Key Points to 50K Victory!
SGI Vice President Yoshiki Tanigawa traveled in May to Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and Laguna Hills, California, for various SGI-USA activities. The following is a summary of vital, practical guidance for SGI-USA members to implement as we advance to the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival on Sept. 23.
Victory is decided by making the greatest, most thorough preparation.
• Nichiren Daishonin emphasizes this point in his letter “The Day Before Yesterday,” writing, “Within the tents of command, [leaders recognized for their skill in battle] were able to devise strategies that assured victory a thousand miles away” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 391).
• Victory or defeat is not decided when you come face-to-face with your opponent. Rather, SGI President Ikeda teaches us to think hard about how to make thorough preparations to ensure victory ahead of the battle and to carry out those plans.
• In August 1955, summer propagation campaigns were held throughout Japan, and leaders were dispatched from Tokyo to their assigned areas. For this campaign, Sensei had been assigned to Sapporo (see May 3, 2018, World Tribune, p. 10).
• Because he had made the most thorough and complete preparations beforehand, as soon as he arrived in Sapporo, he declared: “We have won!”
• What did this preparation entail?
• Sensei had researched every connection that the members in Sapporo had to people in the region, and he considered the best way to talk with each person about Buddhism. He found
out as much as he could about each of the guests. He also designated activity centers that would be most effective
for the campaign ahead of his arrival, while also ensuring the quality of the agenda of each meeting and the status of guests.
• The norm for these campaigns taking place throughout Japan at the time was for leaders to begin preparing and planning once they arrived in their assigned areas. But Sensei was different. He had thoroughly prepared before he arrived.
• As a result, Sensei’s assigned chapter was able to set a new record by welcoming more than 300 households in a matter of 10 days.
• Starting with the victory—the goal that we want to achieve—we have to work backward from there, clearly planning each step and determining what needs to happen at each turn. Moving toward the grand goal, set clear goals along the way, and work steadily to accomplish each one. Just as with a bow and arrow, we must first draw back the string of the bow while aiming the arrow at the target. That action of drawing back the bow can be likened to making thorough preparations.
• Win today and then win again tomorrow, gaining one victory after another. That’s how we achieve final victory.
With powerful prayer, forge a single-minded determination to win.
• To absolutely win over those things in our lives and in our environment that tend to shake and sway us, we need strong resolve. And the only way to develop such resolve is to win in our fundamental battle to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
• In “Many in Body, One in Mind,” Nichiren states, “Even an individual at cross purposes with himself is certain to end in failure” (WND-1, 618).
• Of course we all want to win, and we may have the determination to do so. However, we also often have underlying doubts about our abilities to achieve that victory. We might think: Can I really do it? Can I make the impossible possible?
• That’s why our prayer is so vital. As Sensei says: “Prayer is the courage to persevere. It is the struggle to overcome our own weakness and lack of confidence in ourselves. It is the act of impressing in the very depths of our being the conviction that we can change the situation without fail” (Nov. 18, 2017, World Tribune, p. 3).
Starting with the victory—the goal that you want to achieve—you have to work backwards from there, clearly planning each step and determining what needs to happen at each turn.
• Based on the simultaneity of cause and effect, our resolve determines everything.
• As Nichiren states: “The protection of the gods depends on the strength of one’s faith. The Lotus Sutra is a fine sword, but its might depends on the one who wields it” (“General Stone Tiger,” WND-1, 953).
• Sensei explains that these protective functions are not abstract forces or gods. They instead are the environment created by the people around us and those in our lives who support us as we take action for kosen-rufu.
• Once we solidify our resolve, we can move everything in the most favorable direction
The unity of “many in body, one in mind” leads to victory.
Nichiren teaches, “If the spirit of many in body but one in mind prevails among the people, they will achieve all their goals, whereas if one in body but different in mind, they can achieve nothing remarkable” (“Many in Body, One in Mind,” WND-1, 618).
• Of course, it’s wonderful to have many active members, but having only a few active members does not mean you cannot accomplish something great. Nichiren teaches that even a few people, united as many in body and one in mind, will advance and definitely win.
• President Ikeda has given the following guidance: “In modern terms, many in body, one in mind means an organization. Many in body means that each person is different—that people differ in their appearances, standing in society, circumstances and individual missions. But as for their hearts—their hearts should be one; each person should be one in mind, united in faith” (Discussions on Youth, pp. 244–45).
• I once received guidance from Sensei, wherein he shared that we must overcome various differences to truly strive in unity.
