The Youth Are Leading the Way Toward March 16

Excerpts of Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada’s speech at the January 2018 Headquarters Leaders Meeting.

Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada at the 30th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting, held at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall, Jan. 7, 2018. SGI representatives from 12 countries were visiting Japan for training sessions. Photo by Seikyo Press.

The following are excerpts of Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada’s speech at the 30th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, held in Tokyo, on Jan. 7, 2018. This text was published in the Jan. 13, 2018, Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Now, 2018—the Year of Brilliant Achievement—has vibrantly dawned.

On Jan. 3, SGI President Ikeda conducted gongyo at the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, praying for the health, happiness and victory of all the members.

On the altar was a booklet containing SGI representatives’ signatures ratifying the adoption of the Soka Gakkai Constitution last November. President Ikeda said, “I have offered my earnest prayers so that all of you will come together in the spirit of many in body, one in mind to further advance worldwide kosen-rufu and that each country and territory can enjoy peace, security and prosperity.” As President Ikeda’s disciples throughout the world, what greater joy is there?

In addition, on Jan. 2, the day he turned 90, we heard the most delightful news that two cities—Tursi in Italy and Cheonan in South Korea—have named our mentor an honorary citizen. President Ikeda has now received honorary citizenships from 800 communities around the world. This is an unprecedented and unparalleled record. I offer my most heartfelt congratulations!

These honorary citizenships attest to the respect and trust President Ikeda has earned as a global citizen, transcending ethnic and religious differences. They also attest to his towering achievements in advancing the causes of peace, culture and education. What we need to note here is that he has never visited many of the cities that have honored him.

President Ikeda writes: “Protecting the organization is protecting me. Protecting one, ten, a hundred or a thousand Soka Gakkai members is protecting me. This is because I have made the Soka Gakkai the sole purpose of my life.”

For example, Salvatore Cosma, the mayor of Tursi City, which most recently honored him, began interacting with local SGI members several years ago. Struck by the members’ profound sincerity in spreading dialogue and friendship, he went on to read President Ikeda’s works and learn about the progression of our peace movement, deepening his understanding of the SGI.

Moreover, the city of Cheonan is the birthplace of Yu Gwan-sun—known as Korea’s “Joan of Arc” for leading the resistance movement against Japanese rule—and the home of the Independence Hall of Korea.

Local SGI members there have been involved in protecting the local environment, organizing community events and contributing in many other ways. Through such efforts, Mayor Koo Bon Young learned of the SGI and has attended a local chapter meeting as a guest. The more he interacted with SGI members, the more he began to develop profound trust in President Ikeda. Last year, he delivered a congratulatory address at the opening ceremony of the new SGI culture center in Cheonan.

The Disciple’s Victory Is the Mentor’s Victory

Just as in these two cities, in places the world over SGI members’ steady efforts to better society are being recognized, leading to a deeper understanding of Sensei’s humanistic efforts, forging even stronger bonds of trust and recognition for our cause.

The disciple’s victory is the mentor’s victory.

And the disciple’s victory is nothing other than the expansion of kosen-rufu. President Ikeda writes in The New Human Revolution: “Protecting the organization is protecting me. Protecting one, ten, a hundred or a thousand Soka Gakkai members is protecting me. This is because I have made the Soka Gakkai the sole purpose of my life . . . I do not exist apart from the Soka Gakkai or its members. If you have even the slightest desire to protect me, I hope you will take a place on the front lines of this organization and work there to protect our members” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 8, p. 138).

The many SGI activities we have today were established by President Ikeda to advance kosen-rufu in the midst of this saha world and to establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land. The spirit of mentor and disciple does not exist apart from our steady, persevering efforts to carry on and further develop this treasured legacy. Nichiren Daishonin writes, “If anyone questions these things, let that person ask my disciples for details” Prophecy,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 402).

This Year of Brilliant Achievement is the time to proudly declare: “Watch me!” “Watch the youth of Soka!”

Let’s first aim to celebrate the 60th anniversary of March 16 with all the disciples winning in propagation and in expanding the ranks of the youth, the successors of Soka, so that President Ikeda will be assured of thefuture.

In this Year of Brilliant Achievement, let’s pray with the great vow to make this the year to absolutely advance and win in kosen-rufu and in our lives, together with our mentor. Thank you very much.

(p. 8)