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Ikeda Sensei

Striving as Champions of Humanity

Every late spring, fields in Germany glisten with vibrant yellow colza plants, a member of the mustard and cabbage family. Photo by BESTGREENSCREEN / GETTY IMAGES.

From the June 11, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

It is now the rainy season in Japan. I am endlessly grateful for all the hard work of our “uncrowned heroes,” the deliverers of the Seikyo Shimbun [the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper].

My wife, Kaneko, and I are praying earnestly each day that all of our dear fellow members will enjoy good health, as well as safety and security embodying Nichiren Daishonin’s vision of an ideal world where “the wind will no longer buffet the branches, and the rain will no longer break the clods of soil” (“On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 392).

On June 6 [2019], the birthday of founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who selflessly dedicated his life to spreading the Mystic Law, I visited the Soka Gakkai Mentors Hall in Shinanomachi, Tokyo.

An exceptional educator, Mr. Makiguchi declared that the root of all deadlock in society comes down to a lack of capable people. I am sure he would be delighted to see that capable Bodhisattvas of the Earth are now emerging in ever-greater numbers from the realm of Soka.

The June 6 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun reported on the inspiring activities of the Soka Gakkai Education Department, whose members are putting Mr. Makiguchi’s values of humanistic education into practice. Members of the group in Hyogo Prefecture, in particular, have made outstanding efforts over the years.

Those of our members who were in the future division at the time of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, which struck Hyogo Prefecture and surrounding parts of the Kansai region, grew up watching their parents exerting themselves wholeheartedly to rebuild their communities. With the warm support and encouragement of their seniors in faith, they have today developed into fine individuals who are active in the spheres of their mission. Their reassuring presence is a source of great hope.

[Seventy-five years ago], Mr. Makiguchi died in prison for his beliefs (on Nov. 18, 1944), having battled the oppression of Japan’s militarist authorities. On display alongside Mr. Makiguchi’s portrait at the Soka Gakkai Mentors Hall is the diploma of the honorary doctorate presented to me by the University of Glasgow a quarter-century ago (in June 1994).

The academic awards I have received from countries around the world are honors that I have dedicated with the deepest gratitude to Mr. Makiguchi.

Mr. Makiguchi declared that the essence of faith is recognizing that Buddhism is about winning.

While in exile on Sado Island, Nichiren wrote a letter to one of his leading disciples, Shijo Kingo, who, along with his wife, Nichigen-nyo, persevered in Buddhist practice with an invincible spirit despite facing major obstacles. The Daishonin urged him, “Bring forth the great power of faith, and be spoken of by all the people of Kamakura, both high and low, or by all the people of Japan, as ‘Shijo Kingo, Shijo Kingo of the Lotus school!’” (“Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment,” WND-1, 319).

During a time when his beloved disciples were facing the most challenging circumstances, Nichiren prayed intensely for their victory.

By steadily showing triumphant actual proof of our Buddhist practice in society, and earning the praise and respect of those around us, we can spread the light of happiness, thereby making the Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land” a reality.

June 6 is also Tohoku Men’s Division Day. In the ceremony conferring the honorary doctorate from Glasgow University, Dr. J. Forbes Munro, university Clerk of Senate at the time, recited lines from “The Waterfall,” one of my poems inspired by the falls of the Oirase Gorge in Tohoku’s Aomori Prefecture.

The poem was later set to music, and the Tohoku men’s division members continue to sing this song today.

Together, let’s press forward proudly as champions of the people and champions of humanity—like the waterfall, fierce, unflagging, unfearing, merrily and proudly!

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