Making 2018 a Year of Everlasting Brilliant Achievement

SGI President Ikeda's Monthly Message.

This monthly encouragement by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was originally published in the January 2018 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

Photo: Seiko Press
Photo: Seiko Press

Both Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, the Soka Gakkai’s first and second presidents, embraced faith in Nichiren Buddhism in 1928.

Seven centuries after the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, Nichiren Daishonin was born, and then another seven centuries later, the Soka Gakkai appeared. What a grand and wondrous rhythm this is!

There is a passage from Nichiren Daishonin’s treatise “The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind” that Mr. Makiguchi deeply took to heart: “When the skies are clear, the ground is illuminated. Similarly, when one knows the Lotus Sutra [the Mystic Law], one understands the meaning of all worldly affairs” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 376).

Mr. Makiguchi personally experienced this in his own life. He said that when he started practicing Nichiren Buddhism at the age of 57, he was filled with “an indescribable joy.” With deep gratitude and emotion, he declared that faith in the Mystic Law completely changed his way of life, and enabled him to cast off “the anxiety that came from searching in the dark for life’s answers” and his “inborn reserve and diffidence.”[1]Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Works of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1984), vol. 8, p. 406.

His words reflect the vibrant, dynamic life state of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, the spirit of “rejoicing is faith, and faith is rejoicing” (Gosho zenshu, p. 835). [2]“Oko kikigaki” (The Recorded Lectures); not included in WND, vols. 1 or 2.

Once he began practicing Nichiren Buddhism, Mr. Makiguchi found a truly great purpose in life—namely, realizing kosen-rufu and the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” And he set forth boldly and fearlessly, activating the heavenly deities, and exerted himself bravely and vigorously to achieve it.

The teachings of Nichiren Buddhism are infinitely profound.

The essence of the Soka Gakkai spirit is incomparably noble.

It is nine decades this year since our first two presidents embraced faith in Nichiren Buddhism. Let us now once again reaffirm, together with all our new members around the world, the great, initial aspiration in faith that our founder Mr. Makiguchi cherished until the day he died in prison for his beliefs.

With pride in our great fortune “to have been born in the Latter Day of the Law and to have shared in the propagation of the Lotus Sutra” (“Letter to Niike,” WND-1, 1026), let us brightly illuminate our lives, our societies and the world with the Daishonin’s Buddhism of the Sun.

• • •

The Soka Gakkai’s theme for 2018 is the Year of Brilliant Achievement.

Brilliant achievement shines in the lives of those who, no matter what difficulties or setbacks they may face, continue to advance tirelessly day after day, like the sun.

Nichiren encouraged the Ikegami brothers and their wives, who were battling the relentless onslaughts of the three obstacles and four devils: “You must persevere through this trial and see for yourselves the blessings of the Lotus Sutra. I, Nichiren, will also emphatically call on the heavenly gods. Now more than ever, you must neither show nor feel any fear” (“Letter to the Brothers,” WND-1, 498).

When adversity strikes, have the grit to persevere, chanting and fighting on bravely, determined to show what you’re made of.

Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, is aware of all our struggles. The cause for brilliant achievement is created in the midst of our hardest-fought efforts. Indeed, those earnest struggles themselves will become wonderful stories of brilliant achievement that live on forever.

We have Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the ultimate victory cry of life—our chanting itself is a vow to triumph over all.

In his writing titled “How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra,” Nichiren clearly states:

When once we chant Myoho-renge-kyo, with just that single sound we summon forth and manifest the Buddha nature of all Buddhas; all existences; all bodhisattvas; all voice-hearers; all the deities such as Brahma, Shakra, and King Yama; the sun and moon, and the myriad stars; the heavenly gods and earthly deities, on down to hell-dwellers, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human and heavenly beings, and all other living beings. This blessing is immeasurable and boundless. (WND-1, 887)

Today again, let’s resonantly chant Nam-myohorenge-kyo and call forth the Buddha nature in our families, our friends, our districts and our nations, thereby realizing brilliant achievement ourselves and helping others do the same.

The Soka Gakkai has been entrusted with the “propagation of the great Law” into the eternal future of the Latter Day. Let us work together to make this year one of brilliant achievement that posterity will praise as a watershed in our history!

Mountain of Soka—
a castle of victory cheers
where the lives
of all who gather
shine with a golden hue.

(pp. 4-5)

Notes   [ + ]

1. Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Works of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1984), vol. 8, p. 406.
2. “Oko kikigaki” (The Recorded Lectures); not included in WND, vols. 1 or 2.

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