Leadership Manual

 

SGINZ

Leadership Manual

Contents

Sensei’s Messageshortcut

SGINZ Structureshortcut

Leaders Responsibilitiesshortcut

  • SGI Leaders Guidelines
  • All Leaders Responsibilities
  • Level Leadership Responsibilities
  • New Leadership Appointment Process
  • Forming New Organisational Units
  • Changes in Leadership Status

Membershipshortcut

  • Becoming a SGINZ Member
  • Omamori Gohonzons
  • Conferral Process and Speech Points

Membership Listsshortcut

  • Meeting Statistics
  • Membership Lists
  • Submission of the membership list
  • Who is listed in membership list [status of membership]
  • Leader’s living outside their District
  • Members moving into the District membership list
  • Members Moving out of the District membership list


 

Sensei’s Message

To my beloved fellow members of SGI-New Zealand,

Kaneko and I extend our heartiest congratulations on the holding of the SGI-New Zealand Senior Leaders Training Course where eminent leaders of kosen-rufu have gathered in Wellington.

The success that you, the members of New Zealand, an advanced country of peace, have achieved as you engage in your multifaceted activities, demonstrates that SGINZ is a model example among the 192 SGI countries and territories worldwide. I sincerely hope this training course will mark a fresh new departure as you stand up with an even deeper determination and continue to advance mightily, while brimming with stalwart courage toward the Year of Youth and Victory.

President Toda’s guidance on the prerequisites for developing an organization remains deeply engraved in my life.

He said first, the members of the organization must be “perfectly united with the spirit of many in body, one in mind” and share a “beautiful camaraderie based on the oneness of mentor and disciple.” Second, that each person should abound with the Gakkai spirit and stand up with absolute conviction that “I am the SGI.” All of you have set an example for the world. Please eternally safeguard your solid unity. Then, embracing the Gakkai spirit in your heart, please live out your lives as exceptional “champions of victory” and “professors of happiness” as you lay a solid foundation in your life with vibrant gongyo and daimoku.

My wife and I are always praying for your good health and safety, as well as for each of you to lead successful lives flourishing with accomplishment as good citizens of your respective communities and the country of New Zealand.

Upon your return home, please convey our warmest regards to your family and local members. Please stay hale and hearty!

Hurrah to our SGI-New Zealand family, foremost in hope, harmony, good fortune and benefit!

 

November 29, 2008

Daisaku and Kaneko Ikeda


 

SGINZ Structure

Introduction

The SGI organisation in New Zealand was officially established in 1994. Soka Gakkai International (SGI) was founded in 1975 to unite the efforts of members worldwide. All of the SGI’s activities are devoted to the promotion of peace, culture and education, based on the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.

The Preamble to the Charter of the Soka Gakkai International states: “We believe that Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, a humanistic philosophy of infinite respect for the sanctity of life and all-encompassing compassion, enables individuals to cultivate and bring forth their inherent wisdom and, nurturing the creativity of the human spirit, to surmount the difficulties and crises facing humankind and realize a society of peaceful and prosperous coexistence.”

Divisions

To be able to best support each SGINZ member our organisation is organised into ‘Divisions’ these are the:

Future Division:

  • Young Mothers/ Young Parent’s Group (Buddha Babes) (0-4 years old)
  • Soaring Eagles Group – Future Group (5-10 years old)
  • Unlimited Horizon Group (11-14 years old)

Youth Division:

  • Young Women’s Division – YWD (Women 15-40 years)
  • Young Men’s Division – YMD (Men 15-40 years)
  • Students (Tertiary students)

Women’s Division – WD (Women 40+, Mothers & graduates from YWD)

Men’s Division – MD (Men 40+ & graduates from YMD)

 

Groups

Various special groups (both official and unofficial) have been set up in New Zealand to enable members to develop their faith in Nichiren Buddhism and contribute to our SGI activities; for example the Kowhai and VCG (Value Creation Group) groups provide training opportunities to work behind the scenes to support activities and protect our organisations members.

Organisation

Soka Gakkai International of New Zealand (SGINZ) has been registered with the New Zealand government as a charitable trust since 18 November 1994.

