Q: Why is it so important to study The New Human Revolution?
Good to Know
A: “What is the social raison d’être of religion apart from working for the happiness of humanity and making the world a better place?”1
“I want to banish the word misery from the face of the Earth.”2
These were the impassioned declarations of first and second Soka Gakkai presidents Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, and the spirit with which the Soka Gakkai was established.
SGI President Ikeda, inheriting his mentors’ vision, continues to selflessly devote his life to spreading the humanistic teachings of Nichiren Buddhism to create a more peaceful world.
His vow to leave for posterity the spirit of the Soka Gakkai’s movement is concretely manifested in his two novels. He began his first novel, The Human Revolution, on December 2, 1964, completing it in early 1993. That same year, on August 6, he began writing The New Human Revolution, comprising 30 volumes, which he finished in 2018, exactly 25 years later to the date.
He explains why he took on such a momentous challenge:
I wanted to leave an eternal record of my vow as a disciple to carry on the spirit and ideals of the first two Soka Gakkai presidents and change the direction of history from an age of war to an age of peace . . .March 2019 Living Buddhism, p. 14
Each day was a battle into which I poured my heart and soul. Calling to mind my precious fellow members in Japan and around the world striving so earnestly in faith, I tapped the deepest recesses of my being to write my tale, as if I were sending a letter of encouragement to each one of them. At the same time, I was also engaging in an inner dialogue with my mentor as I wrote. His voice would echo in my mind, urging me to transmit the Soka Gakkai spirit for posterity and fulfill my mission in this life.
Due to his earnest efforts, President Ikeda has inspired generations of people committed to the shared vision for peace, urging them to also foster future successors of this movement, reflecting the spirit of mentor and disciple that is central to Nichiren Buddhism.
He writes: “Without the disciple’s efforts to make it a reality, the mentor’s grand vision will remain an empty dream. The true value of the principles set forth by the mentor are only revealed when they are applied and developed” (January 2019 Living Buddhism, p. 37).
With the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary right around the corner, this is precisely the time to read and study The New Human Revolution as a cross-generational textbook for understanding and transmitting President Ikeda’s heart and the Soka Gakkai spirit. Though we may not be in close physical proximity to him, through reading his novels, we can learn the essential spirit of Nichiren Buddhist practice, win in our lives and lead humanity toward peace.