Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Welcome Dr. Akemi Bailey Haynie! "Illness Has Been My Greatest Benefit."

Dr. Akemi Bailey Haynie is the new 
SGI-USA National Women's Division Leader. 

On Sunday, October 6th, 2013 those of us who attended the World Peace Prayer Meeting in Chicago were treated to an historic changing of the guard where our beloved Linda Johnson passed on her title as National Women's Division leader to Dr. Akemi Bailey-Haynie. Central Territory is so fortunate. Linda Johnson will remain our Women's Division Territory Leader as well as being National Women's Division Advisor. 

It was an emotional and exciting moment for Chicago. I attempted to write down every word said, but of course I missed quite a few! I can share some of them with you, but I want to let you kow these are not official or formal notes, they are my best attempt to capture what resonated with me. 

Dr. Akemi Bailey Haynie came from a poor, and difficult family. Her mother is a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and she just wrote and published her mother's memoirs in a book entitled "Winter Always Turns To Spring". This passage is taken from the Friesen Press Website: 

Sachiko Takata (Dr. Bailey Haynie's mother) was 14 years-old when an atomic bomb dropped on her hometown of Hiroshima, Japan. In an instant her world was changed. Her mother died shortly after Japan’s surrender. The devastation of war and the loss of her mother awakened in Sachiko’s heart a deep resolve to devote her life to building a world of peace where the dignity of all human beings is respected and the peril and haunting specter of nuclear war is nonexistent.
Given her experience with war, it was ironic that she would marry an American soldier, LeRoy Bailey. It was in the United States that she was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism and credits her practice of Buddhism, as well as her mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, with saving and transforming her life. Through his example, she was able to learn how to tap the innate power of her spirit to weather life’s storms; to change poison into medicine; to win over all obstacles, and to turn winter into spring.
Because of her growth and understanding of life, Sachiko Takata Bailey now thinks of August 6, 1945, as Victory Day, because the victorious and optimistic person she became emerged from the ashes and ruins of Hiroshima.
Dr. Bailey Haynie started chanting at the age of 9. She immediately became able to respond without shame when her teachers called on her. She said she has always taken President Ikeda's guidance into her life...and to be FEARLESS no matter what happens! She was a YWD leader for 18 years anda Women's Division leader for 19 years. 

She battled cancer 4 times and had 22 surgeries. Many days she chanted 3 to 10 hours a day through her illnesses. She said President Ikeda says that:
ILLNESS is not a sign of misfortune. Suffering is the fuel of wisdom - through suffering you gain insight into the meaning of life. Illness gives rise to the way. She said "Illness has been the greatest benefit of my life!"

Her life shines with victory. She lives with a dancing spirit. Dr. Akemi Bailey Haynie has her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D....all paid for by her employers, more than $300,000 in education so far. She is a trainer in the field of education who introduces President Ikeda and his educational theories on the first day of every training. She has introduced 162 people to this practice and is determined to be a winner, not a victim in all areas of her life. She's been happily married for more than 20 years to her partner for kosen-rufu and has raised two wonderful young men who both practice. 

Dr. Akemi Bailey Haynie says that our relationship with our mentor helps us perceive our own weaknesses and confront them with courage. 

How encouraging! What an historic time! 
I'll tell you, when Dr. Bailey-Haynie said "Illness has been the greatest benefit of my life" it really hit me. It put all I have been going though in new and refreshing perspective. 

Here we are, 40 days away from November 18th...it is crunch time for all of us all over the world. Let's all ring in November 18th with incredible victory. We have the tool to accomplish worldwide kosen-rufu (peace and happiness in a world with respect for all!) and to accomplish our dreams and create our own happiness. We have Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, our mentor and the SGI. 
We can do it. All we have to do is the hardest and most important thing of all...win over ourselves! How do we do that? Put our practice first, put shakubuku first, study, chant, move for kosen-rufu. I hope you all are joining with your fellow members and creating golden memories you will NEVER forget!!! 


  1. I was at a meeting last Saturday and I am STILL flying high from the guidance she imparted!

  2. I was at a meeting last Saturday and I am STILL flying high from the guidance she imparted!

  3. Thank you, Jamie, for this encouraging text !

    I have always been encouraged by Linda's speeches and I have no doubt the Akemi will fulfill her mission as SGI-US Women's Leader with the same HUGE heart !

    Your site is very inspiring, congratulations !

    Ana-Maria Morin (Soka Gakkai member from France)

  4. I was able to hear Dr. Akemi speak this weekend and I must say that it was amazing! She's an amazing woman and her words of encouragement still resonates with me. I am still on a high. She was great! One thing. Her mother is still alive. I believe she is 84 today.

  5. Fantastic. What a benefit for you all!