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Ikeda Sensei

Forging Deep and Strong Roots of Faith


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

This year [2019] again, the Soka family has striven tirelessly for kosen-rufu and triumphed. When I read the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, I can almost hear him praising each of our dedicated members.

In a letter to Nanjo Tokimitsu, Nichiren notes, “The incessant rain and downpours continue hour after hour and day after day, mountains crumble and bury valleys, stones surge and block paths, rivers rage and boats are forced to abandon their crossings” (“One Horseload of Salt,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 783).

He then goes on to commend his young disciple for his sincere spirit in sending him offerings at such a calamitous time, saying, “The sincerity you have shown … is firmer than the earth and broader than the sky” (WND-2, 783).

Though personally impacted by natural disasters, including heavy rains and typhoons, our members continue to work hard for kosen-rufu while helping and assisting others. Striving with an invincible spirit, they are without doubt accumulating good fortune as vast as the universe.

In areas affected by the disasters, and indeed everywhere, the sincere, devoted efforts of our members are providing support and reassurance to their communities and societies, and are laying down solid roots of trust and security.

Unseen roots nourish the power for value creation.

Speaking of roots, I am reminded of a mural by the great Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). The painting, which covers the ceiling and walls of a room of an Italian castle, vividly depicts a grove of trees. The lush canopy spreads across the ceiling, while the trunks and vigorous roots are portrayed on the walls.

Nichiren Daishonin provided spiritual nourishment to and warmly watched over his disciples so that they would put down deep roots of faith. Praising the lay nun of Kubo, a steadfast disciple who was battling against karma and persecution, Nichiren writes: “How deep are the roots of your faith, how pure the jewel in your heart. How admirable, how admirable!” (“Reply to the Lay Nun of Kubo,” WND-2, 755).

Inheriting the legacy of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda—our first and second Soka Gakkai presidents who selflessly dedicated their lives to spreading the Mystic Law—the mentors and disciples of Soka have forged strong roots of faith by practicing just as the Buddha teaches. We have created a forest of capable people, each member standing tall and resolute, undaunted by anything.

On New Year’s Day 51 years ago (1969), I presented a poem titled “Great Hope” to the members of the future division. In it, I wrote, “Grow into tall, sturdy trees,” and promised them, “I will serve as your roots.” Since then, those young members have grown into mighty trees, sending forth leaves of strength and good fortune, and bringing forth brilliant blossoms of victory. Making my spirit their own, they are now serving as unseen roots nurturing many successors.

Let’s advance filled with hope! Let’s put down deep, strong, pure roots of faith and bring about a flowering of happiness and peace throughout the world!

Unseen by others,
today again
let’s strengthen our roots
in the earth of mentor and disciple
to rise as jeweled trees of victory.

Advancing Together Wisely, Harmoniously and Joyfully

Seikyo Shimbun—The Triumph of Mentor and Disciple