Trustees

A Board of Trustees is appointed by SGI. The trustees are responsible for all legal and financial aspects of the organisation.

General Director

A General Director is appointed by SGI to lead the organisation. The General Director is also a trustee.

National Planning Committee (NPC)

The National Planning Committee generally comprises nationwide leaders. The committee holds monthly meetings to plan and coordinate nationwide activities and to process appointments and new applications presented. Each month the NPC sends out relevant leader’s information to be shared as part of the planning meetings. Leaders and members are able to raise any relevant events or issues etc. to the NPC through their divisional national representative.

General structure

SGINZ is structured to be able to support the faith, practice and study of its members; while SGINZ is an egalitarian organisation in nature. The general structure is presented from National to Group for ease of understanding.

Public Relations (PR) Department

This group takes an active role in major events involving the public, such as by facilitating publicity, communicating with local government and dignitaries, and by organizing the openings of exhibitions etc.

Study Department

The Study Department organizes study promotion throughout the country. Key activities include regular study presentations, providing support for SGINZ training courses, providing study materials to encourage members’ faith and practice and holding study examinations to encourage us in our study of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

Focus Team

The Focus is SGI New Zealand’s organ publication which the Focus team creates each month and is available by subscription (preferred) or from an SGINZ centre. This is the primary source of President Ikeda’s guidance and New Zealand study and experiences; articles from the Focus are also used as source material for many of our monthly meetings in each district.

Celebrants

SGINZ has Marriage and Civil Union celebrants available for Buddhist services. At least one member of the couple must be an SGINZ member. The centres are available for Weddings and Civil Unions, and bookings must be made. Local district leaders and members should support the couple.

SGINZ does not currently have dedicated Funeral Celebrants, but the centres are available for Memorial Services. Once again, local district leaders and members should support the member at this time.

Donations

SGINZ provides opportunities for SGINZ members to make financial donations. These are completely voluntary, and members are encouraged to use common sense when making them. General donations can be made at any time. Commemorative Donation periods are twice yearly, in May and November. Members can also make a pledge towards donation amount for the year (Zaimu). Donations can be made at a local centre and online. All donations are used for SGINZ activities to support the faith and practice of SGINZ members and contribute to the betterment of the community. SGINZ accepts donations by members only. Please refer to the “Joy of Offering”.

SGINZ Facilities

Centres are established in various areas to provide facilities for organisational activities:

  • SGI New Zealand Culture Centre

Centres are also in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. See website www.sginz.org for details.

Our centres are run on a volunteer basis, with volunteers performing, for example, reception and cleaning; and the centres are financially supported by members’ contributions.


Leaders Responsibilities

SGI Leaders Guidelines

The SGI is a body that is spreading the correct Law throughout the world based on the true teachings of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin. The SGI organisation exists to encourage faith of “many in body, one in mind”.

The spirit of oneness of mentor and disciple that the first three Soka Gakkai presidents have maintained, and their actions in selflessly propagating the Law without begrudging their lives, are our eternal prime point and our proud standard.

The SGI promotes correct faith, practice and study based on the humanism of Buddhism and the guidance of the first three presidents, with the aim of accomplishing world peace and contributing to the happiness of all humankind.

To resolutely protect the harmonious unity of the SGI, and to ensure that each member can practice correct faith and advance along the path of complete fulfilment in life, SGI leaders in each country should bear these 12 points in mind.

 

  1. Maintain a harmonious organisation based on mutual consent.
  2. Conduct steady propagation activities based on established SGI membership guidelines, while encouraging new members’ growth in faith.
  3. Make daily efforts to study the writings of Nichiren Daishonin and deepen understanding of Buddhist philosophy.
  4. Study the guidance of SGI President Ikeda.
  5. Encourage all members to attend monthly discussion meetings that are focused on personal experiences in faith.
  6. Cherish the youth and foster successors.
  7. Promote four-divisional unity, taking care to respect the opinions of women.
  8. Promote activities to disassociate followers from the Nikken Sect.
  9. Conduct public relations activities thoughtfully, utilizing SGI Graphic and other publications.
  10. Contribute to the community as model citizens.
  11. Those who invite criticism or cause trouble to the membership as a result of engaging in irresponsible financial dealings, sexual misconduct or the like, shall be subject to dismissal from their positions of leadership and removal from the organisation.
  12. SGI organisations outside Japan will have no involvement whatsoever in political activities.

