Skip to main content

The New Human Revolution

Awaiting the Time—Volume 30, Chapter 2

Ikeda Sensei’s ongoing novel, The New Human Revolution, which he began writing in 1993, is the history of the progress of the Soka Gakkai following his inauguration in 1960 as its third president, and a record of the modern development of the Soka Gakkai and the SGI. It also serves as practical guidance for how to further expand our movement for kosen-rufu. “Awaiting the Time” is the second chapter of volume 30, the final volume of The New Human Revolution. Ikeda Sensei appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto.

Installment 10 | Installment 20 | Installment 30 | Installment 40 | Installment 50 | Installment 60

Installment 1

Let us engage in dialogue!
Sensing the sadness and pain
deep in people’s eyes,
listening closely to their faltering words,
let us summon courage
and begin an inspiring dialogue!
Opening our arms in empathy,
with vibrant life force,
let us speak about a philosophy of true hope and justice!
With overflowing passion
and unshakable conviction,
let us persist in
playing a melody of friendship and understanding!

Let us continue our dialogue!
The power within each person
is limitless!
The awakening of one individual
sparks a ripple of revitalization,
spreading from one person to another,
giving rise to ten thousand waves and more.
“One is the mother of ten thousand” (WND-1, 131).

Through dialogue,
we are sowing the seeds of happiness
in the fields of people’s hearts and
awakening each to their noble mission in this life.
Through dialogue,
we link hearts and unite the world,
building a fortress of lasting peace
forever unassailable.
Again today, let us engage in dialogue!

Shin’ichi Yamamoto had stepped down as third Soka Gakkai president and been named honorary president. After seeing the Soka Gakkai make a fresh start with a new leadership lineup under President Kiyoshi Jujo at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters General Meeting on May 3, 1979, he launched into working to realize a new phase of dynamic development in worldwide kosen-rufu. He concentrated his energies on dialogue—reaching out to members to encourage them and meeting with ambassadors and leading scholars and thinkers from various countries to open the way to world peace.

The power of dialogue is a force for peace that creates a new age.

Installment 2

Shin’ichi Yamamoto refrained as much as possible from going to the Soka Gakkai Headquarters. He wanted President Jujo and the other top leaders to feel free in exercising leadership. Moreover, he didn’t want his presence at the Headquarters to cause everyone to gradually fall back into the habit of depending upon him.

It was Shin’ichi’s greatest wish that the new leadership, on their own, carry on the great Soka spirit of mentor and disciple; manage the organization successfully and guide the members; and fulfill their mission and responsibility for kosen-rufu. He also had high hopes for the growth and development of the youth who would shoulder the future.

Praying deeply, he thought of the legendary Chinese lion, who was said to have tossed its cub into a ravine to test its survival skills and to train it. The story represents the idea of the importance of exposing one’s children to challenges for the sake of their growth and development. Shin’ichi felt as if this was what he was doing now as he watched over the earnest struggles of his successors.

Meanwhile, week after week, the Japanese media, led by the sensationalist tabloid magazines, made a great commotion about Shin’ichi’s resignation as Soka Gakkai president. Irresponsible and wildly speculative reporting continued, with commentators and others who were critical of the Soka Gakkai asserting that the organization was about to collapse.

Amid all this, Shin’ichi kept speaking with and encouraging members wherever he met them—at the Kanagawa Culture Center, the Tachikawa Culture Center, the Shizuoka Training Center, and many other places. He also posed with them for photographs.

Quietly carrying out the tasks we have set for ourselves day after day, never straying from the path of kosen-rufu, moving forward like the sun’s unchanging course in the sky—herein lies true success in life and victory in kosen-rufu.

On May 11, as if conversing with the sun and moon, Shin’ichi composed this poem at the Tachikawa Culture Center:

In the west sets the majestic sun.
In the east, the full moon glows radiant.
Dusk freshly colors the heavens.
In the serenity of this moment—
a magnificent painting
of life without beginning.
My state of mind, too,
is free and unfettered.

Installment 3

To bring the world closer together and open the way to enduring peace, Shin’ichi actively reached out to thinkers and diplomatic representatives of various countries. On May 19, 1979, he met at a hotel in Tokyo with China-Japan Friendship Association President Liao Chengzhi, who was visiting as the head of a goodwill delegation that had traveled to Japan on the Chinese cruise ship Minghua.

During their conversation, Shin’ichi expressed his determination to continue working for friendship and promoting exchanges for peace, culture, and education between their two countries, now and in the future, regardless of his position. He also stressed the importance of developing strong ties among ordinary citizens to ensure lasting friendly relations.

During their meeting, President Liao requested that Shin’ichi make a fifth visit to China.

Since Shin’ichi’s first visit (in 1974), the two men had met and conversed numerous times, forging a close friendship. President Liao died four years later, in June 1983. The following year, Shin’ichi visited the family to pay his condolences, sharing recollections of Mr. Liao’s life and accomplishments with his widow, Jing Puchun, and their son.

In October 2009, Zhongkai University of Agriculture and Engineering in Guangzhou [the capital of China’s Guangdong Province] conferred honorary professorships on Shin’ichi and his wife, Mineko. “Zhongkai” was the name of President Liao Chengzhi’s father, Liao Zhongkai (1877–1925), a friend and ally of the Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen (1866–1925). The university’s forerunner, Zhongkai Agricultural and Industrial School, had been founded by Zhongkai’s widow, He Xiangning (1878–1972), who, as an activist alongside her husband, had played an important role in the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

A center dedicated to studying the philosophy and ideals of Liao Chengzhi and Shin’ichi Yamamoto was opened at Zhongkai University of Agriculture and Engineering in November 2010.

The friendships that Shin’ichi cultivated continued to grow and flourish into the 21st century.

On May 22, 1979, a few days after his meeting with President Liao, Shin’ichi met and spoke with the international department head and an editorial board member of the Soviet Union’s Novosti Press Agency, as well as representatives of the Soviet Embassy, at the Kanagawa Culture Center in Yokohama. Among the topics they discussed were the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as other issues concerning peace, culture, and education in Asia and the world. During the meeting, the Soviet representatives expressed the strong wish that Shin’ichi visit the Soviet Union.

As practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism, it is our responsibility to work and act earnestly for the realization of lasting peace.

Installment 4

Shin’ichi Yamamoto continued to actively engage in dialogues for friendship and peace.

On May 25, he met with Zambian Ambassador Chief Mapanza Morris Katowa, and on May 29, with leading Chinese writer and thinker Zhou Yang and his wife, Su Lingyang. In June, he met with New Zealand Ambassador Rod Miller, Nigerian Ambassador Balarabe Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and others.

Shin’ichi made a special effort to meet and speak with representatives from Africa, because he firmly believed that the 21st century would be the century of Africa. He also keenly felt that only by bringing peace and prosperity to this vast continent, where people had endured long years of colonial rule and suffered great poverty and hunger, could humanity’s future be assured.

While meeting and speaking with foreign dignitaries, Shin’ichi also held dialogues with leading figures in Japanese society.

Making time in his busy schedule, he traveled to places such as Tsurumi and Kohoku wards in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture; and Itabashi, Chuo, and Toshima wards, as well as Koganei and Kodaira, in Tokyo. His sole purpose wherever he went was to visit members who had struggled earnestly alongside him for kosen-rufu and warmly encourage them.

As long as the mentor and disciples dedicated to kosen-rufu are strongly united in spirit, the solidarity of the Soka Gakkai will remain unshaken by even the fiercest storms. That is why frank and open dialogue is essential. It is a source of inspiration that awakens people to their mission and fosters ties of trust.

Whenever Shin’ichi met with pioneer members, his unvarying message to them was: “In life, the final chapter is the most important.”

No matter how active we have been in the past and what glorious accomplishments we have achieved, if we stop striving in our Buddhist practice in our final years, we will have given in to defeat.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “For example, the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven but stop with only one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital?” (WND-1, 1027).

Brilliant, everlasting victory in life is achieved through maintaining a spirit to continue seeking the way, challenging ourselves, and fighting our hardest as long as we live.

Installment 5

Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s resignation as chief representative of all Nichiren Shoshu lay organizations and as Soka Gakkai president was supposed to have put an end to the attacks by some of the younger priests who were critical of the Soka Gakkai.

On May 1, the Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office issued the following directive to all priests: “In the monthly lectures and other sermons, speaking of anything beyond teachings that are based on the Daishonin’s writings is strictly prohibited. Despite numerous notices to this effect, breaches of this rule have been apparent. From now on, we ask that you strictly refrain from such conduct. . . .

“While it is permissible to accept Soka Gakkai members as direct temple members at their own request, it is otherwise strictly forbidden to approach Soka Gakkai members in any way to do so.”

High Priest Nittatsu even personally reprimanded some priests who continued to speak ill of the Soka Gakkai in defiance of this directive. Nevertheless, at many of the temples where the younger priests held sway, the Soka Gakkai continued to be maligned and attacked at the monthly lectures and other occasions. And, if anything, efforts to actively approach and persuade Soka Gakkai members to leave the organization and join the temple intensified.

The priests of these temples paid no attention to the instructions of the Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office or even to the high priest, and signs of growing turmoil and confusion began to appear within Nichiren Shoshu.

It was shortly after 6:00 a.m. on July 22 that Shin’ichi received news that High Priest Nittatsu had died. The high priest had attended a memorial service at a branch temple in Fukuoka on July 17 and returned to the head temple the following day. But on the morning of July 19, feeling ill, he was admitted to a hospital in Fujinomiya City. There, he died of a heart attack at 5:05 a.m. on July 22, at age 77.

Shin’ichi immediately departed for the head temple from the Kanagawa Culture Center to pay his condolences in person. He arrived there before 9:00 a.m., and chanted daimoku, offered incense, and prayed for the high priest’s eternal happiness.

A preliminary wake began at the Grand Reception Hall that evening, during which the Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office executive advisor made an important announcement. In April of the previous year (1978), he said, Nittatsu had privately designated General Administrator Shinno Abe as his successor, selecting him to become the 67th high priest. The Soka Gakkai’s response on this occasion, too, was to continue to support the priesthood, wishing for harmonious cooperation between the priesthood and laity for the sake of kosen-rufu.

Installment 6

The official wake and funeral services for High Priest Nittatsu were conducted at the head temple from August 6 through August 8, attended by Shin’ichi Yamamoto and other Soka Gakkai top leaders and representatives.

That summer (in August 1979), 1,300 SGI members from 41countries and three territories visited Japan. As SGI President, Shin’ichi encouraged them at an international friendship gathering held at the Kanagawa Culture Center in Yokohama on August 13, and at a gongyo session to pray for world peace held at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Tokyo on August 15.

These sincere members, who were working so hard for kosen-rufu, had traveled to Japan from all around the world with a passionate seeking spirit. No matter what his situation, Shin’ichi could not fail to meet with and encourage them.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “If someone proclaims even a single verse or phrase of the Lotus Sutra, you must respect him as you would the Buddha. This is what the sutra means when it says, ‘You should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the same respect you would a Buddha’ [LSOC28, 365]” (WND-1, 757). In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin identified the words “You should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the same respect you would a Buddha” as “the foremost point he [Shakyamuni] wished to convey to us” (OTT, 192).

We must always base ourselves on the Daishonin’s teachings.

Shin’ichi was all the more convinced, upon seeing these joyful SGI members filled with seeking spirit, that a new age of worldwide kosen-rufu had arrived.

At the international friendship gathering, he said: “The fact that 1,300 members have traveled to Japan from around the world to deepen their understanding of the Daishonin’s teachings is a landmark event in the history of Buddhism. Please always be aware that you are pioneers who are blazing new trails for worldwide kosen-rufu, that you are makers of history.

“When you return to your respective countries, many of you may be one of just a few members there, or perhaps the only person in a vast area practicing Nichiren Buddhism. But the important thing is to strive with a self-reliant spirit.

“Nichiren Daishonin stood up alone and created a groundswell of kosen-rufu. Similarly, the reconstruction of the Soka Gakkai after World War II began with President Josei Toda making a solitary stand. That is the spirit of a practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism; it is the Soka Gakkai spirit.

“Now is the time for each one of you to stand up alone, as a lion! I will, too!”

Installment 7

On the afternoon of August 20, after visiting the Taito Culture Center in Tokyo, Shin’ichi Yamamoto made his way to the Nagano Training Center in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture.

Karuizawa was where Josei Toda had spent his last summer, in August 1957. During his stay there, he had invited Shin’ichi and Kazumasa Morikawa to join him, and together they took a drive to see the Onioshidashi lava formations, after which they had dinner at the hotel where Toda was staying. He especially wanted to encourage Shin’ichi, who had been arrested on false charges the month before in what became known as the Osaka Incident.

Toda and his young disciples enjoyed a lively conversation as they ate. Soon, the subject turned to Toda’s novel Human Revolution, which he had written under the pen name Myo Goku. The novel had been serialized in the Seikyo Shimbun—the first installment appearing in the paper’s debut issue in April 1951—and only been published in book form in July 1957, the previous month.

The novel’s hero, Gan, was an ordinary man living in a humble one-story eight-apartment row house and working at a printing company.

Introduced to the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin by Josaburo Makita (the fictional name Toda gave to Tsunesaburo Makiguchi in his novel; in later editions, Makiguchi’s actual name was used), Gan begins to practice Nichiren Buddhism. Showing proof of the power of faith, he eventually becomes the printing company president. Later, he is appointed general director of the Soka Gakkai, and supports President Makita in his efforts for kosen-rufu.

But facing oppression by Japan’s militarist government during World War II, Makita and his devoted disciple Gan are both imprisoned. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reading the Lotus Sutra in his cell, Gan undergoes a profound realization that he is one of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth who assembled at the Ceremony in the Air described in the Lotus Sutra. The novel ends with him vowing to dedicate his life to propagating the Lotus Sutra.

In the first half of the novel, the character Gan is completely fictional, his life bearing little resemblance to Toda’s, but Gan’s experience in the second half of the novel is Toda’s own experience. In particular, his awakening in prison to his mission of kosen-rufu after being arrested and jailed by the authorities is a depiction of what really happened, underscoring the starting point of the Soka Gakkai spirit.

Gan’s exclamation, “I am a Bodhisattva of the Earth!” is the source of the Soka Gakkai’s conviction.

Installment 8

Josei Toda’s novel Human Revolution, with the plot line centering around the human revolution of its protagonist Gan, depicts the selfless dedication of his mentor Josaburo Makita, who rose into action alone to spread the Mystic Law and realize kosen-rufu.

Speaking at the 11th memorial (10th anniversary) of President Makiguchi’s passing, held in November 1954, Toda described how he had felt that day in prison when he learned that his mentor, to whom he owed everything, had died: “Never in my life had I experienced such grief. At that moment, I said to myself: ‘Just wait! I will prove to the world whether my mentor was right or wrong. If I were to adopt a pseudonym, I would call myself Count of Monte Cristo. In that spirit, I will achieve something great so that I might repay my mentor.’”[1]

“Monte Cristo” refers to the hero of the Alexandre Dumas (1800–70) novel The Count of Monte Cristo, translated into Japanese by Ruiko Kuroiwa (1862–1920). In Kuroiwa’s translation, the title of the novel is Gankutsu-o (lit. King of the Cavern).

In the novel, a young sailor named Edmond Dantès falls victim to a treacherous plot that leads to him being arrested and imprisoned in the forbidding island fortress the Château d’If. His prison is shared by an aged cleric Abbé Faria, who becomes his instructor in a wide range of subjects and tells him where a great trove of treasure is hidden on an island called Monte Cristo. After 14 years, Dantès escapes his prison and recovers the treasure, acquiring fabulous wealth. Adopting the name Count of Monte Cristo, he presents himself in Parisian society, where he sets about exacting revenge on those who were responsible for his unjust imprisonment and rewarding the good people who helped him in his life.

Toda had fervently vowed to persevere through hardship like the novel’s hero and vindicate his mentor Makiguchi, who had died due to the oppression of Japan’s wartime militarist government. Toda’s “vengeance” took the form of proving the integrity and righteousness of his mentor. It also entailed a battle against the evils of power that caused Makiguchi’s untimely demise as well as the death and suffering of so many others through the war. And it meant realizing happiness for the people and peace for humanity.

That is why Toda chose Gan Kutsuo [a homonym of the Japanese title of The Count of Monte Cristo] as the name of his novel’s hero, and recorded the truth and greatness of Makiguchi for posterity.

It is the duty of disciples to make their mentor’s virtue known to all the world.

Installment 9

While visiting Karuizawa at his mentor’s invitation and talking about how moved he had been on reading Toda’s novel, Human Revolution, Shin’ichi made a deep personal resolution.

Toda’s Human Revolution ends with its hero Gan, representing Toda, vowing in prison to dedicate his life to kosen-rufu.

Toda emerged alive from prison on July 3, 1945, having inherited the spirit of his mentor, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who had died there. Shin’ichi felt that unless he chronicled Toda’s subsequent accomplishments and efforts to lay the foundation for kosen-rufu in Japan, he would be unable to communicate to future generations his mentor’s great work and the Soka spirit of mentor and disciple that defined Makiguchi and Toda’s lives.

