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Ikeda Sensei

Illuminate the World With the Sun of Your Youthful Vow

Yukinori Hasumi / Getty Images

This monthly encouragement by Ikeda Sensei was originally published in the September 2020 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

In both life and society, it is in times of great crisis that we can bring forth tremendous inner strength and open the way to a new age.

Nichiren Daishonin demonstrated this when he cast off his transient status and revealed his true identity as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law during the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, thus illuminating all humanity with the light of boundless hope.

On September 12, 1271, as he was about to be executed at Tatsunokuchi, Nichiren demonstrated a life state of supreme dignity, proclaiming calmly to his disciple Shijo Kingo, who had accompanied him at the risk of his own life, “What greater joy could there be?” (“The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 767).

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, saw profound significance in the fact that the Daishonin “cast off the transient and revealed the true” in the presence of his disciple. In other words, he believed that by doing so he was showing all of his followers and, indeed, all people of the Latter Day of the Law, that they could bring forth the great life state of time without beginning as Bodhisattvas of the Earth and overcome any difficulty.

After his triumphant return from nearly two-and-a-half years of exile on Sado Island, as conflicts, epidemics and natural disasters continued to afflict the land, Nichiren wrote with deep concern, “The sorrow and distress of the common people will pile up until it destroys the nation” (“On the Relative Superiority of the Tendai and True Word Schools,” WND-2, 526).

A nation cannot hope to recover or enjoy peace if its citizens are overwhelmed by anxiety and feelings of helplessness. It is vital for individuals to embrace a correct philosophy and awaken to the inherent dignity of their lives.

That is why Nichiren declares, “The votaries [practitioners] of the Lotus Sutra are like Mount Sumeru, the sun and moon, or the great ocean” (WND-2, 525), and calls on his disciples to succeed in “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

It is close to 750 years since Nichiren “cast off the transient and revealed the true.” As we now confront this great crisis of the 21st century [the coronavirus pandemic], countless young Bodhisattvas of the Earth are emerging joyously throughout Japan and around the world to fulfill their vow from time without beginning and expand the network of our lofty cause.

Our successors, global citizens of Soka, who embody the principle of “from the indigo, an even deeper blue,”[1] are a Mount Sumeru of courage, unflinching amid even the fiercest storms. They are the sun and moon of wisdom illuminating the darkness of all suffering. They are a great ocean of friendship connecting humanity across all barriers.

How proud Nichiren Daishonin must be! All the Buddhas and heavenly deities throughout the universe will surely protect them.

Now is the time to make the sun of the vow of young Bodhisattvas of the Earth shine even more brightly with the light of time without beginning and usher in a dawn of hope for a new age of global civilization!

Our youth throughout the world
are “casting off the transient
and revealing the true.”
How reassuring are the victory songs of life
of Bodhisattvas of the Earth.


  1. The expression “From the indigo, an even deeper blue” (“Hell Is the Land of Tranquil Light,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 457) derives from a writing of the Chinese philosopher Hsün Tzu and is cited in T’ien-t’ai’s Great Concentration and Insight. It points to the fact that when cloth is repeatedly dyed with the blue liquid produced from the indigo plant, the color takes on an even deeper blue than the original source. Nichiren often employs this expression not only in the context of deepening one’s Buddhist practice, but also in fostering successors. ↩︎

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