All Leaders Responsibilities

 

Communication

Communication is the lifeblood of leadership. As leaders we should take action to communicate with our members and other leaders by:

  1. Communicating the activity schedule and information to members. It is from the leadership line to the group leader from which members receive much of their information about upcoming activities.
  2. Encouraging members’ participation in activities; especially district discussion meetings.
  3. Communicating with the leaders we share a responsibility with – for example our vice leader, the other group leaders in our group, the other district leaders in our district.
  4. Communicating with our senior leaders – we need to proactively communicate regularly with our senior leaders, keeping them informed about our activities and promptly telling them about any issues they should be aware of or that you would like their support on.

Four Divisional Teamwork

Work together with the other divisional level leaders to organize and hold SGI meetings, taking full responsibility for kosen-rufu in the local area as a team. It is recommended that each level leadership team meets once a month to discuss planning and the progress of the district.

 

Planning

Participate in regular leaders planning meetings with other four divisional leaders to coordinate activity efforts, reporting, planning and holding of meetings. Participate in divisional planning meetings.

 

Publications

Read and share articles from the Focus (our national publication) and other SGI publications. Promote subscriptions to, and reading of, the Focus.

 

Level Leadership Responsibilities

In addition to general leaders responsibilities each leadership level has specific responsibilities. Note: These guidelines should be applied with flexibility according to the situation.

 

Group leaders

The primary role of Group leaders is to visit and encourage divisional members in the group.

  • Encourage members in “faith equals daily life.” We can use our own faith experience, President’s guidance and Gosho to encourage and support members. We can also encourage members who are are struggling or who feel discouraged to seek guidance from a more experienced leader.
  • Foster friendships with group members through communication and visits.
  • Accompany divisional District leaders on home visits to encourage members.
  • Encourage and also actively participate in propagation efforts, study, financial contribution and promote subscription and reading of Focus publication.

District leaders

The primary role of the District leader is to coordinate district activities with other leaders and support divisional Group leaders and members.

  • Home visit and support divisional group leaders in fulfilling their responsibilities, with emphasis on group meetings and home visits. Also foster capable Group leaders.
  • Home visit divisional members, with divisional Group (or Chapter) leaders where possible.
  • Encourage members in “faith equals daily life.” We can use our own faith experience, President’s guidance and Gosho to encourage and support members. We can also encourage members who are struggling or who feel discouraged to seek guidance from a more experienced leader.
  • Assist and communicate with the divisional Chapter leader.
  • Maintain membership contact information and report updates to divisional Chapter leader regularly and report attendance statistics monthly.
  • Encourage and also actively participate in propagation efforts, study, financial contribution and promote subscription and reading of Focus publication.

 

Chapter leaders

The primary role of the Chapter leader is to support the districts within the chapter and coordinate planning and activities with other leaders and support divisional leaders and members.

  • Communicate, coordinate, plan and implement any activities held on a chapter basis such as general meetings with other divisional Chapter leaders.
  • Take full responsibility for the chapter and work as a team with the other Chapter leaders.
  • Home visit and support divisional District leaders in fulfilling their responsibilities, with emphasis on divisional meetings and home visits. Also foster capable divisional leaders.
  • Provide guidance in faith to chapter divisional members.
  • Maintain membership contact information and report updates to divisional General Chapter leader regularly and report attendance statistic monthly.
  • Encourage and also actively participate in propagation efforts, study, financial contribution and promote subscription and reading of Focus publication.
  • Support and attend group and district meetings.

General Chapter Leaders

The primary role of the General Chapter leader is to support the chapters and districts within the area and coordinate planning and activities with other leaders and support divisional leaders and members.

