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The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu

Volume 8: Chapter One—Securing the Foundation

Chapter Summary

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

Three years had passed since Shin’ichi Yamamoto was inaugurated as the third Soka Gakkai president, and kosen-rufu was developing rapidly. Ahead of the 25th Headquarters General Meeting, he carefully considered his next steps, as the seventh memorial (sixth anniversary) of Josei Toda’s passing approached the following spring. He determined to pass on to posterity the spirit of his predecessors, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, who, unafraid of even death, dedicated their lives to achieving peace and happiness for all humankind.

At the general meeting, the formation of new chapters, general chapters and headquarters organizations were announced, in addition to new leadership appointments, indicating that the Soka Gakkai was expanding and securing the foundation for even greater progress.

In June 1963, news quickly circled the globe that a Soviet spacecraft had been launched with the world’s first female astronaut, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, onboard. Shin’ichi felt that the curtain was rising on a new age in which women would play leading roles in society. In response to a request from young women, he outlined guidelines titled “To the Young Women’s Division.”

On June 20, Shin’ichi flew to encourage the members in Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures in Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan’s four main islands. After he attended meetings in Kagoshima, he flew to the island of Tokunoshima, and then boarded a ship to the island Amami Oshima, located between Kyushu and Okinawa. After the opening ceremony for the Amami Oshima Community Center, the inaugural meeting for Amami Oshima General Chapter took place on Shiohama Beach, an area of reclaimed land.

Shin’ichi gave his all to encouraging the members who had fought mightily for kosen-rufu in the Amami Islands. He entrusted kosen-rufu of Amami to the members, urging them, “I hope that you, taking my spirit and determination as your own, will begin to advance anew” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 8, p. 78).

Unforgettable Scene

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

A Flexible Mind Is the Key to Staying Young

On May 14, 1963, at a Seniors Gathering in Tokyo, Shin’ichi Yamamoto sincerely encouraged wonderful seniors in life with deep appreciation.

Emotion filled Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s voice as he concluded his speech at the Seniors Gathering: “There are young people who are old and older people who are young. The key to staying young is to possess a flexible mind that constantly strives for self-improvement. At the same time, how we live our final years determines our ultimate happiness in life. No matter how wonderful and happy our lives may have been in the past, nothing could be more tragic than ending up miserable, bitter and full of complaint.

“Happiness is not a matter of wealth, nor is it determined by social status or fame. Rather, our happiness is determined by whether we live always with a sense of purpose and mission, regardless of our age.

“That each of you, our seniors in life, practice faith wholeheartedly and live each day in high spirits, with tremendous energy and hope, is the greatest proof of the validity of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. I close my remarks today with sincere prayers for your continued health and longevity.” …

Upon leaving the stage, however, he headed directly for the main entrance of the auditorium to greet and encourage the elderly members exiting the building.

No one lives forever. Realizing that there were members present whom he might never have the chance to meet again, Shin’ichi seized the opportunity to speak with every person he could.

Grasping the hand of one elderly woman, he said: “Thank you for coming today. May I ask how old you are?”

“I’m eighty-three,” she replied.

“I cannot believe it! You look so young. Please take good care of yourself!”

Beautiful smiles lit the members’ faces as they reached out to squeeze Shin’ichi’s hand. Some were so happy that their eyes filled with tears.

Words are like light. A single kind word can shine a ray of hope into a person’s heart. Shin’ichi put all his energy into speaking with the members, showering them with words of inspiration, praise and courage. (NHR-8, 30–32)

Key Passage

If we want to transform the community in which we live, we must ask ourselves: Does our heart burn with a fighting spirit and are we truly committed to spreading the Daishonin’s teachings? (NHR-8, 65)

Commentary on Volume 8

Volume 8: Chapter Two—Jeweled Sword