Shin’ichi arrived at the realization: “I am the only one who can record the truth of Mr. Toda’s life. That is his expectation for me and my mission as his disciple.”

At that moment, the idea of writing a biographical novel as a sequel to Toda’s Human Revolution, something he had contemplated many times before, turned into an unshakable commitment. Nagano Prefecture became the place where he made a powerful vow to ensure the Soka spirit of mentor and disciple would live on forever.

Now, in August 1979, Shin’ichi was making his first visit to the Nagano Training Center, which had opened in August the previous year. In the first summer of a new chapter of worldwide kosen-rufu, he traveled to Karuizawa, where Toda had stayed during his very last summer. From this place of deep karmic ties, Shin’ichi decided to create a fresh momentum of home visits and personal guidance, and begin work on building a new Soka Gakkai.

Worldwide kosen-rufu ultimately starts with encouraging a single individual, with taking a single step in one’s immediate environment.

On the train on his way to the Nagano Training Center, Shin’ichi put his resolve into action.

When a young man recognized him and came over to greet him, Shin’ichi encouraged him and presented him with a poem:

Meeting by chance,
you, too, are my disciple—
a journey of happiness.

And when Shin’ichi reached his destination, he shook the young man’s hand and said to him: “Please give my best to your parents. I hope you’ll do great things!”

Resolve must be put into action.

Installment 10

It was two and a half hours since Shin’ichi had left the lingering summer heat of Tokyo. Karuizawa was shrouded in mist and the evening air was cool.

A small group of leaders, support staff, and other local members were waiting to welcome him on his arrival at the Nagano Training Center. Though they were smiling, they looked somehow concerned, perhaps because there had been very few reports of Shin’ichi’s activities in the Seikyo Shimbun and other Soka Gakkai publications following his resignation as president.

He said energetically, dispelling their worries: “I’m just fine! Let’s make a fresh start!” His voice resounded like a lion’s roar in this place of mentor and disciple.

He shook the hand of Takashi Saida, the Nagano prefecture leader, who at 37 was still quite young. Shin’ichi said to him: “Now that I am honorary president, I could quite easily take a break from doing activities for kosen-rufu, or quit altogether. That might be far more relaxing. But if I entertained the thought of taking even the smallest step back in my activities, I would no longer be living with the Soka spirit of mentor and disciple dedicated to kosen-rufu. Mr. Toda would be very angry with me.

“When we are aware of our mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, we can find a way to fight, a way to contribute, no matter what kind of constraints or restrictions limit our actions. We must fight on with wisdom and courage. The Daishonin declared: ‘Still I am not discouraged’ (WND-1, 748). In that spirit, he kept on fighting, undeterred by any persecution. I hope you, too, will never give up in your struggle for kosen-rufu, in carrying out your Buddhist practice, as long as you live, no matter what happens or what your situation. I will continue my efforts for all our members.”

Shin’ichi was scheduled to stay in Nagano for nine days.

On the morning of August 21, the day after he arrived, he encouraged youth division members working as support staff and others at the training center. He had lunch together and conversed with about a dozen pioneering members, after which he visited the home of Takashi Kibayashi, vice leader of the Komoro Headquarters. When they had met 11 years earlier, Kibayashi invited Shin’ichi to come to his home, and now Shin’ichi was fulfilling the promise he had made to do so at that time.

That evening, he met with local members and spoke with them informally.

Repeated conversation and dialogue is the way to cultivate the earth of life itself and create a flower garden of happiness.

Installment 11

Among the members Shin’ichi spoke with on the evening of August 21 were Torao and Tami Tamori, who had served as the first chapter leader and women’s division leader of Karuizawa Chapter.

Torao was a baker who had honed his skills working at a first-class hotel. His wife, Tami, had suffered from a heart ailment, but when she joined the Soka Gakkai and started practicing Nichiren Buddhism, her health improved. This had inspired Torao to join the Soka Gakkai, along with their children, in 1955. He was able to realize his long-cherished dream of purchasing his own bakery, which deepened his conviction in the power and benefit of his Buddhist practice, and he joyfully shared Nichiren Buddhism with those around him.

But there were many people in his community who were prejudiced against the Soka Gakkai and disapproved of his Buddhist faith, leading to a decline in customers to his bakery.

A senior in faith confidently encouraged the Tamoris, who were distressed by this development: “Nichiren Daishonin clearly states: ‘If you propagate [this teaching], devils will arise without fail. If they did not, there would be no way of knowing that this is the correct teaching’ (WND-1, 501). Because you’ve both bravely stood up to take part in the struggle for kosen-rufu, devilish functions and obstacles have appeared. Isn’t this exactly as the Daishonin teaches?

“If you continue to persevere courageously in faith, just as you have been doing, you are certain to establish a state of genuine happiness. That’s why it’s important that you never slacken in your faith and practice.”

At the time, many members, to a greater or lesser degree, were facing similar problems. They responded by applying themselves to their Soka Gakkai activities with an even greater fighting spirit. They read the Daishonin’s writings and encouraged one another.

Torao thought: “The Daishonin writes: ‘The greater the hardships befalling him [the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra], the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith’ (WND-1, 33). The more challenging the situation, the more we need to rouse strong faith and press forward with joy and courage. This is the moment of truth!”

Soka Gakkai activities and the Daishonin’s writings went hand in hand, and Buddhist study was related to daily life. That was the source of the Soka Gakkai’s resilient strength. In retrospect, this was made possible by second president Josei Toda’s publication of the Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Zenshu (Collected Writings of Nichiren Daishonin). It opened a new epoch in which the correct teaching and principles of Nichiren Buddhism became established as a model of living for people from all walks of life.

Installment 12

Torao Tamori gritted his teeth and continued striving earnestly in his Buddhist practice. In time, he received a contract to supply bread to one of the local schools, and also gained a growing number of non-Japanese customers. Later, he became a supplier to a major outlet for Western baked goods, and his shop went on to become one of the most popular and well-established bakeries in Karuizawa.

Not only did he show actual proof of the power of Buddhist practice in his work, but he also contributed to the development of his local community and the welfare of his fellow residents. His example helped dispel people’s misconceptions and prejudice toward the Soka Gakkai and brought widespread understanding and support.

While speaking with the couple, Shin’ichi decided to invite a group of local members to meet informally with him the next day at the coffee shop on the second floor of the Tamoris’ bakery.

At that gathering, Shin’ichi shared some of the conversations he had with Josei Toda in Karuizawa in the summer of 1957.

“Mr. Toda loved this place, with its remarkable scenic beauty, and spoke of his cherished wish of holding a summer training course here someday. With the opening of a training center here in Karuizawa, I feel we are a step closer to realizing Mr. Toda’s vision.

“Eventually, members from throughout Japan and around the world will gather at the Nagano Training Center, and it will become a dynamic energy source for kosen-rufu. That’s why it’s important for you to build an organization here in Nagano Prefecture that will be a model for the rest of the world. I will give you my full support.”

That evening, a joint leaders meeting of Karuizawa and Naka-Karuizawa chapters was held at the Nagano Training Center.

As the meeting drew to a close, Shin’ichi entered the room and joined the members for gongyo. He then sat down at the piano and played several songs to encourage them, including “Ureshii Hina-matsuri” (Happy Doll Festival), “Tsuki no Sabaku” (Moonlit Desert), and other pieces. The members were thrilled, and they responded with enthusiastic applause.

Engraving in their hearts the sight of Shin’ichi playing the piano for them, the members renewed their determination to proudly walk the noble Soka path of mentor and disciple.

No power or authority can sever the spiritual ties of mentor and disciple.

Installment 13

Shin’ichi’s dearest wish was simply that everyone would continue in their practice with strong faith and become happy.

Intent on breaking the bonds of mentor and disciple in the Soka Gakkai, a treacherous, self-serving leader and Nichiren Shoshu priests had plotted together behind the scenes to prevent Shin’ichi from giving guidance at large meetings or appearing in the Seikyo Shimbun. In the oppressive atmosphere this created, a gloomy pall fell over the organization.

When he was restricted from attending large gatherings, Shin’ichi devoted his energies to visiting members at home and giving personal guidance. When he was told not to give speeches, he encouraged members by presenting them with poems or playing the piano for them.

Nothing can suppress an unwavering commitment to kosen-rufu.

Shin’ichi proposed to the members gathered at the Nagano Training Center: “If it’s O.K., why don’t we all come here again on Sunday, August 26, and we can take group photos together? If others would like to come, they’re also welcome.”

The members cheered in delight. This was something that the members in Nagano had long hoped for. The news spread quickly throughout the prefecture.

The prefecture leaders had no idea how many members would come. The youth division took the lead in making thorough preparations to receive them, so that there would be no confusion or disorder even if several thousand showed up. They also decided to set up three stands so that the photo-taking would move along smoothly.

In addition, they organized arrival times for each area. Some areas even arranged for charter buses to bring members to the center.

Many members, however, were expected to arrive by car. Worried that there might not be enough space for everyone to park, the leaders negotiated with the owner of a vacant lot on the road running in front of the center to see if they could use it for extra parking. They were given permission, but would have to clear the lot of brush and weeds before it could be used.

Young men’s division members immediately set themselves to the task with great energy. They were overjoyed to be able to work together with their mentor in this effort to encourage their fellow members.

Those who are always conscious of striving alongside their mentor and take action with that spirit brim with joy.

Installment 14

Shin’ichi spent August 24, the 32nd anniversary of his joining the Soka Gakkai, at the Nagano Training Center. He did gongyo in earnest, vowing to make a fresh start with renewed determination.

Shortly after noon, he rode around the vicinity on a bicycle with youth division members. He wanted to recall memories of his mentor by visiting the area where Toda had spent his last summer.

When Shin’ichi returned to the training center, a group of young educators from the Soka Gakkai Education Department had just arrived by bus to take part in a training session.

While they were still on the bus, they were told that Shin’ichi Yamamoto was staying there, and they were overjoyed. They all lined up in front of the center’s entrance and greeted Shin’ichi with beaming faces.

“Thank you!” said Shin’ichi. “I am happy to see you all. Let’s take a group photo together!”

Shin’ichi then joined them in a photo and said: “As you can see, I am just fine! I hope that you will forge ahead energetically on the path of your mission, achieving one victory after another, proud to be members of the Soka Gakkai. Whatever might happen, never give up your faith. Please take this point deeply to heart. Nothing is more painful or heartbreaking for me than to see people stray from the path of kosen-rufu.”

That evening, Shin’ichi again visited the homes of local members and conversed with those gathered there.

On the morning of August 25, the following day, he played tennis with the Education Department members on the training center grounds and continued to encourage them.

The tennis court was a makeshift affair fashioned by local members to give people visiting the center for training sessions a memorable experience.

Afterward, Shin’ichi did gongyo with training session participants, and warmly applauded them as they departed on their return journey.

Shin’ichi prayed wholeheartedly and summoned all his wisdom and ingenuity to find the best ways, within the restrictions being placed on his activities, to bring courage and hope to the members. Nichiren Daishonin writes: “If the mind of faith is perfect, then the water of wisdom, the great impartial wisdom, will never dry up” (WND-1, 1015).

As long as we remain strongly committed to and pray for the realization of kosen-rufu, we can break through every obstacle and open the way to victory.

Installment 15

From late morning on the 25th, rain began to fall and grew steadily harder as the day progressed.

Shin’ichi left the Nagano Training Center to visit the home of a family of pioneer members who had made important contributions to the development of kosen-rufu in Saku City.

Young men’s division members were out working in the rain, clearing the vacant lot nearby to provide extra parking for the group photo sessions scheduled the next day.

Shin’ichi said to a leader accompanying him: “Please let them use the bath at the training center when they’re finished, so they don’t catch cold. They’ll need to wash off the mud and perspiration, and warm themselves up.”

These young people were the Soka Gakkai’s precious treasures. He felt bad that they were working so hard, covered in mud, but he was determined to make sure that they didn’t get sick on top of that.

About 50 minutes later, Shin’ichi arrived at the home of Katsuo Ishizuka in Saku City. Ishizuka, a man in his 40s, was the Saku Headquarters leader.

Ishizuka looked deeply moved as he clasped Shin’ichi’s hand and said: “Sensei! Thank you for visiting our home.”

Ishizuka’s father was wearing a suit and his mother was dressed in a kimono. They courteously greeted Shin’ichi and the others.

Earlier during his stay, Shin’ichi had had an opportunity to speak with Ishizuka at the center, when the latter had come to help as an event staff. Learning that Ishizuka had created a private community center for Soka Gakkai meetings, Shin’ichi had wanted to go and thank him and his family.

Meeting places provided by members play an invaluable role in advancing kosen-rufu. Even if large Soka Gakkai centers were built in every area, it would still be members’ homes and private facilities that would serve as the meeting places for discussion meetings and other day-to-day Soka Gakkai activities on the district and chapter levels. They are the sites of magnificent Buddhist assemblies of the present day.

Shin’ichi and the others were shown into the living room of the Ishizuka home. In the conversation that ensued, Shin’ichi learned that it was Ishizuka’s father’s 80th birthday.

“As a gift, let me present you with a poem,” he said.

Looking at a daily tear-off calendar hanging on the wall, he asked: “May I write it on that?”

The calendar was taken down and, with a prayer for the health and long life of the elderly couple, Shin’ichi wrote next to that day’s date:

How delighted I am to behold
your golden countenance
at the venerable age of eighty!

Installment 16

Shin’ichi said to Katsuo Ishizuka: “Please take good care of your father and mother for as long as they live. The path of humanity begins with showing appreciation to our parents. Those who always have a spirit of gratitude are genuine practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism.”

Thanking Ishizuka for providing a private community center for Soka Gakkai activities, Shin’ichi discussed several points that should be kept in mind on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s important to coordinate closely with the leaders responsible for holding the meetings about such details as parking for cars and bicycles and keeping voices down, so that you don’t cause any trouble for your neighbors. It may require considerable effort on your part, but it’s important to visit your neighbors regularly to talk with them, and tell them to let you know if there are any problems, maintaining open communication.

“Gaining the willing cooperation and support of your neighbors is in itself kosen-rufu. Private meeting places that members provide for Soka Gakkai activities are castles of the people that are dedicated to kosen-rufu. Building strong foundations of trust there will contribute to making the Soka Gakkai solid and secure.”

Shin’ichi then went to visit the Ishizukas’ private community center, which was located in the building next door. The ground floor housed the office of the electrical contracting firm that Ishizuka ran, and the upstairs floor, about 49 square meters (533 square feet) in size, was reserved for Soka Gakkai activities.

Local chapter leaders of Saku Headquarters were gathered there. Shin’ichi did gongyo with them, and then spoke with them informally.

He composed and presented poems to the Saku members:

I will never forget
the happy eyes
of the members in Saku.

• • •

Each day as I pray,
I wonder how my friends in Saku
are doing today.

After visiting the Ishizuka family, Shin’ichi went to the home of Tatsuomi Kurabayashi. The Kurabayashis were a family with deep ties to the area, whose ancestors had served as district officials since the early Edo period (1603–1868). The main house was 350 years old and known locally as Uguisu Yakata (Nightingale Mansion).

Tatsuomi Kurabayashi was standing in front of the house holding a traditional Japanese umbrella, waiting for Shin’ichi and Mineko.

“I came, just as I promised,” said Shin’ichi with a smile.

At a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting in Tokyo six years earlier, Kurabayashi had told Shin’ichi about his family heritage and invited him to visit.

Installment 17

Tatsuomi Kurabayashi was 71 years old and had five children, all active Soka Gakkai members. Four were present this day, and the other lived in the United States. Together with their spouses and children, they joined Kurabayashi in giving Shin’ichi and Mineko Yamamoto a warm and lively welcome.

Kurabayashi led Shin’ichi to the seat of honor before the ornamental alcove in the living room, saying: “Please, sit here.”

But Shin’ichi demurred: “No, that won’t do. Please, Mr. Kurabayashi, as my senior in life, you take the seat of honor.”

Kurabayashi looked momentarily uncertain, but at Shin’ichi’s courteous insistence, he took his place in the seat of honor with his back to the alcove.

A standing screen in the room was adorned with beautiful calligraphy. The lustrous black wooden pillars and the carved openwork panels above the doorway were of elegant design.

Shin’ichi asked about the history of the house, and in response Kurabayashi told him a legend associated with his family.

One winter night, the story went, the village headman, Hikozaemon, kindly rescued a fox that had fallen into an icy pond and was about to freeze to death. He warmed and dried the fox, and then set it free again. The fox barked happily and disappeared. The next morning, two pheasants were left on the outer veranda of the headman’s house. Seeing fox prints in the snow, the headman realized that the fowl were a gift from the fox, an expression of gratitude for having been rescued.