  • Communicate, coordinate, plan and implement any activities held on a General Chapter basis with other General Chapter leaders.
  • Take full responsibility for the area and work as a team with the other General Chapter leaders.
  • Home visit and support divisional Chapter leaders in fulfilling their responsibilities, with emphasis on Divisional meetings and home visits. Also foster capable divisional leaders.
  • Provide guidance in faith to General Chapter divisional members.
  • Maintain membership contact information and report updates to divisional HQ leader regularly and report attendance statistic monthly.
  • Encourage and also actively participate in propagation efforts, study, financial contribution and promote subscription and reading of Focus publication.
  • Support and attend group and district meetings.

 

Headquarter Leaders

The primary role of the Headquarter leader is to support members and leaders and coordinate Headquarter activities.

  • Communicate, coordinate, plan and implement any activities held on a Headquarter basis with other divisional Headquarter leaders. Carry out long-range activity planning
  • Take full responsibility for the area and work as a team with the other area leaders.
  • Home visit and encourage divisional leaders in fulfilling their responsibilities.
  • Emphasize divisional meetings and home visits. Also foster capable divisional leaders.
  • Provide guidance in faith to divisional members and leaders.
  • Support development of districts, chapters and general chapters through training and personal action, including fostering capable divisional leaders.
  • Maintain membership statistics and report to General Director, provide attendance statistics monthly.
  • Encourage and also actively participate in propagation efforts, study, financial contribution and promote subscription and reading of Focus publication.
  • Support and attend group and district meetings.
  • Undertake specific individual assignments at district or chapter level to maintain direct involvement with members. Where there are no Chapter/General Chapter leaders Headquarter leaders should support by acting as the divisional Chapter/General Chapter leader.
  • Provide administrative support to the General Chapter/Chapter leaders and actively participate in propagation efforts, study, financial contributions and promoting subscription and reading of Focus publication.
  • Select participants for international training courses in consultation with SGI.
  • Communicate with President Ikeda regularly.

New Leadership Appointment Process

Appointment Guidelines

When making leadership appointments we should consider:

  • The best solution for the sake of the members
  • How to provide more effective support to members’ practice of faith
  • The best role for the person being considered as a leader
  • Leaders should be placed where they can make the greatest contribution; taking into consideration each person’s unique character, capability and potential in relation to supporting members’ faith and working with other leaders.
  • Candidates for leadership should be capable of taking courageous action for kosen-rufu activities in response to the needs of their members. However, we should consider each candidate’s individual time constraints, family situation, financial condition and personal health.
  • The best for the organisation overall.
  • Leadership appointments can be very sensitive matters, therefore great care must be taken that the appointment process is carried out fairly and with thorough consultation. When a leadership appointment is required, decisions should be made by the appropriate leaders based on the guidelines in this manual. Decisions should be made fairly and free of favouritism or prejudice.
  • Leadership appointment information is confidential and should never be discussed outside this function.
  • Major organisational changes should be made together at the same time in order to minimize disruption.
  • In general it is desirable that leaders are promoted sequentially through the leadership levels, that is, from the group leader to district, district to chapter and so on.

 

All potential leaders should be:

  • Doing gongyo and chanting daimoku.
  • Regularly attending meetings.
  • Subscribing to the Focus.
  • Determined to embrace the Gohonzon throughout our lives.
  • Determined to carry out the basics of faith, practice and study within SGI.

Appointing New Leaders

On the recommendation of SGI, SGINZ has established a new leadership appointment process and Personnel Committee. The Oceania Personnel Committee (OPC) which includes Mr Sasaki and Oceania Leaders will provide an added decision level of for all District and above proposed appointments.

 

Proposed by Recommendation (1) Recommendation (2) Decided by
Group District Chapter General Chapter
District Chapter General Chapter HQ OPC
Chapter General Chapter HQ OPC SGI Japan
General Chapter HQ OPC SGI Japan
HQ General Director OPC SGI Japan

 

The new appointment proposal and decision making process will be as follows:

 

Group Leader appointments

  1. District Leaders recommend the appointment to the Chapter Leaders
  2. Chapter Leaders recommend the appointment to the General Chapter Leaders
  3. General Chapter Leaders make the decision about the appointment.

