Let the Light of the Mystic Law Shine On Without End

SGI President Ikeda's message to the U.S.-Japan Youth Friendship General Meeting.

SGI-USA youth training course participants passionately sing “Lions of Justice Vow,” expressing their determination to fulfill their mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, at the U.S.-Japan Youth Friendship General Meeting, Tokyo, Feb. 2. This is the official 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival song (see p. 12 for lyrics). Photo by Justin Kunimoto.

SGI President Ikeda sent the following message to the U.S.-Japan Youth Friendship General Meeting, held on Feb. 2 in Tokyo, with the 201 SGI-USA youth representatives and the Soka Gakkai youth of Tokyo in attendance.

I offer my heartfelt congratulations on the holding of the U.S.–Japan Youth Friendship General Meeting, whose members are spearheading the way for worldwide kosen-rufu.

To my fellow members of the SGI-USA, who have boldly battled every adversity to achieve membership growth that is monumental in both size and intensity: Welcome and thank you for traveling such great distances to arrive in Japan despite the bitter cold. You are all immeasurably precious to me, and while I may not be present in person, I feel as though I were shaking hands firmly with each of you. In the same spirit, I extend my greetings and gratitude to all my cherished members of the men’s and women’s divisions in America who like proud fathers and mothers sent you off to Japan with their earnest prayers, just as your treasured friends have undoubtedly done as well.

I hold the United States as the eternally unchanging point of departure for kosen-rufu worldwide. And from that wonderful land, a multitude of young, genuine bodhisattvas have joyfully emerged from the earth—each of you commanding such dignity and trust— to join your peers from Japan and the world in common cause, united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind” to further expand your ranks. This is Soka at its finest, and nothing brings me greater pride and joy than in watching you and your progress.

“Lions of Justice Vow” is a soulful song of which you are justifiably proud—a spiritual ode that my wife, Kaneko, and I listened to once again today, its words resounding in the depths of our lives. Thank you. Thank you very much, indeed.

The original Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, explains the roar of a lion in this way: “The first shi of the word shishi, or ‘lion’ [which means ‘teacher’], is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi [which means ‘child’] is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The ‘roar’ is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 111).

You and I are inextricably bound at the most profound level by the daimoku[1]Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. we chant to realize our vow for kosenrufu. It is the ultimate indomitable lion’s roar that transcends time and space. My beloved disciples, I call on each of you to “regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens.”[2]“Happiness in This World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 681.

Do so as you infuse your families, places of work, communities, society and the world as a whole with limitless reserves of courage and hope.

You have all grown, standing resolute, as grand and gallant as young lions. Lions never succumb nor do they ever retreat. Lions leap ahead, roar, battle and win without fail. I therefore firmly entrust each of you with the torch of justice, the heart of the lion king that I together with the everyday champions of our movement have kept ablaze over the years. I do this because there is no one I believe in and trust more than I do you. Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the first matriarchs of human rights, once declared: “We cannot cast an enduring light on other men’s minds unless the light in our own minds burns with a hard, unquenchable flame.”[3]The Atlantic, April 1961.

My friends whose hearts burn brightly so early in life with the supreme philosophy of the Mystic Law, I ask this of you: Wield the light of wisdom to vanquish the darkness brought on by the myriad sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death. Wield it to brighten the lives of your friends, those with whom you share profound karmic bonds of humanity’s collective future. Let this light shine without end. I will continue to send each of you daimoku. Let us forge on as one. Then, advance for all time as the pride of lions in the pursuit of justice.

Daisaku Ikeda
February 2, 2018

(p. 4)

Notes   [ + ]

1. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
2. “Happiness in This World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 681.
3. The Atlantic, April 1961.