Eradicating Misery by Helping All People Shine
"Forging Ahead in the New Era" by SGI President Ikeda
The following is from SGI President Ikeda’s series “Forging Ahead in the New Era.” This was originally published in the June 20, 2017, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda was imprisoned for his beliefs by the wartime militarist authorities. After two years behind bars, he was released from Toyotama Prison in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, on July 3, 1945.
Prior to the anniversary of that day, I visited Nakano (on June 18), a place which has profound connections with my mentor, and drove by the Nakano-Minami Culture Center. The men’s division members were holding a meeting there in high spirits that morning. I heard that they sang the Tokyo Soka Gakkai song “Ah, Our Inspiring Members!” with the determination to boldly take the lead as the golden pillars of our movement.
The members of Ojokai [in Japan, the men’s division equivalent for Gajokai, the young men’s behind-the-scenes training group] on duty that day, resolutely protecting the center, were a reassuring sight. My wife, Kaneko, said smilingly that she was touched by the fact that they were doing this activity on Father’s Day. I am aware of the vigorous efforts of our leaders everywhere, especially the men’s and women’s division chapter leaders, district leaders and group leaders, who are striving for victory with strength and dynamism.
Nichiren Daishonin is certain to have the highest praise for everyone who is working wholeheartedly for kosen-rufu.
I am reminded of Nichiren’s words: “Can it be that Shakyamuni Buddha or the Bodhisattvas of the Earth have taken possession of your body?” (“The Properties of Rice,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1117).
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The iron gate of Toyotama Prison, where Mr. Toda was held until his release, is preserved at the Nakano-Minami Culture Center. Some of the Nakano members acquired it when the prison was demolished. Mr. Toda was released from that prison shortly after the end of organized resistance by the Japanese forces in the Battle of Okinawa. June 23 is Okinawa Memorial Day [a public holiday in Okinawa Prefecture and day of remembrance for those who lost their lives during the Battle of Okinawa].
Mr. Toda had the highest admiration for the Okinawan spirit of treasuring life.
Surviving his ordeal in prison, Mr. Toda opened up the path of human revolution to enable all people to bring their Buddhahood to shine brilliantly and eradicate misery from this world. Our struggle to realize Nichiren’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land” is an effort to build a society in which those who have suffered the most can attain the greatest happiness.
Not a day goes by when I do not think of our members in Okinawa, an archipelago of victory and peace, who stand at the forefront of that effort.
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Nichiren writes, “No matter how many terrible enemies you may encounter, banish all fears and never think of backsliding” (“On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings,” WND-1, 395).
In accord with these words of the Daishonin, let’s summon forth fearless courage and limitless wisdom as we aim toward the arch of triumph of kosen-rufu!