Celebrating Future Division Month
“My dear future division members! My precious friends! You are destined to be the noble protagonists of our movement when the Soka Gakkai celebrates its glorious 100th anniversary in 2030.”February 2020 Living Buddhism, p. 59.
For 60 years, Ikeda Sensei has ceaselessly encouraged the members of the future division, which includes the elementary school, and junior high and high school divisions, always thinking about their growth and happiness. He has striven with the determination to wholeheartedly nurture young successors who will carry on the noble mission of kosen-rufu far into the future.
Sensei’s encouragement to the future division has been published in various books, including Discussions on Youth, Victorious Teen and You Can Do It! as well as other titles featured on this month’s cover of Living Buddhism. In honor of Future Division Month, we excerpt his preface to Discussions on Youth.
Each of You is Hope Itself
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream!”
What dreams do you have in your heart now? What hopes? A life filled with hope is strong. Hope is the greatest weapon in the world. I receive many letters from young friends throughout the world. I sometimes receive pictures, too. And from these, I can see that all of you are bursting with the vibrant energy of youth seeking ever to grow and develop.
Youth is the time of great change, and so it is equally a time of great confusion. Society offers little comfort, and you may feel as though you are standing alone in a wasteland or on a battlefield. At times, you may feel that you cannot believe in anyone, that no one loves you or that you have no reason to live. But do not judge yourselves. You must never give up on yourselves. There is no one who does not have a mission in this world. You would not have been born if you did not have a mission to fulfill. It doesn’t rain or snow all year long. And remember, the sun is always shining above the clouds.
Charlie Chaplin, one of the world’s greatest comedians, was born four days before Adolf Hitler. As a youth, Chaplin was very poor and could not afford to go to school. In addition, his mother suffered from mental illness. Despite all these trials, he lived with great optimism. Whereas Hitler went on to take millions of lives and covered the earth with blood and grief, Chaplin gave hope to people throughout the world. The final chapter of Chaplin’s life was victorious and adorned with the applause and cheers of the people. Life is defined by how it concludes, not by how it begins. There are no irredeemable mistakes in youth.
I cannot forget the words my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, said to me about sixty years ago when I was going through hardships. He said: “Daisaku, you must go through struggles in life. Only by struggling can you understand this faith. That’s how you become a great person.”
My mentor taught me everything. He tutored me each morning, even on Sundays, covering every subject. Because of this, I can say that I studied at “Toda University.” As Mr. Toda once shared his knowledge with me, I am now speaking to all of you. …
I trust all of you. I live for your happiness, for your future. You are the hope of humanity. Each of you is hope itself.Discussions on Youth, third edition, pp. x–xi.