“That’s an example that people can learn from,” said Shin’ichi, as those seated nearby nodded earnestly. They were especially aware of the importance of repaying debts of gratitude, since at that time a group of ungrateful individuals had been plotting behind the scenes against the Soka Gakkai and inflicting suffering and grief on sincere and dedicated members.

When Josei Toda’s businesses were in crisis, too, many individuals whom he had done a great deal for and who had benefitted from his assistance and support suddenly turned on him, reviling him and expressing bitter resentment and hatred as they deserted him.

The great philosopher Socrates said that ingratitude is indisputably the greatest injustice.[2]

Nichiren Daishonin, stressing the importance of gratitude, cites ancient stories about an old fox and a white turtle repaying debts of gratitude and says: “If even lowly creatures know enough to do this, then how more should human beings!” (WND-1, 690).

Gratitude is the foundation for a life of genuine humanity.

Installment 18

Ten grandchildren of Tatsuomi and his wife, Yoshino, entertained Shin’ichi and his party with performances on the koto (Japanese harp), harmonica, fife, and singing.

It was pure delight to see these young treasures of the future, who had inherited the faith of their parents and grandparents and were growing so splendidly. The movement for kosen-rufu develops and expands as Nichiren Buddhism spreads in our local communities, in society as a whole, and is passed on to the next generation and into the future.

The rain began to let up, and Shin’ichi took a walk in the garden, arm in arm with Tatsuomi Kurabayashi, who shyly repeated how thankful he was and that this would be the most memorable day of his life.

“Your life has been a great victory,” Shin’ichi said. “Your children and grandchildren have all grown to be fine individuals. But there is no end in Buddhist faith and practice. As long as you live, please keep striving for the sake of your fellow members, your community, and kosen-rufu. The most important time is from now on, in this culminating stage of your life. Please continue moving forward in high spirits—toward tomorrow and the future.”

Kurabayashi turned his head to peer intently at Shin’ichi, and he nodded in acknowledgement of his words.

Later, as an expression of his profound gratitude, Shin’ichi presented the family with a poem:

I fondly recall
the house in Saku,
a silver castle.

August 26 was the day when the group photo sessions would be held at the Nagano Training Center. Hearing that anyone was welcome to participate, members gathered from all around Nagano Prefecture.

The rain of the previous day had cleared, and a refreshing breeze blew through the trees. Members began to arrive at the training center in a steady stream from before noon. It was nearly four months since Shin’ichi and his activities had for the most part stopped being covered in the pages of the Seikyo Shimbun. Everyone wanted to meet or even just get a glimpse of him, and renew their vow for kosen-rufu.

The strength of the Soka Gakkai is the unity resulting from the ties of mentor and disciple that Shin’ichi had forged with each member and the bonds the members had forged among themselves.

Installment 19

Three stands of bleachers for the group photographs had been set up at the training center.

Just before 1:00 p.m., Shin’ichi Yamamoto said to Mineko: “All right, a new struggle begins!” Wearing a polo shirt, he strode out to the center’s forecourt to greet the waiting members.

“I’ve been looking forward to seeing you all! Thank you for coming. Let’s make a fresh start toward the 21st century!”

The members cheered. An elderly woman, deep lines creasing her forehead, said with tears in her eyes: “Sensei! Not seeing your picture in the Seikyo Shimbun, I was so worried and sad. All this time, I have been praying with my whole heart. I am relieved to see you looking so well! I’m so happy!”

Shin’ichi encouraged the woman warmly: “Thank you! As you can see, I am fine. If you’re fine, I’m fine. I will keep the memory of you forever in my heart and chant daimoku for you every day. That way, we’ll always be together. We’ll be together in our next existence, too.

“Please live a long, long life. Please brim with ever greater energy and happiness. That itself is the driving force for kosen-rufu. It is a source of hope and inspiration for your fellow members.”

Then, Shin’ichi said in a rousing voice to another elderly woman in her mid-80s: “Please live to be 100! Please live to see the 21st century and the future of kosen-rufu! The Soka Gakkai will continue to grow and develop enormously. It will spread widely throughout the world. I am now beginning my struggle to make that happen.”

Shin’ichi also said to a men’s division member in a resolute tone: “The true greatness of the Soka Gakkai will be demonstrated without a doubt. Right now, Nichiren Shoshu priests are still maliciously attacking us and some tabloid magazines continue their reckless bashing, but if you let such things sway you, you are sure to regret it. The Soka Gakkai alone has undertaken efforts to realize kosen-rufu just as the Daishonin instructed. Never lose sight of that undisputable truth. Let’s fight on together!”

Installment 20

The line of people waiting to take their place on one of the three stands of bleachers set up for the photo sessions at the training center seemed to stretch without end. Members had arrived in a steady stream from towns and cities all over the prefecture, including Iiyama, Nagano, Ueda, Hotaka, Matsumoto, Shiojiri, Suwa, Iida, and Ina.

Each time he completed a group photo session, Shin’ichi would speak with and encourage the members, shaking hands with dozens, and sometimes hundreds.

As the photo sessions were coming to a close, a handsome, tanned youth exclaimed with passion in his voice: “Sensei! Thank you! We young men’s division members are determined to live up to your expectations and fight and win!”

Shin’ichi smiled warmly and replied in earnest: “That’s right. When the mentor cannot take action out in front, it’s the job of the disciples to stand up and do so in the mentor’s stead. You’re not my true disciples if you can’t rouse energy or courage because you can’t meet me in person. Please create an unprecedented groundswell of progress for kosen-rufu with bold efforts surpassing your mentor.

“It is precisely for a time such as this that I have guided and encouraged you, giving my all to fostering you.

“Now is the time for you to proudly declare, ‘Leave it to us! Watch our struggle!’ and go out to encourage and brighten the hearts of the members on my behalf. That is the true spirit of mentor and disciple. Each of you is Shin’ichi Yamamoto! I didn’t raise you to be weak or fainthearted young people who cannot show their real strength at a crucial moment. Now is the time for you to take responsibility for the Soka Gakkai in your own communities. Nothing would be more disappointing than if, at such an important time, you were to give in to feelings of sadness and not be able to fully exert yourself.

“Those are my feelings, a cry from my heart. I’m counting on you!”

The eyes of the young people present sparkled with burning determination. Some tightened their jaws, and others balled their fists in firm resolve.

Addressing a gathering of 10,000 youth division members in October 1954, Josei Toda had said: “I hope you will rise bravely to meet the many challenges that lie ahead.”[3]

Shin’ichi felt exactly the same.

Installment 21

Among the members Shin’ichi encouraged were a couple from Saku City, Wataru and Shizu Yanagisaka. They had both been coming to the Nagano Training Center daily to take care of the grounds, during Shin’ichi’s stay there as well.

Wataru Yanagisaka, who was around 60, was a landscape gardener. Shin’ichi said to him and his wife, Shizu: “Your spirit to treasure the training center is the same as my own.

“My wish is that all who visit here will refresh themselves, deepen their faith, create wonderful memories, and return home with renewed determination to carry out kosen-rufu.

“That is why providing an uplifting, well-tended environment is so important. You have taken that weighty responsibility on yourselves. That is very admirable.

“In view of the Buddhist law of cause and effect, all of your efforts are certain to bring you immeasurable benefits and boundless good fortune. Please stay well and continue supporting the training center.”

It was close to 4:00 p.m. when the last photo session ended. Some 30 group photos had been taken, with Shin’ichi posing with more than 3,000 members.

Shin’ichi said to the young volunteer staff who had been responsible for organizing and conducting the photo sessions: “Thank you! The participants were all very happy. That’s because of you.”

He then said to the Nagano Prefecture young men’s division leader, who oversaw the logistics for the photo sessions, including arranging for members to help clear the vacant lot used for parking: “I will never forget the sight of all of you, covered in mud, cutting grass and weeds in the rain.

“To strive together with me means to work wholeheartedly for the happiness of our members.

“Over the long course of life, you may experience failures and setbacks, but you have to keep pressing forward. Most important is that, no matter what happens, you remain with the Soka Gakkai all your life and devote yourself to the members and kosen-rufu.

“Do not seek the praise and recognition of others, but instead be confident that the Buddhas and heavenly deities are aware of all your efforts, and continue dedicating yourself to kosen-rufu. That is the mark of true courage.

“When you do so, you will shine your brightest and be a supreme victor in life.

“I will continue to watch over you all.”

Installment 22

On August 27, Shin’ichi departed from the Nagano Training Center to visit the Komoro Culture Center. There, too, he joined some 300 members for group photos, which were taken in three sessions. Then, he did gongyo and spoke informally with representatives.

Shin’ichi stressed the importance of putting daimoku first and striving with courageous and steadfast faith.

It was almost 9:00 p.m. when he returned to the training center.

On August 28, the last day of his stay in Nagano, he took part in several dozen group photo sessions with members visiting the training center, held small group discussions, and visited the home of a pioneer member. During one of his discussions, he said to Nagano Prefecture Leader Takashi Saida: “The Nagano Training Center is very conveniently located, with cool summers and beautiful scenery. It will become a venue where members from throughout Japan and the world gather, and many vibrant training courses are held. It will be a favorite spot for people everywhere.

“I hope, therefore, that the Soka Gakkai in Nagano Prefecture, where this training center is located, will aim to build an organization that is the world’s foremost model of human harmony, with the world’s foremost array of capable individuals. I want our members around the globe to say, ‘Let’s follow the example in faith set by the Nagano members!’

“The only way to accomplish that is through unity. Members throughout Nagano have to unite their hearts for the sake of kosen-rufu, while making the most of the strong points of each locality. For that to happen, it’s vital that you, as the prefecture leader, devote yourself wholeheartedly for the members’ happiness. Members will work with you in a spirit of shared purpose when they know that you are genuinely concerned about and dedicated to their welfare. That is how unity is forged.

“People are not inclined to follow or unite behind lazy and irresponsible leaders. It’s not fair to the members to have such leaders. You will gain people’s trust by being earnest and sincere. Please continue striving your hardest.”

Fostering capable individuals begins with efforts to sow seeds of encouragement and inspiration in the fields of people’s hearts day after day. During his stay in Nagano, Shin’ichi tried to demonstrate this through his own example. There is no better “textbook” for educating or fostering people than action.

Installment 23

On August 28, Shin’ichi returned to Tokyo, concluding nine days of all-out effort in Nagano, where he had tirelessly encouraged the members.

His visit to Nagano marked a momentous new beginning in the progress of kosen-rufu in Nagano and the history of the Soka Gakkai. It was not, however, reported on at any length in the Seikyo Shimbun. Only a few lines mentioning his visits to the homes of pioneer members appeared occasionally in second-page articles and elsewhere in the paper.

Shin’ichi visited the Nagano Training Center the next year and the year after that, creating a fresh groundswell for kosen-rufu from there.

Training courses at the center grew in scale and substance with each passing year.

Many regional, divisional, and SGI training sessions were held there, as were national executive conferences.

At members’ invitation, Shin’ichi would also from time to time attend and energetically take part in training courses with them. These training courses became a new Soka Gakkai tradition and a driving force for the expansion of kosen-rufu.

The Nagano Training Center also welcomed many world thinkers and scholars, serving as a stage for dialogue and friendly exchange focusing on peace, education, and culture. Among them were Kyrgyz writer Chinghiz Aitmatov; Dr. David Norton, professor of philosophy at the University of Delaware; American scholar Dayle Bethel; Dr. Jim Garrison and Dr. Larry Hickman, the president and former president of the John Dewey Society in the United States; Dr. Yan Zexian, president of South China Normal University; and Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, director of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti in India.

Karuizawa [where the training center is located] was the place where Shin’ichi had vowed as Toda’s young successor to record and transmit for posterity his mentor’s spirit and accomplishments. Now, it had become an energy source for fresh development and creativity.

It was also at the Nagano Training Center that Shin’ichi began writing his serialized novel The New Human Revolution, on August 6, 1993.

The Nagano members regarded their encounters and shared struggles with Shin’ichi at this training center as their highest and greatest pride, and boldly opened the great path of kosen-rufu in their communities. The pride of mentor and disciple striving together as one becomes an invincible fighting spirit, a beacon of courage, and a powerful force for victory.

Installment 24

Shin’ichi Yamamoto continued to visit the homes of members who had contributed to the development of kosen-rufu in their communities over many long years. On September 15, Respect for the Aged Day in Japan, he visited the home of some pioneer members in Komae City, in the western part of Tokyo. While there, he had a friendly conversation with the couple and their family, and took a photo with them. That was his 30th home visit since May. He also visited the Komae Culture Center and encouraged the members who happened to be there that day.

In September 1974, five years earlier, the banks of the nearby Tama River overflowed during Typhoon Polly and swept away 19 homes in Komae City. As soon as he had heard the news, Shin’ichi immediately contacted the Tokyo Soka Gakkai leaders for updates and to offer instructions, and also prayed in earnest that there would be no loss of life.

Komae and neighboring Chofu City were developing as suburban residential areas, and the population was growing steadily.

As he looked out at the landscape of open fields and new homes, Shin’ichi said to one of the members accompanying him: “Tokyo No. 2 Area[4] is a fresh stage for kosen-rufu. It has a bright future. I hope the members will work together and create a new history of accomplishment here.”

Kosen-rufu is a great undertaking of unprecedented scale, an arduous effort to blaze a trail through uncharted territory. To accomplish that, everyone has to be self-motivated and proactive in their faith, taking personal initiative instead of relying on others to do the work. There is tremendous joy in activities when we each set our own goals and work self-reliantly to achieve them.

It is also important to summon courage each day and break through our personal limitations as we take on fresh challenges. The spirit of challenge is the driving force for development and growth.

The author Saneatsu Mushanokoji (1885–1976), who loved the Musashino area [part of the Tokyo No. 2 Area] and spent his final years in Chofu, wrote:

I always think:
Another step forward.
Now is the crucial moment.
Another step forward.[5]

Another step forward—the steady accumulation of those steps will transform our lives, our communities, and our society.

Shin’ichi was delighted above all to be able to devote substantial time to offering personal guidance—something he had long wished to concentrate on more—and speak with members at length. The real pleasure of Soka Gakkai activities is found amid such steady, dedicated efforts.

Installment 25

As the founder of Soka University, the Soka Junior and Senior High Schools, and Tokyo Soka Elementary School, Shin’ichi Yamamoto made every effort to attend their various campus events and functions. Having chosen education as the crowning endeavor of his life, he was determined now to dedicate his utmost energies to it.

In September [1979], he joined a group of Soka University and Soka Junior and Senior High School students in picking Asian pears at an orchard in Kunitachi City.

He also took group photos with correspondence course students participating in the autumn on-campus instruction sessions at Soka University. He was fully aware of the difficulties of studying while working, because he had done the same thing in his youth.

After World War II, Shin’ichi graduated from the night school course of Toyo Commercial High School (present-day Toyo High School) and entered the night course at the college Taisei Gakuin. From January 1949, the year after he began studying there, he started working at Josei Toda’s publishing company. In the autumn of that year, the business ran aground amid the uncertain economic conditions of the postwar period. Shin’ichi’s days were consumed with winding down the company, forcing him to discontinue his evening studies. Toda compensated for this by giving him intensive private instruction in a wide range of fields, in what Shin’ichi later came to call “Toda University.”

Around six years after Shin’ichi was inaugurated as the third Soka Gakkai president, Fuji College (present-day Tokyo Fuji University), the later incarnation of Taisei Gakuin, strongly encouraged him to submit graduating papers in the subjects he had studied while enrolled. Shin’ichi decided to do so, wishing to respond to the school’s generous consideration, and partly to repay his debt of gratitude to the late Taisei Gakuin president Yumichi Takata, who had been one of his lecturers.

At that time, Shin’ichi was extremely busy traveling in Japan and also to overseas destinations, as well as writing his novel The Human Revolution. He purchased the books he needed to write the graduating papers, and studied them during his travels and in between meetings and other activities. Eventually, he completed 10 reports, including one on economic history titled “The Establishment and Special Features of Japanese Industrial Capital.”

This experience made Shin’ichi keenly aware of the difficulties that correspondence course students face. However challenging they might find their studies, he didn’t want them to give up. He wanted them to keep striving dauntlessly until they had graduated and received their degrees.

A proverb from Central Asia says: “Iron is tempered by fire, and people are tempered by adversity.”

Installment 26

Fostering young people creates a bright and hopeful future.

During his visit to Soka University in September, Shin’ichi joined the members of the rugby, baseball, and table tennis teams for group photos.

In October, he spoke at the closing ceremony for the Soka University athletic meet. He urged the students to master the basics during their university days so that they would be able to deal with the many challenges they would face in society. To lead a life of value creation, it is important to be aware of one’s noble mission. Gaining a solid grounding in the fundamentals is indispensable to carrying out that mission.

Shin’ichi also joined the students of the Tokyo Soka Elementary School for events such as their athletic meet and Potato Digging Day.

He visited a dormitory of the Soka Junior and Senior High Schools and met and talked with resident and off-campus boarding students. He told them that he wanted each one of them to become a shining presence. By “shining presence,” he said, he meant people who warmly supported others and imparted hope and courage.

