Our Triumphant May 3

​ The Eternal Citadel of Soka

Photo: gettyimages /T-Tadanobu

Nichiren Buddhism is the Buddhism of the Sun, its light eternally illuminating humankind.

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “If all of Jambudvipa [the entire world] were to be thrown into chaos, there could be no doubt that [the Lotus Sutra, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, would] ‘be widely propagated throughout Jambudvipa’ ” (“The Kalpa of Decrease,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1122).

That is why the darker the times, the more brightly we of the SGI advance, spreading the light of wisdom and hope to others. Our goal is to realize kosen-rufu, our vow from time without beginning, to secure happiness for all people and create a peaceful future.

Congratulations on another glorious May 3, Soka Gakkai Day, which we celebrate in the midst of our great march to fulfill our noble mission! Thank you for all your tremendous efforts.

• • •

Recently (on April 26, 2017), I visited the Tokyo Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, in Toshima Ward. Sugamo was also the site of the old Tokyo Detention Center, where both first and second Soka Gakkai presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, were imprisoned during World War II for their opposition to the government’s rampant militarism and enforcement of Shinto as the state religion. Sugamo is the place where they waged a decisive spiritual battle as mentor and disciple to realize Nichiren’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” Visiting the auditorium there ahead of May 3, I wanted to report to them in my heart how wonderfully our movement for kosen-rufu continues to grow and develop.

I am profoundly grateful to all our members, especially those in Toshima Ward and neighboring Kita Ward, who safeguard and maintain so splendidly the Toda Auditorium, a proud citadel of mentor and disciple.

I would also like to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the members of the Soka Group, Gajokai and Byakuren—young men’s and young women’s division training and behind-the-scenes support groups—who welcome visitors to the auditorium in the spirit expressed in the Lotus Sutra passage: “You should rise and greet them from afar, showing them the same respect you would a Buddha” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 365). And I’d like to sincerely thank the members of the Music Corps, the Fife and Drum Corps and other performing groups; the representatives of our Doctors Division and nurses’ groups who are on standby at meetings in case of emergencies; all the event and reception staff; and everyone who works hard to keep the facilities in immaculate condition.

The Daishonin writes, “Every place where Nichiren meets persecution is the Buddha land” (“The Persecution at Tatsunokuchi,” WND-1, 196). Soka Gakkai facilities are centers of kosen-rufu infused with the lofty spirit of Soka mentors and disciples who have inherited Nichiren’s selfless spirit, and endured persecution and opposition in the course of spreading the Mystic Law. As such, all the courageous and dedicated Bodhisattvas of the Earth who assemble at these centers are absolutely certain to accumulate infinite treasures of the heart.

Inspired by my recent visit to the Toda Auditorium, where we have written so many pages of history in the shared struggle of mentor and disciple, I would like to take this opportunity to reconfirm with you three points concerning the immortal Soka Gakkai spirit.

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The first is that all victory starts with prayer. In the main hall of the Toda Auditorium in Sugamo, under the gaze of the portraits of President Makiguchi and President Toda, my wife, Kaneko, and I solemnly did gongyo—reciting the sutra and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—our hearts filled with deep gratitude for these great mentors’ unselfish dedication to spreading the Law. We also prayed earnestly for “the fulfillment of the great vow for kosen-rufu through the compassionate propagation of the great Law” and the happiness and victory of our fellow members not only throughout Tokyo, but throughout Japan and the entire world.

Nichiren writes, “The blessings of the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo], which I have recited over these many years, must be vaster even than the sky” (“The Place of the Cluster of Blessings,” WND-1, 1070). As SGI members walking the path of mentor and disciple, we have made a vow to realize kosen-rufu, Nichiren’s mandate, and actualize his ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” The amount we chanted for the happiness of ourselves and others is truly beyond calculation, and the immense benefit of that prayer now extends all across our blue planet. In a letter addressed to Nichigen-nyo, the wife of Shijo Kingo, Nichiren states, “If one can move Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, can the grass and trees fail to respond, can the waters remain calm?” (“The Buddha Statue Fashioned by Nichigen-nyo,” WND-2, 811).

Our peerless, sunny women’s division members have triumphed in every endeavor through prayer focused on absolute victory—prayer powerful enough to move even the Buddhas and protective functions of the universe.

As May 3 is also Soka Gakkai Mother’s Day, let us wholeheartedly applaud and show our appreciation to the noble mothers of kosen-rufu.

The prayers of our Soka family, with Soka women leading the way, are united prayers directed toward a shared purpose. Wherever fellow members are struggling or facing difficult challenges, we never fail to reach out to encourage them. We unhesitatingly take action to offer our support and chant with them. Linked by bonds “transcending all differences” (see “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” WND-1, 217), we are expanding these beautiful ties far and wide. That is why the spirit of Nichiren Daishonin continues to pulse vibrantly in our organization.

• • •

The second point is that our struggles for kosen-rufu allow us to achieve our own human revolution.

At the Mentor Memorial Room of the Toda Auditorium in Sugamo, my wife and I viewed a display chronicling the inspiring history of kosen-rufu in the local area. The carefully constructed model of the Toshima Civic Hall brought back a flood of memories.

President Toda made the Toshima Civic Hall, located not far from the Tokyo Detention Center where President Makiguchi died for his beliefs, the stage for his struggle to convey the correct teaching of Buddhism, giving lectures there on Nichiren’s writings and the Lotus Sutra.

