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Ikeda Sensei

A Bright and Sunny May 3


Every year, on May 3, SGI members around the world celebrate Soka Gakkai Day to honor Josei Toda’s inauguration as the second Soka Gakkai president (1951) and Daisaku Ikeda’s inauguration as the successive president (1960). The following is SGI President Ikeda’s essay on May 3, which first appeared in the May 3, 2000, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

A thrilling sound rose from the venue like crashing waves. Again and again, the Brass Band’s rousing performance shook the huge Nihon University Auditorium.

It was May 3, 1960, the day of my inauguration as third president of the Soka Gakkai. Everyone there was looking toward the future, aiming for the goal of worldwide kosen-rufu, their hearts filled with excitement and their eyes sparkling with hope. How indestructible was their determination to achieve that lofty goal! How noble was their mission!

In Nichiren Daishonin’s writings is the passage: “One’s body and mind at a single moment pervade the entire realm of phenomena”[1] (“The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 366). I held before my eyes a gathering transcending time and space, where valiant individuals prepared to dance forth onto the grand stage of mission of “time without beginning.”

It seemed to me as if the heavenly deities were watching over these heroic trailblazers of Soka, who continued to forge ahead energetically, day and night, on the great path of spreading Nichiren’s teachings. It seemed to me as if the sun, moon and stars were shining their praise and veneration on the members.

The Soka Gakkai had been buffeted by countless storms of hatred and malice in the course of its efforts to realize kosen-rufu. All over Japan, my beloved fellow members had borne the painful brunt of unjustified criticisms and oppression. But none among these intrepid friends, dedicated to realizing the Buddha’s intent and decree, was deterred by these onslaughts. They were applauded and folded in the embrace of all Buddhas and bodhisattvas, having triumphed in all their struggles and advancing proudly to the melody of an indomitable song of human victory.

The Bodhisattvas of the Earth—champions of truth who are undaunted by the roaring cannon fire of criticism and abuse, who are filled with determination and perseverance, and who fight with absolute certainty of final triumph—possess a faith of enormous, indestructible power.

Every day, we hear the music of an exuberant victory march in which everything is a source of joy. In our morning and evening gongyo, we find the rhythm of total victory that is at one with the universe. This is because gongyo embodies a distillation of joy, wisdom, freedom and the sanctity of life.

We will never be defeated by wild attacks or the actions of degenerate, inhuman individuals. We gaze on such pitiful, arrogant people from the lofty heights of our unsurpassed citadel, brimming with pure vitality, as we talk of the future with friends, share laughter together and encourage one another. This is because we live with assurance and joy, like suns shining brightly in the infinite universe; and because, possessing the spiritual sword of truth that beams with vitality and fulfillment, we confidently make our way through life with an indefatigable fighting spirit.

My comrades, my friends! Let us, you and I, continue our song! Let us, you and I, keep moving forward! Looking down on the foul swamp of hatred and jealousy, let us shake hands with noble friends around the world, enveloped in the exhilarating, welcoming golden breezes of the heavenly deities.

The great Chinese Tang-dynasty poet Li Po (701–762; also known as Li Bai) wrote:

The phoenix rides with the wind all day and,
stirring up whirlwinds,
Soars in an instant to ninety thousand li.[2]

On May 3, 1951, my mentor, Josei Toda, became the second president of the Soka Gakkai. I, too, became president on May 3, 1960. I vowed to work on your behalf, to work for the Soka Gakkai members and to work for kosen-rufu.

May 3 is our starting point, and simultaneously, the day we make our final declaration of complete victory. It is the grand anniversary that celebrates our efforts to realize a golden age of supreme spiritual triumph and glory.

May 3 is invincible, unshaken by raging tempests. May 3 is filled with jubilation and ever-victorious hope. May 3 is the day on which our friends around the world rejoice, celebrate and deepen their determination to keep fighting for kosen-rufu.

We know that the Daishonin is watching over us, praising us and smiling at us.

There are members who are far away. There are members who are ill. There are members who are bravely struggling to survive trying economic times. There are members who are grappling with all kinds of circumstances. But the goal of all is clear, and so is their outcome. Namely, victory, happiness, everlasting truth and justice, and becoming a person of immense spiritual wealth and integrity who lives in accord with the law of cause and effect.

That is why there is no need to fear being misunderstood by the world. There is no need to fear the “living ghosts” who dwell among us. There is no need to fear the criticisms of the morally and spiritually bankrupt. There is nothing to fear in pathetic slurs and slanders. They all simply accord with the Lotus Sutra’s prediction: “There will be many ignorant people / who will curse and speak ill of us” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 232).

We are great pioneers, whom people of the 21st century—no, of the 10,000 years and more of the Latter Day of the Law—will thank, weeping tears of gratitude. We are champions who possess lives as bright and strong as diamonds, not poor fragile lives of glass. We are walking the supreme and unparalleled path as human beings, a path that will lead us out of a society resembling a long, dark, underground prison and put our lives on a course toward a Buddha realm pervaded by eternity, happiness, true self and purity.

We know that our determination, our efforts and our living in accord with the Mystic Law are the fundamental and ultimate causes that will clearly decide the outcome of all our struggles. Buddhism teaches the “oneness of time without beginning and the Latter Day of the Law” and “the oneness of this moment and eternity.”

The purpose of our efforts here and now is to realize our noble pledge from the infinite past. The purpose of our practice and struggle each moment is to be eternally victorious in all things. Those who live contrary to these principles will lead dark, painful and sad lives; they will be defeated and end up in the state of hell.

That May 3 of 1960 was bright and sunny. The hearts of all those who had assembled that day were bright and sunny, too. Without doubt, the May 3 of time without beginning was just the same.

The Soka Gakkai, champion of truth, which alone has inherited the pure spirit of Nichiren Buddhism, has never been intimidated by the nefarious schemes and insidious persecution of the Nikken sect. We have never been defeated by that base group of slanderers, including a convicted extortionist, that continues to attack and lay dark plots against us.

The great literati of Ming-dynasty China, Liu Ji (1311–1375; also known as Bo Wen), once said, “If 10,000 men unite, they will be invincible.”

The brilliant light of the SGI has spread to 156 countries [192 countries and territories as of 2019], and the shimmering mountain ranges of peace—of worldwide kosen-rufu, the goal we have dreamed of for so long—are beginning to come into view.

We have fought! We have won! May 3 is the celebration of the triumph of the forces of the Buddha called Soka.

We have beaten
the base-hearted Devadatta,[3]
demonstrating the power of Soka,
champion of justice.


  1. From Miao-lo’s On “Great Concentration and Insight.” ↩︎
  2. Li: A Chinese unit of length. ↩︎
  3. Devadatta was Shakyamuni’s disciple who, driven by jealousy and arrogance, ultimately betrayed the Buddha by creating a schism in the Buddhist Order and even attempted to kill Shakyamuni. The story of Devadatta teaches the oneness of good and evil—that the potential for good and evil exists in all people. And only by reflecting on and conquering our inner weaknesses can we bring forth good. Here, mention of Devadatta can be linked to the devious machinations of the Nikken sect, or Nichiren Shoshu priesthood, which persecuted President Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai in an attempt to gain control of its membership. The SGI gained its Spiritual Independence from the priesthood in November 1991. ↩︎

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