 

District appointments

  1. Chapter Leaders recommend the appointment to the General Chapter Leaders
  2. General Chapter Leaders recommend the appointment to the divisional HQ leader
  3. Divisional HQ leader presents the proposal to the Personnel Committee
  4. Personnel Committee makes the decision about the appointment. (The district leader is very important which is why the Personnel Committee makes the final decision, rather than the HQ).

 

Chapter appointments

  1. General Chapter Leaders recommend the appointment to the Headquarters Leaders
  2. Headquarters Leaders recommend the appointment to the Personnel Committee
  3. Personnel Committee makes the decision about the appointment.

 

General Chapter Appointments

  1. Headquarters Leaders recommend the appointment to the Personnel Committee
  2. Personnel Committee recommends the appointment to SGI Japan
  3. SGI Japan makes the decision about the appointment.

 

HQ leaders can make proposals to the Personnel Committee via email and need to include a realistic timeframe. The Personnel Committee will make decisions on leadership proposals by face-to-face meeting or conference call.

 

Process for Appointing New Leaders

 

  • Consultation
    1. Proposal level divisional leader discuss idea to appoint new leader within own division, up to HQ (for example, the proposal for a new YMD group leader is discussed within the YMD leaders from the relevant district leader to the YMD HQ leader
    2. If all support, proceed to proposal
    3. Keep the proposal confidential
  • Proposal
    1. Proposal level divisional leader discusses idea to appoint new leader with other proposal level divisional leaders (for example all four divisional chapter leaders discuss and agree the proposal for a new district leader
    2. If all support, the proposal level divisional leader tells the next level – the recommendation level 1 divisional leader
    3. Keep the proposal confidential
  • Recommendation
    1. Recommendation level 1 divisional leader discusses the idea to appoint the new leader with the other four divisional recommendation level 1 divisional leaders
    2. If all support, complete the SGINZ Leadership Recommendation Form, seeking some of the information from the office
    3. the division takes the proposal (and the form) to the recommendation level 2 leaders
    4. The four divisional recommendation level 2 leaders discuss the proposed appointment
    5. If all support, proceed to the decision level
    6. Keep the proposal confidential
  • Decision
    1. In most cases the decision level is the Oceania Personnel Committee (OPC) or SGI Japan
    2. It may take some time to process the recommendation
    3. Keep the proposal confidential
  • Visit and interview
    1. Two leaders (usually divisional leaders from proposal and recommendation level 1) home visit and interview the proposed leader in person
    2. During the visit they share the proposal with the proposed leader, explaining the meaning, process and any implications of the proposal.  (This is the first the proposed leader has heard about the proposal.)
    3. If accepted, ask the new leader to keep the proposal confidential until announced
    4. Proposal level divisional leader completes Leadership Details form for the appointment and submits it to the office
    5. Inform only those involved in the appointment process that the appointment will go ahead (otherwise keep it confidential)
    6. Choose the time and place for the official announcement of the new leader
  • Announcement
  1. A leader from a recommendation level or above announces the new leadership position at time/place previously decided
  2. The new position is effective from the time it is announced
  3. GC (or HQ if applicable) updates the organisation chart Google doc

 

NOTE: For District Leader appointments the leader from the Personnel Committee (the decision making level) is not required to home visit the candidate. This can be delegated to vice HQ or GC leaders.

 

Leaders form: This should be completed by the candidate after agreeing to accept the responsibility, then forwarded divisionally to the National Planning Committee (NPC). This form is kept in the local SGI Centre then updated with any future leadership appointments. Leadership forms are available on line at www.sginz.org/forms, or by email or hardcopy divisionally.

 

“You may not know what to do yet, but you can learn as you go. What you’ll need, first and foremost, is a strong determination to help each person in the district become happy. You should also try to become someone whom everyone can talk to, always thinking about how to enable each person to bring forth his or her potential. From now on, the organization in Hawaii will develop to the extent that you pray sincerely and take action. All your efforts will turn into your own benefit and good fortune.”