On November 2, he attended the Soka University Festival, and on November 3, the annual meeting of the Soyu-kai, the Soka University alumni association.

Shin’ichi had great hope and confidence that the graduates of Soka University and the other Soka schools would spread their wings and soar high into the skies of the 21st century, striving for the happiness of the people and world peace. He was always energized and encouraged to see them pursuing their self-development and achieving tremendous growth.

One of the participants at the Soyu-kai alumni meeting declared in a vibrant voice: “Sensei, we have confirmed our conviction that the time for simply declaring our determinations to our founder is past. It is time for us to report our results whenever we meet, to state what we have actually achieved. That is what it means to stand up as disciples.”

Shin’ichi smiled, saying: “I see. I am very happy to hear that. Please pave the way forward with the spirit that you are all the founders. That is the proud tradition of Soka education.”

Installment 27

On November 16 [1979], a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, commemorating the 49th anniversary of the organization’s founding, was held at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward.

Toshima Ward had been the location of the Tokyo Detention Center, where Makiguchi and Toda were imprisoned by the wartime militarist authorities and where Makiguchi died for his beliefs.

The Toda Memorial Auditorium, standing not far from the prison’s original site, had just been completed that June—built as a lasting monument to the first two presidents’ selfless dedication to spreading the Mystic Law.

Restricted from appearing and offering guidance at meetings, Shin’ichi had not attended the opening. He had, however, visited the new auditorium the day before to commend and express his appreciation to those who had worked so hard toward that event, talking with and encouraging members who were there.

Since then, he had occasionally visited the auditorium, where he met and conversed with members of Toshima Ward and neighboring Kita Ward, as well as representatives who were visiting the auditorium from other parts of Japan.

Shin’ichi was determined to create a victorious groundswell for kosen-rufu in Tokyo from this place, Toshima Ward, where Makiguchi had laid down his life.

Once resolved to fight on, one can do so under any circumstance. There is a way to fight even when locked behind iron bars. When interrogated, Makiguchi confidently articulated the teachings and convictions upheld by the Soka Gakkai.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “When great evil occurs, great good follows” (WND-1, 1119). The “great evil” of Makiguchi’s death in prison opened the way for the realization of “great good” in the form of the triumphant development of kosen-rufu.

But we cannot create change by sitting passively on the sidelines. We need to be firmly determined and committed to transforming great evil into great good and take courageous action toward that end. Our resolve and actual efforts are what make the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin a reality.

Shin’ichi had begun an all-out struggle for a breakthrough, despite the plots to curtail his activities and destroy the Soka Gakkai, the organization working to realize kosen-rufu in accord with the Buddha’s intent.

Installment 28

Because the Headquarters leaders meeting [at the Toda Memorial Auditorium] on November 16 was also a celebration of the 49th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding, Shin’ichi wanted to attend it, even if only briefly, to make a fresh start for kosen-rufu together with the members.

He entered the stage halfway through the meeting. Most of those present had not seen him in quite some time, and the room burst into loud, excited applause at his appearance.

Instead of making a speech, he took off his suit jacket and stood in the center of the stage with a folding fan in his hand.

“Today, I would like to lead you in a Soka Gakkai song. Let’s make it ‘Song of Indomitable Dignity’!”

This was the first time that Shin’ichi had led members in song since stepping down as Soka Gakkai president.

There was more thunderous applause.

Speeches are not the only way to offer guidance and encouragement. Any struggle requires wisdom, ingenuity, and creativity. No matter what limits are put on our actions, if we maintain an unshakable commitment to kosen-rufu, nothing will block our way forward. Shin’ichi was determined to uplift and inspire everyone by leading them in this one song.

When the rousing melody started to play, the audience clapped along with joy and energy.

As we of the Gakkai
make our way in this troubled world . . . .

Shin’ichi led the song with the same indomitable dignity it extols, evoking the majesty of a soaring eagle.

In his heart, he called out to the members throughout Tokyo, and members everywhere, to rise into action.

In the audience, there were men clapping vigorously in time with the music and women singing with all their hearts, tears in their eyes. There were young men’s division members whose eyes blazed with a passionate fighting spirit and young women’s division members who sang with radiant joy.

They were all in perfect rhythm, their lives merging as one. Amid the harsh storms of adversity, a new momentum for victory began from Tokyo that day.

Buddhism is about winning. That is why it is our mission and destiny to achieve victory in the struggle for kosen-rufu, no matter how many obstacles we encounter along the way.

Those who are champions of kosen-rufu are champions of life and champions of happiness. With each mountain we conquer on our journey of kosen-rufu, the sun of joy and fulfillment shines brighter in our hearts.

Installment 29

At the Kanagawa Training Center in Hakone, the Shinjuku Culture Center in Tokyo, and other Soka Gakkai facilities, Shin’ichi continued day after day to meet with divisional and regional representatives, offering them guidance and encouragement.

Certain tabloids and other news media kept up their attacks on the Soka Gakkai with false or distorted reporting. But, as serenely and steadily as the sun moving along its set course, Shin’ichi pressed on in his efforts to personally encourage and guide members.

Nothing is more inspiring than seeing people you have encouraged summon fresh determination in faith, challenge and overcome karmic obstacles blocking their way forward, and achieve resounding victory in their lives.

Shin’ichi enjoyed speaking with young people. While conversing with several young men’s division and student division leaders at the Kanagawa Culture Center in Yokohama, he said: “It’s more than six months since the Soka Gakkai made a new start. How are all the youth doing? Are they in high spirits?”

A young men’s division leader answered: “Everyone is working hard. But they’re sad that you’re no longer giving guidance at meetings.”

Shin’ichi responded directly: “If that’s how the youth feel, then you must all take action. Otherwise, you are mere bystanders, not protagonists. Youth must resolve to take full responsibility and be the driving force for development.”

The young men’s division leader replied with a troubled expression: “We do suggest ideas for new activities, but our seniors in the men’s division usually don’t approve.”

Shin’ichi said with a smile: “To a greater or lesser extent, that’s the case in every organization and society. Young people offer new ideas and plans, and their seniors oppose them.

“Older people have rich life experience. They have formed a set of principles and approaches from that experience, and they tend to judge everything based on that.

“And being backed by the wisdom of experience, their evaluations are usually correct. But older people also tend to react negatively to things they are unfamiliar with. And when times change dramatically, their experience-based approaches become useless. If they fail to see that, they can make errors in judgment.

“Men’s division leaders need to be aware of that and make a positive effort to listen to the ideas of young people.”

Installment 30

“As youth division leaders,” Shin’ichi continued, “you’ll have to hone your powers of persuasion to gain the men’s and women’s division leaders’ support for your ideas.

“You need to be able to explain clearly and in an organized, logical manner why your proposals should be adopted. And it’s also important to show the basis for your ideas—for instance, by citing concrete data and actual examples. If what you say is reasonable, no one can fail to accept it. Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Buddhism is reason. Reason will win over your lord” (WND-1, 839). Sharing Buddhism with others is the best means for developing your powers of persuasion.

“It’s also important to have the ardent passion of youth. When young successors make earnest, wholehearted appeals to start something new, their enthusiasm naturally inspires people to support them in their aims. When you really move people’s hearts, the situation will change dramatically.

“In addition, you need to establish a record of success. If your plans and proposals are innovative and always create fresh momentum for our movement, people will be eager to listen to your ideas. In other words, positive results build trust.

“Don’t immediately give up or become discouraged because one of your ideas isn’t accepted, either. If you think what you are proposing is truly necessary and important, examine any flaws or problems that have been pointed out, correct them, and keep presenting your idea. You need to be persistent.”

Shin’ichi’s words were backed by his own experience. In March 1954, he was appointed to the new position of youth division chief of staff, responsible for planning and overseeing the Soka Gakkai’s activities. At first, the Soka Gakkai’s board of directors expressed doubts about almost every proposal he made. Even the youth division athletic meet he proposed—the forerunner of later peace culture festivals—did not have their support initially.

But after several such events were held and widely applauded, they went on to become a hallmark of the Soka Gakkai. It was a victory of the power of youth.

Installment 31

Shin’ichi added: “It is no exaggeration to say that there are as many opinions as there are people. And it’s all the more natural that people of different generations will have differing views about things.

“When organizing a discussion meeting, for example, some people may want the meeting to be held on a weeknight, while others prefer an evening on the weekend. Some may ask that it be held on a Sunday morning or afternoon, while others suggest a weekday morning or afternoon. But a decision has to be made, and that means choosing the day and time that suits the majority.

“Once a decision has been reached after discussing it among yourselves, it’s important to unite and make the greatest possible efforts to ensure the meeting’s success, even if you didn’t get your preference.

“Those organizing the discussion meeting also need to think of the members who can’t attend that day, and to come up with ways to support them—perhaps planning to hold small group meetings on some other days, or occasionally changing the day for the discussion meeting—so that everyone can equally and joyfully engage in faith and practice.

“In addition to discussion meetings, people no doubt have varying opinions on how to carry out activities or other aspects of our movement. There are no absolute rules or perfect ways of doing things as far as activities go. There will always be pros and cons of some sort. If a problem arises, everyone should put their heads together and think of ways to solve or minimize it. The key is to remain flexible, open-minded, and to work together.”

The young men listened intently. Shin’ichi looked at each of them, and emphasized: “The most important thing to remember in conducting activities is not to become disheartened, or upset and resentful when your opinions are not accepted. That will not only damage your own faith but will act to undermine our movement for kosen-rufu as well.

“Many organizations and religious groups have splintered because of conflict and resentment arising from different opinions and ideas on how they should be run. But the Soka Gakkai must never go down that path!”

Installment 32

Shin’ichi continued: “Today, for the sake of the future, I’d like to share with you the most crucial principle for advancing kosen-rufu. And that is having the unshakable unity of ‘many in body, one in mind.’

“Nichiren Daishonin writes:

‘All disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death. Herein lies the true goal of Nichiren’s propagation. When you are so united, even the great desire for widespread propagation [the great vow for kosen-rufu] can be fulfilled.’ (WND-1, 217)

“Here, the Daishonin articulates the guiding principle that all of his disciples—in other words, we who dedicate ourselves to kosen-rufu—should take to heart.

“First, he says ‘transcending all differences among themselves.’ He is telling us to banish any tendency we may have to let our differences divide us or to discriminate against others.

“People differ in many ways—in nationality, ethnicity, culture, and customs; in social status, position, age, and background; and also in their viewpoints and sensitivities. We must transcend those differences and constantly return to the basic point that we are all comrades in faith and Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

“Then, the Daishonin says that we must ‘become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim.’ This means realizing that we share a close and inseparable relationship as fellow practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism, and respecting and supporting one another based on that awareness.

“Letting a personal dislike for a certain leader keep you from practicing with your local organization or taking part in activities is contrary to these golden words of the Daishonin. It’s also a sign that you’re being defeated by your own selfish negativity.

“It is by no means a coincidence that we are practicing Nichiren Buddhism together at this time. Bound by deep ties from the inconceivably remote past, we have appeared in this troubled age of the Latter Day of the Law to fulfill the vow we made long ago.

“When we each awaken to the fact that we are here today because of that past karmic connection, we will forge strong bonds and create a powerful driving force for kosen-rufu.”

Installment 33

Shin’ichi continued: “Next, the Daishonin says ‘with the spirit of many in body but one in mind’ (WND-1, 217). ‘Many in body’ [which could also be expressed as diversity] means respecting one another’s unique personalities and qualities, while ‘one in mind’ means uniting in heart and mind for the shared purpose of kosen-rufu.

“The walls of old Japanese castles, for example, are built of stones of various shapes and sizes; these differences allow the stones to interlock and support one another, making the walls strong.

“The spirit of ‘many in body, one in mind’ not only creates the strongest unity, it also enables each of us to make the most of our potential and give full play to our talents and abilities.

“The Daishonin says that chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith grounded in the spirit of ‘many in body but one in mind’ is the ‘basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death’ (WND-1, 217). This is how the most important Law of life is passed on from the Buddha to all living beings. The Daishonin declares here that this is the heart of his own efforts to spread the Mystic Law. And exerting ourselves in Buddhist practice with this spirit is key to fulfilling the great vow for kosen-rufu.

“Becoming upset or resenting others over differences of opinion is confusing the means with the end. Advancing with the resolve to unite and work together for the sake of kosen-rufu, no matter what—forging ahead with faith based on the spirit of ‘many in body, one in mind’—that is our unchanging guideline. Indeed, it is the golden rule of the Soka Gakkai.

“The Daishonin goes on to say: ‘If any of Nichiren’s disciples disrupt the unity of many in body but one in mind, they would be like warriors who destroy their own castle from within’ (WND-1, 217).

“The greatest offense in Buddhism is to disrupt or destroy from within the unity of ‘many in body, one in mind’ directed toward realizing kosen-rufu. It would be as if, while waging an intense battle for kosen-rufu, our comrades-in-arms set fire to the castle we share and turned their swords against us. Those who undermine this unity, no matter how they may try to justify it, are doing the work of the devil king of the sixth heaven.”

A student division leader spoke: “While there are many seniors in faith who have worked hard as leaders and maintained a solid practice to the end, there are also those who have stopped practicing and turned against the organization. What is the fundamental reason for this difference?”

Shin’ichi replied: “Ultimately, it comes down to whether your deepest motivation is kosen-rufu or your own self-interest.”

Installment 34

The young people nodded in response.

The student division leader who asked the question said: “Certainly, when I recall people I thought were bright and amazingly talented but who later stopped practicing, it seems clear they were all self-centered. They craved the limelight and were unwilling to cooperate with everyone else or to unite in spirit with their seniors in faith. Ultimately, I think they were arrogant. Some of them also caused problems arising from sexual or financial misconduct.”

Shin’ichi felt these words showed keen insight.

“What you say is true. I have also seen many such examples. It’s very regrettable.

“When people become self-centered, they no longer refer to the writings of Nichiren Daishonin or the guidance of the Soka Gakkai, nor do they make the unity of many in body, one in mind a priority. They forget the key Buddhist attitude of self-examination and self-reflection.

“Also, because they let their mind be their master,[6] they lack self-control. Driven by greed and self-interest, they blindly pursue fame and wealth and do whatever suits their selfish ends. They cause trouble for others and create all sorts of serious problems. They lose everyone’s trust, and ultimately find it impossible to remain in the pure realm of the Soka Gakkai. That’s the common pattern of those who stop practicing and turn against the organization.

“During his exile on Sado, Nichiren Daishonin declared that it is not external enemies that can undermine Buddhism, but rather ‘worms born of the lion’s body’—that is, enemies found among the ranks of the Buddha’s disciples themselves.[7] We must never forget this as we advance kosen-rufu. This sort of thing is certain to happen in the future as well. When it does, genuine disciples will stand up decisively and fight against it.”

As if to verify Shin’ichi’s words, a corrupt attorney and his cohorts, who were secretly maneuvering with members of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood to try to gain control over the Soka Gakkai, would soon take off their masks and reveal their true nature.

In his “Guidelines for Youth,” second president Josei Toda urges his disciples not to allow those who have turned against the Soka Gakkai to slow their progress.[8]

The network of Soka Gakkai members is a gathering of lions who have each vowed to realize kosen-rufu and brave the fierce winds of adversity.

Installment 35

Shin’ichi was very happy to be able to speak freely with the young people.

Conveying his high hopes for their future, he said: “Youth have the important mission of shouldering our movement as the Soka Gakkai’s successors.

“That’s why President Toda put such serious effort into training and fostering the youth. He was especially strict with me. Sometimes, he would scold me sternly in front of a large group of people. He would often take me to task, even if it was someone else who had made a misstep. In particular, when he wanted to teach everyone the rigorous nature of the mentor-disciple path in our struggle for kosen-rufu, he would address his words to me.

“His training resembled the tough love of the lion that cast its cubs into the ravine to test them.[9] Mr. Toda was trying to foster me like that, into a lion who would be his true successor.

“I have also given strict guidance to our top leaders because they have the important role of bearing full responsibility for the Soka Gakkai from now into the future.

“The top leaders of our movement must always stay razor focused. They need the strength to win in the end, no matter what. I want them to grow further and become outstanding leaders. That’s why, as their mentor in a life dedicated to kosen-rufu, I will continue to speak firmly to them. Doing so is an expression of compassion.

“A mentor is strict with those who are genuine disciples. I have reached the age where I now understand well how Mr. Toda felt.

“Many people knew Mr. Toda and many received guidance from him, but I am the only one who served him with complete dedication, inherited his vision, and opened the way of kosen-rufu just as he instructed. That’s why I dare to say that I know the Soka Gakkai and the truth about Mr. Toda better than anyone else. That is also the reason why I am writing my serialized novel The Human Revolution—so that our members around the world and those of future generations who will take up the baton of kosen-rufu can advance unerringly along the Soka path of mentor and disciple.

“I want you to always boldly take on challenges and improve and train yourselves. Please keep pressing forward together, valuing unity above all, and create the Soka Gakkai of the 21st century!”

