Feature

AUGUST 24— The Start of My Journey of the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple

SGI President Ikeda wrote the following essay to commemorate the 55th anniversary of meeting his mentor in life, Josei Toda. It was originally published in three installments in the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, in August 2002.

Photo: DANIELPRUDEK / GETTYIMAGES.


The German poet Hermann Hesse (1877–1962) wrote these celebrated words: “From suffering, strength arises and health is born . . . Sufferings make us tenacious and toughen us.”[1]Translated from Japanese. Hermann Hesse, Wakaki hitobito e (To Youth), translated by Kenji Takahashi (Kyoto: Jimbun Shoin, 1971), p. 37. Fifty-five years have passed since I first met Josei Toda, my mentor in life, at a discussion meeting in Ota Ward on the evening of August 14, 1947. How confident his words! How logical and coherent his lecture on “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land!” I immediately decided to become his disciple. From that day on, my vow and efforts to realize kosen-rufu with the same spirit and dedication as my mentor became an all-consuming passion blazing ever brighter. That solemn ceremony of August 14 on which I embarked on my journey of worldwide kosen-rufu remains indelibly engraved in my life.

Daisaku Ikeda at 19 years old. Photo: Seikyo Press.

My mentor boldly opened the path toward the accomplishment of the great desire of kosen-rufu that lies at the heart of Nichiren Buddhism, and, after nobly achieving his ultimate purpose in this lifetime, he returned with supreme dignity to Eagle Peak.

For 55 years, I, as Mr. Toda’s disciple, have fought continuously for the cause of good and been subject to innumerable malicious slanders and attacks, just as Nichiren Daishonin teaches. I have advanced headlong on the same path of justice as my mentor. I have not rested a single day. And my fellow members have struggled alongside me with the same commitment. We have fought, and we have won. We have no regrets.

I live each day cherishing as my highest honor the fact that should I be reunited anytime across the three existences with my compassionate mentor, I can proudly stand before him as his foremost disciple.

I have triumphed. I have not been beaten. A disciple must resolutely triumph. This is the essence of Nichiren Buddhism. It is also the essence of the Soka Gakkai and the heart of the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple.

August 24, the anniversary of the day I took faith, is a day on which I renew my determination for kosen-rufu. My wife, Kaneko, and I, who are also comrades in faith, celebrated this day once again this year in good health and with an even greater sense of purpose and commitment.

My fellow members whom I love so dearly and who have struggled through countless arduous battles for the sake of the Law! Ceaselessly praying for the good health, victory and happiness of each one of you, my heroic friends, I have crowned these 55 years with triumph.

•  •  •

“In order to live in goodness, try doing it.”[2]Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom: Wise Thoughts for Every Day, translated by Peter Sekirin (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997), p. 142. These profound words belong to the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910).

August 24, 1947, was a Sunday, and it was very hot. The trip from Ota Ward to the temple in Suginami Ward that day seemed an extremely long and tough one, suffering as I was from tuberculosis and pleurisy. The gongyo and chanting of [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] during the Gohonzon conferral ceremony seemed to go on forever. And not being used to sitting on my knees for extended periods, my legs went quite numb. I can still vividly recall the painful discomfort and complex emotions I felt that day.

It was just as Nichiren Daishonin cites in his writings: “The shallow is easy to embrace, but the profound is difficult. To discard the shallow and seek the profound is the way of the person of courage”[3]Words of the Great Teacher Dengyo in Outstanding Principles. (“On the Buddha’s Prophecy,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 402).

At that time, I still didn’t fully comprehend the profound teachings of Buddhism. My family was also strongly opposed to my decision. But transcending these surface problems, I was deeply drawn to the character of Josei Toda.

Josei Toda on May 3, 1951, the day he became the second president of the Soka Gakkai. Photo: Seikyo Press.

He believed in me, saying: “Come on! Don’t hesitate! Challenge your seeking spirit with me! Study and practice courageously, as befits a youth!” And I, with the intuition of youth, was convinced that I could follow this man who had been imprisoned during the war for the sake of peace and Buddhism. In that sense, August 24 marked my entrance to “Toda University.” A life dedicated to truth begins with the mentor-disciple relationship.

At that discussion meeting where we first met, Mr. Toda was lecturing on “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.” Nichiren Daishonin presented that work to the military government on July 16, 1260, according to the lunar calendar then in use in Japan. Interestingly, converted to the Julian calendar in use in the West at that time, the date corresponds to August 24, 1260.

