A Harmonious Community of Practitioners in Accord With the Buddha’s Intent
Excerpt From SGI President Ikeda’s “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace”
This guidance is from section 23.2 of “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace” series, published in the June 2017 Living Buddhism, pp. 58–60.
My dearest wish now is that the youth who are our successors will fully inherit this noble rhythm of victory driven by the unity of “many in body, one in mind.” First of all, “one in mind” refers to the great desire or vow for kosen-rufu.
In the midst of the Atsuhara Persecution, Nichiren Daishonin wrote to his youthful disciple Nanjo Tokimitsu, “My wish is that all my disciples make a great vow” (“The Dragon Gate,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1003). This is none other than a passionate call to his followers to dedicate their lives to the cause of kosen-rufu.
The great vow to realize kosen-rufu is also the very heart of the mentor-disciple spirit shared by founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, second President Josei Toda and myself who have inherited this vow directly from the Daishonin. All three of us have given ourselves to its actualization with tireless dedication and ungrudging effort. This is truly the essence of the spirit of “many in body, one in mind.”
The second point is that this oneness of mind, or unity of purpose, must be built on genuine respect for our fellow practitioners.
The spirit of kosen-rufu taught in the Lotus Sutra rests on the profound belief that all people possess the Buddha nature and thus the potential to attain Buddhahood. A community of practitioners harmoniously united for the sake of kosen-rufu will naturally reflect this philosophy of the Lotus Sutra in spirit and action.
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Third, “one in mind” simply means faith grounded in the shared commitment of mentor and disciple. The essence of the spirit of “many in body, one in mind” is found in such faith, the ongoing pursuit of attuning our lives with the great vow for kosen-rufu, which is the heart of the Buddha and the heart of all genuine leaders of kosen-rufu.
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As long as the fundamental spirit of striving for kosen-rufu demonstrated by the first three presidents pulses vitally in our organization, and all our members are united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind,” the Soka Gakkai will forever possess the great life force of the Buddha who seeks to lead all people to enlightenment.
Endowed with this power of the Buddha, the Soka Gakkai towers as a community of practitioners solidly united in purpose, a great and indestructible bastion of the shared commitment of mentor and disciple that will defeat even the fiercest onslaughts of the “three obstacles and four devils.”
President Toda predicted that in the Buddhist scriptures of the future, the Soka Gakkai’s name would be recorded as “Soka Gakkai Buddha.” The Soka Gakkai, the unified gathering directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin and working to make kosen-rufu a reality, is itself a Buddha. This was my mentor’s unshakable conviction.
President Toda often said, “The Soka Gakkai organization is more precious than my own life.” I have sought to protect and nurture this harmonious community of practitioners, which is carrying out the Buddha’s intent, as if it were President Toda’s life itself. Making the unity of “many in body, one in mind” the organization’s guiding credo, I have done my very best to develop the Soka Gakkai and advance kosen-rufu.