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Buddhist Study

What We Do Today Determines the Future


The Soka Gakkai has diligently spread throughout the world the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This practice aims to tear down barriers of discrimination, hatred, self-centeredness and suffering, and enable people to develop genuine happiness based on the Lotus Sutra’s teaching of equality and respect for the dignity of all life.

Soka Gakkai members have endured criticism and censure by people in society, especially during its pioneering days. They were abused and manipulated by the Nichiren Shoshu priests who were driven by self-serving needs. And some of the top leaders within its own ranks, betrayed the Soka Gakkai and its members. Despite it all, they not only persevered and endured, but have thrived, with more than 12 million members now practicing Nichiren Buddhism in 192 countries and territories.

SGI President Ikeda states, “Precisely because the Soka Gakkai is a gathering of people dedicated to the great mission of kosen-rufu, the devil king of the sixth heaven1 attacks it with a vengeance” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 30, “Great Mountain” Booklet, p. 89).

The Power of the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple

The Soka Gakkai has been able to withstand intense and potentially corrosive attacks of this devil king because of the oneness of mentor and disciple, which is based on the shared vow to never lose sight of the grand goal of kosen-rufu, of establishing the transformative principles of Buddhism as the foundation of society for the peace and happiness of all humanity.

Soka Gakkai founding President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi died for his beliefs in prison, leaving an immortal example of selfless devotion to propagating the Law. And while still in prison, the second president, Josei Toda, attained a profound awakening of his great mission as a Bodhisattva of the Earth to help all people overcome misery and establish genuine fulfillment and prosperity in their lives. The third president, Daisaku Ikeda, has created a legacy of establishing Nichiren Buddhism worldwide.

Based on President Toda’s declaration that the Soka Gakkai would in future scriptures be called “Soka Gakkai Buddha,” President Ikeda explains: “The life of an individual is limited. But when the fundamental spirit of striving for kosen-rufu is passed on from mentor to disciples, and those disciples continue their efforts as a group or organization over time, that body of practitioners comes to possess the enduring life force of the Buddha ceaselessly guiding people to happiness” (NHR-30, “Great Mountain” Booklet, p. 90).

3 Requirements for a Lasting Soka Gakkai Buddha

President Ikeda offers three requirements for Soka Gakkai members to uphold that will ensure this “Soka Gakkai Buddha” will long endure:

1) Uphold a lifelong commitment to fulfilling the great vow for kosen-rufu.

Nichiren Daishonin states: “Teach others to the best of your ability, even if it is only a single sentence or phrase” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 386).

2) Persist in walking the great path of the oneness of mentor and disciple.

President Ikeda states: “Each day, disciples should challenge themselves in their lives and in their efforts for kosen-rufu, always embracing and engaging in dialogue with the mentor in their hearts and reflecting on what the mentor would do in their place” (NHR-30, “Great Mountain” Booklet, p. 91).

3) Unite in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind.”

Nichiren writes: “Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences . . . This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death . . . When you are so united, even the great desire for widespread propagation can be fulfilled” (“The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” WND-1, 217).

Actions We Take Today Will Transform the Destiny of Humanity

When we unite in purpose to spread the Law and each bring forth our inherent qualities, we can transform the karma of all of humanity and advance kosen-rufu far into the future.

Regarding the “Soka Gakkai Buddha,” President Ikeda also states:

Having the courage to share the Mystic Law with one person today, teaching them about Nichiren Buddhism to the best of our ability, will produce numberless multitudes of fellow Bodhisattvas of the Earth in the future.

Having the unwavering perseverance to remain steadfast in faith today, undefeated by even the most inexpressible calamity, will brightly illuminate a way forward for society in the future.

Being solidly united in purpose today, as we forge ahead with fellow members of rich diversity, encouraging and supporting one another, will build a realm of true human harmony in the future. …

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo resonantly like “the sound of white horses neighing” (see “King Rinda,” WND-1, 985–86), let’s bring forth a strong and vigorous life force and together make this a historic year—writing a “wonderful story” that will be passed on and endure for all time! (Jan. 13, 2014, World Tribune, p. 7)

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