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The Amami Islands

Amami Island, Kagoshima, Japan/GettyImages/500pxPlus


“If we want to transform the community in which we live, we must ask ourselves: Does our heart burn with a fighting spirit and are we truly committed to spreading the Daishonin’s teachings?”[1]The New Human Revolution, vol. 8, p. 65.
—SGI President Ikeda

The Amami Islands are located some 200 miles south of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. Soka Gakkai members emerged on these islands in 1955, and the membership grew steadily to more than 6,000 households just before Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda’s first visit there in 1963.

Political leaders on the island created a movement to counter the Soka Gakkai’s efforts, which resulted in members having their Gohonzon confiscated, their businesses boycotted and other forms of persecution. The Amami members, however, were unswayed. Uniting their hearts with their mentor, President Ikeda, they achieved remarkable development. Today, its members have become shining examples in their communities, and now, with more than one third of the population consisting of Soka Gakkai members, the organization is held in high regard.

A Land of Eternally Tranquil Light

In The New Human Revolution, SGI President Ikeda encourages a local leader from the Amami Islands who is facing persecution from authority figures, as well as the constant threat of typhoons and other natural disasters on the island. President Ikeda appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto.

Buddhism teaches that the mind encompasses the entire universe. When we change our innermost state of mind, our whole being changes, and this affects the world in which we live. This is the teaching of the oneness of life and its environment, and the principle of a single life-moment possessing three thousand realms. This means that if more and more people start chanting with determined prayer, even the most difficult of situations will change.

Everything starts with a strong determination. Such determination may inspire us to research ways of protecting the home or finding out what crops are most likely to survive a typhoon, for example. This determination also can move the government. Our duty, our mission, is to make the place we live a Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, a realm of happiness and peace. I hope the members here in the Amami Islands will be pioneers in this endeavor.[2]Ibid., pp. 73–74.

Notes   [ + ]

1. The New Human Revolution, vol. 8, p. 65.
2. Ibid., pp. 73–74.