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Guidance for Leadership

Helping Others Form a Connection With Buddhism


The following is an excerpt of Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada’s speech on May 3, 2019, during the 41st Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting, held at the Tokyo Toda Memorial Auditorium. The text appeared in the May 10, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Congratulations on holding this 41st Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, celebrating our splendid May 3!

Last month, I had the honor of welcoming to the Soka Gakkai Headquarters the Chinese Ambassador to Japan, Cheng Yonghua, who informed me that he will be leaving his long-standing post, which he has held for a record nine years.

Ambassador Cheng was one of the first international students sponsored by the Chinese government to study in Japan from 1975 to 1977 at Soka University, where SGI President Ikeda oversaw all aspects of his stay.

During his visit to the headquarters last month, President Ikeda sent a Chinese poem to Ambassador Cheng. The ambassador responded, saying that he was deeply honored by this gesture. He went on to explain that President Ikeda has continued to offer guidance not only over the past nine years, but also since his time as an international student. He resolved that he will carry on President Ikeda’s spirit even after returning to his country, and that he will continue doing whatever he can to contribute to the friendship between China and Japan.

I was deeply touched by his comments, which I feel encapsulate Sensei’s longstanding achievements and commitment to deepen ties of friendship between China and Japan.

This year marks 45 years since President Ikeda’s first visit to China in May 1974. Since then, the golden bridge he built between the two nations has only grown stronger and more brilliant.

On his first trip to China, Sensei publicly declared to those who came to see him off at Haneda Airport: “I have come this far with people who have been dismissed as the poor and the sick—without relying on power or money.”

Prior to his departure, he also resolved: “My primary goal is the promotion of an enduring cultural exchange between Japan and China. By creating beautiful and genuine friendships on the level of the people, I aspire to solidify a strong and unshakable foundation for peace.”

As Soka Gakkai members, we have embraced this spirit to always treasure and work alongside ordinary people. It is what drives all our activities.

Carrying Out Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s Practice

The struggle of words that we are waging for kosen-rufu—to establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land—can be described as “humanistic diplomacy” that helps people form connections with Buddhism and creates friendships that will endure throughout past, present and future. There is nothing more beautiful, more respectworthy or more genuine than these friendships that are not dependent on worldly power or wealth.

Nichiren Daishonin declares: “In the Latter Day of the Law the formidable enemies of the single vehicle are everywhere in sight. Now is the time to benefit the world in the same manner as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” (“On Reprimanding Hachiman,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 936).

In other words, Nichiren asserts that the Latter Day is a time when formidable enemies will certainly appear and flourish. And it is precisely at such a time when Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s method of propagation will benefit the people.

All our SGI activities are ways in which we carry out our Buddhist practice and equate to Never Disparaging’s practice.

Toward July, the month in which Nichiren’s treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land” was submitted (in 1260), let us exert ourselves with the spirit of propagation. With prayer as our foundation and as disciples, let’s fully demonstrate the principle of “from the indigo, an even deeper blue.”[1]

Thank you very much!


  1. The expression “From the indigo, an even deeper blue” (“Hell Is the Land of Tranquil Light,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 457) derives from a writing of the Chinese philosopher Hsün Tzu and is cited in T’ien-t’ai’s Great Concentration and Insight. It points to the fact that when cloth is repeatedly dyed with the blue liquid produced from the indigo plant, the color takes on an even deeper blue than the original source. Nichiren Daishonin often employs this expression not only in the context of deepening one’s Buddhist practice, but also in fostering successors. ↩︎

What’s Your Chapter Doing Toward the July Youth Discussion Meetings?