Installment 36

Day after day, Shin’ichi continued his tireless efforts to encourage others, reaching out to the members and into their hearts. It was an arduous spiritual struggle, waged through dialogue, aimed at opening new horizons in the Soka Gakkai’s movement for kosen-rufu.

The turbulent year of 1979 now entered its busy final month.

On the afternoon of December 26, Shin’ichi visited the Arakawa Culture Center in Tokyo. He was scheduled to attend the Third Fife and Drum Corps General Meeting at the Arakawa Civic Hall that evening. Before the event began, he wanted to meet and encourage the young women of the Fife and Drum Corps and local Arakawa members who had gathered at the culture center.

Shin’ichi had great affection and hopes for Arakawa Ward.

In August 1957, a month after the authorities in Osaka had arrested and detained him on false charges of violating the election law, he was making energetic efforts for the development of kosen-rufu in Arakawa Ward.

Having battled against the oppressive forces of authority while in jail, Shin’ichi felt deeply that the only way to stand up to such injustice was to unite and expand the power of ordinary people. As a result, he resolved to achieve a record of great progress for kosen-rufu in Arakawa Ward, a place where the old, richly human “downtown spirit” of Tokyo remained vibrantly alive.

Focusing on the individual, Shin’ichi gave his all to encouraging each person he met. Through his passionate, wholehearted efforts, one courageous person after another emerged—each a champion with the strength of a thousand.

Arakawa is a small ward, but a united victory there would serve as a breakthrough, leading the way to a great victory for all of Tokyo, and setting an inspiring example for members throughout the country and around the world.

Before embarking on this roughly weeklong campaign in Arakawa, Shin’ichi had set his mind on achieving a specific goal: to increase the number of member households in the ward by more than 10 percent.

Although it would be an unimaginably difficult challenge, if the members could succeed here, that victory would become a source of pride and confidence for them, and a badge of honor and good fortune that would adorn each person’s life forever.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Only by defeating a powerful enemy can one prove one’s real strength” (WND-1, 302). Shin’ichi wanted the Arakawa members to overcome every difficulty and build a tradition of being dauntless “champions of Tokyo.”

Installment 37

After arriving at the Arakawa Culture Center, Shin’ichi did gongyo with the Fife and Drum Corps members and local members present, praying deeply for their growth and happiness and for the success of that evening’s general meeting.

He also talked with the Arakawa members and listened intently as they told him about their activities. When the subject turned to his leadership in the Arakawa campaign in August 1957, Shin’ichi said: “During that campaign, I set out with fellow pioneer members to accomplish a deliberately challenging goal, and together we created a record that established Arakawa as a champion. Through that struggle, everyone deeply engraved in their lives the powerful conviction that when we take on and overcome difficult challenges for kosen-rufu, we will savor the joy and exhilaration of winning and forge a state of indestructible happiness.

“More than two decades have gone by since then. I’d now like each of you to create a new record of victory based on that tradition, and pass that legacy on to the next generation.

“However, we can’t create or maintain a tradition of victory in our movement for kosen-rufu just by doing the same old thing. Both the times and society change. It’s by staying creative and innovative, continually taking on fresh challenges, and succeeding in every endeavor that a lasting tradition of victory is formed. What we need to convey to the next generation is that fighting spirit.”

The spirit to fight for kosen-rufu is a legacy that cannot be transmitted through words alone. It is passed along from senior to junior, from one person to another, through shared experience and a process of inspiration while striving together in Soka Gakkai activities.

With high hopes, Shin’ichi said: “Now is the time for each of you here in Arakawa to fight valiantly in the same spirit as me. If a tradition of undefeated victory is established in a single area, the Soka Gakkai will flourish forever, because everyone will learn from that example. I hope you’ll always remember that this is the great mission of Arakawa.

“I’m not free to give guidance at large meetings right now, but that’s all the more reason why I’d like each of you to stand up and take action. I want you to triumph in everything and show that the Soka Gakkai is rock solid.”

The members’ eyes sparkled with determination.

Installment 38

At 6:30 p.m., Shin’ichi left the Arakawa Culture Center to make his way to the Arakawa Civic Hall, where the Fife and Drum Corps was holding its general meeting.

As he got in the car, a leader accompanying him said: “The Sumida River is about 200 meters (some 200 yards) from here, and on the other side is Adachi Ward.”

“Is that so?” said Shin’ichi. “Adachi . . . If I could, I’d love to go there, too, to encourage the members.

“The other day, I received a letter from a women’s division member in Adachi, and I’m sure the sentiments she expressed are shared by many in the area.

“She said that since I stepped down as president, she has felt so sad and pained. On top of this, the weekly tabloids kept up their barrage of irresponsible negative reporting on the Soka Gakkai, causing some of her non-member friends to believe those stories and make critical remarks to her about the organization. The injustice of it filled her with anger and frustration, she said, but she refused to be defeated and would keep doing her best to help people gain a correct understanding of the Soka Gakkai and my efforts.

“That is what she wrote. Hers is the true fighting spirit of the invincible champions of Adachi. I was deeply moved.

“Everyone is doing their utmost with great tenacity and forbearance. I really admire them. I want everyone to become happy without fail. That, after all, is the purpose of our Buddhist practice and Soka Gakkai activities.

“And that is why I’d like our members to rally themselves in such challenging times and strive to fill the garden of kosen-rufu with flowers of victory and the magnificent fruit of happiness.

“Please convey this message from me to the Adachi Ward members: ‘I am chanting for you each day. Conquer your limitations! Win out over your destiny! Triumph in the struggle for kosen-rufu! And lead lives of victory fragrant with the flowers of happiness!’”

In the car, Shin’ichi thought of the Adachi members and earnestly chanted daimoku for them in his heart.

On December 26, 1979, starting at 7:00 p.m., the final performance of the Third Fife and Drum Corps General Meeting, with the theme “Great Hope-Filled Advance toward the Year 2001,” got under way at the Arakawa Civic Hall.

The activities of these “emissaries of peace,” aiming toward the 21st century, were part of the Soka Gakkai’s wider efforts to promote culture and education.

Shin’ichi had received numerous invitations from the Fife and Drum Corps to attend the general meeting, and he had accepted out of a wish to encourage everyone.

Installment 39

A bright and sunny atmosphere pervaded the Fife and Drum Corps General Meeting. The performances brimmed with happy, hope-filled smiles, pure-hearted radiance, and the confident vitality of youth.

It was a spectacular celebration, in which the corps members joyfully displayed the splendid results of all their practice and hard work.

The prologue opened with the color guard twirling pink and blue flags in rhythm with the cheerful melody of the Fife and Drum Corps song “Angels of Peace,” the lyrics of which were written by Shin’ichi Yamamoto. Their skillful performance drew rousing applause.

This was followed by Part One, titled “Plaza of the World.” It featured a dazzling and powerful marching drum and drill performance unfolding against a backdrop of changing scenes from around the world—the châteaux of the Loire; the Champs-Élysées; Tiananmen Square in China; the skyscrapers of New York; and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The cute little pom-pom performers also brought smiles of delight to the audience.

Part Two was titled “March of Hope” and included performances of the “Light Cavalry Overture” and “The Noisy Bird” (L’Oiseau tapageur), followed by a chorus of the symphonic poem “The People.”

Like the surging of a vast sea
stretching to the far horizon—the people[10]

This was sung beautifully to the solemn melody by members of the men’s division Bodhisattvas of the Earth Chorus, the women’s division White Lily Chorus, the young men’s division Shinano Choir, and the young women’s division Fuji Chorus, all joining together in a guest appearance.

Shin’ichi had composed the poem, titled “The People,” to celebrate the young women’s division leaders meeting held at the Nihon University Auditorium in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward in September 1971.

In the poem, he spoke of how the history of the people, who deserve the greatest honor and respect, was characterized by unending oppression by the powerful and written with tears of suffering and anguish. He called for the people to stop being silent, to break free of their resignation and weariness, and create a new age in which they are the protagonists.

I will spend my life exerting myself for your sake
Though at first sight I may seem to stand in isolation,
I want to make it my proud and only mission
to fight on and on for you alone,
always in your behalf.[11]

Installment 40

Shin’ichi hoped the young women’s division members would not lead lives that were empty or shallow, but rather, would put down solid roots among the people, as proud daughters of the people, always living for and together with them. For that is where real life takes place, and the happiness forged there is true and genuine.

It was with that wish that he presented them with the poem “The People.”

A musical composition—a symphonic poem—based on it had first been performed at the Second Fife and Drum Corps General Meeting, held a year earlier, in October 1978, on the athletic grounds of Soka University in Hachioji, Tokyo.

That event took place in the rain. The passionate voices of the 3,000-member young women’s division chorus combined with the dynamic energy of the 3,000-member dance team and the spirited playing of the 150-member fife and drum corps ensemble.

The rain fell relentlessly throughout the performance, soaking the singers and dancers, along with the fife and drum corps members and their musical instruments. The hems of the dancers’ brand-new blue, yellow, and pink dresses were splattered with mud. But their expressions radiated joy and pride. They brimmed with the energy and resolve to build an age of the people.

Shin’ichi sat in the rain watching the performance, his suit becoming drenched. Seeing the young women performing their hearts out, unfazed by the wet conditions, he couldn’t bring himself to use an umbrella. Silently chanting daimoku that the participants wouldn’t catch cold, he watched their beautiful, powerful performance.

When the symphonic poem “The People” was finished, thunderous applause engulfed the field, rising into the sky and seeming to burst through the clouds. At that moment, the rain stopped. The sun showed its face.

Shin’ichi hoped that, through this general meeting, everyone would learn the spirit to persevere in their shared struggle for kosen-rufu, undefeated by any obstacle. He also wanted them to engrave in their lives the awareness that as long as they maintained an unwavering commitment to kosen-rufu, the sun of hope would be certain to shine upon them. This was because the solidarity of women with such strong faith would play a powerful role in raising the curtain on the victory of the people.

Now, more than a year later, Shin’ichi was listening once again to the symphonic poem “The People” at this Third Fife and Drum Corps General Meeting.

Installment 41

This time, members of the men’s, women’s, young men’s, and young women’s division chorus groups joined together to sing the choral section. Their resounding ode to victory was a true collaboration of people of diverse ages and backgrounds.

In his poem “The People,” Shin’ichi had written:

Science, philosophy,
art, religion,
all undertakings
must be directed toward the people

Science without you is coldhearted
philosophy without you is barren
art without you is empty
religion without you is merciless

You should look down on those who sneer at you . . .[12]

Listening to the musical performance, Shin’ichi deeply pondered the significance of the Soka Gakkai’s purpose.

He mused to himself: “It is the Soka Gakkai’s mission to liberate the people from the yoke of every form of oppression and from the chains of karma! That is the heart of our humanism! I will fight! I will strive resolutely, for the people and for kosen-rufu! Whatever happens, I will stand on the side of the people and bring about an age of the people!”

The Fife and Drum Corps General Meeting reached its finale. The performers paraded down the aisles and took the stage for a grand chorus of “Angels of Peace,” which starts with the line “Angels of peace, members of the Fife and Drum Corps.”

Tears of joy sparkled on the cheeks of the young women as they sang with all their might. They were the culmination of their pure-hearted youthful spirit.

Shin’ichi had been asked to say a few words. He wanted to encourage them by conveying his appreciation and gratitude for all their hard work and dedicated effort.

When he rose from his seat in the audience with a mike in his hand, cheers and thunderous applause broke out.

“Your performance was very beautiful and impressive, and this has been a magnificent general meeting. I am deeply moved!” Shin’ichi said.

Installment 42

It was the first time in quite a while that members had heard Shin’ichi’s energetic voice. They all listened intently.

“I can only imagine the incredible hard work and unflagging dedication that lies behind your beautiful performance, the determination and perseverance with which you practiced and honed your skills. In life, too, any beautiful accomplishment is backed by arduous effort.

“True to its theme, today’s general meeting is indeed the beginning of your hope-filled advance toward 2001. I will also begin a hope-filled advance toward that same goal. Let’s forge ahead together!

“Most of you are second-or third-generation Soka Gakkai members. You, my young friends, will have to make your way through raging storms amid the harsh realities of life in this world. Various problems and trials no doubt await you, whether in your studies, your work, your relationships, or with your health. But please be aware that only through experiencing such hardships and triumphing over them will you complete your hope-filled advance toward 2001.

“Always remember this day, and never forget the determination and perseverance you have shown. It is my wish that all of you, with strong faith, will climb to the summit of the 21st century, a shining new era of happiness.

“Thank you for your wonderful performance today. I am praying with all my heart for your happiness and victory in life.”

Once again, rousing applause swept the hall.

Shin’ichi was filled with joy, sensing that this generation of youthful successors was growing vibrantly and reaching for the skies of the 21st century. He felt a surge of unsurpassed hope.

The Fife and Drum Corps General Meeting was the last major event for the momentous year of 1979, a fanfare announcing a fresh departure into the 21st century.

A dramatic year—marked by turbulence, upheaval, and finally renewal—was coming to a close. On New Year’s Eve, Shin’ichi was at the Shizuoka Training Center. Thinking of first Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who was arrested in Shizuoka, he felt his own new struggle was beginning. The darkness was still deep.

He recalled the words of the Chinese writer Lu Xun (1881–1936): “The light always comes. Like the dawn, it cannot be obscured.”[13]

Installment 43

Nineteen eighty began—the year that would mark the 50th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding.

Page three of the January 1 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun carried a picture of Shin’ichi Yamamoto and two poems he had composed to celebrate the New Year:

My heart free and limitless
at the start of a new year
in the eternal journey of life,
I pray with fresh resolve
and press onward.

• • •

Let us once more cross
mountains and valleys
proudly holding high
the banner of kosen-rufu.

Many of the Soka Gakkai members who saw the photo and accompanying poems sent letters expressing their delight to Shin’ichi and to the Soka Gakkai Headquarters and the Seikyo Shimbun.

A man from Kyushu wrote to Shin’ichi: “I didn’t expect you to be in the Seikyo Shimbun’s New Year edition, but seeing a photo of you looking so well along with the poems you wrote has encouraged me no end.

“While there are still Nichiren Shoshu priests in the area where I live who speak ill of the Soka Gakkai, I am certain that right and wrong will be clearly revealed. I will advance in my efforts for kosen-rufu again this year, filled with pride in being a Soka Gakkai member.”

A woman from Kansai wrote: “I sense your firm determination in the words, ‘Let us once more cross / mountains and valleys.’ They give me strength. I, too, will do my best, with fresh determination and a renewed spirit, undefeated by anything. We of Ever-victorious Kansai will triumph over everything as your proud disciples.”

How admirable they were, these noble lions of Soka! They remained true and steadfast in their faith while enduring repeated attacks from malicious priests and certain sectors of the media. Reading their letters, Shin’ichi could feel the strength of their commitment as indomitable as a mountain.

Installment 44

The new decade dawned amid a time of turmoil in many parts of the world.

In April 1979, following the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty earlier that year, the new Islamic Republic of Iran was established with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as its supreme leader.

In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, where civil war was ongoing. It seemed likely to become a protracted and costly conflict that might further exacerbate tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The deteriorating situation in the Middle East, meanwhile, resulted in an oil crisis that could wreak havoc on the global economy. It was extremely difficult to see what lay ahead, and the new year began shrouded in uncertainty.

At the Shizuoka Training Center on the morning of January 1, Shin’ichi Yamamoto prayed deeply, vowing in his heart to make even greater efforts to open the way to peace and advance worldwide kosen-rufu.

Before noon on January 14, Shin’ichi and his wife, Mineko, were in a room at the Kanagawa Culture Center gazing out at the harbor.

White clouds floated in the azure sky and the sea sparkled a deep blue. Looking through binoculars, Shin’ichi could see a white ship approaching. A bright orange sun was emblazoned on its side, and passengers were visible on deck. It was the large passenger ferry Sunflower 7. Turning slowly with a trailing wake, it headed toward the Osanbashi Pier in Yokohama.

On that day, some 800 members from Shikoku [the smallest of Japan’s four main islands] arrived at the Kanagawa Culture Center to see Shin’ichi after a day’s journey by chartered ferry.

The weather had been bad the previous day, and snow had also fallen in Tokyo and Yokohama. A low-pressure system was moving toward Japan’s eastern seaboard, and rough seas had been forecast. This had prompted discussions of whether the trip should be cancelled. But the Shikoku members were determined to go ahead with their visit and set out across the stormy seas.

On the evening of their departure, Shin’ichi had earnestly chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, praying that everyone would arrive safe and sound. He wanted them to create an enjoyable story of kosen-rufu.

Having such personal stories linked to the great drama of kosen-rufu enriches our lives.

Installment 45

Over the months since Shin’ichi’s resignation, hopes grew stronger among the Shikoku members that he would visit their region. And it was not just the Shikoku members who felt this way. Many of the letters Shin’ichi received from members throughout the country were requests for him to visit their areas.

In Shikoku, the prefecture leaders discussed the matter.

