Encouragement

Kanagawa’s Mission for Peace

“Justice means advancing forever on the great path of kosen-rufu!”

Photo: iStockphoto / druvo


The spirit of the shared struggle of mentor and disciple and justice pulsates strongly in Kanagawa.

SGI President Ikeda traveled to Kanagawa immediately after the May 3, 1979, Soka Gakkai Headquarters General Meeting in Tokyo. On what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, the general meeting marked President Ikeda’s resignation as third Soka Gakkai president just nine days before.

President Ikeda had held the position for 19 years, and under his leadership, the Soka Gakkai became an international organization with millions of members. The Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and disgruntled former Soka Gakkai leaders, meanwhile, conspired to exploit the organization and bring about its downfall.

“Whatever my position,
I will keep fighting—
even if I am completely alone.”

In “Great Mountain,” Chapter 1 of Volume 30 of The New Human Revolution, President Ikeda recounts this significant time (he appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto):

The anguished faces of Soka Gakkai members around Japan who had been subjected to cruel treatment or harassment by ill-willed Nichiren Shoshu priests flashed through Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s mind. If my resignation put an end to that situation, as the priesthood promised, I would be satisfied, he thought.

Who needed to be protected? The sincere, dedicated members of the Soka Gakkai, his beloved comrades in faith, the noble practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism. Shin’ichi was resolved to shield the members and sacrifice himself to protect them, if need be. (“Great Mountain” booklet, p. 98)

After the May 3 general meeting, President Ikeda didn’t return to the Soka Gakkai Headquarters. Instead, he went directly to the Kanagawa Culture Center, which faces Yokohama harbor and the Pacific Ocean, linking Japan to the world. There, he made a powerful determination to advance worldwide kosen-rufu in the 21st century.

“Justice means advancing forever on the great path of kosen-rufu!”

On May 5, while in Kanagawa, President Ikeda took up a calligraphy brush to express his vow for kosenrufu. He writes of that intent:

I will transmit the Soka Gakkai spirit in concrete form to my successors and disciples so that it endures into the future and lives on for all time!

On that day, as a true disciple of Josei Toda, a great leader of kosenrufu, Shin’ichi expressed his vow in calligraphy, writing in bold strokes “Justice” and below it, the inscription: “I carry the banner of justice alone.”

“The real challenge has begun!” he thought. “Whatever my position, I will keep fighting—even if I am completely alone. I will win by striving in a spirit of oneness with my mentor. Justice means advancing forever on the great path of kosenrufu!” (“Great Mountain” booklet, p. 110)

From the bitterest adversity to the greatest victory.

Though no longer the Soka Gakkai president, he began focusing more on the global sphere as the president of the Soka Gakkai International. Through his valiant leadership, the SGI developed into the largest lay Buddhist association in the world, showing that an ordinary person truly committed to securing the dignity, peace and happiness of all people can turn the bitterest adversity into the greatest victory.

Today, 12 million SGI members in 192 countries and territories are taking up the same vow and sharing their mentor’s struggle for justice, forever protecting the SGI and its mission for world peace.

 

(p. 8)