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Peace, Culture and Education: The Future Division—Part 2

Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace—The Future Division: The Key to the Ongoing Development of Kosen-rufu

“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.

With the conclusion of this series, readers strongly requested that two key themes vital to advancing kosen-rufu be further explored: raising the future division and the importance of Buddhist study. Additional guidance from SGI President Ikeda on these themes will be covered in this and upcoming issues of Living Buddhism.

Life Itself Is a Treasure

In this selection, SGI President Ikeda stresses that valuing life is the heart of true humanistic education and the most essential point we should pass on to future division members. From a speech delivered at a Soka Gakkai headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, July 18, 2000.

One of the most respected figures in Okinawan history is the great philosopher-statesman Saion (1682–1761), who, in the 18th century, laid the foundations for the golden age of the Ryukyu Kingdom (present-day Okinawa). A person of remarkable insight into the human condition, Saion told the following story of an elderly man encouraging a young boy:

One day, a young Okinawan boy said proudly to an old man: “I have a sword that has been handed down in my family for generations. I polish it every single day without fail!”

The old man asked, “Do you have any treasure other than this sword?”

“No, I don’t.”

“That sword is just a small treasure,” the old man said quietly. “You actually have the most wonderful treasure of all: It is you, yourself.”[1]

The old man was trying to suggest that the boy should polish the treasure that is his own life with the same diligence. The boy was deeply moved by the old man’s words and grateful for this important lesson.

This story also resonates with the teachings of Buddhism. The most fundamental point to which we must always return is ourselves. It is life itself. This is what I want to stress.

To live with dignity as human beings and reveal the full shining potential of our humanity—nothing can surpass this. Only in this way can we realize genuine human happiness, peace and coexistence with the natural world. This should be the purpose of all scientific and technological progress as well.

As we stand on the threshold of the 21st century, we must reaffirm this basic truth—we must return to the most essential point, the human being.

Life itself is a treasure. This philosophy is cherished by the Okinawan people. This respect for life is also the foundation of humanistic education.

Because life is precious, taking human life is absolutely wrong, waging war is absolutely wrong. This is a simple yet cardinal principle.

It is vital that we solemnly pass this on to the next generation, the generation that will shape the 21st century.

Other than this, we should do our best to support and foster the future division members with a warm, broad-minded spirit so that they can develop their potential as freely and fully as possible.

Passing On Faith to the Next Generation

In this excerpt, President Ikeda describes how he and his wife, Kaneko, passed on their faith to their sons when they were young. Adapted from the essay series “Thoughts on The New Human Revolution,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, on January 6, 1998.

Our children learned the basics of faith in the meetings of what is now known as the future division.

I was serving as acting chapter leader of Bunkyo Chapter in Tokyo, so my three sons joined in activities there and received kind support and care from the Bunkyo members. When my eldest son was in elementary and junior high school, he often used to go from our home in Ota Ward to meetings in Bunkyo Ward with his two younger brothers in tow.

There were times, however, when they didn’t want to take part in Soka Gakkai activities. When that happened, my wife used to say to them: “However much fun you have when you are playing, you have nothing to show for it afterward. But 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 came to understand that point as time went by.

In 1970, when my sons were 17, 15 and 12, I was being fiercely attacked and insulted from all sides.[2] In fact, my life has been defined by this kind of persecution, which always arises when one works for kosen-rufu; it’s something I was prepared for. The only thing that troubled me was the effect it might have on my family, but my wife was always very calm and composed. “If you live according to the writings of Nichiren Daishonin,” she would say, “persecution is only to be expected.” She never lost her smile.

Apparently, my sons often encountered negative comments about the Soka Gakkai at school. I said to them: “People who try to live true to their convictions and accomplish great things in life invariably encounter criticism and attack. Don’t be defeated by such adversity.” I always tried to show them, through my own example, what it meant to lead a life of conviction.

Kosen-rufu extends “horizontally” through growing networks of friends and “vertically” through the transmission of faith from parent to child, from one generation to the next. The only way forward is to entrust the future to the younger generation.

Translated from the January 2018 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. See translated from Japanese. Saion zenshu (The Collected Works of Saion), edited by Hideaki Sakihama (Tokyo: Hompo Shoseki, 1984), p. 27. ↩︎
  2. This refers to the Freedom of Speech Incident, the name given to a controversy that arose in 1970 when the Soka Gakkai tried to defend itself from libel. For further details, see the “Fierce Winds” chapter of The New Human Revolution, vol. 14. ↩︎


The Bright Mirror of the Gohonzon