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Stand Up for Hope and Respect!

Excerpts from the upcoming book that will be available at the end of October 2018.

Chicago. Photo by SUSAN FORNER.


World Tribune Press’ new title Stand Up for Hope and Respect! is a collection of brief comments by SGI President Ikeda from his series “Humanistic Teachings for Victory.” Through the series, he sought to convey the Soka Gakkai spirit to youth members by touching on various aspects of faith and practice, and drawing on his own experiences in life and faith.

Stand Up for Hope and Respect! will be available at the end of October for $4.95 at bookstore.sgi-usa.org and at all SGI-USA bookstores. The following are excerpts from the book.

Striving to Achieve the Goal of Peace

Peace does not exist in some distant place. It begins with us. It starts with becoming friends with another person.

Youth have always been the ones sacrificed in war. That’s why it’s crucial for youth to strive vigorously for peace, for you to forge a growing network of youth committed to peace. I would like you, my friends, with the power of youth, to create a society free from the brutality of war, a world where everyone can feel glad to have been born and enjoy a happy life.

Peace is something that we must strive for and achieve. Kosen-rufu is nothing other than the highest expression of peace.

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “All people have the Buddha nature” (“The Fourteen Slanders,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 756). Everyone possesses the supremely noble life state of Buddhahood. Respecting one another is the truest way to peace. That’s why it’s so important for young people to share this great life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism with other youth.

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First Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who resisted the demands of the oppressive militarist authorities during World War II, died in prison for his beliefs. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, who was imprisoned alongside Mr. Makiguchi, pledged after his release to vindicate his deceased mentor. He stood up alone amid the postwar devastation and initiated a great struggle for peace.

Carrying on the spirit of these two great mentors, I fought resolutely against the devilish nature of authority. I have built bridges of friendship throughout the globe and expanded a network for peace, culture and education to bring people closer together.

To thoroughly treasure each person and steadfastly battle devilish functions that would cause people to suffer—this is the spirit of Soka mentors and disciples committed to the cause of peace.

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Nichiren warned that the reason for the warfare and suffering that plagued his time was that the power of the people was weak (see “The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings,” WND-1, 1134).

The only way to bring an end to war is for ordinary people to become strong and wise. It is vital that people around the world unite solidly in purpose.

That’s why I call on you, the youth, to be strong and strive in harmony with good friends, and for you to be wise and discerning by always basing your lives on the sound philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism.

Kosen-rufu is a struggle to expand positive connections with others.

While courageously tackling the immediate problems in your lives, please tenaciously continue to challenge your human revolution.

Chant, study, speak with others, take action, strive earnestly and keep pressing forward triumphantly for the sake of your own happiness and that of others, for the prosperity of society and the land in which you live, and for peace throughout the entire world. (pp. 38–40)

Expand Our Network of Good Friends

Nothing is more important in leading a positive life than having good friends. That is because advancing with good friends is a source of growth and fulfillment.

The first step is to be a good friend to others. Be sincere and treasure each of your friends, and enjoy making new ones as well, creating a growing circle of friendship.
My mentor [President Toda] used to say, “Youth call forth other youth—that is how kosen-rufu will be realized!”

Please open your hearts, meet new people and build a network of youth that will illuminate the future.

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Make at least one really good friend with whom you can talk about anything. Find one good senior in faith to whom you can turn for advice and guidance when something happens. Having good friends and good seniors in faith will enable you to direct your life toward peace and happiness.

Nichiren Daishonin cites the Lotus Sutra passage “Thrust aside evil friends and associate with good companions” (“The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon,” WND-1, 832).

Stay away from unscrupulous individuals and do not let them come near you. These are troubled times, so please do not let “bad friends,” or negative influences, sway you or take advantage of you.

I hope you will cheerfully forge ahead on the path of continuous victory with good, trustworthy friends.

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The year-end holiday season is the perfect opportunity to get together with old friends that we don’t see so often. We can also stay in touch by sending greeting cards.

Our behavior as a person is first and foremost. Be the kind of person who is delightful to be around and makes a favorable impression on others. That will lead to lively dialogue, friendship and helping others form ties to Nichiren Buddhism.

Chant to the Gohonzon to develop into a person who can get along with others and win their trust.

Based on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, deepen your friendships with others and continue making new friends who understand and support our movement.
Kosen-rufu is a struggle to expand positive connections with others.

I hope you, the members of the youth division, will always be wise, insightful, courageous and bold, enacting a drama of friendship around the world. (pp. 98–99)

(p. 11)