Raise the Banner of Brilliant Achievement and Open the Way to a Peaceful Future!

SGI President Ikeda's New Year's Message.

Photo: Seikyo Press.

My best wishes to you on the start of 2018—the Year of Brilliant Achievement in the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu.

I am praying sincerely for the health and safety of our members everywhere as well as their families and friends, with the wish that they may lead lives of eternity, joy, true self and purity. I am also praying for the peace and prosperity of the lands in which they live.

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What is the banner of brilliant achievement that we, the global citizens of Soka, are now raising?

First, it is the steadfast banner of conviction. Nichiren Daishonin writes, “How fortunate, how joyous, to think that with this unworthy body I have received in my heart the seeds of Buddhahood!” (“The Selection of the Time,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 578).

Having embraced faith in the Mystic Law, we have already firmly planted the seeds of Buddhahood in our lives. We nurture those seeds by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ourselves and teaching others to do the same. When we do so with unflagging resolve, “day by day and month after month” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” WND-1, 997), we can bring unending flowers of joy to blossom and infinite good fortune to fruition—in our lives, our families and our communities. This can be seen in the wonderful actual proof of the benefit of Buddhist practice that our members all around the world are demonstrating.

Steadfast— SGI President and Mrs. Ikeda visit the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji, Tokyo, November 2017. The SGI president continues writing to encourage friends and fellow members. Photo: Seikyo Press.

Even the greatest material wealth, fame and power are fleeting and transient. No matter what heights of worldly success and fortune one may gain, they are all nothing more than “mere prosperity in a dream” (“Embracing the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 63) in the face of the fundamental sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death. However, nothing can destroy the “treasures of the heart” (“The Three Kinds of Treasure,” WND-1, 851) that we accumulate in the innermost depths of our lives as we challenge adversity with true faith in the Mystic Law and change poison into medicine. Such treasures will never fade nor disappear.

Precisely because we live in an age where many lack conviction and a sound guiding philosophy, we who hold the steadfast banner of conviction and philosophy—of faith in Nichiren Buddhism— must make our lives shine brightly with life’s ultimate and eternal brilliant achievement—that is, attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime.

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Second, our banner of brilliant achievement is the invincible banner of peace.

Last year, six decades after my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, made his historic Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, the United Nations adopted the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

As you may know, the SGI was actively involved in the process leading to the treaty’s adoption, collaborating with NGOs such as the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and national governments, and helping create a grass-roots people’s movement in support of the treaty. This example of solidarity in civil society and the powerful voice of the people acting as a force to galvanize the international community is a major positive step for the future.

What is the banner of brilliant achievement
that SGI members are raising?
1. Steadfast Banner of Conviction
2. Invincible Banner of Peace
3. Eternal Banner of Youth

In November last year, an SGI delegation participated in a conference held at the Vatican in Rome on the topic “Perspectives for a World Free From Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament,” along with numerous leading world thinkers, including Argentine human rights activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

Dr. Pérez Esquivel and I have discussed such topics as abolishing nuclear weapons, putting an end to the violence of war and terrorism, and finding solutions to environmental degradation, divisions caused by discrimination and the wealth gap, and various other challenges the world faces. Dr. Pérez Esquivel holds boundless hopes for the contributions to peace being made by our SGI youth.

In our dialogue, he remarked that spirituality is engendered by transcending the self, by learning to think of others. To achieve peace, he said, we need a spirituality that illuminates our self, an inner light, without which we cannot illuminate others.

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In our daily activities for kosen-rufu, we sincerely listen to the problems and worries of individuals around us and engage them in frank and open dialogue. This is ultimately a challenge to believe in and activate the supremely noble Buddha nature that exists within our lives and those of others. Through such steady, persevering efforts in dialogue day after day, we can illuminate both ourselves and others with the light of human revolution. In his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” Nichiren writes:

You must quickly reform the tenets that you hold in your heart and embrace the one true vehicle, the single good doctrine [of the Lotus Sutra]. If you do so, then the threefold world will become the Buddha land, and how could a Buddha land ever decline? The regions in the ten directions will all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever suffer harm? (WND-1, 25)

Under the invincible banner of peace, of the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land,” let us continue our work to forge and spread a spiritual solidarity among people around the world, transcending all differences.

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Finally, our banner of brilliant achievement is an eternal banner of youth.

This year on March 16, we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of that historic ceremony of mentor and disciple, when President Toda passed the baton of kosen-rufu to his successors in the youth division.

Today, all around the world, inspiring young Bodhisattvas of the Earth are standing up dynamically to take action for kosen-rufu. They are sending forth waves of Buddhist dialogue and creating a powerful, rising tide of humanism. This year, let us put even greater energy into fostering the youth and expanding their ranks. And let us limitlessly open the way for the future of worldwide kosen-rufu, working together in solid unity and joyous harmony.

I am praying earnestly that all of you, my dear fellow members of the Soka family, each in the sphere of your own vow and mission, will create a record of brilliant achievement in leading lives of complete fulfillment and advancing our movement for kosen-rufu.

New Year’s Day, 2018
Daisaku Ikeda
President, Soka Gakkai International