With a serious expression, a women’s division leader began: “Would it be possible to ask Sensei to visit us in Shikoku? I think the only way to accelerate the movement for kosen-rufu here is for our members to renew their commitment to the shared struggle of mentor and disciple and, together with him, make a fresh start filled with the joy of faith.”

An elderly men’s division leader responded: “But Sensei is not allowed to offer guidance at large meetings or appear in Soka Gakkai publications, so I’m afraid we’ll just have to wait.”

“How long do we have to wait? Five years? Ten?”

“I don’t think anyone knows how long . . . .”

Pained by this exchange, Shikoku Region Leader Seitaro Kumegawa thought to himself: “There must be some way to fulfill everyone’s wish. We have to do something . . . . Since Sensei stepped down as president, a feeling of emptiness has spread among the members, and I sense that they are gradually losing their joy in their Buddhist practice. I know that this is the time for genuine disciples to stand up. But we need something—something to ignite their passion, and naturally the best way would be to create an opportunity for our members to meet Sensei. But how can we make that happen?”

Just then, an idea came to him.

He said decisively: “Since Sensei’s activities are restricted, let’s go to visit him!”

At these words, Shikoku Region Youth Division Leader Okimitsu Owada leaned forward eagerly and said: “Yes, why don’t we do that! There shouldn’t be any barrier separating us from Sensei. If any such barrier exists, it is an inner one created by the disciples themselves.”

Installment 46

On December 16, 1979, while at the Kanagawa Culture Center to attend a Soka Gakkai Central Executive Committee meeting, Shikoku Region Leader Seitaro Kumegawa had the chance to participate in an informal meeting with Shin’ichi Yamamoto, along with other regional leaders.

“Sensei,” he said, “I have a request. We’re thinking about having a group of some 800 Shikoku members visit the Kanagawa Culture Center while you’re here. If we can, we’d like to charter a ferry to Yokohama Harbor. Would it be possible for you to meet with the members if they come?”

Shin’ichi said with a smile: “You’re saying they’re going to come all the way from Shikoku to visit me? Then, of course, I’ll meet with them. I am delighted at their spirit. I’ll be waiting for them.”

Kumegawa felt like dancing with joy at Shin’ichi’s reply.

Later, the schedule for their visit was arranged. They would depart by ferry from Takamatsu [the capital of Kagawa Prefecture in Shikoku] on January 13 and arrive at the Kanagawa Culture Center around noon on the 14th. The program of events for the day was to include an exchange meeting with Kanagawa members and smaller discussion sessions, with the group making their return voyage that same evening.

The Shikoku leaders had less than a month to make all the arrangements, and the New Year’s holiday period fell right in the middle. They immediately set to work chartering the ferry and organizing who would make the trip, and before they knew it, the day of their departure had arrived.

At 1:00 p.m. on January 13, 1980, the large passenger ferry Sunflower 7 left Takamatsu Harbor under cloudy skies. Soon after their departure, a leaders meeting was held on board.

One of the leaders who rose to speak said: “During Nichiren Daishonin’s lifetime, Shijo Kingo traveled from Kamakura to visit the Daishonin, who was exiled on Sado Island. And in spite of his advanced age, Abutsu-bo, who lived on Sado, later made almost yearly visits to the Daishonin at Mount Minobu.

“Following their examples, let us visit Kanagawa filled with seeking spirit and strengthen our determination to write a new page in the history of kosen-rufu!”

The members responded with great enthusiasm.

People with a seeking spirit brim with joy.

Installment 47

At the shipboard leaders meeting, Shikoku Region Leader Kumegawa said: “The Soka Gakkai is in a challenging situation right now, and it’s difficult for Sensei to travel around the country and offer guidance. But no force can sever the bonds we share with him!

“If Sensei’s activities are restricted, then we, his disciples, can go to see him. When we burn with a powerful seeking spirit, there is no obstacle we cannot surmount. Let us, the Shikoku members, take the lead in celebrating together with Sensei the start of the year of the Soka Gakkai’s 50th anniversary!”

The leaders applauded in enthusiastic agreement. All were excited and inspired.

As in other parts of Japan, there were several areas in Shikoku—such as Ozu City in Ehime Prefecture and Kochi City in Kochi Prefecture—where members had suffered bitterly as they endured callous treatment and verbal abuse by malicious priests. In addition, a plot had been launched to sever the ties of mentor and disciple, the lifeline of faith for Soka Gakkai members. The members in Shikoku refused to quietly accept this situation any longer. That was their genuine feeling and determination.

Shin’ichi Yamamoto received regular updates on the progress of Sunflower 7.

He sent a message asking the members to relax and enjoy their voyage. When he learned that one of the meeting halls on the ship was equipped with a film projector, he encouraged them all to watch a movie there.

The voyage was pleasant, but late that night the low pressure system caused rough seas.

The ship rolled and shuddered, but members of the Doctors Division were on hand as first-aid staff. They had taken precautions such as making motion sickness medication available beforehand to anyone who needed it, and as a result no one fell ill.

Careful preparation is key to achieving success and avoiding accidents. That’s why Nichiren Daishonin stressed the importance of “usual prudence” (WND-1, 1000).[14]

The ship plowed on through the churning waves, and the members drifted off to sleep as they thought of their meeting with Shin’ichi the following day.

Installment 48

The morning of January 14 dawned. The waves were calm as the slowly rising sun cast its light over the ocean.

From the deck of Sunflower 7, a snowcapped Mount Fuji gradually came into view. The members were struck by its dauntless image, having themselves endured slander and abuse from Nichiren Shoshu priests and triumphed over bitter storms of adversity.

From the ship’s lounge, members could be heard singing the well-known “Song of Friends” and other tunes. The young women were rehearsing, hoping to perform for Shin’ichi and Kanagawa members.

The ship sailed into the harbor in Yokohama just before noon. On the ship’s left side, members had put a row of banners, each bearing a large letter, to spell the words “Hello, Sensei!” But it turned out that the ship was going to dock on its right side.

“We need to move the banners to the other side!” someone shouted.

Young men’s division members quickly set to work to make the change, but in the confusion they positioned the banners in the same order they had been in on the left side, as a result now spelling the phrase backward. It made for a funny story.

When the ship arrived in the harbor, Shin’ichi said, “Let’s all go out to meet them!” and rushed out of the Kanagawa Culture Center.

The Shikoku members were standing on deck.

A banner reading “Welcome to Kanagawa” was set up at the pier, where a band comprising Kanagawa members was energetically playing the Shikoku Soka Gakkai song “Our Land.” Shin’ichi, wearing a black coat, stood in front of the musicians and waved to the Shikoku members aboard the ship.

Waving back, the members cried out “Sensei! Sensei!” the voices of some choking with tears of joy and emotion.

“Welcome! I’ve been waiting for you!” Shin’ichi called to them.

The Shikoku members walked down the gangway and were engulfed in the applause of Kanagawa members.

A Kanagawa young women’s division representative presented a bouquet to Shikoku Region Leader Kumegawa on behalf of Shin’ichi.

With a smile, Shin’ichi said: “Are you all feeling well? Thank you for coming. You have triumphed! The 21st century is now in view! You have made a fresh breakthrough for kosen-rufu!”

Committed action opens the door to a new age.

Installment 49

Shin’ichi welcomed the men’s division members with a smile, shaking hands, hugging shoulders, and offering words of encouragement: “I was waiting for you! I am so happy to see you. Let’s make a fresh start!”

The passionate seeking spirit of the Shikoku members brought him immense joy. As long as they retained that determined commitment, the Soka mentor-disciple spirit to dedicate one’s life to kosen-rufu would live on forever.

Shin’ichi said to Kumegawa: “Who’d have thought you’d actually come by sea! What an exciting idea! That alone is enough to inspire everyone. In any sphere, it’s important to think creatively. To win in our efforts for kosen-rufu, we need wisdom and resourcefulness.

“All kinds of obstacles will arise on our way to kosen-rufu. But we must press on for our own and others’ happiness, and for the sake of peace. If a land route is blocked, for instance, then we’ll quickly have to think of new, alternative ways to proceed, such as going by air or sea, and keep moving forward. We can’t allow ourselves to be defeated.”

A thousand years ago, the great Kyrgyz poet Yusuf Khass Hajib (also known as Yusuf Balasaguni; c. 1018–69), wrote: “As long as you live, any wish can be realized. As long as you have wisdom, any goal can be attained.”[15]

Shin’ichi’s welcome of the Shikoku members was not covered by the Seikyo Shimbun. The paper wasn’t allowed to report on it.

When the young women’s division member presented Kumegawa with the bouquet from Shin’ichi, Shin’ichi was standing beside her, applauding the moment. But in the Seikyo Shimbun, Shin’ichi was cut out of the picture, and only his arms were shown. The paper’s editor had reluctantly taken this step.

In front of Kanagawa Culture Center, too, Kanagawa members warmly welcomed and applauded their fellow members who had traveled all the way from Shikoku. They shared their spirit of faith in sincerely seeking their mentor.

One of the Shikoku members proclaimed indignantly: “We refuse to meekly submit to [the priesthood’s] demands saying that we as disciples cannot meet with our mentor or address him as ‘Sensei’!”

Installment 50

The Shikoku members divided into several groups to tour the Kanagawa Culture Center and the adjacent Toda Peace Memorial Hall.

The memorial hall had opened the previous year, in August 1979. A historic red brick building, formerly known as English House No. 7, it had been restored and renovated as an exhibition hall open to the public. It was created to pay tribute to the spirit and significance of Josei Toda’s Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons—delivered in Yokohama on September 8, 1957—and exhibit materials to highlight the horrors of war and promote peace.

Visitors could listen to a tape recording of Toda’s declaration. Also available for viewing was a 56-volume series of antiwar publications that the youth division had been producing since 1973, along with an English translation of selections from that series titled Cries for Peace: Experiences of Japanese Victims of World War II.

In addition, there were displays featuring photo panels and other materials capturing the lives of Japanese people during World War II, including the cruel battlefront conditions, scenes of the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the destruction caused by air raids throughout Japan, the Battle of Okinawa, and the plight of demobilized troops and civilians returning from abroad after the country’s defeat. There was also a corner where visitors could listen to recordings of accounts shared by those who had directly experienced the war.

One display showed the history of the Soka Gakkai’s peace movement, and another featured Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s peace proposals and his dialogues promoting friendship with world leaders and thinkers.

The Shikoku members viewed the displays, listened to the tapes, and not only reconfirmed the misery and brutality of war, but were deeply impressed by the fact that the Soka Gakkai was indeed creating a great groundswell for world peace. And they renewed their vow to build peace.

The UNESCO Constitution states that to achieve peace we must construct “defenses of peace” in people’s minds.[16] An indispensable ingredient for achieving this lies in our human revolution, in each individual building a state of life that rises above all negative impulses such as greed and hatred.

The Soka Gakkai has built countless networks of friendship around the globe while constructing the defenses of peace in people’s hearts.

Our social mission as Nichiren Buddhists is to actualize the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land”—that is, of realizing a prosperous society and peace for all humankind.

Installment 51

At 1:30 p.m., the meeting hall on the third floor of the Kanagawa Culture Center was filled with happy smiling faces. The Shikoku-Kanagawa Joint Leaders Meeting was under way.

A Kanagawa leader stood up and said with deep feeling: “Dear friends from Shikoku! Welcome to Kanagawa!

“We have learned many things from you on this occasion. One is being united in faith, joining our hearts to seek our mentor and carry out our mission for kosen-rufu. Another is the spirit of bold initiative to forge ahead through stormy seas and achieve dynamic progress.”

It was almost nine months since Shin’ichi had resigned as Soka Gakkai president. In that time, the Kanagawa members—indeed, members throughout Japan and the world—had felt there was something terribly amiss with this state of affairs where disciples were being deliberately kept apart from their mentor.

That’s why the Kanagawa members were so inspired and moved by the courage and seeking spirit of the Shikoku members, who gave voice to their desire to come and meet with their mentor.

Next, a Shikoku representative rose to speak.

“I have heard that snow fell throughout Yokohama yesterday, but today we have warm, springlike weather. I feel we have been protected by the prayers of President Yamamoto and our fellow members.

“From now on, groups of Shikoku members will continue visiting Kanagawa when President Yamamoto is here, so please give them a warm welcome.”

General Director Kazumasa Morikawa thanked the Shikoku members for their dedicated efforts and then said: “An ocean voyage is not always smooth sailing. Sometimes there will be rough seas. Raging storms may also lie ahead. The same is true of the situation presently facing the Soka Gakkai. Carrying on with daimoku and unity, let’s begin a new hope-filled advance.

“Also, since our theme for this year is the Year of the Community, let’s show actual proof of development and victory in our communities and make a breakthrough in creating a new age.”

Action and actual proof are crucial.

Installment 52

Shin’ichi entered the room where the joint leaders meeting was being held. He had come to do gongyo with everyone and pray for the visiting Shikoku members’ safe return and for the health and well-being of all the participants and their families.

He saw many familiar faces in the audience.

After addressing several members individually, he turned to speak to a group of Shikoku men’s division leaders seated to one side.

“Soka Gakkai leaders mustn’t be arrogant or scold people,” he said. “We must always respect and treasure our fellow members as children of the Buddha.

“President Toda sometimes scolded his disciples, but when he did so there was always some profound reason.

“First, was when he was trying to train his disciples for kosen-rufu, elevate them to the same life state as himself, and entrust them with the future of our movement. Especially since some would take on great responsibility one day, he could be very, very strict in the guidance he gave them.

“Second, was when he wanted to help people stand up in faith by defeating the devilish functions that were preventing them from moving forward.

“Some people speak and act on impulse without considering consequences, making it difficult for them to get along with others; some give in to self-destructive thinking; some try to avoid difficulty at any cost; some are quick to pass the buck when a problem arises and pretend they weren’t involved. Such tendencies and the weakness, dishonesty, and cowardice behind them represent serious faults. They act as devilish functions obstructing the growth of one’s faith and causing one to go astray from the path to happiness. President Toda would sometimes scold members to make them aware of such major downfalls and to put an end to them.

“Third, he would take members to task when they were causing trouble for many others or disrupting the unity of our movement for kosen-rufu, to put a stop to their actions for the sake of those individuals and others who might be affected by their behavior.

“In other words, whenever Mr. Toda scolded anyone it was always motivated at the deepest level by his profound compassion. To scold members without understanding this, simply trying to mimic his actions, is absolutely unacceptable. No leader has the right to do so. Even when you have to correct someone’s errors, you can do it by speaking to them in a calm and reasonable fashion.”

Installment 53

Shin’ichi asked some of the members present what was going on in their lives, and used the topics that came up as opportunities to offer guidance and encouragement on faith and leadership.

Everyone had been hoping to have just this kind of free and open conversation with Shin’ichi.

The subject moved on to leaders’ interactions with members.

“As leaders, you must always respect the members’ wishes and be careful not to offend them or hurt their feelings.

“There are, of course, all kinds of people. Not everyone will simply accept what you have to say. Being a leader is very challenging, but true Buddhist practice lies in striving with an open heart to embrace everyone, doing your best to help them become happy, and patiently continuing to encourage them. All those dedicated efforts will bring you benefit and good fortune. It is because we are constantly buffeted about in a sea of humanity, that we can polish our life and make it shine. When we continue tenaciously to talk with members who have grown negative about their practice, and strive earnestly to encourage them, we will be able to deepen our character.

“All right, let’s do gongyo!” Shin’ichi said, and sat down to lead. The sound of mentor and disciples reciting the sutra and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with a shared vow for kosen-rufu reverberated powerfully.

From 3:30 p.m., dinner-discussion meetings were held. Shin’ichi took part with the men’s division and women’s division members on the eighth floor, and listened to reports from those seated at his table. After finishing their meal on the fifth floor, youth division members joined the gathering on the eighth floor, and a series of performances began.

A chorus sang the song “Leaving Tosa Behind,” and a dance group performed the Awa Odori dance, followed by a number of other musical items. Shin’ichi clapped enthusiastically for each performance and encouraged the members to have a good time.

When the singing and dancing came to an end, he said: “All right, let me play the piano for you.”

He began with the tune “Atsuta Village” [written in memory of his mentor leaving his hometown in Hokkaido].

He played the piano with the wish that the members would press forward bravely, emulating the courage and the determined spirit of his mentor, Josei Toda, as he made his way alone during his youth through the blizzards of Hokkaido.

Hardships forge character. Those who intrepidly challenge the fierce blizzards impeding the way to kosen-rufu are the greatest heroes.

Installment 54

Shin’ichi also played on the piano “The Three Martyrs of Atsuhara” and “Cherry Blossoms.” His performance was infused with a prayer for all present to develop into brave and resolute people of faith who would lead lives blooming with happiness like the cherry trees in springtime.

Shin’ichi thought about the bold initiative taken by the Shikoku members. Their hearts aflame with seeking spirit, they had crossed turbulent waters to visit Yokohama at this particular time. Their actions would shine forever in the annals of kosen-rufu, a story passed down to future generations. What matters, he thought, is the kind of action we take to make a breakthrough when the Soka Gakkai is facing adversity.

