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The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu

Volume 8: Chapter Four—Raging Rapids

Chapter Summary

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

On November 23, the news of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination shocked the world. Shin’ichi Yamamoto thought about the thousand days that Kennedy had struggled as president. He determined to work to bring an end to discrimination and to create eternal peace in the world.

At the November Headquarters Leaders Meeting, it was announced that the following year, 1964, would be designated as the “Year of Unity.” By the end of 1963, the Soka Gakkai membership had reached nearly four million households. It was a marvelous and great advance.

In January 1964, the Soka Gakkai canceled its delegation’s visit to the Republic of Korea. There was deep-seated misunderstanding of the organization in South Korea owing to Japan’s history of invasion and domination over the neighboring country. Korean members remained immovable in the face of repeated persecutions, like giant boulders that do not yield to a river’s rapid currents. Over the years, they persevered and demonstrated their sincerity and integrity in Korean society, later winning the trust of society and receiving recognition from the country’s president.

Meanwhile, Shin’ichi prayed every day for the happiness and success of his fellow members in Korea, and promoted cultural and educational exchange between Japan and the Republic of Korea. At long last in 1990, Shin’ichi made his first visit there. In 1998, he visited the SGI-Korea Headquarters and met with the members.

Unforgettable Scene

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

Eternal Bridge of Friendship and Trust

In 1964, the members in South Korea faced persecution, due to the regrettable history of Japanese rule and a misunderstandings about the Soka Gakkai. In order to prove justice, they worked diligently to show actual proof in society.

Shin’ichi Yamamoto chanted daimoku every day for the happiness and success of his noble fellow members in South Korea, praying that they would be showered with benefit. Whenever he heard that members from South Korea were arriving in Japan, he would be the first on hand to greet them. He would pour his whole life into offering them encouragement, as if taking each of them in a warm embrace.

Shin’ichi had also worked hard to build an eternal bridge of friendship and trust between South Korea and Japan through the promotion of cultural and educational exchange. As a result of his efforts, in the autumn of 1990, arrangements were completed for the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum’s “Masterpieces of European Oil Paintings” exhibit to travel to Seoul. As founder of the museum, Shin’ichi attended the opening ceremonies for the exhibit, at last fulfilling his long-held wish of visiting Korea.

In May 1998, Shin’ichi made another trip to South Korea. He had been invited by the distinguished Kyung Hee University in his capacity as the founder of Soka University and was bestowed an honorary doctorate in philosophy. The doctorate recognized Shin’ichi’s “tireless efforts for world peace” and his “enormous contributions to South Korea-Japan friendship based on a deep understanding of Korean culture and history.” During the trip, on May 18, he visited the SGI-Korea Headquarters for the first time.

The early summer breeze was refreshing. Members were waiting for Shin’ichi to arrive. Since fierce storms of tribulation had blown in 1964 the members in South Korea had dreamed of, prayed for and eagerly looked forward to this day. So had Shin’ichi.

He called out to these great champions of faith with deep emotion: “You have shown magnificent proof to all that your presence assures certain victory! You have triumphed!” Joyous applause erupted.

“You are contributing to the welfare of society and promoting humanism,” he went on. “The Buddhist Renaissance of the twenty-first century is beginning now from South Korea. Nothing delights me more. The whole world commends you!”

He poured his entire being into each and every word. “Please, lead lives of happiness, lives of meaning, lives of victory!” he said.

Not a single eye remained dry. Everyone was filled with tremendous joy. They burned with a passionate vow to advance anew. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 8, pp. 331–32)

The chapter summary was originally published in the May 1, 2019, Seikyo Shimbun, while the “Unforgettable Scene” was originally published in the May 8, 2019, issue.

Key Passage

Everyone has the right to become happy. In fact, those who have suffered the most deserve to become the happiest. The Soka Gakkai has always worked for just that. (NHR-8, 298)

Volume 8: Chapter Three—Pure Stream

Excerpts From Nichiren’s Writings in Volume 8