Soka Gakkai in Tirana

Yesterday, I hosted the first-ever Buddhist meeting held in Tirana. There were eight of us – two Albanian Buddhists who learned about Buddhism from friends or relatives in Italy, an Italian man and his wife who live in Macedonia, a Japanese woman studying in Montenegro, the sister of one of the Albanians, an Albanian guy whom we’re teaching about the practice, and myself. We discussed our experiences in encountering Buddhism, and it was actually affecting to hear the two Albanians talk about how long they’d waited for this day. One of them has practiced alone, in a small village outside the city of Vlorë, for 11 years. Coincidentally, 24 August is the anniversary that the President of the SGI, Daisaku Ikeda, began to practice Buddhism, so the day had a particular significance.