President Ikeda, The New Human Revolution Vol. 1 – Sunrise

Forming New Organisational Units

“Anyone can set up a chapter. But that by itself is meaningless. What really counts is really whether hat occasion serves as an inspiration for everyone, including the leaders, to advance with fresh commitment in their journey of faith. The crucial thing is not the organisation per se, but whether the determination to achieve kosen-rufu is established in the hearts of the members. The way to achieve this is to keep on making earnest efforts to encourage and support each person; to engage in inspiring discussions with them with one’s entire heart and being.”

President Ikeda, The New Human Revolution Vol. 6 -Long Journey

Groups, districts, chapters, etc are created in response to the current situation where more effective support would assist the members’ practice. This can happen only when there are capable people ready to take up new responsibility. Just because a district or chapter is getting large is not sufficient reason to create new groups, districts or chapters. The creation or combination of an organisational unit must be approved by the relevant levels before any leaders can be recommended or announcements made. Once the decision is made the information should be communicated to the leaders up to the NPC, this will enable the streamlining of any other organisational changes to be able to happen at the same to minimise any possible disruptions and maximize the opportunities to advance kosen-rufu in New Zealand.

 

New Unit Level Proposal Level* Decision Level*
Group District Chapter + General Chapter
District Chapter General Chapter + Headquarter
Chapter General Chapter Headquarter + NPC
General Chapter Headquarter NPC + Japan

 

*Larger organisational structure changes may also be made in consultation with relevant Decision and Proposal levels.

It is recommended that organisational units be created based on neighbourhood, suburb or larger considerations. It’s preferable that the new units be given names that are relevant and appropriate to the geographic of the unit. Use of such names facilitates understanding and communication.

 

SGINZ Structure Guide

These numbers are not presented as rules but as guidelines for leaders in developing the organisational units for which they are and should be applied according to the circumstances:

Structure Total Members Discussion Attendance
Headquarter 2 – 5 General Chapters 1000+ n/a
General Chapter 3 – 6 chapters 240 – 400 150 – 300
Chapter 2 – 4 districts 80 – 150 50 – 80
District 2 – 4 groups 30 – 50 15 -25
Group Members & Friends 10 – 15 5 – 9

Changes in Leadership Status

If a current leader has a change in personal circumstance their position may be reviewed and a vacancy created for a new leader to be appointed. Common changes in leadership status are:

New assignment

Existing leader is appointed to new responsibilities within the organisation. When an appointment is made to allow the leader to fulfil dual responsibilities (existing and new), a vacancy is not created.

Vice leaders

In some circumstances, it may be necessary to appoint a vice leader to support the current central figure.

Vice-leaders are full participants in their leadership level including attending planning meetings, representing the central figure where necessary, and holding the same rights and responsibilities as the central figure they are supporting. Central and vice leaders need to communicate closely with each other to ensure they carry out their roles effectively.

Advisor positions

Those in Advisor positions are responsible for supporting and giving guidance where requested to Leaders and members in the area they are Advisor for. They may attend leaders planning meetings if they wish, but this is not necessary. They may also attend training courses.

Transfer / graduation

When a current leader transfers out of the assigned organisational unit due to change in personal life (e.g. moving to a new city), or graduates from the youth division to the men’s or’s division.

  • When changing divisions, any divisional leadership responsibility is not transferable or applicable to the new division. If transferring for personal reasons the transferring leader will not necessarily be recommended for any responsibility with the new organisational unit. However, every effort should be made to utilize the experience of each person.
  • If a group divisional leader moves house to live in another district, they will not necessarily become a group divisional leader in the new district. If a district divisional leader moves to live in another district, depending on the situation, that leader may be expected in the short term to continue their SGI activities in the district they formerly lived in, and therefore may have to travel more to fulfil their responsibilities. In the longer term, the district divisional leader should try to raise a capable successor from within the district.
  • A minimum of 3 months should pass following movement from one regional area to another before recommendation for leadership responsibility in the new location.

 

Resignation

Leaders may resign for personal reasons. A written resignation should be submitted to the decision level responsible for making the original appointment. Home visit and interview should be carried out by the decision level in order for leaders to better understand the reason for the decision to resign, to ensure that there are no ill feelings, to express appreciation for past, and to encourage him or her toward the future.

