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Ikeda Sensei

Strive in Your Human Revolution and Show Actual Proof of Benefit!


On Nov. 18, SGI President Ikeda sent the following message to the 44th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu and the SGI General Meeting, celebrating Soka Gakkai Foundation Day, at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo. Among those present were 280 SGI representatives from 65 countries and territories, including participants of the SGI Autumn Training Course. This message originally appeared in the Nov. 19 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Whenever second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda heard a sincere women’s division member sharing an experience of changing karma, he would say to me, “Daisaku, I wish [founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo] Makiguchi could hear this!” And whenever he saw youth division members working hard behind the scenes, making quiet, dedicated efforts, he would say, “I wish Mr. Makiguchi could see this!”

Mentor and disciple are always one; transcending the boundaries of life and death, their lives are forever one and inseparable.

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the day that President Makiguchi died a noble martyr to his beliefs (on Nov. 18, 1944).

How overjoyed both Presidents Makiguchi and Toda would surely be to see today’s triumphant gathering of the Soka family, whose members have won in every struggle!

I wish to extend my sincerest congratulations to the representatives present from throughout Japan and 65 countries and territories around the world—each one a champion of kosen-rufu who is carrying on the spirit of our two founding presidents. Thank you so much for your tremendous efforts!

Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, declared: “In judging the relative merit of Buddhist doctrines, I, Nichiren, believe that the best standards are those of reason and documentary proof. And even more valuable than reason and documentary proof is the proof of actual fact” (“Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 599).

These three proofs—namely, documentary proof, theoretical proof and actual proof—form the standard for discerning the truth, validity and superiority not only of various Buddhist teachings, but also of theories and teachings in the general sphere of philosophy, science and so on.

The Soka Gakkai began with a struggle of words waged by mentor and disciple in direct accord with the Daishonin’s spirit. The day that marks our organization’s founding is the date of the publication of Mr. Makiguchi’s work Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System of Value-Creating Education). [The Soka Gakkai was originally called the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (lit. Value-Creating Education Society).] From that time on, both Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda conducted an unremitting struggle of words true to their convictions, engaging in dialogue, holding discussion meetings and writing articles and other works.

When the Pacific War broke out in December 1941, Nichiren Shoshu immediately issued a statement praising the government’s war effort. But Mr. Makiguchi, in that month’s issue of the organization’s journal Kachi sozo (Value Creation), steadfastly insisted that the idea of sacrificing people’s lives for nationalistic ideals must be condemned. In his article, he noted that the Mystic Law was “the supreme Law of life” that all humanity was longing for and the means for attaining Buddhahood. It was the mission of members, he said, to experiment with and prove the great power of the Mystic Law in their lives and thereby make it easily accessible to others as well. He called on members to join him in widely imparting the benefit of the Mystic Law and to keep working until all people achieved unsurpassed happiness.

What incredible courage it took to write this! Six months later, the militarist government ordered Kachi sozo to cease publication (in May 1942). The following year, Mr. Makiguchi was arrested and imprisoned along with Mr. Toda (in July 1943). He died in prison for his beliefs on Nov. 18, 1944—exactly 75 years ago today.

At a time when Japan was waging a brutal war, Mr. Makiguchi worked tirelessly for world peace and the happiness of all humanity while demonstrating through his own and members’ experiences that “faith equals daily life” and “Buddhism is manifested in society.” And he gave his life to passing on this mission to his disciples of that time and to capable people of future generations.

With the impassioned lion’s roar of our martyred founding president in our hearts, let us aim toward the 90th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding in 2020—the Year of Advancement and Capable People. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ourselves and teaching others to do the same, let us each challenge our human revolution and vibrantly show even greater actual proof of benefit and good fortune in our lives.

Nothing speaks louder than personal experiences and actual proof of faith.

Today, Soka Gakkai discussion meetings are held all around the globe. They are gatherings where members joyfully share their experiences of faith, helping many suffering and troubled friends form a connection to Nichiren Buddhism as a profound cause for their happiness. Those same friends later declare with bright, smiling faces how glad they are to have started practicing and how happy they are to be Soka Gakkai members. Let us continue to spread our joy-filled gatherings even more widely in our communities and all throughout the world. What do you say?

Words have the power to revitalize. They have the power to bring people together.

When South African human rights champion Nelson Mandela visited Japan in 1990, after emerging triumphantly from his long imprisonment, a large group of youth representatives and I warmly welcomed him at the old Seikyo Shimbun Building under sunny blue skies.

During our discussion on that occasion, Mr. Mandela said with his trademark smile: “The great harvest we have reaped here today are … words of wisdom. Medals may be destroyed … Words of wisdom, however, are imperishable.”

The newly opened Soka Gakkai World Seikyo Center (headquarters of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper), uniting in spirit with sister publications everywhere, is a people’s “bastion of the pen” committed to powerfully transmitting words of wisdom and imparting hope and courage to humanity.

I wish to thank all our members throughout Japan for their great efforts in promoting readership of the Seikyo Shimbun to celebrate the opening of the new World Seikyo Center. On this anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding, I would humbly like to report, together with you, to Presidents Makiguchi and Toda that my overseas publications now surpass 2,000 and have been translated into 48 languages.

There is a passage from the Daishonin’s writings that both Presidents Makiguchi and Toda underlined as important in their copies of Nichiren’s writings: “Three things are required—a good teacher, a good believer and a good teaching—before prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land” (“Those Initially Aspiring to the Way,” WND-1, 880).

There is no prayer that the mentors and disciples of Soka—who are steadfastly working to fulfill the great vow for kosen-rufu in rhythm with the Mystic Law—cannot realize.

Let’s continue to make great strides forward and work together in solid unity—as global citizens with the mission of Bodhisattvas of the Earth—to resolve, one by one, the great challenges confronting humanity.

Next year will be the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the SGI (on Jan. 26, 1975). I would like to bring my message today to a close with words I spoke to pioneer leaders from around the globe who attended that inaugural meeting in Guam: “What you do from this point on will determine our world’s future.”

May all the dear members of our Soka family enjoy good health, harmony and victory! And may every precious region and country be blessed with benefit, security and prosperity!

Seikyo Shimbun—The Triumph of Mentor and Disciple

The Bastion of the Pen—A Symbol of the Triumph of Mentor and Disciple (Part 2)