On that same date in 1947, I courageously plunged into the Soka Gakkai’s movement to actualize Nichiren’s goal of establishing the correct teaching—of realizing lasting peace and happiness for all humanity based on the principles and ideals of the correct teaching of Buddhism.

•  •  •

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “If they [devils] did not [arise], there would be no way of knowing that this is the correct teaching” (“Letter to the Brothers,” WND-1, 501), and “Without tribulation there would be no votary of the Lotus Sutra” (“A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering,” WND-1, 33). He declares that encountering persecution proves that we are upholding the correct teaching. Unless we meet fierce obstacles, we cannot call ourselves genuine practitioners who are working to propagate the Mystic Law.

Immediately after Nichiren presented his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching” to the government, he underwent the Matsubagayatsu Persecution and, the following year, the Izu Exile. Later, he endured the Komatsubara Persecution and the ordeal of near execution at Tatsunokuchi and subsequent exile to Sado Island. Indeed, as he writes, “Minor persecutions and annoyances are too numerous even to be counted, but the major persecutions number four” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 240).

In “On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings,” Nichiren Daishonin says: “From the very day you listen to [and take faith in] this sutra, you should be fully prepared to face the great persecutions of the three types of enemies that are certain to be more horrible now after the Buddha’s passing” (WND-1, 391). A short time after I started practicing, these words of Nichiren Daishonin struck me powerfully and reverberated through my life. I made a profound determination, ready to meet whatever lay ahead.

That is why even now I am unafraid of any slander or abuse. I have remained undefeated by innumerable verbal attacks and malicious slurs.

During the war, first Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi was arrested for his beliefs and later died in prison. Our second president, Josei Toda, was incarcerated for two years. They are both wonderful examples of not begrudging one’s life for the sake of the Law. My predecessors serenely rose above the harsh persecution that befell them; they triumphed over it, regarding it as a natural consequence of those who uphold the correct teaching. In doing so, they wrote a glorious history of selfless devotion to the Law. The indestructible honor of their noble victory illuminates their lives eternally. And their legacy lives on in my heart with jewel-like brilliance as an invincible determination to always be victorious.

•  •  •

In September 1948, just a little more than a year after I had taken faith, I rushed from work in Ota to the old, rather rundown Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Nishi-Kanda, Tokyo. I had been newly admitted to Mr. Toda’s lecture series on the Lotus Sutra. Urging my exhausted body on, I threw myself into deepening my understanding of Buddhism with youthful seeking spirit. No matter how busy I was, I never missed a lecture.

I can’t deny that the teachings implicit in the depths of the Lotus Sutra were difficult to understand, but Mr. Toda’s confident and endlessly profound lectures on Buddhism thrilled and moved me.

There is nothing nobler than living in accord with our true beliefs, no matter what others say or how society reacts. As we head into an increasingly rocky and uncertain future, how wonderful it is to embrace a faith that enables us to appreciate the deep meaning of our lives, and that serves as the driving force for fulfilling our mission and responsibility to realize peace and prosperity for all humankind.

The historical reality is that religions with a higher awareness of the human condition lead to a flowering of culture and the creation of peace. This is a universal formula. In our dialogue 30 years ago, the great British historian Arnold Toynbee (1889– 1975) said: “A future religion that is to bring into being, and to keep in being, a new civilization will have to be one that will enable [humankind] to contend with, and to overcome, the evils that are serious present threats to human survival.”[4]Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda, Choose Life: A Dialogue, edited by Richard L. Gage (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 318. How true this is. He also said that was precisely why he wanted to meet with me, a practitioner of such a religion. His words resound in my heart forever.

•  •  •

Nichiren Buddhism is the Buddhism of the Sun. In order for it to illuminate all humanity, its widespread propagation throughout the globe is absolutely necessary. This is Nichiren Daishonin’s mandate.

He writes: “In the seven hundred or more years since the teachings of the Buddha were first introduced to Japan, there has never been anyone who was hated to such a degree because of the Lotus Sutra [as I have been]” (“Letter to Horen,” WND-1, 519). Nichiren regarded it an honor to encounter such harsh persecution, since the Lotus Sutra predicts that obstacles of this kind would befall its votaries.

