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Soka Gakkai: Engaged Buddhism In North America

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Chapter Summary

Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist lay organization, draws its inspiration from the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, a monk who lived in 13th-century Japan. Along with reliance on the many textual resources available, this chapter is based on interviews and participant observation with the Edmonton, Alberta chapter of Soka Gakkai International-Canada. There are many reasons for studying Soka Gakkai. As a social movement, it has been particularly successful in creating a large, diverse, and geographically scattered membership. It also appears to have successfully managed the transition from an emergent to a mature movement. Soka Gakkai has expanded its horizons outside of Japan, not only through a growing international membership, but also by the creation of diplomatic relationships, a focus on global issues, and its alignment with prestigious organizations like the United Nations.

Keywords: Buddhist lay organization; Japan; Nichiren Daishonin; social movement; Soka Gakkai; United Nations

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