Encouragement

The Towering Summits of Nepal

Spread Your Wings Toward the Future (Part 2 of 2).

Photo: RNMitra / iStock / Getty Images Plus.


The following is a series of encouragement from SGI President Ikeda addressing members of the junior high and high school divisions. This installment originally appeared in the Jan. 1, 2015, issue of the Mirai [Future] Journal, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly newspaper for the junior high and high school divisions. Part one was published in the June 16 World Tribune.

The great Nepali poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota (1909–59) wrote:

We must understand this world, we must not
be cowards,
look the world in the face and muster our
courage. Stretch our wings to the sky while we still live
on earth.

One of my dear friends, former Nepali ambassador to Japan Kedar Bhakta Mathema, enjoyed this poem with me. The poem perfectly describes the way in which he has lived his own life.

I first met Mr. Mathema in 1994, when we welcomed him in Tokyo. At that time, he was the vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University. He was born and raised in India, not Nepal. This was because his family had opposed the dictatorship that ruled Nepal at that time, and was forced to live in exile for several decades.

When he was young, Mr. Mathema was most strongly influenced by his uncle, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, who championed the plight of the poor and disadvantaged. His uncle had an important government post, but he abandoned it to take a stand for the happiness and welfare of the people. The unflinching commitment of his uncle, who was executed by the dictatorship, made a deep and formative impression on Mr. Mathema. He described his uncle to me as a constant guiding light in his life.

Mr. Mathema studied hard, traveled to the United Kingdom as an international student and eventually returned to his homeland of Nepal to teach at Tribhuvan University.

When students initiated a movement for democracy in Nepal in the 1970s, he joined them. The authorities pressured him and forced him to resign his teaching position, but he dauntlessly continued working for the people. Finally, in 1990, Nepal was able to become a democratic republic.

The courage to study one’s hardest and take action—this is a truly noble virtue, one shared by all great individuals.

The world of the 21st century is facing many critical problems, from conflict and terrorism to poverty, human rights and environmental issues. Countless people around the world are waiting for you, the youth, to take the stage.

I would like to present the word “Courage” to you, our young men and young women, the treasures of humanity. May you soar into the world, spreading wide the wings of your courage, the wings of the future.

•     •     •

At Tribhuvan University (in 1995), I gave a lecture titled “Homage to the Sagarmatha”[1]Sagarmatha: The Nepalese name for Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, also known as Chomolungma in Tibetan, located in the Himalayan range on the Nepal-China border. of Humanism: The Living Lessons of Gautama Buddha.” In it, I said that world peace begins with people maintaining a “consistent, unshaken selfhood,” like the Himalayas.

Those who are bighearted are not envious of others. People who have an inner richness are not disturbed by trivial matters.

You have Nichiren Buddhism, you can chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to build a strong self that can confidently overcome every form of adversity.

Nichiren Daishonin writes:

If we inquire into the origin of Mount Sumeru, we find that it began with a single speck of dust . . . One added to one becomes two, two becomes three, and so on to make ten, a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand, or an asamkhya [an exceedingly large number]. Yet “one” is the mother of all. (“The Blessings of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 667)

Each small effort, each friendship, each act of kindness to your parents will help you build a self that is like the Himalayas.

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the energy source for that effort. Even when you are having a hard time taking action, if you chant with determination and press forward one step after another, you will definitely be able to keep going, day after day.

•     •     •

The Himalayas continue growing taller and taller every year. People are the same. The truly outstanding individuals also grow ceaselessly.

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda was a great individual who continued studying all his life. Even a short time before his death, he asked me what I had read that day. He shared that he had read a book about Chinese history, Compendium of Eighteen Histories, and gave me lessons in the art of leadership that he had gleaned from it.

One night during a stay in Nepal, my wife suddenly peered up in the sky and said: “Look! A shooting star!”

I replied with deep emotion, “It’s Mr. Toda rejoicing.”

My mentor, foremost in all the world, is always in my heart, standing tall and firm like Mount Everest, at all times and places. That’s why I, as his disciple, will never stop challenging myself. I am studying and exerting myself every day.

In my mind, I see a mighty mountain range of steadily growing capable individuals, the future division. There is no more thrilling sight in all the world.

Those who continue their ascent through life, their gaze fixed on the summit, never stagnate. They never retreat and are never defeated. They are certain to enjoy a spectacular view of victory in the end. This is the path of mentor and disciple.

My dear young friends, together with your fellow members throughout the world, become true champions of humanity, striving ever higher, and advance with unflagging cheer and confidence! That is my prayer and my most fervent wish.

 

(p. 2)

Notes   [ + ]

1. Sagarmatha: The Nepalese name for Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, also known as Chomolungma in Tibetan, located in the Himalayan range on the Nepal-China border. of Humanism: The Living Lessons of Gautama Buddha.”