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Ikeda Sensei

The Bastion of the Pen—A Symbol of the Triumph of Mentor and Disciple (Part 1)

The opening of the Soka Gakkai World Seikyo Center in Tokyo—the newly constructed building for the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper—is slated for Nov. 18. Photo by SEIKYO PRESS.

This essay by SGI President Ikeda originally appeared in the Oct. 3 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

On the morning of Sept. 28, under bright blue skies, I visited the newly completed Soka Gakkai World Seikyo Center in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. In the center’s Genron Hall, I did gongyo and chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I prayed with the strong wish that we will set in motion fresh waves of worldwide kosen-rufu from this “bastion of the pen” of mentor and disciple; and to continue spreading the light of hope, lasting happiness and peace, holding high the banner of humanism and respect for the dignity of life.

I also chanted earnestly for readers of the Seikyo Shimbun throughout Japan and the world, as well as everyone involved with the paper, to enjoy good health and happiness; and for our “uncrowned heroes” who deliver our newspaper each day to be safe and free from any accidents.

In the World Seikyo Center’s library, visitors can read the Seikyo Shimbun and its sister publications from around the globe, as well as books published in Japan and overseas. While I was there, I viewed the Seikyo Shimbun’s wonderful television advertisements playing on a large screen.

I’ve been informed that readers in 198 countries and territories have now accessed Seikyo Online, the newspaper’s Japanese-language digital edition.

It was the cherished wish of my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, to have people everywhere read the Seikyo Shimbun. How delighted he would surely be to see the newspaper’s great development!

When the Seikyo Shimbun began publishing (on April 20, 1951), just prior to Mr. Toda’s inauguration as second Soka Gakkai president, the paper was edited at his office in Hyakunincho, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward. A short time later, its production was moved to the Ichigaya Building along with his company. Reminiscing with my wife, Kaneko, who accompanied me to the center, I recalled with deep emotion those early days of struggle and joy spent working alongside Mr. Toda with other staff members in the small, cramped editorial office to create the newspaper.

My visit to the World Seikyo Center on Sept. 28 coincided with the anniversary of the opening ceremony for the old Seikyo Shimbun Building in Shinanomachi in 1970.

At that time, 49 years ago, the Soka Gakkai was being subjected to uninformed criticism during the so-called Freedom of Speech Incident.[1] The new bastion of the Seikyo Shimbun Building stood proudly amid the storm, impervious to the raging winds.

At the ceremony marking the building’s opening, I said: “With renewed determination, let’s make a fresh departure. To create a good newspaper, it’s important to triumph over one’s inertia each day. It’s a daily struggle … We must advance continuously.”

Now, five decades later, with a renewed spirit of human revolution, I hope all of you will join me in imparting hope and courage for another fresh advance.

At the entrance of the new World Seikyo Center is a stone monument bearing a plaque with a dedication, titled “Seikyo Shimbun—The Triumph of Mentor and Disciple,” in which I wrote: “I am confident that the lion’s roar of mentor and disciple striving together in shared purpose will issue forth forever from this great ‘bastion of the pen,’ which is dedicated to realizing [Nichiren] Daishonin’s ideal of ‘establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land’ and the goal of worldwide kosen-rufu.”

Speaking of the “lion’s roar,” I am reminded of the passage that appears in “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, in which the bodhisattvas step forward in the presence of the Buddha “to roar the lion’s roar and to make a vow” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 231–32). The term “lion’s roar” here is used to describe the vow of the Buddha’s disciples to propagate the Lotus Sutra throughout the worlds of the ten directions in the evil age after Shakyamuni’s passing.

Regarding the profound meaning of the phrase the “lion’s roar” (Jpn shishi ku), the Daishonin says in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings: “The first shi [which means ‘teacher’] of the word shishi, or ‘lion,’ is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi [which means ‘child’] is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The ‘roar’ (ku) [of the lion] is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison” (see p. 111). In other words, the “lion’s roar” means to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and proclaim the correct teaching in the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple.

Specifically, in the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter, the “lion’s roar” of the Buddha’s disciples expresses their vow to selflessly dedicate their lives to spreading the Lotus Sutra, undefeated by the persecutions of the three powerful enemies.[2]

As the youth division members in Japan recently studied in preparation for the Study Department exam (held on Sept. 29), the attacks that practitioners of the Lotus Sutra face at the hands of the three powerful enemies are: slander and abuse by arrogant lay people; harassment by arrogant false priests; and persecution by arrogant false sages—namely, high-ranking priests who command wide respect in society, but act in collusion with secular authorities to attack practitioners.

We, the mentors and disciples of Soka directly linked to the Daishonin, have resolutely battled the three powerful enemies, including exposing the third and most formidable kind, in the united spirit of “many in body, one in mind.”

It has been a great struggle of words, which each of our members has carried out with courage and tenacity, armed with the Seikyo Shimbun as their weapon in this cause.

We have won emphatically, celebrating with joyous cheers our victory of “refuting the erroneous and revealing the true.” Our network for peace, culture and education spanning 192 countries and territories continues to grow with vigor and energy. This is a triumph of the Buddhism of the people that will shine in history eternally.

I am convinced that the completion of the World Seikyo Center at this significant time is indisputable proof that Nichiren is fully aware of and praising the efforts of the mentors and disciples of Soka.

The World Seikyo Center, our “bastion of the pen,” will forever be a great bastion embodying the lion’s roar of Soka mentors and disciples engaged in the shared struggle for kosen-rufu.

The Daishonin writes: “Each of you should summon up the courage of a lion king and never succumb to threats from anyone … Slanderers are like barking foxes, but Nichiren’s followers are like roaring lions” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 997). In the spirit of these golden words, let’s always advance together victoriously with our invincible lion’s roar dispelling the suffering and despair afflicting people’s lives and society.

To be continued in an upcoming issue.


  1. 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. ↩︎
  2. Three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described in the concluding verse section of “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Miao-lo of China summarizes them as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests and arrogant false sages. ↩︎

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