 

Absentee leadership

When leaders leave their area of responsibility for a total period of 6 months or more in a one year period, their leadership responsibility will end. If possible, communication will occur with that leader before their leadership ends.

Inactive leaders

Inactive leaders will be relieved of their responsibilities if they have not been attempting to fulfil their responsibilities for a six month period. A review should be made after three months inactivity. During this period decision-level leaders should home visit and encourage the inactive leader two or three times. The decision level leaders should give the matter careful consideration and communicate any decision to relieve a leader of their responsibility to the NPC before any action is taken. A home visit should be carried out by the decision level leaders. Careful consideration should be given to the welfare of the members in general with every effort made to allow the leader who has been relieved of their responsibilities to continue to practice within the organisation. Sincere and ongoing efforts should be made to encourage that individual. We should never forget the faith of the person involved.


 

Membership

Becoming an SGINZ Member

If a new chanter would like to become a member they need to fill in the Gohonzon / Membership Application form that includes the following criteria:

(The Gohonzon/Membership form is available on the website – www.sginz.org/forms)

I would like to receive the Gohonzon and/or SGINZ membership

On this occasion, I make the following pledge: I pledge to embrace the Gohonzon throughout my life and to dedicate myself to faith, practice and study in exact accord with Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings based upon the guidance in faith in the SGI and the membership provisions of SGINZ.

I confirm that I meet the following criteria

  • I do gongyo regularly
  • I have been chanting for at least three months
  • I have consistently attended one or more meetings monthly for at least the last three months

I would like to receive the Gohonzon and meet the following criteria

  • I have an area set up where the Gohonzon will be enshrined
  • I have the agreement of the people that live in the same place to have the Gohonzon enshrined there
  • I am aged at least 18

I would like to give a donation to SGINZ in gratitude for being able to receive the Gohonzon.

 

(a) I request to receive SGINZ membership and the normal sized [Okatagi] Gohonzon

(b) I request to receive SGINZ membership (as a family member’s Gohonzon is already enshrined in our home)

 

Note: All applications are considered on a case by case basis.

Omamori Gohonzons

Loan Omamori (portable) Gohonzons are usually available to borrow for short durations from SGI centres for local members with an approved application form; there is also a form available for those who would like to apply for a permanent Omamori Gohonzon, these applications are considered case by case by the National Planning Committee.

 

Conferral Process and Speech Points

When a new membership application is approved the Gohonzon is conferred at an SGI meeting usually by the Divisional District or Senior Leader on this special day for the new member. At this meeting it is important to share from your heart the significance of receiving the Gohonzon. Please try to include the following points.

  • Today you are making a great cause for your future happiness. Include Brief explanation of the Gohonzon (for the benefit of any family and friends attending).

3 Points:

  • 1. Embrace the Gohonzon throughout your life
  • 2. Carry out faith, practice and study in accord with Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings
  • 3. Continue to practice within the SGI, making Nichiren Daishonin’s and Daisaku Ikeda’s spirit your own.

 

Here are some quotes you may like to use:

Because life is long, you should not be impatient. What matters most is that you embrace the Gohonzon throughout your life.”1

To accept is easy; to continue is difficult. But Buddhahood lies in continuing faith.”2

Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.”3

When we chant to the Gohonzon, our lives fall in rhythm with the fundamental law of the universe, enabling us to manifest tremendous life-force and putting us on a sure course to happiness.”4

Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere yourself; you must also teach others. Both practice and study arise from faith.”5

The great pure Law of the Lotus Sutra will be spread far and wide throughout Japan and all the other countries of Jambudvipa.”6

This Gohonzon is the essence of the Lotus Sutra and the eye of all the scriptures. It is like the sun and the moon in the heavens, a great ruler on earth, the heart in a human being, the wish-granting jewel among treasures, and the pillar of a house. When we have this mandala with us, it is a rule that all the Buddhas and gods will gather round and watch over us, protecting us like a shadow day and night, just as warriors guard their ruler, as parents love their children, as fish rely on water, as trees and grasses crave rain, and as birds depend on trees. You must trust in it with all your heart.”7

