Feature

Gathering a Force for Peace

In 1961, 185,000 youth declared victory with their mentor.

El Paso, Texas. Photo: George Nakamura.


Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda once declared: “If the entire human race could reveal their highest possible character, there would be no war or hunger in the world, there would be no illness and no poverty.”[1]August 15, 2014, World Tribune, p. 5.
Each person has limitless potential. And a great change in even one individual can dispel the darkness of troubled and confusing times. “The important thing,” SGI President Ikeda says, “is for each of us to decide to become a person who manifests his or her highest character, and to foster others who have this spirit, too.”[2]Ibid.

As SGI members, how do we move society in the direction of peace?

By raising successors, one after another, alongside President Ikeda, to bring hope to the world. Toward November 18, 2018, the SGI-USA will gather 50,000 youth to take a stand for the dignity of life—youth who are committed to building a society of peace, mutual respect and humanism.

In this feature, we will learn from the milestone events of November 5 and 12, known respectively as Young Men’s Division Day and Young Women’s Division Day. (This is not to be confused with Young Men’s Division Founding Day on July 11 and Young Women’s Division Founding Day on July 19.)

These dates were etched in the history of the Soka Gakkai’s people’s movement, when, in 1961, 100,000 young men’s division members met in Tokyo on November 5, and the young women rallied 85,000 members in Yokohama on November 12. The purpose of these meetings was to solidify a substantial force of youth, who could serve as beacons of hope for humanity.

Gathering 50,000 Youth in the United States

In 2018, the youth of the SGI-USA will bring together 50,000 young people, burning with the vow to bring happiness to the people of our country and the world. Now, it is our time to respond to President Ikeda with a force of 50,000 youth ready to fight for peace and empower people to bring out their limitless potential.

What is the significance of gathering large numbers of young practitioners of the Mystic Law?

President Ikeda writes:

Such special efforts in the Soka Gakkai to gather members together in large numbers are resonant with the purposeful gatherings held by Buddhist disciples after Shakyamuni’s passing—the Buddhist Councils, during which the Buddha’s teachings were compiled. These were not merely occasions for the compilation of words. The Buddhist Councils were solemn ceremonies in which the disciples came together in one place to transmit the teachings in absolutely faithful form to “all the people who live in a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now, or in the Latter Day of the Law.” (“White Horses and White Swans,The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1062). (Kosen-rufu: Our Mission, vol. 1, p. 223)

This gathering in 2018 will prove to be a historic event—an achievement that will give hope to countless people and serve as a new chapter in Buddhist history.

This battle starts now! Each month, leading up to the gathering in 2018, SGI-USA members are striving to encourage one youth member after another to get involved in their local SGI activities (see below).


Monthly Activities Focus on Youth Attendance

April: Home Visits

May: Discussion Meetings

June: Home Visits

July: Young Men’s/Young Women’s General Meetings

August: Discussion Meetings

September: Champions of the New Era Meetings

October: Home Visits

November: Discussion Meetings

December: Young Men’s/Young Women’s General Meetings


As we advance toward this noble goal, we are embarking on a journey to rapidly advance kosen-rufu in the United States. President Ikeda explains the profundity of many united SGI youth standing up in society:

The heroic sight of millions of SGI youth working together for peace offers hope and reassurance to people around the world and draws praise from leading thinkers. At the same time, it undoubtedly strikes fear in the hearts of arrogant, self-serving tyrants, causing them to tremble at the prospect of the impending end to their heyday. (Kosen-rufu: Our Mission, vol. 1, pp. 224–25)

Now is the time to uproot the causes of suffering in our own lives as well as in the lives of those around us. Now is the time to surmount the anxiety and fear pervading society, and infuse our communities with “hope and reassurance.”

We hope that learning about the youth division’s history of 1961 can offer great inspiration toward realizing the gathering of 50,000 youth in 2018!

 

(pp. 14–15)

Notes   [ + ]

1. August 15, 2014, World Tribune, p. 5.
2. Ibid.