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Ikeda Sensei

Joyfully Advancing in Our Human Revolution

The Peace Memorial Park is located on the grounds of the final battle of Okinawa during WWII. The names of over 240,000 people who died in the war are memorialized on the park’s Cornerstone of Peace monument, Itoman city, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Photo by ©WIKIMEDIACOMMONS

SGI President Ikeda sent the following message to the 43rd Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, held in conjunction with the Okinawa General Meeting, at the Okinawa Training Center in Onnason, on Oct. 6, 2019. At the meeting, it was also announced that the SGI theme for 2020 will be Year of Advancement and Capable People. The message originally appeared in the Oct. 7, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Then my mentor, Josei Toda, became the second Soka Gakkai president, he presented me with this poem:

Now and
in the future, too,
sharing joys and sufferings—
how wondrous our connection!

After I was inaugurated as the third Soka Gakkai president, I immediately made my way to Okinawa (in July 1960)—with a vow bequeathed to me by Mr. Toda to realize kosen-rufu on those islands. Over the years, I have formed, deepened and expanded wondrous connections with my dear, beloved Okinawa members as we shared joys and sufferings together. Almost six decades have passed since my first visit. Nothing delights me more than seeing their present brilliant triumphs and achievements.

Congratulations on the Okinawa General Meeting and Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting! Today’s gathering, brimming with joy and blessed with sunny skies, is being broadcast live to nine venues throughout Okinawa, including our Miyako and Yaeyama culture centers.

Allow me to also warmly welcome all our visiting SGI members who have made the long journey here. The good fortune and benefit you are accumulating in doing so is immeasurable. Nichiren Daishonin would surely praise you, just as he did one of his disciples: “Your kind intentions are deeper than the ocean, your acts of merit more substantial than the earth” (“Reply to Tayu no Sakan,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 975). Thank you for your tremendous efforts!

The Soka Gakkai will forever base itself on Nichiren’s writings. Therefore, we will never be deadlocked; we will be able to advance without limit.

I would like to share with you a passage from “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” which the Daishonin wrote while enduring persecution on Sado Island:

Shakyamuni Buddha will enfold in his robe those who … persevere in propagating [the Mystic Law]. Heavenly gods will make them offerings, support them with their shoulders, and carry them on their backs. They possess great roots of goodness and deserve to be great leaders for all living beings.(WND-1, 385)

The mentors and disciples of Soka, the true disciples of Nichiren, have persevered in propagating the Mystic Law while battling the three powerful enemies[1]and weathering all kinds of hardships and obstacles. For that reason, the heavenly deities and all Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the ten directions and three existences will never fail to protect us.

In the course of our unceasing efforts for kosen-rufu, we have called forth ever-growing numbers of capable new Bodhisattvas of the Earth. We encourage and foster them so that they can go out into their local communities, society and the world to work for the happiness of all living beings. I proudly declare that our organization in Okinawa is an outstanding model and inspiration in this effort.

Representatives from Brazil, Taiwan, India, Singapore and South Korea are attending today’s meeting. In these countries, too, our admirable, dedicated members have deeply embodied the “gentleness and forbearance” (see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 205) taught in the Lotus Sutra. The more challenging the situation, the more they have taken action based on their convictions, striving with courage, sincerity and perseverance in the spirit of “still I am not discouraged” (“The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood,” WND-1, 748) demonstrated by Nichiren.

The Daishonin’s treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land” highlights the fundamental essence of dialogue from many perspectives. It is a discourse on how to remedy the seemingly never-ending calamities befalling the nation.

In the treatise, there is a scene in which the host—Nichiren—corrects the guest’s erroneous understanding of Buddhism. The guest is enraged, picks up his staff and prepares to storm away. At that moment, “the host, smiling, restrains his guest” (see WND-1, 16). In other words, the host smiles, urges the guest to stay and warmly reaches out to him with reasoned words. They resume their dialogue, and in the end, the guest joins the host in making a vow, and they take a step forward together toward “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

When we engage in dialogue as Buddhists, there is no need for us to be hesitant or fearful, or be someone we’re not. We just need to be ourselves, genuine and unpretentious—revealing the true essence of our lives, which the Daishonin describes as “not worked for, that was not improved upon, but that exists just as it always has” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 141). The key is to direct our words to the Buddha nature of others, and calmly and pleasantly convey our message of truth and justice.

The noble men’s and women’s division members who are the bedrock of kosen-rufu in Okinawa, especially the cherished pioneer members of our Okinawa Soka family, have vibrantly demonstrated the power of such positive, cheerful dialogue, creating joyous networks of friendship, happiness and peace in the process.

In a letter of encouragement to the lay nun Myoshin, who had lost her husband and was raising their small child alone while striving steadfastly in her Buddhist practice, the Daishonin writes:

This character myo [of myoho, the Mystic Law] is itself a Buddha. Furthermore, this character myo is the moon, it is the sun, it is the stars, it is a mirror, it is garments, it is food, it is flowers, it is the great earth, it is the great sea. All benefits clustered together make up the character myo. Also, it is the wish-granting jewel. (“Reply to the Lay Nun Myoshin,” WND-2, 879–80)

Those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and dedicate their lives to kosen-rufu will never fail to become happy. They will attain a life state as bright as the sun, as rich as the great earth and as vast as the great sea. Happiness will blossom in their lives, in their environment and in their future. And they will freely create precious value.

We can transform any situation; we can help everyone become happy—this is the absolute promise of the Daishonin. Through the power of our faith and practice, we can tap the boundless and immeasurable power of the Buddha and the Law.

On Dec. 2, 1964, I began writing my novel The Human Revolution here in Okinawa. On that unforgettable day almost 55 years ago, I shook hands with a group of young men and said to them: “An inner transformation in the life of a single individual can lead to a change in the destiny of a nation. Let’s stir winds of happiness and waves of peace from Okinawa! Let’s produce immensely capable people who will shoulder the future of Japan and the world!” And today, we see countless shining examples that are proof of their success.

Many thinking people around the world have high hopes for the Okinawa Training Center [where this meeting is being held and which is built on a former U.S. missile site], lauding it as a symbol of humanity’s ability to create peace.

A stone from the training center has been placed, along with others from prefectures throughout Japan and countries around the world, in the base of the Buddhist altar in the Genron Hall of the recently completed World Seikyo Center in Tokyo, embodying a prayer for the peace, security and prosperity of each region.

Also, befitting the name World Seikyo Center, beautiful stone materials from around the world, including Brazil and India, have been used throughout the building.

In closing, I would like to once again firmly shake hands in my heart with each and every one of my dependable young successors in Okinawa and around the globe.

Singing the beloved Okinawa Soka Gakkai song “Heroes of Okinawa,” let’s make fresh efforts in our human revolution, as if joining together in a joyful Okinawan kachashi dance!


  1. Three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described in the concluding verse section of “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Miao-lo of China summarizes them as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests and arrogant false sages. ↩︎

May the Brilliant Sun of Happiness Shine On You

Make the Brilliant Light of Encouragement Shine