“Finally,” Shin’ichi said, turning to address the audience, “I will play ‘Dainanko’ (The Great Hero Kusunoki).[17] Let’s meet again.” He then faced the keyboard and played.

The lyrics to this song tell the story of the famous 14th-century Japanese warrior Kusunoki Masashige asking his son Masatsura to carry on his cause when he is no longer there. As they listened to the melody, the members were reminded of the Soka mentor-disciple bond. They pledged anew to carry on the Soka Gakkai spirit and pave the way forward for kosen-rufu, no matter what the circumstances. Shikoku, they vowed, would never be defeated, but instead would raise high the banner of Soka victory.

Tears glistened in the eyes of many of these members who possessed such ardent seeking spirit.

The gathering closed with the audience joining together in three cheers for the Soka Gakkai in Shikoku and a resounding round of applause.

Shin’ichi said: “Thank you! Stay well! I’ll see you off later today. Please give my very best to your family and all your fellow members in your local areas who took care of things in your absence. And youth division members, be good to your parents!”

Night had already fallen when the Shikoku members left the Kanagawa Culture Center.

More than 200 Kanagawa members had gathered on the pier to see them off on their return journey.

The Music Corps played the Shikoku Soka Gakkai song “Our Land” as the Shikoku members threw colorful paper streamers from the ship’s deck to those below.

Then, the Kanagawa members sang their prefecture song “Ah, the Sun Rises,” after which everyone joined in singing “Onward to Kosen-rufu” and “Song of Indomitable Dignity.”

The hearts of the members, comrades in faith, merged as one, their voices rising into the starry night sky.

Installment 55

The ship’s whistle echoed over the night sea as the Sunflower 7 signaled its departure.

The Shikoku members were all out on deck. The ship quietly set sail.

The Kanagawa members who had gathered on the pier to see the Shikoku members off waved and shouted “Good-bye!” “Come again!”

The Kanagawa Culture Center, lights glowing in its windows, stood on the shore with the bright cityscape of Yokohama stretching out into the distance. The next moment, all the lights in the center went out. Then, many small moving lights appeared in the windows of the top two floors.

A call came in over the shore-to-ship telephone. “President and Mrs. Yamamoto are on the center’s top floor waving flashlights to see you off. Can you see the lights from the ship?”

This was immediately communicated to the Shikoku members over the ship’s intercom.

From the deck, they all waved toward the Kanagawa Culture Center’s top floor and called out: “Sensei! Shikoku will do its best!” “Please rest assured!” “We will be pioneers of kosen-rufu in the local community!”

Tears filled their eyes.

Shin’ichi and Mineko continued to wave their flashlights until the ship was out of sight. They couldn’t hear the voices of the members shouting as the ship sailed away, but they could hear what was in their hearts. The light that both sent out that day came to shine as an inextinguishable flame of courage and hope in the hearts of the Shikoku members.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “The great distances these persons traveled are indicative of their devotion” (WND-2, 1030). Those with a seeking spirit experience growth, savor joy, and have appreciation, and this in turn becomes a powerful driving force for fresh development.

That evening, Shin’ichi chanted that the ship sail smoothly and everyone return home safely. He also contacted the ship late that night and once again asked that everyone convey his very best regards to the members who could not make the trip.

The next morning, he also phoned to check whether the voyage was progressing safely.

To him, his disciples were his most precious treasure, a bright source of hope for the future.

Installment 56

On February 17, 1980, about a month after the Shikoku members traveled aboard the Sunflower 7 to visit the Kanagawa Culture Center, a group of 86 young women’s division members from Kyushu’s Amami Oshima Regional Headquarters made their way to the Soka Gakkai Tachikawa Culture Center (in Tokyo), where Shin’ichi Yamamoto was.

On February 1, 1979, the previous year, Shin’ichi had attended a Kyushu Region leaders meeting at the Kyushu Training Center. It was right before his trip to India, which would cap the completion of the Seven Bells.

Representatives from each prefecture of Kyushu were present, including a young women’s division leader from the outlying Amami Islands, of which Amami Oshima is the largest. While joining members in a group photo, Shin’ichi said to the Amami representative: “If you have any requests, please let the national young women’s division leader know later. Anything is fine. Please don’t hesitate. I’d like to respond to your requests as much as possible. I know that all of our young women living on the Amami Islands have been fighting hard in an extremely challenging environment.”

The Amami representative spoke with the national leader and asked whether it would be possible for the Amami Oshima Region Headquarters young women to hold a meeting at the Soka Young Women’s Center.

The Soka Young Women’s Center had opened in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, in December 1977.[18] Since then, young women’s division members from around the country were eager to visit it.

Shin’ichi gladly gave the green light to the Amami leader’s request.

The young women of Amami vowed together to make even greater efforts to spread Nichiren Buddhism in their communities and then gather in Tokyo where President Yamamoto, their mentor and leader of kosen-rufu, was.

Nichiren Shoshu priests continued their malicious attacks against the Soka Gakkai. But the young women’s division members in Amami held high the banner of justice, defending the Soka Gakkai’s integrity, and strove with great passion to introduce others to their Buddhist practice. Then, less than three months after the young women’s leader met him at the Kyushu Training Center, Shin’ichi resigned as president.

It felt as if the sun was suddenly covered by clouds. Still, the members refused to be disheartened. They told one another: “This is the very time to reassure Sensei by achieving a great victory in our efforts to spread Buddhism.”

Adversity is a touchstone revealing a person’s true worth.

Installment 57

In the past, Soka Gakkai members in certain areas of Amami Oshima had suffered intense persecution.[19] Village leaders had confiscated Gohonzon, driven members from their places of work, and taken other harsh actions against them. Shop owners also refused to sell them daily necessities. Villagers even formed motorcades to protest the Soka Gakkai’s presence.

From the time they were children, many of the Amami young women’s division members had witnessed their parents’ wholehearted efforts to share Nichiren Buddhism with people in the community. They saw how they persevered in such adverse circumstances, often holding back tears of frustration, motivated by a sincere wish for the happiness of themselves and others.

That was the case with Amami Oshima Region Headquarters Young Women’s Division Leader Rei Osada.

When Rei was just a year old, her father died in an accident at sea, leaving her mother to raise her and her older sister alone. Though suffering from ill health, her mother worked as a seamstress to support them, but they were very poor.

They joined the Soka Gakkai as a family in 1958. Rei’s mother earnestly engaged in Soka Gakkai activities, convinced that practicing Nichiren Buddhism was the only way for them to transform their karma and become happy.

Day by day, she began to feel a renewed sense of purpose and hope in her life. Her health improved as well, and she gradually developed a strong conviction in the power of faith. She had been a very quiet person, but she began to take Rei, then still an elementary school student, with her when she went out to share Buddhism with others. Living in a village where local customs and traditions were deeply entrenched, they were invariably greeted with contempt, ridicule, and abuse wherever they visited, but her mother didn’t give up.

She would state firmly: “The faith taught by the Soka Gakkai is absolutely correct. If you practice it, you’ll definitely become happy.”

Observing her mother working so hard for the happiness of others, Rei felt she was seeing a true example of human strength and nobility.

When Rei was about 11 or 12 years old, her mother became sick with a high fever—so high that it quickly melted the ice in the ice bag she placed on her forehead. Rei nursed her through the night.

In her sickbed, her mother kept repeating: “If anything should happen to me, you must never leave the Soka Gakkai. You must never part with the Gohonzon.”

Those words made a deep impression on the young Rei’s heart. Eventually, her mother recovered and began to take part in Soka Gakkai activities again. She obtained more sewing work, and their life became more stable and secure.

Experiencing the benefit of Buddhist practice nurtures conviction and further strengthens one’s faith.

Installment 58

As the priesthood was intensifying its criticism of the Soka Gakkai, the wife of the chief priest of the local Nichiren Shoshu temple summoned Rei Osada. She proceeded to badmouth the lay organization to Rei and pressed her to choose between Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai.

Rei responded firmly: “The Soka Gakkai taught us about faith in Nichiren Buddhism. President Yamamoto and the Soka Gakkai encouraged and supported us. Not the priesthood!”

The hearts of the Amami members beat with an invincible fighting spirit, which was being carried on by the younger generation.

Shin’ichi’s resignation as Soka Gakkai president had come as a terrible shock to the Amami young women’s division members.

Rei urged them: “Let’s achieve a victory for the Soka Gakkai before we go to Tokyo, to the Soka Young Women’s Center, to meet with Yamamoto Sensei!”

She traveled from island to island to encourage her fellow young women’s division members. The area covered by the Amami Oshima Region Headquarters was very extensive, encompassing eight inhabited islands, of which Amami Oshima, where Rei lived, was the largest. Traveling from Amami Oshima to Tokunoshima Island took three hours by boat. It was five and a half hours to Okinoerabujima Island, and seven hours to Yoronjima Island. On those islands, young women leaders, burning with a vow for kosen-rufu, initiated fresh efforts to expand their network of hope and justice.

No distance could separate the hearts of mentor and disciple dedicated to advancing kosen-rufu. Vast oceans and towering mountains could not come between them. If anything, distance only made their bond grow stronger and deeper.

On the afternoon of February 17, 1980, a large group of young women’s division members from the Amami Oshima Region Headquarters arrived aboard two buses at the Tachikawa Culture Center in Tokyo, where Shin’ichi was. There were 86 members in all, from Amami Oshima, Kakeromajima Island, Tokunoshima Island, and Okinoerabujima Island.

The Amami young women had come to Tokyo having successfully achieved record-breaking victory in their efforts to share Nichiren Buddhism with people in their communities. Their faces were bright and happy.

Those who strive their hardest are beautiful. Their lives radiate joy.

Installment 59

The young women’s division members departed from Amami Oshima’s Naze Harbor after 9:00 p.m. on February 15. Bright stars filled the night sky and seemed to smile down at them.

After traveling 11 hours by ferry, the young women arrived in Kagoshima (in Kyushu) on the morning of February 16, and from there flew on to Tokyo.

It was after 1:00 p.m. when their plane landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. They then made their way to Edogawa Ward, where the local Soka Gakkai organization had fostered close ties with its counterpart in Amami. They took part in a welcome gathering and a seminar hosted by the Edogawa Ward young women’s division members.

That evening, they finally stood in front of the Soka Young Women’s Center (in Shinanomachi, Tokyo), which they had all been eagerly looking forward to visiting.

It was only two degrees Celsius (around 35 degrees Fahrenheit), and their breath made white puffs in the cold air. Coming from Amami, where the average February temperature was over 15 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit), the young women had never experienced such cold before. But their hearts were glowing.

When Shin’ichi learned that they had departed from Amami Oshima, he chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, praying for their safe arrival. He also gave instructions that they be served warm sweet red bean soup, knowing they would be unaccustomed to the cold of Tokyo.

At the Soka Young Women’s Center, the young women exclaimed happily when they were served the soup Shin’ichi had so thoughtfully arranged for them, and they drank it with appreciation.

Afterward, they joined together for gongyo led by Yuko Machino, who had been appointed the national young women’s division leader the previous May (in 1979). They savored the joy of the “victory of youth” they had achieved in fulfilling their vow. Soka Gakkai President Kiyoshi Jujo also spoke to them of the great hopes Shin’ichi had for the Amami members, and they were filled with excitement at the prospect of meeting their mentor.

The following day, February 17, they visited Soka Gakkai Headquarters and the Seikyo Shimbun Building in the morning, and then in the afternoon they traveled aboard two chartered buses to meet Shin’ichi at the Tachikawa Culture Center in Tachikawa City, Tokyo.

At the culture center, Shin’ichi eagerly awaited their arrival. “Are the young women’s division members from Amami here yet?” he repeatedly asked leaders nearby.

When he thought of the earnest efforts these young women had made on the remote Amami Islands, with poor transportation, walking along dark roads at night, ever vigilant for poisonous snakes—all to encourage their fellow members and engage in Buddhist dialogue—Shin’ichi could hardly wait to personally encourage them.

Such things as age or social position are irrelevant in faith. The most precious treasures of Soka are those who strive steadfastly to realize kosen-rufu and to open the door to a better future. That was Shin’ichi’s conviction and belief.

Installment 60

Shin’ichi welcomed the young women from Amami in the front lobby of the Tachikawa Culture Center.

“Welcome! Thank you for coming all this way! Please rest and relax now.

“I hope your parents are well. I haven’t forgotten the Amami members who opened the way for the development of kosen-rufu in their communities despite great obstacles and challenges. Please give my very best to everyone when you get back home.

“You all have great good fortune. The members in the early days of our movement battled persecution and gave their all to building a solid foundation for the Soka Gakkai. And upon that foundation they have built, you can now freely and enjoyably take part in Soka Gakkai activities. You must never forget the tremendous efforts and hard work of your parents and other pioneer members.”

Noticing a young woman in a wheelchair, Shin’ichi walked up to her and said: “Thank you for coming! I’ve been waiting for you!”

She was a member from Tokunoshima Island who had cerebral palsy, a condition that had made it difficult for her to walk or talk. But she resolved to visit the Soka Young Women’s Center in Tokyo along with the other members, meet President Yamamoto, and renew her vow for kosen-rufu, and had chanted earnestly to make it happen.

Having decided to go to Tokyo, she applied herself to exercises to improve her ability to speak and to walk. And she progressed to the point where she was able to walk slowly, unaided.

Shin’ichi said emphatically: “Everything’s going to be all right now. You are certain to become happy.”

Illness is not a cause of misfortune. Even if you are sick, you need to have hope, rouse your fighting spirit, and not give in to self-defeat.

The young woman in the wheelchair was determined to fulfill her mission for kosen-rufu, refusing to let her disabilities stand in the way. In so doing, she had already triumphed over herself.

Faith in the Mystic Law gives us the strength to rise to any challenge. As long as we remain steadfast in faith, the brilliant reward of victory and happiness will await us. That is why Shin’ichi told the young woman she was absolutely certain to become happy.

She looked at Shin’ichi with tears in her eyes and nodded in understanding and resolve.

This young woman later married, became a mother, and together with her husband led a life of genuine happiness.

Installment 61

One of the Amami young women’s division members stepped forward and said: “Sensei, please accept these as a token of our appreciation.” After she handed Shin’ichi some branches of Taiwan cherry blossoms from Amami Oshima, another young woman presented him with potted freesias from Okinoerabujima Island.

“Thank you! It’s as if spring has come early. Spring, alive with flowers, is a symbol of happiness. I want all of you to become happy, too. That’s the thing that makes me happiest, and it’s also proof of the validity of Nichiren Buddhism. I hope all of you will vow to become the happiest people in Japan and the entire world. Happiness is the goal of our faith, our Soka Gakkai activities, and kosen-rufu.”

Shin’ichi then handed the group’s leader a decorative card on which he had inscribed a poem for them:

Young women of Amami
have gathered from afar
and the heavenly deities
are applauding
this historic day.

“Now, let’s take a group photo together as an expression of our vow to become happy.”

They divided into two groups for the photographs. Instead of sitting in the center of the front row for each group photo, Shin’ichi stood on one side at the back, as if watching over them protectively.

After the photos were taken, Shin’ichi said: “Your admirable seeking spirit is the hope of the Soka Gakkai. Your pure, strong faith, unshaken by anything, has the power to usher in a bright new age in the 21st century. I hope you’ll keep moving forward with confidence and a positive outlook.”

Hearing that a seminar on health was being held at the center, Shin’ichi said to one of the leaders: “Since these young women have come all the way from Amami, please introduce them at the seminar and give them an opportunity to interact with the participants. I’m sure it will be an inspiring experience for everyone.”

Shin’ichi wanted the young women to make as many wonderful memories as possible during their stay in Tokyo. He wanted to respond to their earnest seeking spirit with the utmost sincerity.

Installment 62

Excitement filled the room when the Amami members were introduced to the seminar participants. Everyone was happily surprised to see these young people who were exerting themselves joyfully in faith on Japan’s outlying southern islands.

The young women performed two Amami folk songs, “Island Grown” and “White Sands in the Moonlight,” drawing enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Shin’ichi met and spoke again with Amami young women’s leader Rei Osada along with national young women’s leaders and others, after they returned from the health seminar.

Rei told him about the activities of a young women’s division member who was a teacher on Kakeromajima Island and about other members who had been unable to make the trip to Tokyo this time, although they had very much wanted to.

Shin’ichi nodded sympathetically as he listened to her report.

He also asked after a number of Amami men’s division and women’s division leaders, pioneer members, the caretaker of the Soka Gakkai center on Amami Oshima, and others.

“I’m glad to hear they are all doing well,” he said.

He gave Rei messages, as well as books and other small gifts, to take home with her for each of them.

Shin’ichi then said: “The islands and communities where you live may be small, but if you make them into models of kosen-rufu, Amami will become a source of hope and inspiration for members around the world. That will mean that you are all leading the way, serving as the driving force for the global development of our movement. In that respect, kosen-rufu in your local community contributes directly to worldwide kosen-rufu.

