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Peace, Culture and Education: Conclusion: Toward the Future—Part 1

Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace—Conclusion: Toward the Future

“The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace” is a three-part series that features key selections from SGI President Ikeda’s collected works, which thus far have been compiled into 150 volumes in Japanese. These selections introduce core concepts expressing the wisdom and universal message of Nichiren Buddhism. Through this series, SGI members throughout the world are able to simultaneously study the SGI president’s thought and philosophy.

A New Series of Seven Bells Toward 2050

In 2001, the Soka Gakkai launched the second series of Seven Bells[1]—the second of seven seven-year periods of development in its movement for kosen-rufu through 2050. In this message commemorating May 3, Soka Gakkai Day, 2001, SGI President Ikeda discusses the significance of these Seven Bells and affirms his commitment to expanding the Soka Gakkai’s network of global citizens and building an unshakable foundation for world peace during those five decades. From a message sent to a national prefecture leaders conference, Tokyo, April 26, 2001.

We have made a powerful fresh start toward the year 2030, the Soka Gakkai’s centennial, and also set forth on a new, second series of Seven Bells. Let us press forward, making every seven years and every decade a momentous milestone of victory and hope. First of all, let’s aim to triumphantly celebrate these milestones leading up to the year 2030:

• May 3, 2008, when the first bell ends.
• May 3, 2010, the year of the Soka Gakkai’s 80th anniversary.
• May 3, 2015, when the second bell ends.
• May 3, 2020, the year of the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary.
• May 3, 2022, when the third bell ends.
• May 3, 2029, when the fourth bell ends.
• May 3, 2030, the year of the Soka Gakkai’s 100th anniversary.

The year 2050, meanwhile, will be a double milestone as we celebrate the Soka Gakkai’s 120th anniversary and the end of the second series of Seven Bells.

At that time, members of the first class of Soka University of America [which will open in May 2001] and present members of the Soka Gakkai student and future divisions will be close to the age I am today. To foster young people is to create a new future. I look forward to the dynamic contributions of our young men and women in every sphere of society.

In “On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” Nichiren Daishonin writes, “If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 736). You all have the noble mission to be the source from which kosen-rufu flows onward into the distant future.

• • •

Viewed from the broader context of history, Nichiren Daishonin appeared in the world some 700 years after Buddhism was transmitted to Japan from Korea. It was also 700 years after the time of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai of China. Nichiren writes:

Now, more than 700 years after Buddhism was introduced to Japan … the great Law [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] never heard of in previous ages is spreading throughout Japan. How reassuring it is to know that not only the people here, but those of India, China, and the entire land of Jambudvipa [the whole world] will be able to attain Buddhahood! (“The Teaching, Practice, and Proof,” WND-1, 482)

The Soka Gakkai was founded some 700 years after the Daishonin waged his struggle to propagate the Mystic Law, and is now making his prediction of worldwide kosen-rufu a reality. Were it not for the Soka Gakkai, the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren’s writings would all have been rendered false.

The start of each 700-year period has invariably signaled a time for protecting the lifeblood of the correct teaching of Buddhism—a task that can only be achieved through a colossal struggle of faith.

Nichiren cites a passage from the Nirvana Sutra stating that 700 years after Shakyamuni’s passing, the devil king will assume the form of a sage or Buddha and attempt to destroy the correct teachings of Buddhism.[2]

Following that same principle, 700 years after Nichiren’s passing, corrupt priests embodying the workings of the devil king appeared and plotted to destroy the correct teaching of Buddhism. The Soka Gakkai, however, fought resolutely against them and won.

With ever stronger unity of purpose that is a model for all, let us now confidently ring in a new series of Seven Bells at the start of the 21st century.

The Soka Gakkai brought the first series of Seven Bells, beginning from the organization’s founding in 1930, to a triumphant close. And then last year, the year 2000, we celebrated the Soka Gakkai’s 70th anniversary. We can honestly say that 700 years of history have been distilled into those 70 years of victorious struggle.

The daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] our members have chanted in those seven decades, the number of people they have helped form a connection with Nichiren Buddhism and the good fortune they have accumulated are truly astronomical.

Today, the Soka Gakkai shines with countless capable individuals and is brimming with infinite energy.

We now begin a new series of Seven Bells, our sights set on the year 2050. This will be a time for us to further expand our network of global citizens and build an unshakable foundation for peace in Asia and throughout the world.

When each of us powerfully awakens to our mission, the bells of peace will sound forth. When we persevere in our earnest spiritual struggle, the bells proclaiming the victory of justice will ring out far and wide.

To be continued in an upcoming issue.

Translated from the December 2017 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

With President Ikeda’s permission, some minor edits and revisions have been made to the original Japanese, and excerpts of remarks originally in dialogue format have been recast as monologues for ease of reading.

—Selected Excerpts Editorial Committee


  1. Seven Bells: The first series of Seven Bells are seven consecutive seven-year periods in the Soka Gakkai’s development from its founding in 1930 through 1979. On May 3, 1958, shortly after second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s death (on April 2), SGI President Ikeda, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, introduced this idea and announced targets for subsequent seven-year periods. On May 3, 1966, President Ikeda spoke of a new series of Seven Bells that he envisaged unfolding in the 21st century. Also, in 1978, just before the end of the first series of Seven Bells, he elaborated further on this second series of Seven Bells, stating that it would begin from May 3, 2001, and continue through 2050. He also announced a series of four five-year goals for the organization’s development during the 20-year period from 1980 through 2000. ↩︎
  2. In “On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” Nichiren Daishonin cites a passage from the Nirvana Sutra that reads: “The Buddha announced to Kashyapa: ‘After I have passed into nirvana … this devil king … will in time try to destroy the correct teaching of mine … He will change his form into that of an arhat or a Buddha. The devil king, though still subject to illusion, will assume the form of one who has been freed from illusion, and will try to destroy the correct teaching of mine’ ” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin vol. 1, p. 726). ↩︎

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