Encouragement

Our Ever-Expanding Galaxy of Soka

38th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting

Photo by ClaudioVentrella/GettyImages.


SGI President Ikeda sent the following message to the 38th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, held on Oct. 7, 2018, in conjunction with the Chugoku Region General Meeting, at the Hiroshima Ikeda Peace Auditorium. Visiting SGI representatives from six countries and territories also attended the meeting. On the same occasion, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada announced the organizational theme for 2019 as the “Year of Soka Victory—Toward Our 90th Anniversary.” The message was originally published in the Oct. 8, 2018, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Photo: Seiko Press

With the completion of my novel The New Human Revolution, I would like to sincerely thank all of my dear fellow members in Japan and around the world for their warm support.

I began writing the novel 25 years ago, on Aug. 6, 1993, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and its final serialized installment was published in the Seikyo Shimbun on Sept. 8 this year, the 61st anniversary of my mentor Josei Toda’s Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. I had decided
to make The New Human Revolution a lasting chronicle of my shared struggle for peace, blazing the way forward with fellow members in Hiroshima and the rest of Chugoku Region.

Today again, my heart is with the members of our Soka family in Chugoku, with whom I share deep ties. I am watching over today’s meeting with the spirit of singing the beloved Chugoku Region song “Ode to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” and setting forth on a new journey of human revolution toward world peace together with everyone.

Congratulations on holding this Chugoku Region General Meeting and headquarters leaders meeting, heralded by a beautiful rainbow yesterday! Our Chugoku members are devoting themselves earnestly to recovery efforts following the record torrential rains that caused widespread destruction in western Japan three months ago (in July). They have also remained unperturbed by the recent typhoons that have buffeted Japan. With dauntless prayer and action, and with unrivaled unity of purpose, they have made remarkable achievements in spreading Nichiren Buddhism.

I would like to thank our members throughout Chugoku Region—in Hiroshima, Okayama, Yamaguchi, Tottori and Shimane prefectures—for their tireless efforts!

Allow me to also extend my warmest welcome to the visiting SGI members who have traveled to Japan from Brazil, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea for the noble purpose of deepening their understanding of Nichiren Buddhism.

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “It is when the rain pours, the wind rages, and people try to hold one back that one’s resolve comes to the fore” (“Acknowledging Various Offerings,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 757). I am sure Nichiren would praise your sincere resolve and seeking spirit in faith.

“Through blizzards and raging storms, let’s boldly press on.” This is a line from the future division song “Torchbearers of Justice,” which was born in Chugoku’s Okayama Prefecture.

Let’s give ourselves a big round of applause, as we together celebrate the ongoing growth and development of our admirable Soka family!

SGI President and Mrs. Ikeda at the Nagano Training Center in Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan, Aug. 6, 2018, the same day President Ikeda completes The New Human Revolution. Aug. 6 marked 25 years since he began writing his epic novel at the Nagano Training Center. Photo by SEIKYO PRESS.

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Recently, SGI-USA youth division members created a new page of history with their Lions of Justice Festival, bringing together 50,000 young people [at nine locations throughout the United States on Sept. 23, 2018].

Over the years, one of the things I have consistently stressed to the Chugoku members is “Be a lionhearted Chugoku!” On my first visit to the Soka Gakkai Peace Auditorium in Hiroshima, in October 1989, I called on the Chugoku members to be strong. I voiced my hope that, like the lion, the fearless king of beasts, they would have the courage to stand firm against injustice, the courage to protect the children of the Buddha, and the courage to remain undefeated by any of life’s hardships.

Some three decades have passed since then. Keeping the promise they made at that time to respond to my hope, the dedicated Chugoku members have built a magnificent castle of capable people, of truly courageous lions. This is a source of unsurpassed joy and inspiration for me.

It is the proud tradition of our members in Chugoku to triumph over every difficulty with lion like courage and unity, as we have seen in the way they have dealt with continued natural disasters and obstacles. Thank you to our Chugoku members for all your efforts!

