Youth Taiko Drummers ready at Liacouras Center, Temple University, Philadelphia. Courtesy Richard Wiseman
It was an exodus by bus, of several hundred youth, accompanied by chaperones from the Men's and Women's Divisions from Miami, Florida. Like 10,000 other Buddhists that morning they arose in the wee hours of Saturday to arrive non-stop to Temple University, Liacouras Center in Philadelphia for the cumination of Rock the Era on Sunday, July 25th, 2010, an 80th anniversary celebration for the Soka Gakkai International USA (SGI-USA) Buddhist Lay Organization in America.
Fostered by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, recipient of innumerable honorary doctorates and awards from countless nations and universities. This event, a magnanimous example of youth and unity, was led exclusively by the Youth Division of the Soka Gakkai International USA. There were also Women's Division, Men's Division and Elementary School Divisions who supported the Youth Division for this gala event from rides to chaperones to hugs and encouragement. By the time the event began they gathered 11,000 strong for a celebration of Peace. In a meaningful and symbolic exhibition of responsibility for the future, Buddhist youth practiced diligently every weekend for this major cultural event. Foregoing the malls, the movies and video games there were parallel practices from East Coast to West Coast where young women and young men volunteered to be a part of this historic celebration.
Men Division volunteers Alvin Gibson and Richard Wiseman. Courtesy Richard Wiseman
Such a memorable experience, in the spirit of Buddhist practice, will return tenfold to the lives
of all who participated. Carried out as a great cause for the future it will remain a milestone
of historical significance for future generations. Just as Buddhism teaches that life is an
eternal thread that continues throughout time, "Rock the Era" is a continuation of the thread that
began in America when pioneer Buddhists, such as the Japanese war brides, first helped to spread
Nichiren Buddhism throughout America.
Rock the Era Celebrations took place from coast to coast, happening on July 10, 2010 in both
Chicago, Illinois' Central Division and Long Beach, California's Western Division. Now that the SGI Youth Division have accepted the baton and raised the banner for the future this is only the beginning of this next phase of a grand peace movement to "Rock the Era: Dream Big! Change the World" Stay tuned to the SGI Buddhist Youth!