Now, more than 700 years have passed since Nichiren Daishonin’s era. While at times facing hostility and envy or enduring persecution and attack, we of the SGI have unerringly followed Nichiren’s teachings and resolutely expanded our movement for kosen-rufu, which now encompasses a network of 183 countries and territories [now 192] around the world. This is the pride of all of us who uphold the spirit of the first three presidents with their steadfast commitment to the path of mentor and disciple.

•  •  •

From the start of 1949, at the age of 21, I went to work at Mr. Toda’s publishing company Nihon Shogakkan, where I was responsible for editing two magazines, Boys’ Adventure and Boys’ Japan.

Josei Toda was not only my “teacher,” he also came to be like a “sovereign” and a “parent” to me. How well I understood the joy of Plato, who remarked that the greatest gift that fate had bestowed upon him was to have been born during the lifetime of his mentor, Socrates! I had not the slightest hesitation of giving my life for the sake of this outstanding leader who was unafraid to die for his beliefs. I vowed to do my utmost for the Soka Gakkai, because I knew this was the way to advance kosen-rufu.

Each year when August 24 comes around, my determination burns ever brighter, as I am enveloped in the all-embracing spirit of my mentor, Josei Toda, a model of selfless devotion to propagating the Law.

•  •  •

It was August 24, 1950, the third anniversary of my taking faith. Mr. Toda’s business was experiencing severe difficulties, and many of his employees angrily denounced him and quit their jobs. In that desperate situation, I alone continued to assist Mr. Toda. I chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with all my heart and worked furiously to surmount the problems we faced.

Daisaku Ikeda with second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda at a youth festival, August 1957. Photo: Seikyo Press.

That day, Mr. Toda and I met with a journalist and sincerely endeavored to correct various misconceptions he held. We hoped to prevent malicious and uninformed reporting on Mr. Toda’s predicament. After meeting with the journalist in a coffee shop in Tokyo’s Toranomon district, Mr. Toda and I headed in the direction of Hibiya Park. We strolled for a time, admiring the scenery along the imperial palace moat as we went.

During our walk, Mr. Toda said to me: “Japan now enjoys freedom of speech. Having one’s own newspaper is an incredible asset and source of strength. The Soka Gakkai will also need to have its own newspaper someday. Daisaku, I’d like you to put your mind to work on this for the future.”

The Seikyo Shimbun was born from that discussion between mentor and disciple on August 24, amid the direst circumstances.

That evening, after finishing his regular lecture on the Lotus Sutra, Mr. Toda announced that he was stepping down as general director of the Soka Gakkai [because he did not want his business difficulties to pose problems for the organization]. Afterward, he apologized for causing me so much trouble, but assured me that even after he was no longer general director, he was still my mentor, then and forever.

At the time, his business was struggling under an enormous burden of debt. There were times when my mentor, stouthearted as he was, looked so haggard that it was painful to behold. He was standing on the precipice between life and death, fighting a desperate, agonizing struggle.

I was also in such poor health that I could have collapsed at any moment. But filled with the passionate fighting spirit of youth, I said to him: “Please don’t worry, Sensei. I will find a way through these hardships. I am determined to see you become president of the Soka Gakkai!” My entire being burned with an intense resolve to protect my mentor’s life, no matter what.

Nichiren Daishonin warned: “If teacher and disciple are of different minds, they will never accomplish anything” (“Flowering and Bearing Grain,” WND-1, 909). But if mentor and disciple are united, they can triumph, transforming even the most adverse circumstances into something positive in accord with the Buddhist principle of “changing poison into medicine.”

Because Mr. Toda and I were solidly united as mentor and disciple, we made it through those punishing times. And the following year, on May 3, 1951, Mr. Toda became the second president of the Soka Gakkai in a glorious, historic ceremony conducted under sunny blue skies.

•  •  •

In order to support my mentor, I gave up my studies at night school and my dream of attending university. But Mr. Toda, a superlative scholar, acted as my private tutor and unstintingly shared his vast knowledge with me. With an eye to the future, he took time out of his busy schedule to instruct me in a wide variety of subjects, with lessons taking place every morning, Monday through Saturday, and several hours on Sunday. I remain to this day deeply grateful to my mentor, now appreciating even more keenly his generosity and profound affection.

On this most recent August 24 [2002]—my 55th anniversary of embracing faith—guests from India, the birthplace of Buddhism, arrived in Japan. They were a delegation of officials from India’s renowned Himachal Pradesh University, who had made the long journey specially to present me with an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature (on August 26).

