5/17/2014 11:19:00 pm

New Dawn project- 1st meeting

This year's FD (future division) theme would be "Be the Light of the New Dawn". The committee for my RHQ had launched a May/June project called New Dawn.
(By the way that's what I would call it until I hear some other name that it's been called. New Dawn sounds really nice though, it's also the name of our new FD Theme Song.
1) Deepen the student's understanding of Buddhism
2) Strengthen student's faith in practice.

We started as usual with gongyo and five minutes (or was it ten minutes? I'm not sure, I don't time the time I chant) daimoku. Following that we (awkwardly) sat in our 4 groups. Let me see, these were the group names I think: Bodhisattva, Wisdom, Happiness (I think), and Buddhahood. At first there were, like, eight groups, but there were too few people in some groups, so we 'merged', so in the end I had a number that was between 10 and 20 people. Somewhere in the middle, probably. We very very very very  slowly formed a circle and did some icebreakers*, the usual Name, School, CCA (extracurriculum activity in school; for example Scouts, Football, Band etc), and then 'Two Truths One Lie'. (I assume you know how the game goes by the title... if you don't see side note two ** down there.)

The next game was quite interesting. I don't remember the name for it, or whether there was name for this game at all. This was how it went: The players groups would sit in lines in their own groups, so in this case we would have 4 lines (four groups remember), and the person at the very front would be shown something to draw. He or she would try to interpret and draw on their own piece of paper, which would be passed to the next person in the line and given five seconds for that second person to see, and the second person would have to interpret and draw and pass down the copy to the next person, who would do the same, until the interpretation of the drawing is passed down to the last person. That unlucky (or lucky, since he/she didn't have to draw) would have to guess what the drawing was meant to be. Confusing? I know.

We took quite a long time to finish two drawings (which were related to Gakkai practise), so we moved on to the next activity, which was sadly not a game. Afterwards it was the introduction to the SGI flag, which was this:

"25 years ago (2014-25=1989), Soka Gakkai's third president Ikeda Sensei created a flag originally for the Women Division. It was a tricolour flag of bright red, yellow, and blue, with an emblem of a white lily flower in the middle. Simply waving the flag brightened up the scene. The SGI flag was then created based on the Women Division flag.

The red of the flag stands for victory, yellow for glory and blue for peace. SGI members everywhere have been advancing cheerfully, waving this tricolour flag." (SSA Creative Life May, page 60) [Uhm I didn't direct copy and paste from the magazine, just so you know ;)]

A speaker introduced some objects on the Butsudan (Buddhist altar), and then we talked about Shoten Zenjin. A shoten zenjin is not a god, gatekeeper, or anything like that. It can be anyone you know, friends, family, strangers, who help you when you need it. Some FD ICs acted out a short skit, where this NS (army) guy who did Gongyo every day even during NS went to a 9 day fieldcamp and when he was cleaning his rifle before his short break, he realised that he had lost his rifle pin (some small small part in a rifle). Fortunately, someone who had witnessed this offered to trade rifles during their spotcheck, as that other person was of a higher rank and had no rifle inspections. That person also offered to find  an extra rifle pin for that unfortunate guy who lost it, and by good fortune, his sergeant did not know that he had lost the pin and he did not have to kena*** punishment. So in this case, that person who offered to trade rifles was the first guy's Shoten Zenjin, since he helped that guy. It was pretty funny. The 'rifle' was a small toy machine gun, which had sounds when the trigger was triggered, and it made a (those toy machine gun sounds, how to describe?!) sound.

After that funny skit, we discussed in our groups these following questions.
1. Share your shoten zenjin experiences
2. Why do we have to chant even when we do not have any problems
3. If I do Gongyo and Daimoku faithfully at home, do I need to come out for (gakkai) activities
4. What was the significance of our daily prayers

They had to be presented to the rest later, so after much pushing around the job as a scribe I took it up, since the others were too... ergh. Also they said if I wrote down the main points on the poster, I wouldn't have to present later.

Here are some points that I vaguely remember:
2. -Accumulate good fortune
-Get wisdom
3.-Learn from senior/fellow leaders
-Be inspired and learn from testimonials (experiences that people share of overcoming their obstacles)

4. -Pray for wisdom to face the upcoming day
-Pray for safety
-success for the day or meeting
-Gratitude (because we ask the Gohonzon for many things (eg good results, good weather), so we must also pray in gratitude and in appreciation.

After a short *cough cough* round up, we were released to go home.

All in all, this meeting was great and I learnt a whole lot of stuff, and it's probably because it wasn't like the usual 'study meeting' where a speaker talks and talks and everyone tries not to fall asleep (no offence to anything). Today was fun, where we learnt by playing games and discussing things and coming up with the ideas instead of having them thrown at us (and most likely bouncing off us).

Thanks for reading this lengthly post... probably the longest I've written.

*side note 1: why are icebreakers called 'icebreakers'? I mean, we don't really have ice... or is it supposed to be like, a metaphor or something? (Not sure if 'metaphor' was a correct term, I'm not very familiar with the english terms and stuff.) Anyway, is ice supposed to be describing the atmosphere, since it's supposedly awkward and all, and then the icebreaker game(s) are assumed to break the awkward atmosphere? If it's 'awkward', then why can't we have 'awkwardness breaker'? It seems much more legit... now if you've come to this side note just after you saw the asterisk, sorry about that. You can go back now.

**side note 2: Two Truths One Lie- a game played with people, in which they take turns to say three things about themselves and the others would have to guess which fact is a lie. For example, I could say: 1) I have two sisters. 2) I play football 3) I am awesome. You'd have to guess which fact was a lie, 1), 2) or 3). Get it?

***side note 3: Kena is a Singlish word which means 'get'. For example, he his car kena birdshit. (His car got birdshit [okay get or got].)

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