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Ikeda Sensei

Passing on the Spirit of Faith

In 2019, the SGI-USA will join members around the world in earnestly studying SGI President Ikeda’s The New Human Revolution to both eternalize the mentor’s teachings and transmit them to future generations. Living Buddhism will aid this effort by publishing a monthly study guide, starting from its January 2019 issue.

To celebrate this new departure, the World Tribune has begun reprinting essays from “Thoughts on The New Human Revolution,” starting with the Jan. 1 issue. The following installment originally appeared in the Jan. 6, 1998, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Soka Gakkai founding President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi passed away in 1944. In a letter written to his family from his freezing prison cell that January, Mr. Makiguchi said, “The three of you must not neglect your morning and evening practice of faith.” The “three” he referred to were his wife, his daughter-in-law—who was staying with them while her husband was off to war—and his 4-year-old granddaughter.

In another letter a few months earlier, he wrote to his wife and daughter-in-law: “Raise my young granddaughter with love. The most important thing is for both of you to unite and maintain strong faith.”

These letters reveal just how deeply Mr. Makiguchi cared for his family, even in his prison cell, and particularly how dearly he prayed for his granddaughter to become a fine practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism.

The World Peace Youth Music Festival held last autumn [1997] in Yokohama, Japan, was a brilliant success. I heard that Mr. Makiguchi’s great-granddaughters performed in the festival. One is a vice chapter young women’s leader, and the other is a district leader. They are both wonderfully involved in their Soka Gakkai activities.

The grandson of my beloved mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, meanwhile, went on to complete a postgraduate course at Tokyo University and receive his doctorate. He is now an associate professor at Soka University. I am sure Mr. Toda must be overjoyed to see his grandson devoting his life to Soka (value-creating) education.

In The New Human Revolution, volume 2, the “Banner of the People” chapter, I touched briefly on the education of my children. This was in response to a strong demand from readers, especially from women’s division members. Our children learned the basics of faith in what is now called the future division. When I was serving as acting chapter chief of Bunkyo Chapter, my three sons joined in activities with our Bunkyo Chapter members.

When my eldest was in elementary and junior high school, he often went from our home in Ota Ward to meetings in Bunkyo Ward with his two younger brothers in tow. There were times, however, when he didn’t want to take part in Soka Gakkai activities. My wife used to say to him: “When you are playing, you may enjoy yourself at the time, but afterward you have nothing to show for it. It’s different with Soka Gakkai meetings. You may not want to go at the time, but afterward you’re happy that you did.” It seems our children learned for themselves that what she said was true.

My life has been defined by the persecution that always accompanies kosen-rufu. It is something I was prepared for and have accepted.

In 1970, for example, I was fiercely attacked from all sides. The only thing that troubled me about this was the effect it might have on my family.

But my wife was always calm and composed. “If you live according to Nichiren Daishonin’s writings,” she told me, “persecution is only to be expected.” She always had a smile, even through the harshest times.

In 1970, my sons were 17, 15 and 12. The subject of the Soka Gakkai used to come up when they were at school. I would tell them: “People who try to live true to their convictions and accomplish great things in life invariably run into criticism and attack. I urge you not to be defeated by such persecution.”

I always tried to show my sons the right way to live.

I remember when my eldest son was looking for his first job after graduating from university. He had offers from several companies.

When he asked his mother for advice, she answered without hesitation: “Working for a big, famous company is not the goal in life. The best life is one lived for the sake of kosen-rufu.” My son felt the same way.

He began his adult working life by becoming a teacher at the newly established Kansai Soka High School. My second son became a member of the administrative staff at Soka University, and the third took the same course as my eldest.

Kosen-rufu extends horizontally through a network of friends. It extends vertically from parent to child, the inheritance of faith reaching from generation to generation. The future belongs to the young.

On my windowsill smiles the bright yellow spring adonis, which is known in Japan as a flower of happiness and jubilation. When the adonis feels the rays of the sun, it blooms, even from beneath the winter snows.

It is my deepest wish, every day of my life, that my friends and comrades will be the suns of their families, shining the light of the Soka Gakkai spirit on their children and grandchildren.

Renewing Ourselves Every Day

Brightly Illuminate the World With the Light of Human Revolution