 

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During the unforgettable Yamaguchi Campaign[1]Yamaguchi Campaign: A propagation campaign that unfolded over a three-month period spanning October and November 1956 and January 1957. On the instructions of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, the young Daisaku Ikeda traveled to the Chugoku region and launched an unprecedented effort to open the way for the development of kosen-rufu in Yamaguchi Prefecture. At the end of September 1956, just before the campaign was launched, the Soka Gakkai had a membership of 459 households in Yamaguchi. By the end of January 1957, the number had increased almost tenfold to 4,073 households. in the pioneering days of our movement, there is a passage I studied with the members from “On the Four Stages of Faith.” This is a letter Nichiren addressed to Toki Jonin, who originally hailed from Tottori Prefecture, part of today’s Chugoku region. The passage reads:

They [the Daishonin’s disciples who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] surpass by a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million times the founders of the . . . various other schools of Buddhism . . . Therefore, I entreat the people of this country: Do not look down upon my disciples! . . . Do not despise them! Do not look on them with contempt! (WND-1, 788–89)

Back in those days in the 1950s, we were all very poor. Even coming up with the fare for transportation was difficult. But knowing that our lives—dedicated to spreading the Mystic Law with the heart of a lion king—were supremely noble filled us with hope, self-confidence and pride. We overflowed with the joy of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

Our members strove tirelessly in the shining land of Chugoku with the resolve that when we infuse our prayers—the lion’s roar of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—with our vow for kosen-rufu, we will be able to greet every obstacle as a welcome challenge and overcome it; or rather, through triumphing over such challenges, we will turn karma into mission. They were determined to make flowers of happiness blossom in the lives of those around them, and create a growing realm of peace and prosperity, starting with their beloved homeland.

Human revolution is nothing other than summoning the heart of a lion king and fighting on to the very end.

In my mind’s eye, I see the faces of those incredibly sincere and dedicated members who pioneered the way for kosen-rufu in Chugoku.

Half a century ago, one of those members was engaged in rescue work following a mudslide, when he himself was swallowed up by a sudden rush of mud and water, barely escaping with his life. He suffered a serious injury that left him with a permanent disability, but he stood up determined to work for kosen-rufu on behalf of the fellow members who lost their lives in that same disaster. He went on to overcome a series of business setbacks his company experienced, and is now showing wonderful actual proof as a champion of putting Buddhism into practice in society.

Human revolution is nothing other than summoning the heart of a lion king and fighting on to the very end.

There is some guidance of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda that I once shared with the sincere, warmhearted members of Chugoku: “Kosen-rufu is a long endeavor. It is a lifetime struggle—no, an eternal struggle. No matter what storms of adversity may arise, do not be defeated! Advance confidently, assured of great victory in your final chapter.”

Cheerfully encouraging one another and winning in the end, irrespective of what happens along the way—let us advance victoriously, with this unflagging courage, positively transforming each obstacle we encounter, changing poison into medicine!

 

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Congratulations to our young women’s division members in Japan on your joyful, fresh departure with a new leadership lineup!

A showing of a Soka Gakkai–sponsored exhibition titled “The Universe and Me” will open in Hiroshima this month. Among the panels on display is a photograph of the Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier 51) and its smaller neighboring galaxy (NGC 5195). The photograph shows two beautiful spiral galaxies sitting companionably side by side—like a mother and daughter holding hands as they produce an infinite number of new stars. This reminds me of the beautiful joint efforts of our women’s division and young women’s division members.

The Soka Gakkai is a magnificent galaxy causing an unending multitude of capable Bodhisattvas of the Earth to shine brightly like sparkling stars in the whirlpool of our unceasing dynamic movement of kosen-rufu. Let us vibrantly and powerfully continue to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is “the greatest of all joys” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 212), and bring forth even greater numbers of inspiring “torchbearers of justice” in the youth division and future division.

Let us envelop the entire planet in the brilliant light of peace and victory created through human revolution.

Long live my beloved Chugoku!

Long live all my beloved fellow members everywhere!

Please stay well!

 

(pp. 2-3)

Notes   [ + ]

1. Yamaguchi Campaign: A propagation campaign that unfolded over a three-month period spanning October and November 1956 and January 1957. On the instructions of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, the young Daisaku Ikeda traveled to the Chugoku region and launched an unprecedented effort to open the way for the development of kosen-rufu in Yamaguchi Prefecture. At the end of September 1956, just before the campaign was launched, the Soka Gakkai had a membership of 459 households in Yamaguchi. By the end of January 1957, the number had increased almost tenfold to 4,073 households.

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