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About Us

•    What is SGM?

•    What Buddhist tradition is SGM part of?

•    What do SGM members do?

•    How does SGM contribute to society?

What is SGM?

Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) is an organisation that promotes peace in society through cultural exchanges and humanistic education, based on the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism. “Soka” means creating value. As Buddhists engaged in society, we believe that all human beings, regardless of gender, ethnicity or social standing, have the power to overcome life’s challenges and develop a life of immense value. (read more…)

What Buddhist tradition is SGM part of?

SGM members embrace Nichiren Buddhism, following a Lotus Sutra-based practice formulated by the 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren. The Lotus Sutra is considered by many in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition to be the fullest expression of the teachings of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha who was born in present-day Nepal some 2,500 years ago. The Lotus Sutra is revered for its embracing message that all people possess the Buddha nature, both men and women. The image of the pure lotus flower growing in a muddy pond symbolizes how people can develop this enlightened state of life in the midst of their daily problems and struggles. Nichiren studied all available Buddhist texts and investigated the many competing schools of Buddhism of his day before concluding that the Lotus Sutra epitomized the true compassionate intent of Shakyamuni. Today, SGM members study the letters and treatises of Nichiren and his analysis of the Lotus Sutra, as well as the Lotus Sutra itself and commentaries by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. (adapted from SGI website)

What do SGM members do?

SGM members integrate Buddhist practice into the daily rhythm of their lives. They aim to develop and strengthen their lives through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and by studying the teachings of Buddhism. The basic morning and evening practice, known as gongyo, consists of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reciting portions of the Lotus Sutra. This is usually carried out at home but can also be done together with others. The aim of this practice is to develop one's Buddha nature--the qualities of courage, wisdom and compassion--thereby tapping the energy needed to tackle one's challenges, transform one's life and contribute to the happiness of others. In Malaysia, members and guests meet to share experiences of their practice and study together at regular monthly discussion meetings. Practice naturally leads to a sense of empowerment and responsibility, and SGM members aim to positively impact the communities in which they live. (adapted from SGI website)

How does SGM contribute to society?

In the broadest sense, SGM actively promotes peace, culture and education based on a belief in positive human potential and respect for the dignity of life. These are three main levels on which SGM contributes to society. Most significant are the efforts of SGM members in their own families, societies and workplaces, where they aim to promote high ideals, help resolve conflict and support the development of capable people. In addition, local SGM branches in Malaysia undertake projects such as environmental clean-ups, displays and discussions about nonviolence or a culture of peace and cultural exchanges. At the international level, SGI is a firm supporter of the United Nations, with liaison offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna. It is active in public education with a focus on peace and disarmament, human rights and sustainable development, as well as providing humanitarian assistance in response to natural disasters and participating in interfaith activities. SGI is also engaged in various NGO networks and partnerships at the local, national and international level. (adapted from SGI website)

 

Philosophy

•    What is Nichiren Buddhism?

•    Who is Nichiren?

•    What is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?

•    What we believe?

•    Why does SGI describe itself as a lay Buddhist organization?

What is Nichiren Buddhism?

Soka Gakkai International (SGI) members put into practice the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism, a dynamic philosophy grounded in the realities of daily life.

Nichiren, a 13th century Buddhist monk centred his philosophy on the Lotus Sutra, one of the last teachings of the first historically-recorded Buddha, Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama, who lived some 2,500 years ago.

Nichiren showed that the core message of Lotus Sutra is the dignity of all life. According to this sutra, all people possess and can manifest the Buddha nature – an unlimited, inherent capacity for wisdom, courage and compassion which enables them to create value out of any situation.

Nichiren felt passionately that Buddhism should enable people living in the real world and facing real problems to become empowered and change their lives for the better. Nichiren Buddhism stresses the profound connection between one’s own happiness and the happiness of others. The greatest personal satisfaction and fulfilment in life is realised by working for the happiness of others. (read more…)

Who is Nichiren?

SGI members follow the teachings of Nichiren, a Buddhist monk who lived in 13th-century Japan. Nichiren was the son of a fisherman, born in 1222, a time rife with social unrest and natural disasters. The ordinary people, especially, suffered enormously. Nichiren wondered why the teachings of Buddhism had lost their power to enable people to lead happy, empowered lives. His intensive study of the Buddhist sutras convinced him that the Lotus Sutra contained the essence of the Buddha's enlightenment and that it held the key to transforming people's suffering and enabling society to flourish.

The Lotus Sutra affirms that all people, regardless of gender, capacity or social standing, inherently possess the qualities of a Buddha, and are therefore equally worthy of the utmost respect.

Based on his study of the sutra, Nichiren established the invocation (chant) of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a universal practice to enable people to manifest the Buddha nature inherent in their own lives and gain the strength and wisdom to challenge and overcome any adverse circumstances. Nichiren saw the Lotus Sutra as a vehicle for people's empowerment – stressing that everyone can attain enlightenment and enjoy happiness in this world. He first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on April 28, 1253, and later inscribed the mandala of the Gohonzon (the object of devotion to enable people to perceive the enlightened life state of the Buddha in graphic form). (read more…)

What is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?

"When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and the true aspect of reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p.4).

Nichiren (1222-82) established the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the way to awaken one's Buddha nature and tap into the deepest levels of our existence, on which our own lives and that of the universe are one. He first taught the invocation of the phrase to a small group at Seicho-ji temple in Awa province, Japan, on April 28, 1253.

Myoho-renge-kyo is the name of the Lotus Sutra in Japanese pronunciation of classical Chinese characters, and so the literal meaning of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is "I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra." (read more…)

What we believe?

