Encouragement

Creating a New Current for Peace Through Our Grassroots Efforts

May 3rd Message, 33rd Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting

Photo by SEIKYO PRESS.


SGI President Ikeda sent the following message to the 33rd Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, celebrating Soka Gakkai Day, at the Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji, Tokyo, on April 14. It was held in conjunction with the Soka Gakkai Women’s Division Group Leaders General Meeting, commemorating the 30th Soka Gakkai Mother’s Day. SGI representatives from 12 countries and territories visiting Japan for training sessions attended the meeting. The message was originally published in the April 15, 2018, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Today, we are celebrating an early May 3—Soka Gakkai Day and Soka Gakkai Mother’s Day—together with members from around the world.

How delighted Soka Gakkai founding presidents Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda would surely be!

Thank you to everyone who traveled long distances to join us at today’s meeting with a noble seeking spirit, including our visiting members from Brazil, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Côte d’Ivoire!

At the assembly where the Lotus Sutra was preached, Shakyamuni predicted that his stepmother, the nun Mahaprajapati, who raised him from birth, would attain enlightenment as the Buddha Gladly Seen by All Living Beings.

Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, conferred this wonderful name of Buddha Gladly Seen by All Living Beings on one of his female followers, the lay nun Myoho, who had lost her husband and was raising her daughter alone. Just like Bodhisattva Never Disparaging,[1]Bodhisattva Never Disparaging: A bodhisattva described in “Bodhisattva Never Disparaging,” the 20th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This bodhisattva, Shakyamuni in a previous lifetime, would bow respectfully to the four kinds of believers—monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen—greeting them with the words: “I have profound reverence for you, I would never dare treat you with disparagement or arrogance. Why? Because you will all practice the bodhisattva way and will then be able to attain Buddhahood” (LSOC, 308). However, he was attacked by arrogant people, who beat him with sticks and staves and threw stones at him. The sutra explains that his practice of respecting others’ Buddha nature became the cause for him to attain Buddhahood.
the lay nun Myoho dedicated herself to spreading the Mystic Law, undeterred by others’ slander and abuse.

Wherever the mothers of Soka are battling adversity, they are shining the “light of happiness” on one person after another.

When I was inaugurated as third Soka Gakkai president 58 years ago, on May 3, 1960, my wife, Kaneko, and I made a vow.

At that time, our admirable women’s division members, the mothers of Soka—whom Shakyamuni and the Daishonin would no doubt have also called future Buddhas Gladly Seen by All Living Beings—were enduring unjust slander and abuse in society. My wife and I vowed to create an age in which these women would be respected and praised not just throughout Japan but around the world, because such recognition would be actual proof of the brilliant development of kosen-rufu.

And today exactly that has happened, with thinking, caring people across the globe now praising Soka women as a foremost gathering dedicated to happiness and peace.

My wife suggested that I present our women’s division members with something to celebrate Soka Gakkai Mother’s Day, so I would like to share with them four pieces of calligraphy I inscribed.

I am currently writing about the year 1982 in the final chapter “Vow” of The New Human Revolution (see special insert inside), and these particular calligraphic works were to commemorate the women’s division general meetings held throughout Japan in November of that year.

The first reads “Light of Happiness—Song of Mothers.”
In a letter to the lay nun Myoho, Nichiren likens the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to “a lantern lighting up a place that has been dark for a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand years” (“The One Essential Phrase,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 923).

Soka Gakkai members welcome their new president, Daisaku Ikeda, May 3, 1960. Photo by Seikyo Press.

Two years ago today, a major earthquake hit Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu (on April 14, 2016). Our women’s division members there have illuminated their communities with their kindness, strength and brave encouragement.

Wherever the mothers of Soka are battling adversity, they are shining the “light of happiness” on one person after another. That is why, having overcome their own sadness and grief, their faces beam with revitalizing smiles that spread to others.

The next calligraphy I would like to share is “Homes of Lofty Champions of Kosen-rufu.”

In one of his writings, Nichiren quotes a passage from the Great Teacher Dengyo:

“When in the family honor is paid diligently to the teachings [of Buddhism], the seven disasters will most certainly be banished” (“On the Nation’s Slander of the Law,” WND-2, 1026).

When a woman becomes a sunlike presence, she can lead her family, friends and loved ones in the direction of hope and harmony, even if she is the only one among them practicing Nichiren Buddhism. Eventually, thanks to her efforts, capable Bodhisattvas of the Earth will joyously appear in her environment.

In particular, families who offer their homes as meeting centers for local members exemplify the meaning of “Homes of Lofty Champions of Kosen-rufu.” While expressing our sincere gratitude to these families, let us always be sure to treat their homes with the greatest care and consideration.

The third calligraphy is “Peace and Tranquillity—The Light of Mothers.”

In Côte d’Ivoire, the members have made a fresh departure with a new leadership lineup, united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind.” After civil war broke out there at the beginning of the 21st century (in 2002), the women’s division took the lead in organizing district-level chanting sessions. They chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo every day for the peace and security of their land, and continued carrying out dialogues with their friends and neighbors to build trust and friendship.

In “Life Span,” the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, we find the words: “This, my land, remains safe and tranquil, / constantly filled with heavenly and human beings” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 272). The surest force for realizing a “safe and tranquil” world, a peaceful world, is the grassroots solidarity of women exerting themselves in Buddhist practice and study, and becoming deeply involved in their communities.

Let us all chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the success of the small group women’s general meetings that will be held throughout Japan next month and support the hardworking group leaders who are taking responsibility for the happiness of their communities.

The last calligraphy is “Spring and Autumn—A Journey of Happiness.”

Shortly after inscribing these four calligraphies, on Nov. 18, 1982, the anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding, I took part in the unveiling ceremony for the Monument to the Twenty-First Century in what is now the garden of the Makiguchi Memorial Hall. On that occasion, I set forth with fresh resolve to redouble my efforts toward the 21st century. I am delighted to be able to say that the Soka elementary school students who did the unveiling, as well as all our future division members at that time, are now leaders brilliantly active on the front lines of the men’s and women’s divisions.

The eminent Indian philosopher Dr. Lokesh Chandra, who visited Japan recently, once expressed his strong hope that we of the Soka Gakkai would stir a fresh groundswell for peace, noting that, as stated in the preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO, peace must be constructed in the minds of human beings.

Let us of the Soka family, centered around our women’s division members, who shine like the sun, and led by our youth division members, who embody the principle of “from the indigo, an even deeper blue,” embark anew on a wonderful journey of happiness to build peace for all humanity. No matter what our age, let us continue moving ever forward in high spirits!

(pp. 2-3)

Notes   [ + ]

1. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging: A bodhisattva described in “Bodhisattva Never Disparaging,” the 20th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This bodhisattva, Shakyamuni in a previous lifetime, would bow respectfully to the four kinds of believers—monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen—greeting them with the words: “I have profound reverence for you, I would never dare treat you with disparagement or arrogance. Why? Because you will all practice the bodhisattva way and will then be able to attain Buddhahood” (LSOC, 308). However, he was attacked by arrogant people, who beat him with sticks and staves and threw stones at him. The sutra explains that his practice of respecting others’ Buddha nature became the cause for him to attain Buddhahood.

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