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Ikeda Sensei

The Noblest Way to Live One’s Youth


This monthly encouragement by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was originally published in the May 2019 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

No other leader I know could compare with my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, when it came to his faith in young people, his concern for them and his dedication to fostering and training them.

World War II robbed my generation of precious family members and other loved ones, and trampled on the dreams of our youth. But Mr. Toda rallied our spirits with the inspiring call, “Can you not see Mount Fuji’s summit?”[1] He shared with us the supreme philosophy of respect for the dignity of life, and taught us to remain as unyielding as Mount Fuji in our commitment to realizing peace based on widely spreading the Mystic Law.

Deeply moved by Mr. Toda’s lectures on the Lotus Sutra, I wrote in my diary (in September 1948), “At the age of 20, I have found the path for leading the most noble and honorable youth.”

I have walked that path with my fellow members for more than 70 years. While challenging ourselves in our human revolution, changing our karma—be it illness, financial difficulties or some other cause of suffering—we have worked together to build an unshakable network of people dedicated to bringing peace and happiness to all.

I call out to the young people of this new era to “rally now, quickly, in growing numbers”[2] and walk the path of Soka youth, something they are certain never to regret.

During the Izu Exile, Nichiren Daishonin encouraged one of his disciples: “Were it not for them [all living beings], one would find it impossible to make the vow to save innumerable living beings. Moreover, but for the evil people who persecute bodhisattvas, how could those bodhisattvas increase their merit?” (“The Four Debts of Gratitude,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 43).

The presence of all kinds of people in the world makes it possible for us to act on our vow to help everyone become happy and attain enlightenment. When we refuse to let others’ negativity and opposition deter us, we can accumulate boundless benefit.

Aligning themselves with the winning rhythm of kosen-rufu, our youth division members are actively reaching out to people in society and striving to fulfill their unique missions. There is no nobler way to spend one’s youth. While this may entail a very busy schedule and a lot of hard work, it rewards one with matchless fulfillment, pride, purpose and joy.

When the life of a single youth is revitalized through the Mystic Law, their family, workplace, community and society—indeed, their entire environment—gain fresh vitality and energy. The growth of our network of Soka youth—dynamic young Bodhisattvas of the Earth—is the hope of humanity.

Nichiren writes, “Even one seed, when planted, multiplies” (“Cloth for a Robe and an Unlined Robe,” WND-2, 602). In our Soka districts and chapters everywhere, men’s and women’s division members are working hand in hand with the youth to sow the seeds of encouragement in the hearts of young people in their communities, seeking to create a better world for all. Those seeds are certain to produce many beautiful flowers and abundant fruit.

May is our month![3] Together with the youth, whose precious lives are filled with limitless potential, let’s forge ahead confidently in our efforts to perpetuate the teaching of the Mystic Law, determined to win now and in the future!

In “Former Affairs of King Wonderful Adornment,” the 27th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, we find the story of a king, a firm adherent of non-Buddhist teachings, who is guided to faith in the Buddha’s teaching by his wife and two sons. Upon awakening to the truth, the king rejoices and quickly reveals his great potential. He visits the Buddha, bringing along his vast retinue of ministers and attendants, and decides to devote himself together with them to expanding the realm of good and benefit for all (see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 356–57).

The courageous and dedicated efforts of our members in each group and district—the very front lines of the organization—are inspiring many new members to join our movement.

Through our grassroots diplomacy based on prayer and sincerity—reaching out to connect with others and form ties of trust and friendship—let us encourage one person after another and create growing waves of happiness and peace.

In your youth
dance with all your might
proudly advancing
with the Soka Gakkai
unshaken by any storm.


  1. A line from a verse in the “Song of Comrades,” written by Josei Toda. The verse in full reads: “I do not begrudge my life, / but where are the young flag bearers? / Can you not see Mount Fuji’s summit? / Rally now, quickly, in growing numbers!” ↩︎
  2. Ibid. ↩︎
  3. May 3 is celebrated as Soka Gakkai Day and Soka Gakkai Mother’s Day, while May 5 is celebrated as Soka Gakkai Successors Day. ↩︎

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