“With the conviction that where you reside now is your place of mission and a Land of Eternally Tranquil Light brimming with happiness, please advance together in friendship and harmony. Nichiren Daishonin writes: ‘It is not that the Buddha leaves his present place and goes to some other place’ (OTT, 192). Please work together to create a fresh breeze of worldwide kosen-rufu for the 21st century from Amami.

“Amami, do your best! Amami, don’t let anything defeat you!”

When the time came for the Amami young women’s division members to leave the Tachikawa Culture Center, Shin’ichi went outside to wave them good-bye as their buses departed.

Just as Shin’ichi hoped, Amami went on to become a model Soka Gakkai organization in Japan. And members who made that trip to Tokyo attested that the encouragement they received from Shin’ichi on that occasion was something they would treasure all their lives.

Words of encouragement motivated by the wish for someone’s happiness can function as a source of revitalizing light, rousing courage and strength.

Installment 63

After seeing the Amami young women’s division members off, Shin’ichi paid a visit to a husband and wife from Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, who had made great contributions to the development of kosen-rufu over the years. They ran a small yakitori[20] restaurant in Meguro Ward, so he went to meet and talk with them there before they opened for the evening.

He listened as they and other family members who had gathered for the occasion told him what was happening in their lives, and he warmly encouraged everyone. While life is filled with all kinds of difficulties and challenges, he said, overcoming them based on faith is the sure path to attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime.

Next, Shin’ichi went to the Soka Gakkai’s Meguro Peace Center (later renamed Meguro International Culture Center).

For the past year or so, since January 1979, priests at a Nichiren Shoshu temple in Meguro had been maliciously criticizing and maligning the Soka Gakkai. The local members, who had been working so hard for kosen-rufu, were upset and frustrated by this unwarranted attack on the organization. But they valiantly exerted themselves in their activities for kosen-rufu, confident that justice would prevail.

Shin’ichi had last visited the Meguro Peace Center to encourage members on March 11, 1979—a little more than a month before he stepped down as Soka Gakkai president. On that occasion, he said to a group of high school division members he met on the first floor of the center: “The future belongs to you. The time will come when you’ll be the ones taking full responsibility for our movement for kosen-rufu. For that reason, I hope you’ll study hard now, develop your abilities, and, when the time comes, strive confidently for the welfare of society and people’s happiness. I am eagerly looking forward to your courageous endeavors in the 21st century.”

As Shin’ichi started to climb the stairs to the second floor, a group of men were coming down. They explained that they were part of a special training group for younger men’s division members.

“What’s the name of your group?” asked Shin’ichi.

A man at the head of the group responded proudly: “We are the Brave Generals Group.”

“That’s a great name,” said Shin’ichi. “Who is your leader?”

“I am!” said the man at the front.

“And what’s your name?”

“Joichi Katsuta.”

The group’s leader was in his 40s with rugged features and thick eyebrows.

“Brave Generals are exhilarated by raging tempests!” Shin’ichi remarked. “Difficulties set their fighting spirit ablaze!”

Installment 64

Shin’ichi joined the members of the Brave Generals Group for a photo on the stairs of the Meguro Peace Center.

Turning to Meguro Ward Leader Yukihiro Sasai nearby, he said: “Soka Gakkai activities should be carried out with joy and enthusiasm. We have to let everyone be themselves.

“Rather than just doing things in one set, uniform way, it’s important for us as leaders to always think of how we can enable everyone to naturally display their own unique strengths and abilities to the fullest.

“Leaders’ personal examples of actively taking initiative is a vital driving force for progress. We have to inspire and motivate everyone with our own actions, enthusiasm, and dedication. A brave general imparts joy and ignites a fighting spirit in everyone’s heart.”

Now, 11 months later, Shin’ichi was visiting the Meguro Peace Center again.

Children’s voices rang out in the lobby and several men’s and women’s division members were present. An introductory meeting organized by Meguro’s Kakinokizaka Chapter was about to be held in the main hall on the second floor.

“I’m so happy to see all of you devoting yourselves to kosen-rufu with such pride, despite the difficult circumstances,” Shin’ichi said.

He then joined the members on the first floor, including the children, in a photo.

When he went up to the third floor, he found 20 or so men were gathered there. By curious coincidence, it was a training session of the Brave Generals Group.

Men’s division headquarters leader Joichi Katsuta, who was in charge of the group, said to Shin’ichi with deep emotion: “Sensei! Thank you for coming!”

“How remarkable to meet with the Brave Generals Group again!” Shin’ichi said.

“The members who joined you in a photograph last time have graduated, and now we have new members,” Katsuta informed him.

“That’s wonderful. Kosen-rufu can only advance if we foster a steady stream of capable individuals. Just trying to maintain our present level of development leads to stagnation. Our Buddhist faith and practice enable us to apply our ingenuity so that we can keep making fresh progress and move in the direction of hope, victory, and a new tomorrow. Please continue to foster capable individuals, each with the strength of a thousand and the courage to stand up alone. I want all our members in Meguro to become brave generals, always working to open the way to victory and communicate that spirit to the entire world. Long live Meguro, a gathering of Brave Generals!”

Installment 65

“Let’s do gongyo together,” Shin’ichi said.

As he chanted, he prayed earnestly for everyone’s health, the prosperity of their families, and the successful endeavors of the Soka Gakkai organization in Meguro.

He then engaged in an informal discussion with women’s and young women’s division leaders.

The Meguro Ward women’s leader told Shin’ichi that they were all pouring their energies into offering personal guidance, determined not to lose a single member amid the continuing criticism of the Soka Gakkai by priests of the local Nichiren Shoshu temple, which had intensified after Shin’ichi stepped down as president.

“I’m sorry that you have to go through this. I know it must be very challenging, but we’re now at a crucial juncture. I’ll definitely turn this situation around. So until then, while it may be hard, please continue to do your best.”

Shin’ichi’s words brought tears to the leader’s eyes. “Sensei, we won’t be defeated!” she said. “We’ll protect our precious members to the very end!”

“I appreciate it, and I’m counting on you.”

Then, the Meguro Ward young women’s division leader said: “Our young women are actively holding chapter introductory meetings now and working hard to share our Buddhist philosophy with others. Lots of new members have also started practicing, and everyone is full of joy.”

“That’s very impressive. A new age has arrived. Actually, that is something we must bring about, so let’s create a new age together!”

Shin’ichi was delighted.

He and Mineko had married on May 3, 1952, and began their new life as a couple in Mita, Meguro Ward, which was close to where Josei Toda lived. They vowed together to join in supporting and assisting their mentor, and to help open the way for the future development of the Soka Gakkai, beginning a fresh page in their efforts for kosen-rufu. Shin’ichi was very happy to hear that the young people of Meguro were joyfully spreading the Daishonin’s teachings, ready to forge ahead dauntlessly through any onslaught of adversity.

After his discussion with the women’s and young women’s leaders, Shin’ichi went to the main hall on the second floor. The Kakinokizaka Chapter introductory meeting was already over, but event staff and some members of each division were still present. He joined with them in a group photo and then played “Happy Doll Festival,” “Moonlit Desert,” and “Tree-lined Avenue of Life” for them on the piano.

“I’ve played these songs out of the wish that it might lift your spirits in some small way. Whatever happens, always press forward with courage and confidence!”

During this difficult and stormy time, the members were striving valiantly. A new force was beginning to stir in the Soka Gakkai.

Installment 66

It had been almost a year since Shin’ichi Yamamoto stepped down as Soka Gakkai president.

The situation surrounding the Soka Gakkai, however, was still troubled. Nichiren Shoshu had promised to stop priests from maligning the Soka Gakkai and pressing Soka Gakkai members to leave the organization and affiliate themselves directly with their own temples as danto members. But the majority of younger priests paid no attention to this. Instead, they seized on the opportunity to keep attacking the lay organization.

This group antagonistic to the Soka Gakkai continued to swell in number until it included two-thirds of priests with the rank of teacher.

At the end of April 1979, right after Shin’ichi announced he was stepping down as Soka Gakkai president and head of all Nichiren Shoshu lay organizations, the group began publishing a newspaper for danto members called Keimyo, and used it as a platform for bashing the Soka Gakkai.

In addition, in a special election for a vacant seat in the Nichiren Shoshu Council held in June, the group’s candidate won by a large margin.

The attorney Tomomasa Yamawaki had been continually at work inciting these priests to attack the Soka Gakkai, and their influence was expanding.

Many of the younger priests in this group were direct disciples of High Priest Nittatsu, having joined the priesthood as children in response to recruitment efforts by the head temple. And even though Nittatsu had prohibited criticism of the Soka Gakkai, these priests, with their new influence within the priesthood, ignored him.

Further, in July, when High Priest Nittatsu died and Shinno Abe became the new high priest, taking the name Nikken, they refused to follow the latter’s leadership and openly opposed him.

In January 1980, the fourth national general meeting of danto members was held.

In February, the group decided to run 16 candidates for the 16 seats of the Nichiren Shoshu Council in the council’s next election. This was part of their plan to take over control of the council and put further pressure on the Soka Gakkai. And they actually stood a good chance of winning a significant number of seats.

The Soka Gakkai was facing treacherous obstacles in every direction.

Nichiren Daishonin asserts: “Nichiren’s disciples cannot accomplish anything if they are cowardly” (WND-1, 481). Only by braving the crashing waves that pound us relentlessly and surmounting them can we sail forth into the great ocean of kosen-rufu.

Installment 67

Shin’ichi was well aware that President Jujo and the rest of the Soka Gakkai executive leadership were under a great deal of strain as they worked exhaustively to deal with the continuing attacks by anti-Gakkai priests and other problems. But all he could do was entrust the running of the organization to them and quietly watch over their efforts.

Since stepping down as president, Shin’ichi had not attended most of the monthly Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meetings or the monthly Soka Gakkai Headquarters staff meetings. And very little coverage of his activities had appeared in the Seikyo Shimbun. Everything accorded with a plot devised by a treacherous lawyer and Nichiren Shoshu priests whose shared aim was to gain control over the membership by sidelining Shin’ichi.

Yet, while most members continued to forge ahead in the face of these harsh trials, proud to be walking the Soka path of mentor and disciple, a small segment of leaders lost their drive and conviction in the cause of kosen-rufu, and began to act and speak irresponsibly.

The mentor-disciple spirit is the bedrock of the Soka Gakkai. If this spirit is lost, the organization will be unable to fulfill its mission, and the path to kosen-rufu, Nichiren Daishonin’s cherished wish, will be closed off.

Shin’ichi had always radiated a powerful fighting spirit for kosen-rufu, serving as a bright source of inspiration for the members to move forward. But since he had not been able to speak freely at meetings for close to a year, their momentum was beginning to wane.

The inspiration of the mentor is crucial to helping disciples strengthen their courage and conviction and experience fresh joy. The lives of Soka mentors and disciples dedicated to kosen-rufu are one and united, and the bond they share must never be destroyed.

Shin’ichi vowed in his heart: “No one has the right to obstruct the unity of mentor and disciple. No matter how harshly the priests may attack me, I must break through the dark clouds of devilish functions and protect our members, the children of the Buddha!”

He knew he must seize the moment. The fiercer the battle, the more each second counts, and swift action opens the way to victory.

Installment 68

An article by Shin’ichi entitled “Thoughts on My Mentor’s 23rd Memorial” appeared in the Seikyo Shimbun on April 2, 1980, the anniversary of Josei Toda’s death.[21] In it, he called out: “If we lose sight of advancing kosen-rufu, I deeply fear that we will betray the spirit of both Nichiren Daishonin and his successor, Nikko Shonin. Let’s . . . make fresh strides in our efforts for the sake of kosen-rufu to help all people become happy!”

Toda lived on in Shin’ichi’s heart. The image of his mentor nobly dedicating his life to kosen-rufu, compassionately spreading the Mystic Law, was always in his mind. A powerful determination welled up within him to spend the rest of his life, too, working tirelessly for that cause, as befitted a disciple of Toda.

In the same article, Shin’ichi declared, “Practicing Nichiren Buddhism is a lifelong journey from which there can be no turning back,” and pledged to strive even harder, as Soka Gakkai honorary president and SGI president, to support his fellow members and promote culture and peace.

Now, after a year of patiently awaiting the time, Shin’ichi prepared to soar forth boldly once more. He sensed the day had dawned to mount a fresh counteroffensive.

Members everywhere throughout the Soka Gakkai, a gathering of ordinary people, overflowed with a passionate fighting spirit to carry on the shared struggle of mentor and disciple.

As the plot to drive a wedge between Soka mentor and disciples unfolded, members were no longer even permitted to address Shin’ichi as “Sensei,” or refer to him as their mentor.

But courageous men’s division and young men’s division members proclaimed defiantly in song, “We have a mentor!” expressing their resolve to protect the castle of Soka. Members brimming with seeking spirit also traveled by ferry all the way from Shikoku to visit Shin’ichi in Yokohama, while pure-hearted young women’s division members made the long trip from the remote Amami Islands to meet with him in Tokyo. And over 100,000 letters poured in from members around the country vowing to forge ahead undefeated.

The blizzard was fierce, but underneath the deep snow fresh sprouts were emerging.

This grassroots strength is the strength of the Soka Gakkai. These sincere, dauntless members are the treasures of Soka.

Shin’ichi vowed deeply in his heart: “I will stand up—with and for these members!”

This concludes “Awaiting the Time,” chapter 2 of volume 30 of The New Human Revolution.


  1. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei Zenshu (The Collected Works of Josei Toda), vol. 4 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1984), p. 230. ↩︎
  2. Cf. Xenophon, Memorabilia, translated by E. C. Marchant, in Memorabilia; Oeconomicus; Symposium; Apology (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 105. ↩︎
  3. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei Zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 4 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1984), p. 219. ↩︎
  4. Tokyo No. 2 Area: An area in the Soka Gakkai organization that encompasses the towns and cities of western Tokyo (i.e., Tokyo, excluding the 23 wards). ↩︎
  5. Translated from Japanese. Saneatsu Mushanokoji, Mushanokoji Saneatsu Zenshu (Collected Writings of Saneatsu Mushanokoji), vol. 11 (Tokyo: Shogakukan, 1989), p. 33. ↩︎
  6. Citing a passage from the Six Paramitas Sutra, Nichiren Daishonin urges his disciples: “Become the master of your mind rather than let your mind master you” (WND-1, 502; “Letter to the Brothers”). ↩︎
  7. The Daishonin states: “Neither non-Buddhists nor the enemies of Buddhism can destroy the correct teaching of the Thus Come One, but the Buddha’s disciples definitely can. As a sutra [Lotus-like Face Sutra] says, only worms born of the lion’s body feed on the lion” (WND-1, 302; “Letter from Sado”). ↩︎
  8. Cf. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei Zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 1, (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1981), p. 61. ↩︎
  9. See “Awaiting the Time,” installment (1-10). ↩︎
  10. Daisaku Ikeda, “The People,” Journey of Life: Selected Poems of Daisaku Ikeda (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014), p. 43. ↩︎
  11. Ibid., p. 45. ↩︎
  12. Daisaku Ikeda, “The People,” Journey of Life: Selected Poems of Daisaku Ikeda (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014), p. 45. ↩︎
  13. Translated from Chinese. Lu Xun, Lu Xun quanji (The Complete Works of Lu Xun), vol. 8 (Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1996), pp. 89–90. ↩︎
  14. In a letter to Shijo Kingo, the Daishonin writes: “It is a matter of rejoicing that your usual prudence and courage, as well as your firm faith in the Lotus Sutra, enabled you to survive unharmed” (WND-1, 1000). ↩︎
  15. Translated from Russian. Yusuf Balasaguni, Blagodatnoe znanie (Beneficent Knowledge), translated from the Turkic language by S. N. Ivanov (Moscow: Nauka, 1983), p. 116. ↩︎
  16. The Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO declares that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” ↩︎
  17. The lyrics to the song “The Green Leaves of Sakurai”—popularly known as “Dainanko” (The Great Hero Kusunoki)—were composed by the noted poet and scholar of Japanese literature Naobumi Ochiai (1861–1903). They describe the poignant leave-taking between the brilliant 14th-century military tactician Kusunoki Masashige (d. 1336) and his son Masatsura. As the father departs for battle, his young son declares that he will accompany him, ready to die at his side. But his father asks his son to stay behind and live to carry on his aspirations. “Dainanko” is often sung in the Soka Gakkai as an expression of the spirit of oneness of mentor and disciple. ↩︎
  18. A new Soka Young Women’s Center was later built on another site in Shinanomachi, opening on May 3, 2006. ↩︎
  19. For a more detailed account of this history, see The New Human Revolution, volume 13, chapter 3, “Shining Citadel.” ↩︎
  20. Bite-sized pieces of chicken grilled on skewers. ↩︎
  21. Josei Toda died on April 2, 1958. The 23rd memorial here corresponds to the 22nd anniversary of his death. ↩︎

Read more