I am a member of SGI-UK – the UK branch of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a socially engaged Buddhist movement based on the teachings of the 13th century Buddhist teacher Nichiren.
At the heart of the philosophy is a concept known as human revolution, whereby the inner change sparked by Buddhist practice leads to courage, compassion and wisdom, fostering fulfilled individuals with a wish to contribute to creating a better world.
Local SGI-UK meeting in Hampshire and Isle of Wight
Throughout the UK there are local discussion meeting groups where people can find out about how to practise and apply Buddhism in their daily lives.
I look after 130 members in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and we have five groups in the Southampton area and five groups in the Portsmouth area.
Why do I practise Buddhism
I started practising over 25 years ago when I was going through a painful divorce. I had known about SGI as my sister had been practising for some years and I met a Buddhist friend of hers, who later became my wife. It was strange because our daughters already knew each other at their Junior school!
The two families merged (I had custody of my three and Sue’s daughter) and they have all now grown up and living their lives with their own partners and we now have three grandchildren.
As I approach the frightening age of 64 I am really proud of them all and so grateful that we have all survived!
What does our Buddhist practice involve?
It may seem strange that we don’t meditate like other Buddhists but there are many different forms of Buddhism.
We do not have a local centre but we do hold discussion meetings each month and anyone is welcome to come along and we are always open to giving talks or meeting groups who are interested in our philosophy.
How to take responsibility for your life
I guess one of the reasons that I started practising was because Buddhism is about taking responsibility for our lives.
We can’t blame our situation on anyone or anything except ourselves and we chant to overcome our challenges. It is quite empowering.
If you would like to know more please contact me or visit SGI-UK. Our SGI-UK centre is at Taplow Court, near Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 0ER.
Video: Origins of Buddhism: A short film tracing the historical flow of Buddhism from Shakyamuni in India to the 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren.
About David Vane
Founder member at Solent Business Growth Network.
Secretary at Southampton Council of Faiths.
I represent the Buddhist community on the Southampton Council of Faiths (SCOF) as well as representing SCOF on SACRE, Solent Interfaith, Hampshire Interfaith.
I am also Buddhist advisor to the Mayor of Southampton.