In August 60 years ago (in 1957), right after I had taken the lead in activities for kosen-rufu in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward, a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting was held at the Toshima Civic Hall. In his speech on that occasion, President Toda praised the dramatic propagation results that had been achieved throughout the country. And he voiced the hope that leaders would warmly encourage and support the new members so that they could savor the joy of faith and be truly glad that they were practicing Nichiren Buddhism. President Toda was intently focused on helping each person establish faith so they could become happy. Toward that end, he taught us to tirelessly take action as Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

Just as our planet rotates unerringly on its axis while revolving around the sun, our individual human revolution and the progress of kosen-rufu are in perfect sync, creating limitless value.

In Nichiren’s treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” the guest concludes: “It is not enough that I alone should accept and have faith in your words—we must see to it that others as well are warned of their errors” (WND-1, 26).

Exerting ourselves each day in “the two ways of practice and study” (see “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” WND-1, 386), we courageously strive to propagate the Mystic Law and realize Nichiren’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” These dynamic activities for kosen-rufu set forth by Mr. Toda are the surest and quickest way to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, helping us transform our karma and achieve a life state of absolute happiness.

The display at the Mentor Memorial Room included a collection of group photos that I took with 3,400 Toshima members on May 5, 1973, as well as photos of a future division sporting event held the same day. I have fond memories of discussing the importance of victory with members on that occasion, saying: “Winning gives impetus to fresh growth. It inspires fresh hope and courage. That’s why triumphing decisively in every challenge is the driving force for kosen-rufu.”

I am both happy and reassured that the delightful young children I met back then have grown into fine adults and are working together in unity to win in their human revolution and, by extension, in the effort to advance kosen-rufu.

• • •

The third point is to always share Buddhism with the spirit of an indomitable champion.

The first time a Soka Gakkai leader—in this case, President Makiguchi—is recorded using the term kosen-rufu in a formal speech was at a general meeting of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-Creating Education Society, forerunner of the Soka Gakkai) held 75 years ago, in May 1942. This was right in the middle of World War II.

President Makiguchi was no doubt already prepared to face persecution by Japan’s militarist government. At the general meeting, as if ready to brave any storm, he declared that we must lead the nation in the direction of great good. He voiced his conviction that by spreading the principles of Nichiren Buddhism through one-to-one dialogue, “we can positively contribute to the welfare of our families and society, and even achieve kosen-rufu.” With that declaration, he established kosen-rufu as the eternal mission and responsibility of the Soka Gakkai.

Outraged at the devilish nature of authority that had caused his honorable mentor to die behind bars, Mr. Toda emerged from prison on July 3, 1945, as an indomitable champion of the Mystic Law.

Convinced that achieving kosen-rufu was the way to vindicate his mentor, he passionately proclaimed: “I vow to convert 750,000 households during my lifetime!”

He declared that he would personally do so, pledging to dedicate his life to that goal.

And just as President Makiguchi had done before him, President Toda opened the way for kosen-rufu through one-to-one, face-to-face dialogue.

To courageously spread the Mystic Law through one-to-one dialogue, to sincerely encourage others—this spirit of sharing Buddhism is the direct path to kosen-rufu, which enables each person to bring forth their limitless potential.

This is a time of turmoil and uncertainty in Japan and the world. Everyone is looking for something they can genuinely trust and count on. That’s why we speak to others about Nichiren Buddhism with confidence and conviction, treasuring the person in front of us and believing in their Buddha nature.

Continuing to make efforts to engage in sincere and respectful dialogue can dispel malice and prejudice. It paves the way to building strong friendships and helps people form connections to Buddhism.

At meetings of the Suiko-kai and Kayo-kai— training groups of the young men’s and young women’s divisions, respectively—Mr. Toda often stressed the importance of having the spirit of an indomitable champion. He defined this spirit as the spirit of propagation in which one stays true to one’s convictions, as steadfast and unflinching as a rock, no matter what happens.

I faced imprisonment with that same spirit, when I was arrested and jailed on trumped-up charges on July 3, 1957—exactly 12 years to the day that my mentor, President Toda, had been released from prison. This summer will mark the 60th anniversary of that event. I have demonstrated to all the world that faith based on a shared commitment with one’s mentor and united in purpose with one’s fellow members is invincible.

And I am confident today that my beloved disciples will carry on that tradition and, with all the boldness and determination of indomitable champions, prove the greatness of our cause and the noble path of mentor and disciple.

• • •

On display in the lobby of the Toda Auditorium is a small stand of bells, symbolizing the Seven Bells, which I rang there after the First Tokyo General Meeting commemorating May 3, 2001 [the date marking the start of the second Seven Bells—seven seven-year periods, or goals, for the Soka Gakkai’s development].

During my recent visit to the auditorium, I was inspired to ring the bells loudly again—this time calling out in my heart: “May the bells announcing the victory of all our members ring out! May a song of triumph resound throughout Tokyo Region!”

The ringing of a bell has the power to reach, resonate with and awaken even the hearts of those far away.

Let us spread the joyous energy emanating from our lives to one person after another, and send forth waves of boundless hope into society, the world and the future.

Let us aim toward the summit of kosen-rufu and, with dauntless courage, ring the bell heralding a bright new dawn of victory.