1 On 25 February 1990. Quoted for 2 February in “For Today and Tomorrow: daily encouragement”

2 “The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith” WND Vol 1, p471

3 “The Real Aspect of The Gohonzon” WND Vol 1 p832

4 The New Human Revolution Vol 19 Chapter 3, “Sunlight” 24

5 “The True Aspect of All Phenomena” WND Vol 1 p836

6 “The Selection of the Time” WND Vol 1, p550

7 “On Upholding Faith in the Gohonzon” WND Vol 1, p624


 

Membership Lists

 

(Please note that members should be encouraged to practice in their local districts where they live, but of course this may not always be possible.)

Meeting Statistics

Each District has a person responsible for recording the monthly meeting attendance to an online spread sheet, this information is a useful ‘barometer’ and is used in quarterly activity reports to Sensei.

Membership Lists

The membership list should be maintained divisionally by District (FG, UHG YMD, UHG YWD, MD, WD, YMD, YWD). The membership list should be treated with confidentiality. Existing lists are available divisionally and provide the format.

Membership lists should be made and updated by following leaders:

Division – P.I.C.

  • FG – District WD leader
  • UHG YMD – District YMD leader
  • UHG YWD – District YWD leader
  • MD – District MD leader
  • WD – District WD leader
  • YMD – District YMD leader
  • YWD – District YWD leader

(If district leader is vacant, chapter leader should take care of the members list.)

 

Submission of the membership list

This list is updated and submitted to Membership Statistics PIC in each Chapter and General Chapter.

 

Who is listed in membership list [status of membership]

  • Member– refers to those who have received the Gohonzon or have participated in the membership ceremony. Also includes members from overseas whose intended length of stay in New Zealand is more than one year and who has a letter of introduction and have completed a SGINZ members form.
  • Overseas Member– an overseas member who has the Gohonzon or has participated in a membership ceremony in another country. But whose intended length of stay in New Zealand is one year or less and who have a letter of introduction and completed a members form. (such as members with working holiday visa, one year student visa or tourist visa)
  • Friends– friends or guests who have started chanting and attending activities and what to be informed about regular activities. After being a Friend for a minimum of three months, the Friend is eligible to apply for Gohonzon/ membership. Note the criteria for receiving Gohonzon/membership. Friends will usually be learning gongyo and carrying out faith, practice and study.
  • Overseas– members who moved to overseas to stay there. membership status become ‘Overseas’

 

Gohonzon and Omamori Gohonzon column in membership list

Please tick in Gohonzon/Omamori column of members who personally received Gohonzon/ Omamori. Please do not tick if the Gohonzon was received by other family members or partner.

 

Leader’s living outside their District

Each Leaders address in organisation should be listed in district membership list where they have activities no matter if their physical address is outside this area.

 

Members moving into the District membership list

When members move into the district, they should be included in membership list and an update sent to Membership Statistics PIC, this applies for:

  • New members who receive Gohonzon/membership.
  • Members from overseas.
  • Lost-contact-members who are found in this District.
  • Friends who practice SGI activities as mentioned above.

 

Members Moving out of the District membership list

When members move out of the District, the Membership Statistics PIC should be updated, this applies for:

  • Members moving to another district, in this case the Membership Statistics PIC should be updated with the Members information to pass to the relevant new leader. Deletion from membership list will be done after confirmation from the Membership Statistics PIC and District who welcomes the new member.
  • If a members moves overseas the member status should be changed from ‘Member’ to ‘Overseas’ and the members details remains in that district list.
  • Deceased members, the member is deleted from the District list and a report to the Membership Statistics PIC is made.
  • Members who have moved out long ago or lost contact members, in this case the district leader to needs to check the former address and consult with the person who introduced the member or is a closed friend.
  • A Member returning a Gohonzon should be reported and approved by the General Director before deleting from the District membership list.

 

Published February 2015

 

All photo’s by President Ikeda, courtesy of http://www.daisakuikeda.org