Feature

Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of
The Sun of Jiyu Over a New Land

During his 24th visit to the United States, SGI President Ikeda penned the iconic poem “The Sun of Jiyu Over a New Land."


TO MY TREASURED FRIENDS
OF LOS ANGELES
THE CITY OF MY DREAMS.

A brilliant, burning sun
rises above the newborn land,
aiming toward a new century,
raising the curtain on a
new stage
of humanity’s history.
Shedding its light equally on
all things,
it seeks the sky’s distant
midpoint.

In this land wrapped
in the limitless light
of the morning sun,
my splendid American
friends
make their appearance;
bearing the world’s hopes,
with power and vigor they
commence
their progress anew.
To my beloved and treasured
friends I say:
“Long live America renewed!
Long live the SGI-USA
reborn!”

Ah! This enchanting city,
Los Angeles!
Land of freedom and
pioneering spirit!

From jagged mountain ranges
to the Pacific Ocean,
variegated nature changes
ceaselessly—
rich agricultural lands
nurtured by the sun’s
dazzling rays,
and the groundbreaking efforts
of those who came before.
Downtown, clusters of buildings
soar skyward.

To think that this vast metropolis
could grow from a single
aqueduct
stretched across the barren
desert
from beyond the distant
mountains!

It is said that in America
new winds blow from the west.
And indeed, the fresh breezes
of new ways of thinking,
new styles of living,
have arisen in California
and spread to the entire
United States.
So many stories of the silver
screen,
created here in Hollywood,
have delivered bountiful gifts
of romance and dreams
to the world’s people.

This rich spiritual soil,
this great earth alive with the
diversity
of peoples and traditions—
giving rise to new culture,
a new humanity.

Los Angeles is a city pregnant
with future,
a city where, in the words
of one writer,
you can set new precedents
with your own energy and
creativity.

And more, Los Angeles is
a bridge
linking East and West,
a land of merging and fusion
where cultures of the Pacific

encounter traditions of the West.
Ah, the Pacific that opens before
our eyes!
The boundless, free and
untamed sea
for which the great Melville
voiced his respect and praise:
“It rolls the mid-most waters
of the world
. . .the tide-beating heart
of earth.”

Once, the Mediterranean
was inland sea and mother
to the
civilizations of the surrounding
regions—
Europe, the Middle East
and Africa.

In like manner, the Pacific’s
depths
must not divide—
but be the cradle of a new
civilization,
an enormous “inland sea”
connecting
the Americas North and South,
the continents of Asia and
Australia.

This is my firm conviction—
California will be the energy
source
for the Pacific region
in the twenty-first century
and Los Angeles its eastern
capital.

In October 1960, I took
my first steps on
the American continent
in California, the Golden State.
The honor and glory of becoming
the first chapter established
in North America
belong to the Los Angeles
Chapter.

Since then, this city has been
the core and center of
kosen-rufu
in the United States, the starting
point
for worldwide kosen-rufu.
My dear friends, never forget
this mission, which you
so decidedly possess.

In the thirty-three years since
that time,
I have visited Los Angeles
seventeen times.
Kansai is the heart
whose beating drives the
movement
for kosen-rufu in Japan;
Los Angeles plays this
self-same role
for the entire world.
For this reason, on each visit,
staking all, I drove in deep
and deeper
the pilings of construction.

In 1980,
the first SGI General Meeting
was held,
and in 1987, Soka University
of America
opened its doors.

Ah, February 1990!
I postponed my visit
to South America and for
seventeen days
gave myself heart and soul
to the work of encouraging
my beloved fellow members
here in Los Angeles!
Those impassioned,
consuming days of
unceasing toil and action
are the collaborative
golden poems of shared struggle.

Nor can I ever forget
the spring of 1992—
even now my heart is rent
with pain
when I recall how the
tragic news of the civil unrest in
Los Angeles
raced around the world.

Heartrending images
of the evening sky shrouded
in black smoke,
of buildings collapsing in flames,
once peaceful streets shattered
by riot,
the entire city gripped
by a battlefield tension.
People standing lost in
confusion,
a woman holding an infant
cried out
—What has become of the
ideals of this country?
What are we supposed to teach
our children?—
Her woe-filled words tore
like talons at my heart.

