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Ikeda Sensei

Forging Ahead Fearlessly

Lake McDonald in West Glacier, Montana, is Glacier National Park’s biggest lake: 10 miles long and nearly 500 feet deep. Filling a basin gouged out by Ice Age glaciers, Lake McDonald is surrounded by mountains on the north, south and east, traversing the U.S. states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Photo by GARY HERBELLA / GETTY I MAGES.

From the Feb. 13, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper

The earnest wish of my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, was to eliminate all misery and suffering from the face of the earth.

This month, as members throughout Japan and the world carry on his spirit and strive courageously for kosen-rufu, we celebrate the anniversary of Mr. Toda’s 119th birthday (on Feb. 11, 2019). With the image of his smiling face in my mind, I did gongyo and chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as an expression of my inexhaustible gratitude to him.

I recall words of encouragement Mr. Toda once imparted to members facing various challenges: “Our Buddhist practice enables us to transform anything. The more we struggle and chant about our problems, the deeper the state of life we can develop. The more we take action with courage, the more people we can help form a connection with Nichiren Buddhism. The harder we strive for kosen-rufu, the more we can create a realm overflowing with good fortune.”

All over the world our members are showing joyous actual proof of changing their karma and positively transforming their environment through faith in the Mystic Law.

In Brazil, our members struggled for many years under a military dictatorship. The culture festival I attended during my visit there in March 1966 took place under police surveillance. I called on the members to turn the situation around through their earnest prayers, keen wisdom and wholehearted efforts.

In response, the members there actively engaged in dialogue with others, steadily turning one person after another into a friend and supporter of our movement. Through their sincere and persevering efforts to contribute to their communities, they have gained widespread trust and praise from every field of society.

Last year, a number of Brazilian municipal assemblies conferred commendations on the SGI for its activities. In addition, SGI-Brazil’s Ikeda Humanism Brazilian Philharmonic Orchestra was invited to give a concert, which was held on Nov. 18—Soka Gakkai Foundation Day—at the São Paulo’s Municipal Theater, the same venue where our 1966 culture festival was held under surveillance. I was deeply moved when I saw photos of our youthful musicians performing the “wonderful sounds” of peace and hope, and the audience enthusiastically applauding.

Kosen-rufu is developing with growing momentum all around the world. The efforts and victories of members in one region create a ripple effect, inspiring members everywhere.

SGI-USA leaders have been studying the 1956 Osaka Campaign,[1] and reaffirming the seven keys to absolute victory outlined in a poem that I presented the Kansai members (in 2007):

1. Sharing the same spirit and commitment as one’s mentor.
2. Employing the “strategy of the Lotus Sutra.”
3. Possessing the unity of “many in body, one in mind.”
4. Having the courage to “refute the erroneous and reveal the true.”
5. Acting with lightning speed.
6. Putting action first.
7. Being firmly determined to win, proclaiming: “We can’t afford to lose!”

Feb. 16 is the birthday of Nichiren Daishonin. I’d like to share a passage from a letter he wrote to the Ikegami brothers, who lived in what is now Tokyo’s Ota Ward: “You must grit your teeth and never slacken in your faith. Be as fearless as Nichiren when he acted and spoke out before Hei no Saemon-no-jo [the most powerful official in the land]” (“Letter to the Brothers,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 498).

This courageous spirit of the lion king is the heart of Soka mentors and disciples.

Following Nichiren’s teachings and emulating the spirit of Mr. Toda, let’s keep forging ahead fearlessly, no matter what, with even greater resolve.


  1. Osaka Campaign: In May 1956, the Kansai members, uniting around the young Daisaku Ikeda, who had been dispatched by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda to support them, introduced 11,111 households to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism. In elections held two months later, the Soka Gakkai-backed candidate in Kansai won a seat in the Upper House, an accomplishment that was thought all but impossible at the time. ↩︎

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