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Ikeda Sensei

Never Retreating Is the Heart of Soka

Marc Giannavola

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

“Let’s fight our hardest, with courage and joy!”—this was the dauntless spirit with which my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, faced the most formidable challenges.

No matter how seemingly desperate the situation, we can absolutely find a way through it with courageous efforts in faith based on the resolve never to retreat a single step. Adversity can be a great creative force. Looking back, it was during a period of intense struggle that Mr. Toda came up with the idea of founding the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, indicates that the effort to realize kosen-rufu and establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land is a “great battle” between practitioners of the Lotus Sutra and the devil king. He writes, “The devil king of the sixth heaven . . . in the midst of the sea of the sufferings of birth and death, is at war with the votary of the Lotus Sutra to stop him from taking possession of and to wrest away from him this impure land where both ordinary people and sages dwell” (“The Great Battle,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 465).

Nichiren further states that in all the years since he embarked on his struggle to defend humanity from forces of the devil king and free them from the cycle of unhappiness and suffering, he has not once thought of retreat (see WND-2, 465).

He sent this important message to one of his female disciples. In the same letter, he praises her steadfast faith and her refusal to retreat at a time when many other disciples had given in to fear and abandoned their faith amid continued persecution. He writes: “Surely Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and all the emanation Buddhas in the ten directions must be aware of [your dedication]” (WND-2, 465). He is telling her, “You are, like me, a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra with unwavering commitment.” I can’t help but take his words as praise for the entire Soka family.

Soka Gakkai members are a network of Bodhisattvas of the Earth who have inherited and are carrying on the great shared struggle of mentor and disciple initiated by Nichiren Daishonin—a struggle to realize peace and happiness for all people and transform the destiny of humankind.

We will never lower the banner of Nichiren’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land,” no matter what obstacles or adversities beset us. Should powerful opponents try to obstruct our advance, the more solidly we—like-minded friends sharing the great vow for kosen-rufu—will unite, bring forth our strength and fight to triumph over all.

Through actively participating in the great struggle for kosen-rufu, each of us can enact our personal drama of human revolution and write a new page of positive transformation for our communities.

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin states: “The blessings and wisdom of the objective and subjective worlds are immeasurable. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has these two elements of blessings and wisdom” (p. 218).

Let us envelop those around us and our societies in the light of the good fortune and wisdom of the Mystic Law, and realize a world of happiness and security for all! Never retreating is the heart of Soka.

Based on your shared vow
from the distant past,
wave the banner of victory
with happy smiles
in the place of your mission.

A Network of Care and Concern for Others

Nothing Is Nobler Than Our Bonds as Bodhisattvas of the Earth