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Ikeda Sensei

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

SGI representatives visit the Okinawa Training Center in Onna-son, Okinawa, Japan, Oct. 6. Photo by Seikyo Press.

This essay by SGI President Ikeda was originally published in the Oct. 3 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper. Part one appears in the Nov. 18 World Tribune.

While at the World Seikyo Center, I took a photograph of the nearby Soka International Women’s Center. Since its opening in September 2000, this castle for the century of women has welcomed many members and guests from around the world.

Former Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Yuriy V. Kostenko and his wife, the renowned poet Liudmyla Skyrda, who lived close to the Soka International Women’s Center, described it as a place pervaded by happiness and sincerity, commenting that “those who visit the center always appear even more beautiful when they leave it.”

This is indeed an example of the good fortune and benefit that overflows from our castles of Soka, where members are expanding “friendships of the orchid room”[1] (see “On Establishing the Correct Teaching,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 23).

Sept. 28 this year also marks the 44th anniversary of the establishment of the young women’s division training group Seishun-kai (Spring of Youth Group) in 1975.[2] A meeting to commemorate the day was held at the Soka International Women’s Center.

“To chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and work for kosen-rufu as long as we live”—true to this shared vow, the Seishun-kai members have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to spreading the Mystic Law while warmly supporting and encouraging one another. They serve as a model of unity, their efforts having opened the way forward for Soka young women around the world.

I was happy to hear from my wife how well these members were doing, and chanted for them with the wish that they will continue to cheerfully show actual proof of Nichiren Daishonin’s assurance that “You will grow younger, and your good fortune will accumulate” (“The Unity of Husband and Wife,” WND-1, 464).

In “On Reprimanding Hachiman,” Nichiren writes: “The moon moves from the west eastward,[3] a sign of how the Buddhism of India spread in an easterly direction. The sun rises in the east, an auspicious sign of how the Buddhism of Japan is destined to return to the Land of the Moon [India]” (WND-2, 936).

The Soka Gakkai has made the Daishonin’s cherished wish for the westward transmission of Buddhism and worldwide kosen-rufu a reality.

In “On Refuting the Five Priests,” Nikko Shonin, the Daishonin’s direct disciple and successor, states, “The sacred scriptures of this country [Japan] should be translated from Japanese into Chinese and Sanskrit when the time for widespread propagation arrives” (Gosho zenshu, p. 1613). Through the universal power of the written and spoken word, the great light of Nichiren Buddhism, transcending every barrier, today shines throughout the world.

Recently, a delegation of Soka Gakkai youth and top leaders from Japan visited India, the birthplace of Buddhism. During their stay, a number of wonderful celebrations were held overflowing with the joy of our members of Bharat (India) Soka Gakkai (BSG), fellow Bodhisattvas of the Earth. These included the opening of the new BSG headquarters in New Delhi and a new auditorium in the Soka Bodhi Tree Garden.

When I visited India in February 1979, there were less than 100 members there. On that occasion, I encouraged these friends of noble mission, telling them that even the majestic flow of the eternal Ganges began with a single drop of water.

Since then, BSG members, brimming with courage, have worked tirelessly to sow the seeds of the Mystic Law—the seeds of happiness, friendship and trust—throughout the timeless land of India. Today, four decades later, more than 220,000 “human flowers” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 142), each a great Bodhisattva of the Earth, have proudly emerged.

The growth of our movement for kosen-rufu in Thailand has also been remarkable. Next year, a long-awaited training center will be completed there.

Each day [during the Soka Gakkai delegations’ visit to India and Thailand], I received many reports of members’ activities in these two countries and also viewed their radiant smiles in photos published in the Seikyo Shimbun. I cheered and applauded them in my heart for all their efforts.

In “On Reprimanding Hachiman,” the Daishonin also writes: “The light of the moon is not very bright, for the Buddha taught [the Lotus Sutra in India] for only eight years of his life. But the light of the sun is brilliant, outshining the moon, an auspicious sign of how the Buddhism of Japan is destined to illuminate the long darkness of [the Latter Day of the Law, which begins with] the fifth five-hundred-year period” (WND-2, 936).

Kosen-rufu is a great tapestry that extends “horizontally” from one person to another throughout the world and “vertically” from one generation to the next.

Fostering people who will become even more capable than the generation before, in accord with the principle of “from the indigo, an even deeper blue”—this is the way to ensure the ongoing transmission of the Law into the eternal future of the Latter Day.

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda first used the name “Josei”[4] while he was imprisoned as a result of government persecution during World War II.

After his release, carrying on the work of founding President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who laid down his life for his beliefs, Mr. Toda resolutely built a citadel of justice and peace, a citadel of capable people, to protect ordinary men and women.

I can still hear his voice now: “I am Josei and you are Daisaku. Let’s join together to build a great citadel [Jpn Daijo, combining the first characters in Daisaku and Josei] of Soka!”

The Chinese character for sei (meaning “sacred,” “holy,” or “sage”) of Seikyo is also the sei of Josei; it is written with components meaning “ear,” “mouth” and “monarch.” I personally took it to mean that we should become champions of dialogue, speech and the written word like Mr. Toda.

The World Seikyo Center stands facing to the east; it is a great citadel that shines brightly in the new day’s sun. Taking fresh inspiration from this shining “bastion of the pen,” let’s make even greater efforts to engage in dialogue that will impart courage and hope to others in our communities and around the world, and together light the way to peace on our planet.


  1. In his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” Nichiren Daishonin writes: “How gratifying! You have associated with a friend in the orchid room and have become as straight as mugwort growing among hemp” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 23). “A friend in the orchid room” indicates a person of virtue. The implication is that the company of a virtuous person works as a good influence, just as ↩︎
  2. For further details of the group’s formation, see the “High Seas” chapter of The New Human Revolution, vol. 22. ↩︎
  3. This refers to the direction of the moon’s apparent motion. While the moon rises in the east and sets in the west like the sun, because of the direction of its orbit around the earth, each night it appears a little farther to the east of its position in the sky at the same time the previous night. ↩︎
  4. While in prison, Mr. Toda wrote down Josei (literally, “sage of the castle”) as the name he would assume after being released. Prior to this, he had gone by the name Jogai (literally, “outside the castle”). He actually started using the name Josei shortly after his release as he prepared to rebuild the Soka Gakkai. ↩︎

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