Feature

SGI President Ikeda’s The New Human Revolution

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary


SGI President Ikeda wrote the following essay to mark the 20th anniversary of August 6, 1993, the day when he began writing the epic, serialized novel, The New Human Revolution. He penned this essay in August 2013 at the Nagano Training Center in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It originally appeared in the September 6, 2013, issue of the World Tribune.

The time has come
to win through all.
Joyfully challenge yourself,
and weave a golden tapestry
of human revolution.

It is 20 years (in 2013) since I first began writing my serialized novel The New Human Revolution (in August 1993). How quickly time passes!

The great German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) observed: “What is expressed by word of mouth must be dedicated to the present, to the moment; what is written down should be dedicated to what is far away, to what is yet to come.”[1]Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections, translated by Elisabeth Stopp and edited by Peter Hutchinson (London: Penguin Books, 1998), pp. 117–18, no. 892. I have composed The New Human Revolution, which could be called my lifework, with the spirit of dedicating it to the far distant future of kosen-rufu, and to the new age of Soka youth who will follow in our footsteps.

To date, 5,162 installments of The New Human Revolution, a total of 26 volumes, have been published. (That total has climbed to more than 6,400 installments and 30 volumes). Supported by the daimoku of my dear fellow members around the world, I am able to continue composing this tale of the victory of mentor and disciple in good health and high spirits. I am deeply grateful for this.

SGI President Ikeda with Soka Gakkai Doctors Division members, Karuizawa, Nagano, August 2008. Photo by Seikyo Press.

■  ■  ■

On August 6, 1993, the day I began to write the first installment of The New Human Revolution, I had a reunion with Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, the then-director of India’s Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (Gandhi Memorial Hall), at the Nagano Training Center.

Prior to our meeting, Dr. Radhakrishnan spoke of Gandhi’s conviction that the power of the spirit is greater than the power of the atom bomb, and expressed his deep support and praise for our movement, saying that it was fulfilling a vital function in drawing out the power of the human spirit to create peace.

In his Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons delivered on September 8, 1957, seven months before his death, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda described nuclear weapons as a diabolical threat to the survival of the human race and an absolute evil, and he called on the youth of the future to see that these weapons were abolished. Renewing my vow to make this cherished wish of my mentor a reality, I composed the opening passage of The New Human Revolution: “Nothing is more precious than peace. Nothing brings more happiness. Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.”[2]Daisaku Ikeda, The New Human Revolution (Santa Monica: SGI-USA, 1995), vol. 1, p. 7.

I am honored that those words have been inscribed on monuments not only in Nagano, where I first wrote them, but also Atsuta in Hokkaido; as well as in Hawaii, in Guam and in the city of Choibalsan in Dornod Province, Mongolia. Atsuta is the hometown of my mentor, President Toda; Hawaii is where I took the first step in my travels for worldwide kosen-rufu (in October 1960); and Guam is where the SGI was founded (in January 1975). Dornod Province in Mongolia, meanwhile, is the site of the Battle of Nomonhan where Japanese and Russian troops fought 74 years ago (in 1939).

Working together with friends around the globe, the SGI has resolutely taken the first, basic step away from the tragedy of war to the creation of peace.

This summer once again, our young successors in the youth division are actively engaging in dialogues for peace in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and also Okinawa [which was the only part of Japan to experience ground fighting during World War II]. Demonstrating the power of the spirit that is far greater than the power of nuclear weapons, the dedicated efforts of these young people to expand a network for peace are truly reassuring and commendable.

Among the subjects that Dr. Radhakrishnan and I touched on in our discussion two decades ago was the visit to Nagano by the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). In August 1916, Tagore traveled to the town of Karuizawa in Nagano, where he lectured to a group of women—a group of students no doubt much like the admirable members of our young women’s student division, who are pursuing the path of their mission with youthful wisdom and vitality. In his presentation on that day, Tagore said, “You have to realize that you are born in the Infinite, that you belong not merely to a particular spot of this earth, but to the whole world.”[3]Rabindranath Tagore, Personality (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1917), p. 185.

President Ikeda finishes a meal with newly appointed leaders, discussing how to develop kosen-rufu into the distant future, Karuizawa, Nagano, August 2006. Photo by Seikyo Press.

In this eternal and boundless universe, we have chosen to be born on this planet and, as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, to work for the happiness of humanity and world peace, to help free people from suffering.

Nagano is a place imbued with unforgettable memories of a visit I made there with my mentor, President Toda [in the last summer of his life].

Our organization in Nagano has been energetically fostering capable people through its Soka Shinano Academy, a group in which new members and youth division members study The New Human Revolution. Through participating in this group, members learn about the great life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism and the proud history of the Soka Gakkai’s people’s movement. Men’s and women’s division members are wholeheartedly supporting and encouraging these academy members, determined to help each person fulfill their potential for kosen-rufu.

The SGI is truly a college of humanity built from the sincerity of its devoted members.

Recently, I received a certificate from the Nagano Prefecture Bookstore Association, expressing appreciation for my efforts to promote print culture. I would like to share this honor with all my dear friends in Nagano and neighboring Niigata Prefecture [which together comprise the Shin’etsu region of Japan].

■  ■  ■

In the midst of unremitting persecution as well as two periods of exile, Nichiren Daishonin wrote an enormous number of letters and treatises. More than 400 of them are included in his collected writings.

