Pioneering Success Based on My Vow

How Minoru Kogure's efforts to support kosen-rufu served as the spiritual basis of his company’s growth.

Gratitude—Minoru “Mike” Kogure with his family (l-r) daughters, Naoko and Yoko; and wife, Kinuko. Photo: Ruby Nagashima.

by Minoru “Mike” Kogure

In 1982, I started a business in Los Angeles selling imported health care equipment. The health products industry was not yet thriving and getting involved at that time would prove to be a big benefit. At first, I used a bedroom for an office, and my garage as a warehouse. I would pile the merchandise into the trunk of my small car to make my sales rounds. I wasn’t very successful at selling my products, and many days my customers wouldn’t meet with me.

Around that time, my wife, Kinuko, and I got engaged. When she reported to SGI President Ikeda of our plan to marry, he encouraged us to unite as husband and wife and live out our lives for the sake of kosen-rufu. This has become a lifelong guideline for us.

Kinuko was filled with hope for her new life in the U.S., but my reality consisted of growing debt and a pending immigration status. I’ll never forget the disappointment on her face when she learned of my situation.

The wisdom I gained from my prayer to the Gohonzon allowed me to always make the best decisions for my company.

I thought of closing my business, but she encouraged me not to give up! We chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo earnestly, studied The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin and President Ikeda’s guidance, and pledged to challenge our situation anew.

Before long, we had two daughters, Yoko and Naoko, and I determined to create a steady financial foundation for my family based on faith.

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1000). Although countless obstacles arose with the business, we viewed our challenges with a sense of mission. The wisdom I gained from my prayer to the Gohonzon allowed me to always make the best decisions for my company.

In addition, I resolved to financially contribute to the SGI to respond to my mentor. Each year, Kinuko and I strove to make monthly contributions and a commemorative contribution in May. I’m convinced that our efforts served as the basis of my company’s great growth.

Today, my company of 35 years has steadily grown to become a pioneer in bringing original and expertly designed health and wellness products to people’s homes. In the beginning, I had a hard time attracting and keeping qualified employees. Today, I have a capable staff of over 100, with branch offices in seven major U.S. cities. Even better, my wife and I have been able to establish a financial foundation for our daughters, who have grown into fine adults and are exerting themselves as successors for kosen-rufu!

In 2001, Kinuko and I set a seemingly impossible contribution goal, which we accomplished 14 years later in May 2015, and now, we are working to accomplish our next contribution goal, by 2020.

Toward the gathering of “50,000 Lions of Justice” next year, I’m committed to introducing many more people to the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism and making sustaining, financial contributions to the SGI! I am also resolved to further expand my business and strive each day to repay my debt of gratitude to President Ikeda.

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