Our core philosophy is expressed in the concept of human revolution, a process of inner transformation that centres on the idea that the causes we make through our thoughts, words and actions have influence that extends beyond their immediate context to affect the vast and complex web of life. Through undergoing an individual, inner revolution, we awaken to the responsibility we each have for our own circumstances and for our environment. This inner transformation will lead us to take the actions that bring about personal fulfilment and help us contribute to the harmony and healthy development of society.

Why does SGI describe itself as a lay Buddhist organization?

SGI does not have priests and temples, but rather lay leaders and community centers. Daily practice is carried out at home and discussion meetings are usually held on a local level in people's houses. SGI members live and work in society and integrate their practice into the daily routine of their lives. Soka Gakkai and SGI were previously affiliated with the Nichiren Shoshu (orthodox) school but now feel that Nichiren's intention of enabling all people to reveal their Buddha nature is best served through a community-based grassroots lay organization. (from SGI website)

 

Activities

•    What kind of grassroots activities is SGM involved in?

•    Why does SGM stress individual empowerment?

•    How does SGM cooperate with other religious groups?

•    Why the emphasis on culture and education?

•    How to obtain event information?

What kind of grassroots activities is SGM involved in?

SGM members are active in contributing to their local communities and see the ultimate aim of Buddhism and the SGM as the creation of a just, sustainable and peaceful world. SGM branches all over the country undertake projects suitable to the local situation and culture. This could be through cleaning a local park, holding a discussion on women's role in building peace, or showing an awareness-raising exhibition in a library. SGM focuses its education efforts on the themes of peace and disarmament, sustainable development and human rights. SGM's social engagement can also be seen in the day-to-day activities of individual SGM members who are contributing to the betterment of their communities, families and workplaces.

Viewing nuclear weapons as a threat to the right to life itself, in 2007 SGI also created the People's Decade for Nuclear Abolition, which aims to foster a global grassroots network dedicated to a nuclear-weapon-free world. (adapted from SGI website)

Why does SGM stress individual empowerment?

Buddhism emphasizes the possibility of inner transformation--a process of bringing forth our full human potential. There is a common perception that the discipline and focus necessary for such a process requires a set of ideal circumstances not available to most. Nichiren Buddhism, however, teaches that it is only by squarely facing the challenges that confront us amidst the harsh contradictions of society that we can change our own lives and the world for the better. While the role of institutions or governments is important, change that starts within each person's life is seen the surest way to tackle the problems facing the world in the 21st century. Many people feel hopeless about these issues, but SGM stresses that people have the power to change their circumstances, and its public education and outreach projects aim to inspire people and equip them with information that they can use to make a difference in their communities. (adapted from SGI website)

How does SGM cooperate with other religious groups?

SGM is engaged in interfaith dialogue and cooperation, believing that it is important for faith groups to find common ground and work together to resolve the complex issues facing humanity. In addition, SGI members regularly participate in the Parliament of the World's Religions and other interfaith forums. SGI's representative to the UN in New York served as president of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN from 2004 to 2007. (adapted from SGI website)

Why the emphasis on culture and education?

SGM promotes and conducts cultural exchanges and seeks to advance the search for common values, such as forbearance and co-existence, which are present in different forms in all cultures and traditions.

We believe that cultural exchange, while enabling human beings to cultivate their creative potential, is also the prime mover that bridges the gaps between people and links them together.

Art and music, products of human culture, embody a language understood by all people. Visual and performing artistic creations engender a sense of unity and oneness among people, thereby leading to the building of trust.

Through the common language of art and music, we can see that people everywhere are basically the same, with the same hopes and desires, worries and dreams. Through the fostering of such awareness of a common humanity and a common fate, superficial differences such as ethnicity, religion and language begin to dissolve in this sharing of feelings and emotions.

How to obtain event information?

Events, mainly held in Kuala Lumpur will be published in the "Upcoming Events" list of Soka Gakkai Malaysia website monthly.

 

Publications

•    Can I subscribe to Cosmic and Flow at any time of the year?

•    Can I provide feedback and suggestions on publications published by SGM?

•    Does SGM provide mail order services for its publications?

Can I subscribe to Cosmic and Flow at any time of the year?

Yes, you can. All you have to do download the subscription form on this website, fill it up and send it to SGM Publications Department. Upon receipt, our staff will then contact you at the earliest possible opportunity. You can send your completed form to publication@sgm.org.my or mail it to us at SGM Publications Department, Wisma Kebudayaan SGM, No. 243, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur.

Can I provide feedback and suggestions on publications published by SGM?

SGM has always believed that our readers’ feedback is valuable and is vital towards helping us produce better publications. You may send your feedback and suggestions through the following channels:

a)   Through the online feedback form; OR

b)   Write to us at:
       SGM Publications Department
       Wisma Kebudayaan SGM
       243, Jalan Bukit Bintang
       55100 Kuala Lumpur
       Malaysia.

Does SGM provide mail order services for its publications?

Yes, we do. All you have to do is fill up the online enquiry form and click “Submit”. Upon receipt, our staff will then contact you at the earlier possible opportunity.

 

Contact Information

•    Finding an SGM center.

•    SGM Facebook

Finding an SGM center.

Please check the SGM Culture Centres page on the SGM website.

SGM Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/SokaGakkaiMalaysia



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Daily Encouragement

Life isn't always smooth. If it were, we would never grow and develop as human beings. If we succeed, we are envied; if we fail, we are ridiculed and attacked. Sadly, this is how people are. Unexpected grief and suffering may lie ahead of you. But it is precisely when you encounter such trying times that you must not be defeated. Never give up. Never retreat.

Daisaku Ikeda, SGI President

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SGM Culture Centres

 

 

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