My dearest wish is to share this academic honor—the 130th such distinction I have received to date [now 365]—with my fellow Soka Gakkai members everywhere who have experienced suffering and joy together with me.

Recently, a leading educator remarked that he knew of few, if any, others in the world, much less Japan, who had received so many honorary doctorates from universities around the globe. Though I have been a constant target of malice and insult over the years, he sent me his warmest compliments, filled with expressions of praise and astonishment.

My mentor used to say that all we need is one true friend.

•  •  •

“There are also those who appeared to believe in me, but began doubting when they saw me persecuted. They not only have forsaken the Lotus Sutra, but also actually think themselves wise enough to instruct me” (“Letter from Sado,” WND- 1, 306). This is a passage from Nichiren’s “Letter from Sado” that Tsunesaburo Makiguchi underlined in red in his copy of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings and contemplated over and over again.

When Mr. Makiguchi was imprisoned, he, too, was betrayed and cursed by the very disciples he had loved and trusted. When Mr. Toda, also in prison, learned of this, he was enraged: “What spineless cowards! They are not disciples, only self-serving scoundrels who used Mr. Makiguchi.”

Mr. Toda was the only one to courageously join Mr. Makiguchi in his fearless struggle, declaring with sincere gratitude: “In your vast and boundless compassion, you let me accompany you even to prison.”

The strict workings of the Buddhist law of cause and effect are more accurate than the most precise science, utterly without error.

The cowardly, cruel and cold-hearted priests banned Mr. Makiguchi from visiting the head temple, expunged his name from its registry of lay believers and, when he was imprisoned, urged his family members to persuade him to abandon his beliefs.

At a crucial moment, the vacillating emotions in people’s hearts are clearly and unfailingly revealed. The human heart can be frightening indeed.

For instance, a certain Mr. Yajima, who for a short time succeeded Mr. Toda as general director, later turned on the Soka Gakkai and attacked it. Mr. Toda always used to say, “In a crunch, the facades of people who are unprincipled, self-serving or vain and pretentious soon crumble, revealing their true colors. Though they make a lot of noise about kosen-rufu and introducing others to Nichiren Buddhism, such base people almost invariably end up donning the evil armor of treachery and becoming an antagonistic force that insults and inflicts suffering on those who are dedicated to following the true and correct path.”

Keenly perceptive, Mr. Toda further said: “Leave those base and cowardly losers be. To betray the Soka Gakkai is to betray the Daishonin. You’ll know what I mean, when you see the retribution they incur at the end of their lives.”

For the past 55 years, I have clearly and gravely observed these patterns of human behavior. The strict workings of the Buddhist law of cause and effect are more accurate than the most precise science, utterly without error.

Those who advance together in life with the Soka Gakkai, steadfastly following the path of truth and integrity, never fail to adorn the final years of their lives with magnificent victory and glory bathed in the brilliant crimson rays of the sun.

•  •  •

“Faith is the understanding of the meaning of life and the acceptance of those duties and responsibilities connected to it.”[5]Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, p. 25. These are famous words by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.

I count myself fortunate indeed to have engaged in dialogues with many leading thinkers from around the world. I have pursued this course because I recognized that dialogue, more than any other approach, can have an important impact on the lives of individuals and on humanity as a whole.

SGI President Ikeda engages in dialogue with renowned French art historian René Huyghe in 1982. Photo: Seikyo Press.

“Seeking the dawn after an age of darkness”—this was the theme of my published dialogue, Dawn After Dark, with French art historian René Huyghe (1907–97). One of Europe’s leading intellectuals and a member of the Institut de France, Dr. Huyghe always placed immense trust in the Soka Gakkai, describing it as “a force that will prevent the deterioration of society.”

During World War II, Dr. Huyghe proved himself a courageous champion of culture, safeguarding the Mona Lisa and other great masterpieces of the Louvre and preventing them from falling into Nazi hands. Cultural leaders around the world have recognized the importance of his contribution.

The deeper the darkness, the closer the dawn. Dr. Huyghe saw this great dawn of hope in the Soka Gakkai’s spiritual struggle, and he entrusted us with its realization. He also advocated the need for humanity to unite rationalism and spirituality in the 21st century and make a fresh departure based on respect for life, asserting that this should be achieved through initiating a new renaissance and religious reformation.

