May Contribution

“What We Achieve for Kosen-rufu Endures”

Photo by Sunny Nieh. Chandler, Arizona.


Time and time again, the mentors and disciples of Soka have exemplified the Buddhist ideal of transforming poison into medicine, of using adversity as a catalyst for creating the greatest value.

SGI President Ikeda writes: “No matter how seemingly desperate the situation, we can absolutely find a way through it with courageous efforts in faith based on the resolve never to retreat a single step. Adversity can be a great creative force” (May 2019 Living Buddhism, p. 4).

We find a prime example of this in the fall of 1950 when Josei Toda resigned as Soka Gakkai general director because of his own business struggles, which he did not want interfering with the Soka Gakkai in any way.

However, rather than retreat amid this extreme difficulty in his personal life, Mr. Toda expanded his vision for kosen-rufu, sharing his ideas with his disciple, Daisaku Ikeda.

At the same time, Daisaku united with his mentor, resolved to ensure the repayment of Mr. Toda’s business debts and to see his mentor become the next Soka Gakkai president and fully lead the kosen-rufu movement.

President Ikeda recalls Mr. Toda emphasizing at that time the importance of winning based on Nichiren’s declaration: “Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat” (“The Hero of the World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 835).

Mr. Toda strictly said to him: “Our lives are short, but what we achieve for kosen-rufu endures. Be a person who, in the short time allotted to him, joyfully writes, through valiant actions, a magnificent history that will live on forever, a history won through the workings of cause and effect of the Mystic Law!” (March 24, 2000, World Tribune, p. 8).

Creating a Newspaper That Is a Source of Strength

Aug. 24, 1950, was a momentous day that marked three years since Daisaku had joined the Soka Gakkai.

On this day, he accompanied Mr. Toda in meeting a journalist who was set on publishing a story based on misinformation about Mr. Toda and the Soka Gakkai. Due to the sincere, straightforward conversation he had with the two men, the journalist decided not to pursue the story.

After this meeting, Mr. Toda told Daisaku: “Japan now enjoys freedom of speech. Having one’s own newspaper is an incredible asset and source of strength. The Soka Gakkai will also need its own newspaper someday.

Daisaku, please put your mind to work on this for the future” (Dec. 13, 2002, World Tribune, p. 6). The Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s newspaper, was born from that discussion.

That evening, Mr. Toda conveyed his decision to step down as general director. He assured Daisaku that although he would no longer be general director, he would still serve as his mentor.

Physically, Mr. Toda at that moment looked haggard and worn down by his struggles, and Daisaku was in such poor health that he could collapse at any moment. Yet they held up and propelled each other forward with their intense resolve to advance kosen-rufu.

Daisaku, please put your mind to work on this for the future” (Dec. 13, 2002, World Tribune, p. 6). The Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s newspaper, was born from that discussion.

That evening, Mr. Toda conveyed his decision to step down as general director. He assured Daisaku that although he would no longer be general director, he would still serve as his mentor.

Physically, Mr. Toda at that moment looked haggard and worn down by his struggles, and Daisaku was in such poor health that he could collapse at any moment. Yet they held up and propelled each other forward with their intense resolve to advance kosen-rufu.

Building Citadels for Peace

Three months later—just four days after Mr. Toda’s resignation was officially announced at a Nov. 12 general meeting—Mr. Toda and Daisaku were eating lunch at a university cafeteria in Tokyo’s Nishi-Kanda.

During their meal, he shared with Daisaku how his mentor, first Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, had envisioned establishing a school based on the educational theories set forth in his work The System of Value-Creating Education. This book had been published on Nov. 18, 1930, due to Mr. Toda’s diligent efforts to organize, fund and publish his mentor’s ideas.

Mr. Toda declared to Daisaku: “Let’s build a university. A Soka University . . . For the sake of humanity’s future, I must create a Soka University. But this may not be possible for me to achieve during my lifetime. If that’s the case, I am counting on you, Shin’ichi.[1]In The New Human Revolution, SGI President Ikeda appears as Shin’ichi Yamamoto. In The New Human Revolution, SGI President Ikeda appears as Shin’ichi Yamamoto.

Let’s make it the best university in the world!” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 15, p. 88).

During that same tumultuous time, while one day walking with Mr. Toda, they neared the American General Headquarters. Inspired by the towering building, Daisaku said to him: “Please rest assured. I will build magnificent citadels for kosen-rufu throughout Japan and around the world!” (Feb. 27, 2017, Seikyo Shimbun).

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A Legacy of Victory

With Daisaku’s persistent, all-out support, on May 3, 1951, Josei Toda was inaugurated president of the Soka Gakkai. In less than a year, they had created a victorious legacy of mentor and disciple, clearing all hurdles.

With President Toda at its helm, within seven years the Soka Gakkai reached its first milestone of a membership of 750,000. From there, it has continued to exponentially expand with over 12 million members across the globe today establishing lives of happiness.

The first issue of the Seikyo Shimbun was published shortly before his inauguration on April 20, 1951. What began as a newspaper with 5,000 subscriptions has since grown into a daily publication with a circulation of some 5.5 million, with affiliated newspapers published around the world.

Twenty years later, in April 1971, Soka University opened its doors. Today, the Soka schools system has expanded around the world.

And as a testament of the promise he made, SGI centers, “magnificent citadels for kosen-rufu,” have been established throughout the United States and the world.

These are just a few examples of how President Ikeda realized the vision for kosen-rufu held by his mentor.

Carrying on this legacy of victory shared by Soka mentors and disciples, let’s advance in our lives with the conviction that: “Our lives are short, but what we achieve for kosen-rufu endures.” WT

Notes   [ + ]

1. In The New Human Revolution, SGI President Ikeda appears as Shin’ichi Yamamoto.