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Ikeda Sensei

Ascending the “Summit of Perfect Enlightenment” Together


This monthly encouragement by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was originally published in the August 2019 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

Seventy-two years have passed since that hot summer day when I started my practice of Nichiren Buddhism and began my ascent of the mountain of kosen-rufu, after meeting my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda.[1]

The faces of so many fellow members who have striven alongside me, sharing sufferings and joys as we weathered storms of adversity and hardship together, shine in my mind.

What words of encouragement would Nichiren Daishonin have today for the precious Many Treasures Group members who are the pride of the Soka Gakkai? I can’t help but think of this moving passage: “If you find that you miss me, always look at the sun that rises [in the morning] and the moon that rises in the evening. Whatever the time, I will be reflected in the sun and the moon. And in our next life, let us meet in the pure land of Eagle Peak” (“Letter to the Lay Nun of Ko,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 596).

The lives of these venerable members who have worked tirelessly for kosen-rufu will forever continue on the sublime journey of eternity, happiness, true self and purity together with Nichiren Daishonin, the bonds of mentor and disciple reflected in the heavenly mirrors of the sun and the moon.

This passage is from a letter Nichiren wrote to the lay nun of Ko, who lived on Sado Island with her husband, the lay priest of Ko. In another letter to this elderly couple, who were worried about their future because they had no children to care for them and the country faced the threat of a Mongol invasion, he writes: “No place is secure. Be convinced that Buddhahood is the final abode” (“Reply to the Lay Priest of Ko,” WND-1, 491).

In the final accounting of our lives, neither the “treasures of the storehouse” (material wealth) nor the “treasures of the body” (such things as physical health, practical abilities and social position) are important; all that matters are the “treasures of the heart” we have accumulated (see “The Three Kinds of Treasure,” WND-1, 851).

No one can escape the problems and anxieties of aging. But the members of our Many Treasures Group, who have embraced the Mystic Law and carried out the altruistic practice of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth over the years together with the Soka Gakkai, embody the life state of Buddhahood and are already walking the path of absolute happiness. This is the indestructible “final abode” of which the Daishonin speaks. The example of their enlightened life state and absolute happiness is also the greatest “treasure of the heart” that they can leave behind for those of future generations.

Mr. Toda wished to raise the life state of all humanity to the highest level. This is ultimately the key to overcoming the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death.

Nichiren writes: “You should just single-mindedly chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo morning and evening, day and night, and observe what happens at the last moments of your life. At that time, hasten to the summit of perfect enlightenment, and look around you in all directions. The entire realm of phenomena will have changed into the Land of Tranquil Light … ” (“Reply to Matsuno,” WND-1, 843).

Life expectancy in many countries is at a record high. By practicing the correct teaching of Nichiren Buddhism throughout our lives, we can savor unsurpassed fulfillment and ascend to the glorious, radiant summit of enlightenment. With a fresh, vibrant spirit, let us continue to share this hope-filled path with people all over the world.

As Buddhas,
we continue
on our shared journey
with a victory cheer of life,
transforming hardship into benefit.


  1. SGI President Ikeda met Josei Toda on August 14, 1947, and started practicing Nichiren Buddhism 10 days later, on August 24. ↩︎

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