Encouragement

Let’s Entrust the Banner of Peace, Hope and Victory to the Youth!

SGI President Ikeda's Message.

Photo: Ricardo Villalba.


SGI President Ikeda sent the following message to the 26th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, held at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo, on July 8, 2017. Over 100 SGI representatives from 15 countries and territories also attended the meeting. The following was translated from the July 9, 2017, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

 

Photo: Seikyo Press.

First, I would like to express my heartfelt sympathies to all those who have been affected by the record heavy rainfalls in Kyushu1 [which have caused widespread flooding and landslides that have devastated communities]. I am praying earnestly for normalcy to be restored as soon as possible and for the safety of my beloved Kyushu members, our Kyushu family. I will continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the hope that everyone who has been adversely affected can change poison into medicine.

• • •

Allow me to offer a warm welcome to all our visiting SGI members present today! I have heard that members from South America, where it is winter, are facing a difference in temperature of some 35 degrees Fahrenheit here in Tokyo.

Let us welcome these precious fellow members who, with deep resolve and a noble seeking spirit, have made the long journey to Japan, greeting them “with the same respect we would a Buddha” (see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 365).

Thank you so much for traveling all the way to be with us today!

•  •  •

Congratulations on this headquarters leaders meeting celebrating our victory! Let’s give a resounding cheer, together with the members of our Soka family in Tokyo, throughout Japan and around the world, and applaud one another for the great efforts we have made.

I am certain that Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, would also have the highest praise for our achievements.

In a letter to Shijo Kingo, a loyal and devoted disciple, Nichiren writes: “I wonder if Bodhisattva Superior Practices [the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth] has taken possession of your body in order to assist me along the way. Or could it be the design of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings?” (“A Warning against Begrudging One’s Fief,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 823–24).

How wondrous and admirable are the members of the Soka Gakkai! We forge ahead on the path blazed by Nichiren Daishonin, for the realization of kosen-rufu and the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” We unite together, taking action and speaking out tirelessly for our cause, no matter what anyone else may say.

Each Soka Gakkai member without exception is a Bodhisattva of the Earth carrying out the work of the Buddha.

Deeply moved at the sight of members exerting themselves in Soka Gakkai activities in the summer heat, my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, once said: “Could there be anything more noble? Kosen-rufu advances because of the efforts of these people. Daisaku, you must protect these precious members always!”

In particular, the members of the Many Treasures Group continue to chant an incredible amount of daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo], and work unstintingly to promote kosen-rufu.

Let’s give a big round of applause to all the noble pioneering men’s and women’s division members of Soka as an expression of our profound gratitude and our prayers that they will continue to live long, healthy fulfilling lives.

•  •  •

When Nichiren was sentenced to exile on Sado Island, some of his disciples grew fearful and began to waver in their commitment. During that period, he sent a letter to a disciple who remained resolute and unflinching in her faith. He praised her, saying that words could not express how moved he was by her steadfast example (see “The Great Battle,” WND-2, 465).

Since this woman couldn’t read, the Daishonin arranged to have another of his disciples read the letter to her.

In it, he explains the “great battle” it entails to realize kosen-rufu and the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” The votary of the Lotus Sutra and the devil king of the sixth heaven, he says, are engaged in a pitched battle right here in the saha world, this real world in which we live (see WND-2, 465).

In the struggle for kosen-rufu and “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land,” the forces of the Buddha challenge head-on the devilish forces that seek to throw human society into turmoil and cause people suffering. They fight on until victory is achieved and a realm of peace and happiness is created.

Referring to this daunting challenge he had undertaken, Nichiren declares: “Not once have I thought of retreat” (WND-2, 465).

In 1957, when persecution by the three powerful enemies2 described in the Lotus Sutra appeared in the form of such struggles as the Yubari Coal Miners Union Incident3 and the Osaka Incident,4 I said to President Toda, “Someday, I’ll lead a struggle in which we are invincible and make the public gasp in admiration.”

Now is our moment to proudly report to our first and second presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, the victories we have won through the unity of “many in body, one in mind” in the six decades that have passed since then.

“Not once have I thought of retreat”—I am absolutely delighted that our youth in Japan and around the world have inherited this resolute courage and are achieving tremendous growth through their continuous struggles for kosen-rufu. Congratulations on the 66th anniversary of the founding of the young men’s division and young women’s division this month (on July 11 and 19, respectively)!

I would also like to thank the bright, welcoming members of the Byakuren, a young women’s division behind-the-scenes training group, who are today celebrating the anniversary of their group’s founding (on July 8, 1966).

Thank you, too, to our spirited future division members for their wonderful choral and music performances.

Diamonds are diamonds, wherever they are. The lives of each one of you, my young friends of the future division, are like diamonds—diamonds that will come to sparkle even more brilliantly as you strive to overcome all kinds of challenges. I hope you’ll keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, continue learning and developing yourselves, and shine with the light of torchbearers of justice.

When he stood up alone after World War II to take the lead for kosen-rufu, President Toda cried out: “Where are the young flag bearers?” In response to that impassioned call, I and many other young successors appeared one after another.

Today, in this time of unprecedented development in our movement for worldwide kosen-rufu, youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth are certain to emerge in ever greater numbers in response to our prayers and encouragement. Let us entrust the banner of Soka—the banner of peace for humankind, the banner of hope and the banner of victory—to our youth in whom we have the greatest faith.

In closing, I would like to present you with a poem:

  When the skies are clear,
  the ground is illuminated.
  Let’s bring the sun of Soka
  to shine victoriously,
  even in the most troubled of times.

Wherever you may be, please work together, in friendship and good cheer, to expand our network of happiness and harmony.

May all of you, my precious members, enjoy immeasurable and boundless benefit!

 


Notes:

1. The southernmost of Japan’s main four islands.

2. Three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described in the concluding verse section of “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Miao-lo of China summarizes them as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests and arrogant false sages.

3. 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 being Soka Gakkai members.

4. Osaka Incident: The occasion when SGI President Ikeda, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, was arrested and wrongfully charged with election law violations in a House of Councilors by-election in Osaka in 1957. At the end of the court case, which continued for more than four years, he was fully exonerated of all charges.

 

(pp. 2-3)