chant. If I chanted for food or heat, thinking of them made it worse. It seemed impossible to chant with confidence for peace. Yet I knew the only way out was to chant almost nonstop, until I could at least change my life-condition. The only positive thing I was still capable of chanting for was – honestly – just a girl friend – not truly noble or glamorous, but that’s what I spent my days and nights doing, like my life depended on it.

After chanting all day, I had the energy to drag myself to a large dance.
I shakubukued every surprised girl I danced with. I went into the club The Black Hole and came out with 20 following me to a dorm to chant together.
I brought girls on “dates” to Buddhist meetings at Princeton and elsewhere, even though they’d often have to hitchhike with me. I conducted a meeting explaining everything and chanting with 55 guests at a Rutgers fraternity. house. My teacher salary doubled. With my newfound strength I also worked in a chemistry lab, an office, and as computer operator. I was able to move
into a dorm right across the street from the main Rutgers Student Center, the social hub of all Rutgers University.

I remembered over and over again the scene from The Human Revolution where two girls, former schoolmates, had patiently coaxed the 19-year-old sickly Daisaku Ikeda into coming to a meeting. They had not one inkling that they were changing the world.

How could I tell if the girl over there was not going to be the next President Ikeda? Somehow I was not insincere in approaching a total stranger if I believed with all my heart that she might be.

I knew that in neighboring Highland Park, in 1960 President Ikeda had attended his first meeting on the East Coast, where he founded New York District. I did not know the address or what the building looked like, or the exact date. But now going through Highland Park convinced that everybody might be the next President Ikeda, how did I know that the person opening the house door with a 10-year time warp might not be President Ikeda himself? I also went through the worst high-rise projects in New Brunswick, because they needed the practice the most.

I switched from Mathematics Grad School to Urban Planning Grad School at Rutgers to do something more related to peace, thinking of the impending super-metropolises abroad and helping the inevitable associated poor. But then I became aware of all the impending predictions of famine abroad – up to a billion deaths of starvation. I was horror-stricken at this massive problem. There was physically nothing I could do about it. If this was not a “holocaust,” then what was? At this point all I could do to massively change the karma of this planet was seek to do massive shakubuku. As it happened, this whole predicted famine was averted by the Green Revolution started by the American scientist Norman Borlaug – the karma of the planet was indeed changed. Also, I thought of how many of these capable students would become the future leaders of American society, the most influential country in the world, and thus what effect shakibukuing them could have on the world.

Especially, I went through most of the dormitories of Rutgers University, talking to the "future Presidents" one by one. Of course, there was always the ever-swarming Student Center right across the street from me.

I got poems simply called “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” published by the Rutgers newspaper, where I deeply sought to express Sensei’s spirit. I talked with professors, Deans, religious leaders of Rutgers.

Because I was both a Rutgers student and a Rutgers faculty member, I was able to write a constitution and form an SGI organization within Rutgers even though technically no-one else had the Gohonzon and was a member yet.

As a result, we were able to have weekly meetings at the Student Center packed with hundreds of students. Members from Princeton and other areas now came to vigorously support.

There had been a moratorium on receiving the Gohonzon, but now within a few months, many students became members.

One of these members became Senior Vice-President Ikeda of SGI-USA, two became Zone leaders. They began a cascade of shakubuku all over. There are also now many members at Rutgers University.

I am extremely aware of the severe crises now facing this planet. Without really realizing it, through the spirit of President Ikeda we have actually transformed severe world crises before.

I believe that it is precisely through these current crises today and tomorrow that SGI Buddhism shall rapidly spread much more broadly throughout America and the world.

Let us always remember there are countless President Ikedas on the campuses especially, waiting to be shakubukued so they can transform these crises.

Above all, please remember that you - and I mean you - have the same potential as President Ikeda through this practice, unique out of seven billion people.

I myself have just begun.
Comment by Philip Claude Andermann on December 6, 2010 at 1:37pm
ROCKET THE ERA 12/6/10 1:00 PM Phil Montclair, NJ

[sorry, just written in less than an hour]

Rock the Era, rocket the era,
we aint shooting for no man on the moon,
we're aiming straight to save man on this Earth.
Yo man, 2030's coming up soon:
Nuclear disarmament, safe climate and land,
thru your human revolution's nuclear chain reaction
spreading peace, resolutions, solutions at hand.

Yo brother, we're all colors, why you're my color in heart;
Sister, how I've missed yer, cause now you've the greatest part.
Mother, father, how I owe you; my children, how I owe you more, the Earth.
Rape, rocks slammed through the hood, I'll rock the hood in brotherhood's rebirth.
Wake up, you can live out your dreams; reach out, touch far further than it seems:
touch the skies of another, turn their night's stars into suns.
Raise the fallen, and together we'll all run.

Education, culture and peace: their earth is our meetings of hearts,
our visitings of prayer, vow together we'll do our part.
There's a golden diary of our lives in the leaves of the Gosho,
revealed through our mirror of our Vow to the future.
Through the example and teachings of our Mentor, our equal,
more than sequel as one we'll respond, vow more than legal or regal.
We're more different than night or day, but they're both part of a day,
and we're the rocket to an era where each piece of peace has its say.
Comment by Reavell Orr on March 23, 2010 at 9:37pm
My husband Dan Orr is an ex YMD he was in gymnastics, and one of the 150 guitarists who performed and many many other events over the 25 years of our practice! YMD has happy memories for him and I as I was a YWD - great to be a part of this group.
Comment by DaveC on October 5, 2008 at 10:58am
Hi, all. Any former Brass Band members here? I'd like to post (share) a photo for the Brass Band alumni page.
Comment by Mike on June 28, 2008 at 12:50am
"EX" YMD? This had to be you, Ben (ie who would create such a name for such a forum). Makes me think of "ex-con" coming from you (Oops! Did I reveal your secret!). Anyway, I can say one thing is for sure & been the most valuable since moving on to a YMD I learned that it doesn't matter how you get it done, just do it! The wisdom, beauty, & actual proof will come later as long as you kepe gohonzon at the center of your life. Buddhism makes no judgement and takes no prisoners! It's just you & the universe... Washoy! Washoy! Washoy!
Comment by Rob on March 26, 2008 at 3:05pm
I feel really fortunate to have been able to do all the YMD activities I did...gymnastics, soka group, gajokai, STK...amazing experiences that help me to this day. The bonds with the YMD from that time are really special and deep. My determination is the keep the YMD spirit alive in my life for always, and to try to support the YMD coming up (including my son) as much as I can. GO YMD!!

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