• To be “one in mind,” he said, we need a focus. And that focal point is the oneness of mentor and disciple. True unity is born when we strive to bring joy to our mentor by reporting our victories in expanding kosen-rufu. Unity is born from the disciples’ shared vow to respond to their mentor.
Concrete Practical Steps to Achieve Victory
Avoid filtering, and talk to as many people as you can.
The great path to victory begins by courageously cultivating the ground right beneath your feet. Sensei says, “Dig beneath your feet, there you will find a spring” (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, vol. 1, p. 11). The key to victory is found right where you are.
• So reach out to everyone you know—your family members, friends, acquaintances in your community, fellow SGI members who don’t come out to activities. Reach out to everyone.
Sensei says, “Dig beneath your feet, there you will find a spring.” The key to victory is found right where you are.
When I was a student in college, that’s when I first seriously challenged myself to share Buddhism with my friends. But I really struggled, because I couldn’t produce any results no matter how hard I tried. When I asked my senior in faith what more I could do, he said:
• “Don’t decide from the start who will likely practice and who likely will not. What’s most important is that you continue reaching out to and talking with even one more person.
• “Take a deck of cards, for example. You have 52 cards. As long as you continue taking one card at a time, you will eventually find four aces. Sometimes you get an ace right away. And other times, all the aces are toward the bottom of the deck. However, as long as you keep going through that deck of cards, you’ll eventually find the four aces.
• “In the same way, if you persevere in talking to as many people as you can, from that effort, you will definitely find people who want to practice Buddhism.”
• This is how he encouraged me. Just as he advised, I challenged myself to talk to all my friends and to everyone I could. Then one day, during a college event, a stranger came to the exhibition I was supporting, and we started talking. The conversation led to Buddhism, and he was interested. So from there, I started teaching him gongyo and after about a month, he decided to receive the Gohonzon! That was the first person whom I personally helped to begin their Buddhist practice!
• After all my efforts to talk with my friends, it turned out that a complete stranger was most interested in Buddhism!
• That experience taught me that we shouldn’t choose whom to talk to about Buddhism based on our own preconceived ideas. Rather, we must summon up the courage to talk with as many people as we can.
Make a list of everyone you have a connection with.
The first step in taking action is to write a list of all the people you can possibly think of with whom you have a connection. Continue adding to the list as you remember more people or as you are introduced to more people. And keep adding to this list and taking action.
• What often happens is that we write out the names of friends, relatives, old classmates and so on, and it starts out as a really long list. Then, as we go through the list and imagine the faces of each person, we start to think: Oh no, that person is not going to be interested. That person would never attend our festival . . . And the list becomes shorter and shorter.
• Challenge yourselves to bring out the courage to talk to each person on your list, and not to be discouraged even if you are rejected or if people are not interested.
• Even if the people you talk with decide not to practice this Buddhism, you have planted the seed of Buddhahood in that person’s life.
• To offer an analogy: When you’re mining for gold, if you just try to pick out, one by one, the little bits and nuggets of gold, it would take a very long time to gather a substantial amount of gold. Instead of picking out one piece at a time, it is much more effective to gather all at once the sand surrounding the gold and sift out the sand to reveal the gold.
• From the perspective of Buddhism, no effort is ever wasted. Sand particles represent all those for whom you have planted the seeds of Buddhahood, regardless of whether they practice Buddhism or not. Your efforts guarantee their enlightenment.
• This is the kind of effort you need to make to win in this battle to gather 50,000 youth.
50K will transform the history of American kosen-rufu.
“Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other.”
Without a doubt, this gathering on Sept. 23 will transform the history of American kosen-rufu. This is a very significant time for kosen-rufu in America and around the world to establish a solid foundation and to transform the course of our worldwide movement.
• It is deeply significant that you were all born at this time and encountered Buddhism. Sensei has said that when a person awakens to their mission, they can greatly expand their potential. He is teaching us that when we awaken to our mission, pray and fight seriously, this power within us that we have never seen before starts to emerge
from our lives.
• Using all means possible, let’s carry out the most momentous struggle to break through all of our limitations!
50K Tips: How Chapters Can Thoroughly Prepare
1. Write a list of all the youth you can possibly think of with whom you have a personal connection—members, guests, friends, family, neighbors, etc. Keep adding to the list!
2. Have a consistent chapter call center and confirm youth to register (utilizing both your personal list and chapter membership list).
3. At the call center, let’s:
• register youth who haven’t been confirmed;
• work on our own list of youth with whom we have connections;
• reconfirm those youth who have already been registered—to see how they’re doing and encourage them to help their friends register; and
• confirm guests with whom we have connections.