Now Is the Time to Express Gratitude to Our Mentor

Toward the 60th anniversary of March 16, let’s fulfill our vow as successors through outstanding expansion and spread the Buddhist philosophy of hope throughout the world.

Photos by FilippoBacci/GettyImages.

by Mitsushiro Takeoka
SGI Youth Leader

Toward the World Youth General Meeting, which will mark the 60th anniversary of March 16, Kosen-rufu Day, SGI youth in Japan and throughout the world are exerting themselves wholeheartedly to share this Buddhism with their friends and to foster capable people.

In 1958, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda suggested that a commemorative meeting be held on March 16 and called it “a dress rehearsal for kosen-rufu.” At this gathering of 6,000 youth, President Toda boldly proclaimed: “The Soka Gakkai is the king of the religious world!” (The Human Revolution, p. 1895). And he entrusted the mission of kosen-rufu to the young Daisaku Ikeda and the youth who had gathered. Just 17 days before President Toda’s death, he poured his entire life into this solemn ceremony.

For this year’s World Youth General Meeting, we are determined to gather 600,000 young people—100 times the number of youth who gathered at that historic ceremony 60 years ago. We will make this a ceremony in which the successors of kosen-rufu usher in a new era while carrying on the legacy of mentor and disciple solidified by SGI President Ikeda, who for the last 60 years has spread the Buddhist philosophy of hope throughout the world.

As youth, we are determined to focus on three key points toward the World Youth General Meeting:

1. We will declare to the world that SGI President Ikeda has spearheaded the achievement of worldwide kosen-rufu.

2. We will crown the completion of our mentor’s lifelong endeavor by expanding the ranks of capable people.

3. We will, as Sensei’s disciples throughout the world, inherit the vow of kosen-rufu.

At the ceremony 60 years ago, the youth were welcomed by members of the Music Corps and the Fife and
Drum Corps, playing instruments that President Ikeda had personally purchased for them.

As for the meeting this March, both the Music Corps and the Fife and Drum Corps—which have developed splendidly over the years and have been awarded in Japan for their excellence—will offer magnificent performances to welcome youth from around the world to our general meeting. During the meeting, we will introduce an original song and also sing “Youth With a Noble Vow” in various languages. Through the power of music, we will celebrate our mentor’s monumental achievement of worldwide kosen-rufu.

In addition, during this meeting, youth from various countries will share their vow as Soka successors. To conclude, we will join youth throughout the world in a simultaneous gongyo ceremony. As disciples of President Ikeda praying at the same time throughout the world, we will pledge resolutely to carry on the noble mission of kosen-rufu.

President Ikeda has said: “Transcending time and distance, and simultaneously linking the entire world, this March 16 ceremony will undoubtedly be one in which we all vow to carry on the shared struggle of mentor and disciple. As if looking upon the Ceremony in the Air that is depicted in the Lotus Sutra, I am observing all the efforts the youth are making.” Just as he says, we will unite based on our prayer. In this respect, the 1,200 centers across Japan, the international centers joining the meeting via broadcast, as well as all the places where members are chanting throughout the world, are each the stage upon which we will carry out our vow as successors.

So, how should we prepare for this meeting?

President Ikeda has taught us that, 60 years ago, it was because the members had achieved Mr. Toda’s lifelong goal of 750,000 households practicing Nichiren Buddhism that the March 16 gathering became the ceremony for successors to inherit the mission of kosen-rufu into the future. Only in the midst of the struggle to expand the kosen-rufu movement could they have conducted such a solemn entrustment ceremony.

Without continued growth, there can be no successors. This is precisely why my wish is for us to create outstanding results in propagation to prepare for March 16.

Now is the time to express gratitude to our mentor! As youth who are always together with Sensei, let’s continue sounding “cheers of victory” that reverberate throughout the entire world!

Translated from the Feb. 7, 2018,issue of the Soka Shimpo, the Soka Gakkai’s bimonthly youth division newspaper.