Nichiren states: “All the [Chinese] characters in which the Lotus Sutra is written represent living Buddhas. But because we have the eyes of common mortals, we see them [only] as characters” (“Letter to Horen,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 517). Through the words of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren’s writings, we are able to deeply appreciate the towering life state of the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law and his impassioned wish for the peace and safety of all.

The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin contains a noble record of the unflagging efforts of ordinary men and women and their victories in faith, which show that “winter always turns to spring.” It represents a sacred work that shines in the annals of human history, passing on to future generations the brilliant spiritual triumphs of ordinary individuals, whose lives are not recorded in any history books.

The Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, is carrying on this spirit of Nichiren’s struggle of words. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks once again to all the members who deliver the Seikyo Shimbun every morning, to the newspaper chiefs who are working hard to promote readership and to everyone else who supports and assists the paper.

■  ■  ■

In the Soka Gakkai’s Tokyo No. 2 Area, the members of the Cosmos Peace Academy—a joint women’s and young women’s group for studying The New Human Revolution—are continuing to make spirited efforts to share Buddhism with others. Since the academy was formed in January 2002, some 84,000 people have participated in its study groups, including some 11,000 guests. One of the distinctive features of the Cosmos Peace Academy is the small size of each local class. This allows participants to get to know one another and develop close bonds. As a result, many guests have decided to start practicing Nichiren Buddhism out of a wish for personal growth or a desire to contribute to world peace. Many frontline leaders of our organization have also emerged from among the ranks of academy graduates.

President Ikeda takes a walk, Karuizawa, Nagano, August 1988. Photo by Seikyo Press.

A moving letter from a women’s division member who has participated in the Cosmos Peace Academy appeared in the Letters to the Editor column of the Seikyo Shimbun at the end of last year (2012).[4]The letter appeared in the December 2, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun. She shared how her 22-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rapidly progressing cancer the previous year (2011). This event prompted her daughter to enter the academy. As the entire family united together to transform their karma, the daughter, refusing to retreat a single step in her efforts for kosen-rufu, participated in academy classes, studying Nichiren’s writings, reading The New Human Revolution and singing Soka Gakkai songs with her fellow members. After a courageous battle against her illness, in which she succeeded in prolonging her life, she died peacefully the following year, in spring (2012), when the cherry blossoms were in bloom. “Her departure from this world was truly noble, infused with the light of her entire being,” said her mother, who subsequently entered and studied in the Cosmos Peace Academy and graduated in her daughter’s place. The example of this mother and daughter are a source of immense inspiration to many.

Life is eternal, throughout the three existences of past, present and future.

The great drama of human revolution, trans-forming karma into mission, is invariably filled with infinite benefit and emanates the brilliant light of eternity, happiness, true self and purity.

■  ■  ■

The lay nun Ueno, the mother of Nanjo Tokimitsu, remained true and steadfast in her faith in spite of losing her beloved youngest son, who had been such a solace to her after her husband’s death. Nichiren wrote to her, encouraging her and teaching her the absolute power of the Mystic Law: “If there are a hundred or a thousand people who uphold this [Lotus] sutra, without a single exception all one hundred or one thousand of them will become Buddhas” (“Wu-lung and I-lung,” WND-1, 1099).

All who form a connection with the Mystic Law are certain to attain Buddhahood. They will be able to make their lives shine the brightest, and be victorious in their personal human revolution.

Over the two decades that I have been writing The New Human Revolution, my cherished fellow members all over the world have also been writing their own inspiring stories of human revolution in their personal lives.

Many young people today suffer from a lack of confidence and belief in themselves. Our youthful SGI helps such young people bring forth supreme self-confidence, by wholeheartedly encouraging them and teaching them the pride and joy of human revolution.

Each of us is a protagonist, a person responsible for creating world peace and happiness for all humankind. Let’s set forth together in this effort, with the awareness that we are the pioneers of human revolution, leaders of world peace and champions who will build the future.

The Chinese writer Lu Xun (1881–1936) said, “You don’t need to ask what is required now; ask what you can do!”[5]Translated from Japanese. Lu Xun, Rojin no kotoba: Rojin shingen (Words of Lu Xun: Lu Xun Quotes), translated by Sunao Nakamura (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 2011), p. 207.

I am continuing my struggle of words, for the sake of the eternal victory of my dear disciples.

Life is an unending challenge. The important thing is for each of you to open the way, even if only a little, with new ideas, new determinations and new actions. If you can do that, the found-ation of the SGI will become even more solid and secure, and the great path of peace that is kosen-rufu will unfold ever more widely. That is the way to ensure the arrival of the triumphant dawn when the human revolution of each one of us leads to a fundamental transformation in the karma of all humanity.

As mentor and disciple,
let’s together achieve a brilliant
human revolution.

 

(pp. 16-21)

Notes   [ + ]

1. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections, translated by Elisabeth Stopp and edited by Peter Hutchinson (London: Penguin Books, 1998), pp. 117–18, no. 892.
2. Daisaku Ikeda, The New Human Revolution (Santa Monica: SGI-USA, 1995), vol. 1, p. 7.
3. Rabindranath Tagore, Personality (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1917), p. 185.
4. The letter appeared in the December 2, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun.
5. Translated from Japanese. Lu Xun, Rojin no kotoba: Rojin shingen (Words of Lu Xun: Lu Xun Quotes), translated by Sunao Nakamura (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 2011), p. 207.