I received continuous reports,
extended prompt relief.
And, putting everything aside,
I sat before the Gohonzon and
single-mindedly prayed—
for the safety of my treasured
friends,
for the immediate restoration
of order,
for a world without violence
and discrimination.

Ah, America, land bringing
together
so many different peoples!
A republic of ideals
born beneath the lofty banners,
the uniting principles of
freedom and equality.
As this century draws to
its close,
the soul of your idealism
grieves at the stark realities
of racial strife.
What is to become of the
spirit of your nation
fostered by so many people of
wisdom and philosophy?

My treasured friends,
There is no question that
your multiracial nation,
America,
represents humanity’s future.
Your land holds secret stores
of unbounded possibility,
transforming
the energy of different cultures
into the unity of construction,
the flames of conflict
into the light of solidarity,
the eroding rivulets of mistrust
into a great broad flow of
confidence.
On what can we ground
our efforts to open
the horizons of such a
renaissance?

It is for just this reason,
my precious, treasured friends,
that you must develop within
yourselves
the life-condition of jiyu
Bodhisattva of the Earth.

As each group seeks its separate
roots and origins,
society fractures along a
thousand fissure lines.
When neighbors distance
themselves
from neighbors, continue your
uncompromising quest
for your truer roots
in the deepest regions of
your life.
Seek out the primordial “roots”
of humankind.

Then you will without fail
discover
the stately expanse of jiyu
unfolding in the depths of
your life.

Here is the home, the dwelling
place
to which humankind traces
its original existence—
beyond all borders,
beyond all differences of gender
and race.
Here is a world offering true
proof
of our humanity.

If one reaches back to these
fundamental roots,
all become friends and
comrades.
To realize this is to “emerge
from the earth.”

Past, present, future . . .
The causes and effects of the
three existences
flow ceaselessly as the reality
of life;
interlinked, they give rise to all
differences and distinctions.
Trapped in those differences,
human society is wracked by
unending contention.

But the Buddhism of
True Cause,
expounded by the Daishonin
whose
teachings we embrace,
enables us to break the spell
of past karma, past causes
and effects,
and to awaken to the grand
humanity
—the life of jiyu
that had lain dormant in
our hearts.

My mentor, President Toda,
taught us that when one
embraces
the Mystic Law,
all intervening causes and effects
ebb and retreat, and there
emerges
the common mortal of
beginningless time.

This, another name for Bodhisattva
of the Earth,
is the greatness and splendor
of the human being writ large,
after all false distinctions and
adornments
have been removed.

Awaken to the life of jiyu
within!
When the bright sun of
True Cause rises,
the stars and planets of
past cause and effect grow dim
and the supreme world of
harmonious unity emerges—
the unity of friends and
comrades
each manifesting the life
condition
of Bodhisattva of the Earth,
offering timeless proof that,
indeed,
“The assembly on Eagle Peak
has not yet dispersed.”

Ah, my treasured friends,
whom I so deeply love and
respect!
It is critical for you now
to directly perceive
the web of life that binds
all people!

Buddhism describes
the connective threads of
dependent origination.
Nothing in this world exists
alone;
everything comes into being
and continues
in response to causes and
conditions.
Parent and child.
Husband and wife.
Friends. Races.
Humanity and nature.
This profound understanding
of coexistence, of symbiosis—
here is the source of resolution for
the most pressing and
fundamental issues
that confront humankind
in the chaotic last years of
this century.

The Buddhist scriptures include
the parable of “Two Bundles
of Reeds,”
aptly demonstrating this relation
of dependent origination.
Only by supporting each other
can the two bundles stand
straight—
if one is removed, the other
must fall.
Because this exists, so does that;
Because that exists, so does this.

For several brilliant centuries,
Western civilization has
encouraged
the independence of the
individual,
but now appears to be facing
a turbulent twilight.
The waves of egoism
eat away at the shores of
contemporary society.
The tragedy of division
wraps the world in a thick fog.
Individuals are becoming
mere scraps, mere fragments,
competing reed bundles of
lesser self
threatened with mutual collapse.

My friends!
Please realize that you already
possess
the solution to this quandary.
First you must break the
hard shell
of the lesser self.
This you must absolutely do.
Then direct your lucid gaze
toward your friends, fellow
members.

