Encouragement

Youth, Remember Your Vow Each Day

Soka Gakkai President Harada reflects on the significance of March 16, Kosen-rufu Day.

Boston KRG. Photo by The torch of kosen-rufu is passed on when disciples—responding to the mentor’s vow demonstrate that they can win.


The following was published in the Feb. 21, 2018, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

“March 16 isn’t merely an episode in history. What’s important is to fight with the determination that every day is March 16.”—This is what SGI President Ikeda taught me when I was a youth, and still today this is etched indelibly in my life. March 16 is a day that solemnly symbolizes the advancement of kosen-rufu, and it is the start of a fresh departure toward April 2[1]April 2 is the day of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s passing in 1958. and May 3.[2]May 3 is Soka Gakkai Day. It honors the day, in 1951, when Josei Toda was inaugurated as second Soka Gakkai president and, in 1960, when Daisaku Ikeda succeeded him.

At the time of his inauguration, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda declared his grand goal of having 750,000 households join the organization. Out of his determination to honor the inauguration of his mentor, Daisaku Ikeda [who was 23 years old at the time] was able to help one person join the Soka Gakkai that day. He truly spearheaded the efforts to achieve the target of 750,000 households.

President Ikeda had made a personal vow to achieve his mentor’s declared goal, and he paved the way for its actualization. He said, “The propagation goal of 750,000 households was a vow of mentor and disciple.” He also stated, “Had we not reached this goal, then the historic March 16 ceremony of succession would not have been possible.” The torch of kosen-rufu is passed on when disciples—responding to the mentor’s vow—demonstrate that they can win. Today, this is unfolding on a global scale.

In fall 2017, the number of youth division members in India rose to 100,000. This month (February 2018), our friends from the United States participated in a special youth training course here in Japan, full of joy and vigor. Leading up to this training course, the participants were able to help a total of 577 people begin their Buddhist practice. In Korea, too, where they are hosting the Winter Olympics, youth are joyfully and courageously making efforts to contribute to their society as they advance kosen-rufu in their communities.

In President Ikeda’s poem “A Blue Deeper Than Indigo Itself” (see March 2018 Living Buddhism, pp. 16–19), he writes, “I entrust the world to you.” President Toda spoke these words, entrusting President Ikeda with worldwide kosen-rufu. It is because President Ikeda gave his life to propagating the Law that the SGI today is a world religion in name and reality, and possesses the foundation to take flight into the world.

The torch of kosen-rufu is passed on when disciples—responding to the mentor’s vow—demonstrate that they can win.

And the members of the youth division serve as the core of this world religion that is the SGI. Given the importance of their mission, I would like for the youth to advance with the determination that every day is March 16.

After the ceremony of succession on March 16 (1958), President Toda urged President Ikeda, “‘Never slacken in your struggle against such evil!” (The Human Revolution, p. 1911). In the mid- to late-1970s, at the time of the first priesthood issue,[3] First priesthood issue: In the late 1970s, the corruption of Nichiren Shoshu priests came to a head as they tried to exploit the Soka Gakkai and manipulate its members for their own gain. Though President Ikeda worked strenuously to maintain harmony with the priesthood, eventually, in November 1991, the Soka Gakkai gained spiritual independence from Nichiren Shoshu. President Ikeda said to me, “In his injunction to ‘never slacken in your struggle against such evil,’ President Toda was talking about the priesthood.”

We must not permit errant priests, traitors and those who have backslid in faith to conspire to destroy the bonds of mentor and disciple. This spirit [to defend the organization is one] that resonates in the chapter of The New Human Revolution currently being published [in the Seikyo Shimbun], titled “Cheers of Victory” (tentative translation).

If we lose the fighting spirit to refute the erroneous and reveal the true, then the realm of the harmonious unity that is the SGI will be destroyed. This is why we must never forget President Toda’s injunction.

Sixty years have passed since the ceremony of March 16, 1958. The immense significance of holding the World Youth General Meeting[4] On March 11, 2018, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of March 16, 600,000 Soka Gakkai youth will connect via simulcast for the World Youth General Meeting broadcasted from Tokyo. now, at this time, is immeasurable. I would like for the youth to remember your vow of mentor and disciple each day, and, through challenging your human revolution, create a foundation that will last throughout your lives.

President Ikeda is praying and anticipating the victory of the youth. And aiming for March 16, I, too, will fight to advance kosen-rufu together with all of you!

(p. 3)

Notes   [ + ]

1. April 2 is the day of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s passing in 1958.
2. May 3 is Soka Gakkai Day. It honors the day, in 1951, when Josei Toda was inaugurated as second Soka Gakkai president and, in 1960, when Daisaku Ikeda succeeded him.
3. First priesthood issue: In the late 1970s, the corruption of Nichiren Shoshu priests came to a head as they tried to exploit the Soka Gakkai and manipulate its members for their own gain. Though President Ikeda worked strenuously to maintain harmony with the priesthood, eventually, in November 1991, the Soka Gakkai gained spiritual independence from Nichiren Shoshu.
4. On March 11, 2018, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of March 16, 600,000 Soka Gakkai youth will connect via simulcast for the World Youth General Meeting broadcasted from Tokyo.