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The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu

Volume 7: Chapter Three—Early Spring

Chapter Summary

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

Shin’ichi Yamamoto arrived in Paris on January 15, and, the next day, he attended the inaugural meeting of the Europe General Chapter and Paris Chapter. Representatives from the newly formed Germany Chapter also attended.

Shin’ichi asserted that a sunny, early spring had come to Europe, saying, “Each of you is the sun, bringing the spring of happiness and peace to your family, your community, your workplace and the society in which you live” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 7, p. 202).

He traveled next to Switzerland and Italy, and on January 22 arrived in Lebanon, the only nation in the Middle East at that time in which Islam and Christianity, the world’s two major religions, existed side by side.

Following this, Shin’ichi headed to Hong Kong, making a stop in Thailand along the way. The women’s leader of Bangkok Chapter in Thailand reported that she had been summoned by Thai police and told to refrain from holding meetings. Shin’ichi determined to meet with the leaders of other nations to clarify any misconceptions about the Soka Gakkai and help them understand the true nature and goals of their organization.

Then, after forming three new districts in Hong Kong, the group set out to return to Japan on January 27. However, their plane was grounded due to engine trouble, leading them to change their flight to one that made a stop in Taipei, Taiwan. During the layover in Taipei, Shin’ichi warmly encouraged the members who came to the airport to see him.

Unforgettable Scene

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

Nichiren Buddhism Is a “Human Religion”

On January 22, Shin’ichi visited Lebanon in the Middle East, where two major religions, Christianity and Islam, exist side by side.

Shin’ichi chose his words carefully: “Here in the Middle East, and in Europe as well, religion has a much greater significance and social influence than it does in Japan. When conflicting political and social interests compound religious differences, the problem only gets more complicated. I think dialogue is essential, but I am talking about dialogue among human beings, dialogue that transcends religious distinctions.

“In other words, I think the most important thing is, as fellow citizens, as fellow human beings, to first of all frankly discuss issues of common interest. And from there to build a base of shared empathy.

“This requires eliminating the idea that people can be divided according to their beliefs or religious affiliations. I think it is a mistake to regard people as abstract groups, to identify them in terms of ethnicity, religion, nationality or class, rather than seeing them as individuals. Such thinking only divides people and will never bring about real dialogue or true friendship.

“In the case of Lebanon, dialogue must begin first and foremost with the assumption, the principle, that all citizens have equal rights, are worthy of respect and have a right to life. More than dialogue among religious groups, there is a need for dialogue among people.

“This dialogue should focus not on religious beliefs but on human life. This is of course not easy, but if people do not communicate on this level, things will only get more difficult. I have decided to devote the rest of my life to promoting such life-to-life dialogue around the world.

“Buddhism originally had no different denominations or schools, nor was it intended for any specific ethnic group or social class. It was a teaching expounded for human beings, for all humanity.

“Nichiren Daishonin’s only concern, as well, was how to bring happiness to all human beings. President Toda once said that the Soka Gakkai should distinguish itself as a ‘human religion.’ Everything should always be based on concern for the human being. Let us also always act with that big-hearted spirit.” (NHR-7, 238–39)

Key Passage

When you take action, the small and constricted inner realm of your life opens and expands. The same is true of faith. If you are afraid of being criticized or attacked and close yourself off from the world, things will never change for the better. But if you are brave and determined to fight for what you believe in, you can even convert enemies into allies. (NHR-7, 219)

Volume 7: Chapter Two—Fresh Growth

Volume 7: Chapter Four—At the Helm