Buddhists From Around Region Chant Together in Saratoga Springs

June 26, 2006

Source: The Saratogian


On June 26, 2006 The Saratogian reported, "When David Lovelace decided to open the doors of his Saratoga Springs home for a session of chanting, reflection and Buddhism teachings, he did not expect people from across the Capital Region to stream into his dining room. But he saw all 25 chairs inside filling up with people holding colored beads and chanting in perfect synch. 'We help each other and encourage each other,' said Mary Chamberlain, who drove from New York City to attend the meeting on Wednesday. 'The bottom line is chanting -- it enables every human being to bring out their full potential.' People drove from around the region to chant together, seek enlightenment and bring the practice of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism to Saratoga Springs. They were members of the American branch of Soka Gakkai International, SGI, a Buddhist organization with more than 12 million members in 190 countries around the world. The group promotes the practice of a form of Japanese Buddhism and is one of the fast-growing Buddhist associations in the Capital Region. 'It's part of an overall trend in our country,' said Linda Hoddy, pastor at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. 'When people become disillusioned with Western religions, they look to the East.' Only in the last six months, SGI has welcomed three new members from the Capital Region, including David Lovelace. As a grass-roots organization, the SGI holds 90 percent of its meetings at the homes of its members, said Ken Boyce, SGI area leader. 'We started to expand in the last year,' he said. 'That means more people can find individual peace. Society reflects the life conditions of the person, so if you want to change society, you have to change the life conditions of the person.'"