Five years have already passed since the death of Dr. Huyghe, whom I respected as an ally in our spiritual movement. His wife, Madame Lydie Huyghe, related that up to his death he often spoke of our deep friendship, and she presented me with several mementos of her late husband. I regard the profound, eternal friendships I have formed with people around the world as a treasure of the heart that I bequeath to youth.

•  •  •

When humanity loses the light of true philosophy and religion, it can only wander in darkness. My mentor, Josei Toda, declared:

The statement in the Buddhist scriptures that “the pure Law will be obscured and lost” does not apply only to Shakyamuni’s Buddhism. After 700 years, Nichiren Buddhism was also on the brink of being lost and obscured. Nichiren Daishonin’s spirit, however, was protected and upheld by President Makiguchi. Nichiren called forth the Soka Gakkai.

In June 1943, the priesthood summoned President Makiguchi and Mr. Toda, who was then general director, and other top leaders of the Soka Gakkai to the head temple. It was a time when Japan, under the all-pervasive influence of State Shinto, was engaged in a war of aggression against its neighbors in Asia and the Pacific.

In the audience hall of the Dai-bo lodging complex, with then high priest Nikkyo present, the priesthood tried to pressure the lay organization into accepting the Shinto talisman, which the militarist government was insisting all Japanese embrace. But Mr. Makiguchi adamantly refused, stating unequivocally that the Soka Gakkai could not possibly accept the talisman. He sternly called on the priesthood to follow Nichiren’s example and remonstrate with the ruling authorities. Already at that time, however, the Shinto talisman was enshrined at the Shoin, one of the head temple’s main buildings, which had been commandeered by the military. The priesthood, corrupt and degenerate, no longer carried on the heritage of “faith dedicated to kosen-rufu.” This gross evil was clearly and deeply perceived by Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda.

Nichiren Daishonin’s true spirit of shakubuku— refuting the erroneous and revealing the true—was inherited and carried on only by the Soka Gakkai. In contrast, the priesthood, showing its cowardly and crafty nature, evaded its duty to conduct shakubuku, the correct Buddhist practice for the Latter Day of the Law.

One would expect priests who claim to practice Nichiren Buddhism to be the first to refute error and propagate the correct teaching, and to warmly embrace and protect the laity. Yet the priesthood, unprincipled and self-seeking, took whatever offerings it could obtain from the Soka Gakkai— the organization that had advanced kosen-rufu on an unprecedented scale and for decades made generous contributions to the head temple—and then turned on us and tried to crush us under foot. People of good conscience have been enraged at this unscrupulous behavior, which is unparalleled in world religious history for its ingratitude, shamelessness and immorality.

On the anniversary of my mentor’s death on April 2, 1979—that tempestuous year when I was forced to step down as Soka Gakkai president—I composed this poem:

  Not begrudging one’s life,
  Selfless devotion to propagating the Law—
  This spirit is found
  Only in the Gakkai.

 •  •  •

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “All the various teachings of the Buddha are spread by persons” (“Questions and Answers about Embracing the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 61), and “If the Law that one embraces is supreme, then the person who embraces it must accordingly be foremost among all others. And if that is so, then to speak ill of that person is to speak ill of the Law” (WND-1, 61).

On his inauguration as Soka Gakkai president (in 1951), Mr. Toda made a vow to achieve a membership of 750,000 households. Aged 23, I immediately responded by launching a great wave of propagation from Ota’s Omori District, where I was a leader.

President Ikeda receives an honorary doctorate
from Himachal Pradesh University, August 2002. Photo: Seikyo Press.

As disciples, what does waging a struggle “directly connected to the mentor” mean? As underscored by Mr. Toda’s declaration that the Soka Gakkai organization was more precious than his own life, the “direct connection” between mentor and disciple is found only in working together as part of the Soka Gakkai and striving to expand the kosenrufu movement. Everything else is just abstract theory.

In addition, I could not allow the innumerable groundless attacks on my mentor to go unanswered. I squarely confronted and reproved anyone—no matter who they might have been—who dared cast aspersions on my mentor and the Soka Gakkai’s integrity. As the first head of the [Soka] Gakkai’s public relations department, I met face-to-face with those responsible for fallacious reports and fought to set the record straight.

The valiant French writer Romain Rolland (1866–1944) issued a clarion call: “The true revolutionary spirit is that which does not tolerate any social lie.”[6]Translated from French. Romain Rolland, Quinze ans de Combat (1919–1934) (15 Years of Combat) (Paris: Les Éditions Rieder, 1935), p. xxxvii.

