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The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu

Volume 5: Chapter Two—Joy

Chapter Summary

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

Shin’ichi Yamamoto and his party arrived in Madrid, Spain, on the evening of October 15. He prayed earnestly for many Bodhisattvas of the Earth—the Pablo Picassos and Pablo Casals of the Mystic Law—to someday emerge in this country.

The next morning, the group flew to Geneva, Switzerland, where Shin’ichi encouraged a couple of Japanese women and their family members who came to greet them.

After spending one night in Geneva, they went to Vienna, Austria, and visited the Central Cemetery where many famous musicians had been laid to rest. Standing before Beethoven’s tomb, Shin’ichi’s thoughts turned to the life of the great composer, who had lived by his words, “joy through suffering.” The Ninth Symphony, imbued with Beethoven’s message to break through despair and discover joy, resonated deeply with Shin’ichi.

When Josei Toda’s business circumstances took a turn for the worse, young Shin’ichi stood alone to support his mentor. It was during these difficult times that Beethoven’s music had sparked in him the passionate flame of courage. Inspired by Beethoven’s spirit to face adversity head-on, Shin’ichi vowed to dedicate his life to bringing happiness to humanity and peace to the world, knowing fully that this would entail endless hardships.

Later, the group visited Italy’s Rome and Vatican City. Strolling through the ruins of the ancient Roman empire, Shin’ichi vowed to construct an eternal city of human harmony for the sake of humanity.

October 21 was their last full day in Europe. They spent the day walking through the catacombs of Rome and reflecting on the importance of forging indestructible faith.

Unforgettable Scene

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

Youthful Days on Morigasaki Beach

During his visit to Vatican City, Shin’ichi Yamamoto recalled a fond memory of walking along Morigasaki Beach and talking with his friend who had decided to pursue faith in Christianity.

[Shin’ichi Yamamoto] wanted to respect his friend’s decision. And as yet he had no firm philosophy to offer his friend as an alternative to Christianity.

“If that’s what you want to do,” Shin’ichi said, “I think it’s fine. I just want you to be happy. That is all I care about. I think the path I will choose will be different, but I hope you will find something in Christianity that will help you live a wonderful life.

“I am suffering from tuberculosis right now and my life is also hard. But I want to overcome every obstacle and live a courageous life, contributing to society and humanity. Let’s both persevere!” …

Shin’ichi recorded that exchange with his friend in a poem, which he titled “Morigasaki Beach”:

With my friend by the shore
pungent seaside smell
waves withdrawing

nineteen-year-old boys
pondering what path to choose
philosophical talk
as the hours go by

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Shin’ichi shared these memories with the young people traveling with him. “If I ever have the chance to meet that friend again,” he said, “I would like to talk to him about life and tell him about Buddhism. Teaching Buddhism to others begins with friendship. You can only have a true dialogue when you respect the other person.” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 5, pp. 112–15)

Key Passages

What is the greatest undertaking for any human being? It is to leave behind others who share one’s ideals and convictions. (NHR-5, 109)

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It is vital, therefore, that the disciples who remain to carry on the mentor’s work triumph over all obstacles. They must win over their own negativity, destiny and every setback to become outstanding victors in life. Their magnificent triumph will ensure that Buddhism and kosen-rufu endure for all time. The great joy of faith is embodied in such triumph. (NHR-5, 144)

Volume 5: Chapter One—Trailblazing

Volume 5: Chapter Three—Victory