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Why Is It So Important to Study The New Human Revolution?

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Photo by DEBRA WILLIAMS.


“I expect The New Human Revolution to comprise 30 volumes by the time it is completed. It will certainly be a supreme challenge to finish writing it within my lifetime. Nevertheless, only by fulfilling our mission in this life do we truly live” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 1, p. xi). SGI President Ikeda made this steadfast determination at the start of writing his epic novel.

A scene from the “Vow” chapter of The New Human Revolution in which SGI President Ikeda meets with Rosa
Parks, Calabasas, Calif., 1993. Mrs. Parks tells President Ikeda, “I would like to embark on a journey with you for world peace.” Illustration by KENICHIRO UCHIDA.

Just as he had resolved, he took on this momentous challenge and completed in 30 volumes a record of the Soka Gakkai’s history and the many dramas of how he, as a disciple of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, working alongside fellow Soka Gakkai members, strove to realize his mentor’s grand vision of worldwide kosen-rufu, spreading the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism throughout the world. He used every spare moment amid his demanding schedule to prepare and write episode after episode. On Aug. 6 of this year, exactly 25 years after he started writing his epic novel, he finished the final installment of The New Human Revolution.

A vital element of our Buddhist practice—and a key theme of the novel—is learning how to carry out our “human revolution.” This term is used to describe the process of facing our weaknesses, suffering and difficulties, and using our practice of Nichiren Buddhism to bring about an inner transformation that positively impacts all areas of our lives and the lives of those around us.

Today, millions of people are practicing Nichiren Buddhism, striving to fulfill their unique mission to lead lives of victory and encourage others while working to fulfill their vow to realize the shared goal of worldwide kosen-rufu.

As SGI members, we now have the opportunity to read and study this novel in full. And it is through our efforts to apply the wonderful lessons of humanism, compassion and wisdom found in the novel that we, as disciples, can carry on the legacy of Nichiren Daishonin and the three founding presidents of the Soka Gakkai.

The mentors of Nichiren Buddhism have demonstrated through their words and actions that the true and lasting value of a mentor’s great philosophy and vision can only be realized through the efforts of the disciples to apply the mentor’s teachings to their lives and to the greater cause of kosen-rufu.

President Ikeda emphasizes: “I have written The Human Revolution and The New Human Revolution, an epic story of kosen-rufu and the victory of ordinary people, as a golden ‘day-to-day record’[1]This refers to a passage in which Nichiren Daishonin writes, “The storehouse of the eighty-four thousand teachings [the Buddha’s lifetime teachings] represents a day-to-day record of one’s own existence” (“The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, 843). of the struggle that I have shared and fought together with all of you, my precious fellow members. Therefore, that epic will not end with the completion of the novel” (Oct. 12, 2018, World Tribune, p. 3).

His spirit to inspire people to lead happy, fulfilling lives while contributing to the happiness and welfare of others comes to life through the stories shared in The New Human Revolution. Based on our study of this novel and practice of Nichiren Buddhism, we, too, are writing our own “day-to-day record” of brilliant human revolution that will light the way for countless others. WT


SGI President Ikeda’s Guidance

My motivation for writing The New Human Revolution was—mirroring the one-to-one training I received from my mentor at what I call “Toda University”—to engage in a life-to-life dialogue with young people throughout Japan and across the globe.

Now, youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth worldwide are studying the spirit of “human revolution” and making Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s[2]SGI President Ikeda appears as Shin’ichi Yamamoto in The New Human Revolution. heart their own. I am delighted to see that they are boldly and vigorously achieving proof of brilliant success in both their lives and kosen-rufu, just as I hoped.

The Human Revolution starts with the chapter “Dawn,” describing how my mentor stood up alone to break through the darkness of war, and the novel ends with the chapter “New Dawn,” telling how his disciple, fully united with him in spirit, inherited his mission.

The New Human Revolution begins with the chapter “Sunrise.” It describes Soka mentor and disciples embarking on the mission of worldwide kosen-rufu with the energy of the rising sun.

It is an account of my tireless efforts as an extension of my mentor to bring the compassionate light of Nichiren Buddhism to the world. It tells how I leaped into the throng of humanity, of the people, and stirred a whirlwind of dialogue.

And the final chapter that brings the story to its conclusion is titled “Vow.”

Nichiren Daishonin states: “My wish is that all my disciples make a great vow” (“The Dragon Gate,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1003); and “The ‘great vow’ refers to the propagation of the Lotus Sutra” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 82).

By making the same great vow as our mentor to spread the great Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can tap infinite power—the underlying strength of the noble Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

The sun of the vow of mentor and disciple is a beacon shining ever more brightly now, illuminating Mother Earth and the boundless future.

Our friends are to be found in every country and region. The world’s people are waiting for us.

With fresh determination, let us embark anew toward achieving worldwide kosen-rufu, the goal of world peace that humankind so earnestly longs for. (p. 3)

 

Notes   [ + ]

1. This refers to a passage in which Nichiren Daishonin writes, “The storehouse of the eighty-four thousand teachings [the Buddha’s lifetime teachings] represents a day-to-day record of one’s own existence” (“The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, 843).
2. SGI President Ikeda appears as Shin’ichi Yamamoto in The New Human Revolution.