“One Is the Mother of Ten Thousand”

By encouraging the youth in front of us at the front lines, the doors to a new era of kosen-rufu will swing wide open.

Weston, Fla. Photo by Mary D’Elia.

“The seed of the nyagrodha tree, though one-third the size of a mustard seed, can conceal five hundred carts within itself. Is this not a case of the small containing the large? . . . The popular proverb says that ‘one is the mother of ten thousand.’” (“A Sage and an Unenlightened Man,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 130–31)

by Adin Strauss (SGI-USA General Director)

The happiest of new years to all! And thank you for everything in 2017!

Amazingly, 17 months have passed since SGI President Ikeda encouraged us: “Please promise with me to work hard over the next two years with our fellow members around the world to expand our network of Bodhisattvas of the Earth” (Oct. 7, 2016, World Tribune, p. 3).

Through the combined efforts of every SGI-USA member this past December to support youth (by praying for them, visiting them, encouraging them and even driving them), more than 14,000 youth gathered in meeting places throughout the country for the December Youth General Meetings and brought 2017 to a vigorous conclusion. It was truly exciting!

At the same time, we continue to face the sobering reality of the tumult in society as well as in our natural environment. Truly, this is a time when great good and great evil are side by side—but it must be our mission to ensure that great good triumphs without fail.

The starting point is to care for a single person, exactly as Nichiren Daishonin points out in the famous passage above, citing the proverb “One is the mother of ten thousand.”

I know that districts and chapters throughout the country have set challenging, ambitious goals for the number of youth that they have determined to send to the Lions of Justice Festival, to be held on Sept. 23 in nine U.S. cities.

Recently, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada shared that when we establish such goals for SGI activities, we are actually counting the number of people we will enable to become happy.

Each chapter is the key to enabling many young people in our society stand up and become the protagonists for change.

Why are we so focused on appointing many youth unit and district leaders? It is so that they have the golden opportunity to support our many new members in becoming happy, while creating tremendous fortune for themselves in the process.

Members with years of experience share the great benefits in faith they’ve received. This, President Ikeda defines as “guidance,” directed at enabling youth to become happy.

Taking action with our precious youth toward a common goal in faith— chanting, studying, visiting—President Ikeda defines as “education.” The world of Soka is the world of “learning by doing.” Gladly and freely giving our new youth opportunities to develop by challenging themselves to accomplish things in terms of faith and practice that they’ve never accomplished before—this is called “training.”

And last but not least, praising and supporting youth with warm words, warmer actions and powerful prayer behind the scenes for their victory—this constitutes “support.”

The place where all these actions coalesce is the front lines—and each chapter is the key to enabling many young people in our society to stand up and become the protagonists for change.

When we place our focus firmly on the lives of one precious youth after another, offering guidance, education, training and support in the great Soka tradition, as President Ikeda teaches, there’s not the slightest doubt in my mind that the doors to a new era of kosen-rufu—both in our organization and in our society—will swing wide open.

(p. 10)