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Encouragement

Showing Proof of the Victory of Buddhism

SGI members at the 40th Headquarters Leaders Meeting, held at the Tokyo Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo, January 12, 2019. Photo by Seikyo Press.

SGI President Ikeda sent the following message to the 40th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, held on Jan. 12 at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Tokyo. Visiting SGI representatives from 14 countries and territories also attended the meeting celebrating the start of 2019, the Year of Soka Victory. This message was published in the Jan. 13 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Congratulations on this New Year’s Headquarters Leaders Meeting—our very own “assembly of the Lotus Sutra”—brimming with bright smiling faces as the “wonderful sounds” of a culture of peace emanate from the performances of Japan’s foremost Music Corps and Fife and Drum Corps!

I would like to thank our visiting members from 14 countries and territories around the world who have made the long journey to join us here today—members from Argentina, who have flown for 31 hours from the height of summer in the southern hemisphere to the depths of winter in Japan, as well as members from the United States, Europe, Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, South Korea and elsewhere.

I am certain that founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and second President Josei Toda would be delighted to see the global citizens of Soka advancing together in beautiful unity as one big family spanning the entire world.

We are approaching the centennial of Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda’s first encounter with one another, the starting point of the brilliant age of human revolution that is presently unfolding. [The two men are thought to have first met some time around January 1920.]

It was just before he turned 20 that Mr. Toda embraced Mr. Makiguchi as his mentor. I was the same age when I first met Mr. Toda.

I am happy to see young friends from all over Japan celebrating Coming-of-Age Day,[1] aglow with hope, participating in today’s gathering— some here in the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Tokyo, and others joining by video link in Kansai, Chubu, Kyushu and other regions. [The official age of adulthood in Japan is 20.]

It is truly wondrous that these youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth, sharing profound karmic ties, are now setting forth as adults with a fresh vow almost exactly one century after Mr. Toda did. Let us give them a big round of applause as an expression of our support and also our hope that every single one of them will lead a life filled with success and benefit.

I would like to share with you two works of calligraphy on this occasion of the start of the Year of Soka Victory—Toward Our 90th Anniversary.

I began “Vow,” the last chapter of my novel The New Human Revolution, with an account of the youth culture festivals held in Kansai and Chubu in the spring of 1982. I inscribed these pieces of calligraphy in Chubu as I carried out fresh initiatives for kosen-rufu.

The first piece reads “Proof of the victory of Buddhism.” The second reads “Nothing surpasses the strategy of the Lotus Sutra.”

Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, writes, “Buddhism primarily concerns itselfwith victory or defeat” (“The Hero of the World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1 p. 835)—in other words, he stresses the importance of winning. In the same writing, he also declares: “Buddhism is reason. Reason will win over your lord” (WND-1, 839).

These teachings are the very essence of Nichiren Buddhism, which the first three Soka Gakkai presidents inherited from Nichiren and resolutely demonstrated while battling the three obstacles and four devils and the three powerful enemies.

Attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime and realizing kosen-rufu are both eternally a great struggle between the Buddha and devilish functions. As the true disciples of the Daishonin, we have been born in this corrupt and evil age of the Latter Day based on our vow to triumph in that struggle. Our admirable members have continually shown proof of absolute victory in their personal challenges in life, and in their efforts to actualize Nichiren’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

That is why the Soka Gakkai has been able to achieve such phenomenal development and grow into a truly global religious movement.

In both East and West, all kinds of strategies for victory and success have been studied throughout the ages— from those of renowned military leaders such as Wu Qi, Sun Tzu and Zhuge Liang of China, Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte, to countless contemporary writers discussing how to succeed in business and life.

But none of these were a strategy for changing our karma and attaining eternal happiness; for forging solidarity among people from all walks of life and bringing security and prosperity to society; or for elevating the life state of all humanity and positively paving the way to a peaceful and harmonious future in rhythm with the Mystic Law, the fundamental Law of the universe.

It was to achieve these aims that the Daishonin taught us the strategy of the Lotus Sutra.

“Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 1001), he writes. At the beginning of 1956, the year of the Osaka Campaign[2] when we made the impossible possible, I thought long and hard about the challenges ahead. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo resolutely, I decided to make the strategy of the Lotus Sutra the guiding principle of my leadership.

How much strength we brought forth through the diligent practice of chanting as if concentrating countless eons of effort in a single moment of life!

How much responsive wisdom we tapped through encouraging one another based on Nichiren’s writings!

How much poison we changed into medicine with a gentle and forbearing spirit that remained positive and fearless in the face of adversity!

How many people we helped connect to Nichiren Buddhism through sincere behavior modeled on Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s practice of respecting everyone!

Striving with lionlike courage, the dedicated members of Kansai and I worked together to activate the protective functions of the universe, making allies of all in our environment, including even the most negative and hostile forces, to achieve a victory that surprised all of Japan.

Global society, facing numerous crises today, is in greater need of the strategy of the Lotus Sutra than ever before.

Nichiren offers us a series of milestones for showing actual proof when he writes, “Within one hundred days … or within one, three, or seven years … ” (“The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 765).

As we stand at this critical turning point in human history, let us be confident that nothing surpasses the strategy of the Lotus Sutra that we have honed through our Soka Gakkai activities. And let us boldly demonstrate for all to see “within one hundred days … or within one, three, or seven years” even more brilliant proof of the victory of Buddhism in the place where we have vowed to fulfill our mission— the place that has been entrusted to us by the Daishonin.

Nichiren writes, “Though evils may be numerous, they cannot prevail over a single great truth [or good]” (“Many in Body, One in Mind,” WND-1, 618). Taking to heart these golden words, I would like to start the year by pledging to join together with all of you, members of the Soka family in Japan and around the world, to achieve a resounding triumph based on the unity of “many in body, one in mind.”

I am chanting with all my heart that you, my beloved disciples, will enjoy long, healthy, fulfilling lives and absolute victory.

References

  1. Japan’s annual Coming-of-Age Day was celebrated on Jan. 14 this year. ↩︎
  2. Osaka Campaign: In May 1956, the Kansai members, uniting around the young Daisaku Ikeda, who had been dispatched by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda to support them, introduced 11,111 households to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism. In elections held two months later, the Soka Gakkai–backed candidate in Kansai won a seat in the Upper House, an accomplishment that was thought all but impossible at the time. ↩︎

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