 •  •  •

Nichiren Daishonin urges:

Each of you should summon up the courage of a lion king and never succumb to threats from anyone. The lion king fears no other beast, nor do its cubs. Slanderers are like barking foxes, but Nichiren’s followers are like roaring lions. (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” WND-1, 997)

As a true disciple of the lion Josei Toda, I threw myself headlong into the struggle to protect the Soka Gakkai and to advance our movement for kosen-rufu. I leapt into the fray and fought with all my might.

Young people should not just stand by and observe events, satisfied to follow behind their seniors. They must not be like cowardly “barking foxes,” yipping and yapping somewhere in the distance. Young people are meant to stand up for their beliefs and, with personal courage and effort, create a new direction for history.

Time and again, I indignantly confronted the priesthood, which repeatedly inflicted pain and suffering on my mentor. And when priests of another Buddhist school entered some of our members’ homes and stole their Gohonzon, I took steps to see that the culprits were charged and brought to justice. Further, at the Otaru Debate, I helped win a tremendous victory for our side. I also took the lead in battling injustice during the Yubari Coal Miners Union Incident,[7]Yubari Coal Miners Union Incident: A case of blatant religious discrimination that took place in 1957, in which miners in Yubari, Hokkaido, were threatened with losing their jobs on account of their belonging to the Soka Gakkai. when our members’ religious freedom was placed in jeopardy.

“If they were people who understood their obligations or were capable of reason, then out of two blows that fall on me, they would receive one in my stead” (“Reply to Yasaburo,” WND-1, 828). This is a passage from Nichiren’s writings that I engraved in my life over and over again.

On July 3, 1957, I was arrested and jailed on trumped-up charges in connection with the Osaka Incident—as fate would have it, on the same date and at around the same hour as Mr. Toda had been released from prison 12 years earlier. I was determined that the authorities would not persecute my mentor yet again, physically weak as he was. I am still proud today that I prevented the authorities’ attempt to arrest Mr. Toda.

•  •  •

Nichiren Daishonin writes:

This body of ours in the end will become nothing more than the soil of the hills and fields. Therefore, it is useless to begrudge your life, for though you may wish to, you cannot cling to it forever. Even people who live a long time rarely live beyond the age of one hundred. And all the events of a lifetime are like the dream one dreams in a brief nap. (“The Fourteen Slanders,” WND-1, 760)

How true this is. We cannot take material wealth or fame with us to our next existence. Therefore, if we are going to live this life, let us dedicate it to the eternal and indestructible Mystic Law. Such a life is in itself eternal and indestructible.

Kosen-rufu is Nichiren Daishonin’s vow. Thus, the life of Nichiren is manifested without fail in the lives of all Soka Gakkai members who devote themselves to kosen-rufu. This is just as Nichikan asserts in one of his commentaries.[8]Nichikan Shonin writes, “Through the power of the Mystic Law, we manifest the life of the Daishonin within us.” [Kanjin no honzon sho mondan (Commentary on the “True Object of Devotion”), p. 676.]

Each person fulfilling their unique mission for this lifetime, surrounded, loved and appreciated by many comrades in faith—the Soka way of life is a truly sublime and joyous drama of self-realization.

 

(pp. 22-31)

Notes   [ + ]

1. Translated from Japanese. Hermann Hesse, Wakaki hitobito e (To Youth), translated by Kenji Takahashi (Kyoto: Jimbun Shoin, 1971), p. 37.
2. Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom: Wise Thoughts for Every Day, translated by Peter Sekirin (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997), p. 142.
3. Words of the Great Teacher Dengyo in Outstanding Principles.
4. Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda, Choose Life: A Dialogue, edited by Richard L. Gage (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 318.
5. Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, p. 25.
6. Translated from French. Romain Rolland, Quinze ans de Combat (1919–1934) (15 Years of Combat) (Paris: Les Éditions Rieder, 1935), p. xxxvii.
7. Yubari Coal Miners Union Incident: A case of blatant religious discrimination that took place in 1957, in which miners in Yubari, Hokkaido, were threatened with losing their jobs on account of their belonging to the Soka Gakkai.
8. Nichikan Shonin writes, “Through the power of the Mystic Law, we manifest the life of the Daishonin within us.” [Kanjin no honzon sho mondan (Commentary on the “True Object of Devotion”), p. 676.]