People can only live fully
by helping others to live.
When you give life to friends
you truly live.
Cultures can only realize
their further richness
by honoring other traditions.
And only by respecting
natural life
can humanity continue to exist.

Now is the time for you to realize
that through relations
mutually inspiring and
harmonious,
the greater self is awakened
to dynamic action,
the bonds of life are restored and
healed.
And blossoms in delightful
multitude
exude the unique fragrance
of each person, of each
ethnicity,
in precise accord with the
principle of
cherry, plum, peach and
damson.

Our goal—
the Second American
Renaissance.
Holding high the standard
of humanity,
we advance—
from divisiveness to union,
from conflict to coexistence,
from hatred to fraternity.
In our struggle, in our fight,
there cannot be
even a moment’s pause or
stagnation.
My beloved friends,
Bodhisattvas of the Earth
readying yourselves
for the new century’s dawn!
With your own efforts
bring about a renaissance here,
in this “magnetic land”!

The certain signs of America
reborn,
Los Angeles rejuvenated,
are to be found within your
hearts.
With this pride and conviction,
be victorious in your daily life,
overcome your own weaknesses
every day.
Never forget that it is only
through
relentless challenge
—one step following another—
that you can steadily transform
your ideals into reality.

Buddhism is reason.
Therefore always maintain
self-control.
Be the master of your actions.
Exercise common sense in
society.
Keep a smiling countenance
at home.
Be courteous to your friends and
fellow members,
like a warm spring breeze to the
suffering.
Reason exhaustively with
the confused.
But, when you deal with
the arrogant ones,
be bold and fearless like
the Lion King!

Look!
Seen from the Malibu
Training Center,
the Pacific Ocean’s unbounded
expanse
is bathed in radiant
California sun.
An ocean of peace across whose
surface
innumerable waves murmur and
dance.

Beloved Los Angelenos!
I want you each to be
like the California sunshine,
showering on all people
the bright light and warmth
of your compassion.
Be people who extend hope and
courage,
who inspire respect and
gratitude
wherever you go.

Buddhism teaches us the means
to overcome life’s fundamental
pain
—the sufferings of birth, aging,
sickness and death—
which none can escape,
and which no degree of wealth
and fame
can relieve in the slightest.

Everyone, anyone—
when returned to
their solitary human existence,
is but a karma-laden “reed,”
trembling before the onslaught
of the four sufferings.

Seeking eternity within
impermanence,
crossing over delusion to nurture
confidence,
building happiness from
anguish,
rush forward from today
toward tomorrow
in the prodigious battle that is
our human revolution!
For you are the Buddha’s
emissaries
upholding the ultimate
philosophy of life!

Comrades!
Fellow Bodhisattvas of the
Earth!
Born here, gathered together
here in Los Angeles
that you might fulfill your
mission—
Raise your voices in songs
of praise
for freedom, democracy and
humanity!
Wave the banners of culture and
peace!

Ah, Los Angeles!
Here is to be found SUA,
a palace of intellect for
the Pan-Pacific era of the
twenty-first century.
Here is located the World
Culture Center,
dynamo of American
kosen-rufu.
And here rises the splendid form
of the future site of the
SGI Headquarters—
which will become the mainstay
of the grand endeavor of
worldwide kosen-rufu.
Truly a new wind will blow
from the west!
Los Angeles, the stage on which
you act with such freedom
and vigor,
is the launching site for world
kosen-rufu,
the cornerstone that links
East and West.
Walt Whitman, giant of
the American Renaissance,
penned these words:
“Come, I will make the
continent indissoluble,
I will make the most
splendid race
the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic
lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the lifelong love
of comrades.”

Ah, Los Angeles!
The sun rises beyond
the Rockies,
spreading its light over the wide
Pacific.
Now! In its luminous beams,
let friend and friend pull
together
in perfect unity, rowing into the
seas—
embarking on a new leg
of our journey of
kosen-rufu!

Grip the rudder,
hold firm to your course—
the Stars and Stripes,
the tricolor flag of the SGI,
ripple as a hopeful breeze
fills our sails.
The lapping waves beat
out their message
of congratulations upon
our ship’s bow!
Our destination—
America’s distant future,
the lights and colors
of a century of life,
the brilliant glory of human
harmony.

Commemorating the
Second SGI-USA General
Meeting
January 27, 1993

(pp. 27-31)