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Ikeda Sensei

Making a Hope-Filled Determination That “This Will Be the Year!”

Nanjo Tokimitsu

SGI-USA youth and future division members launch into the Year of Advancement and Capable People at their New Year’s Day Gongyo Meeting, San Francisco, Jan. 1. Photo by KINGMOND YOUNG.

A series of encouragement from Ikeda Sensei translated from the Jan. 1, 2019, issue of the Mirai [Future] Journal, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly newspaper for the junior high and high school divisions.

Happy New Year! My dear friends of the future division, I am warmly watching over you and praying that you’ll be able to say proudly at the end of the year, “I have won!”

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “It is the power of the Buddhist Law that enables the deities of the sun and moon to make their rounds of the four continents” (“Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 685).

The Mystic Law, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is the fundamental rhythm that moves all things in the universe. How wonderful it is that you can live your youth in tune with that Law!

On one New Year’s Day, after vigorously leading everyone in gongyo and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, said with great conviction: “When we resolve that ‘This will be the year!’ we will definitely be able to show actual proof in our daily lives during the year ahead.”

“This will be the year!”—that determination and prayer will open the way to fresh victories in a positive and dynamic fashion. In this installment, let’s study together the power of such deep resolve.

In January 1280, Nichiren sent a letter of appreciation and encouragement to his young disciple Nanjo Tokimitsu, in response to his New Year’s gifts, which included rice cakes and fruit.

At the time, Tokimitsu was in his early 20s. As a leader committed to truth and justice, Tokimitsu was striving tirelessly to protect his fellow believers in every possible way amid the Atsuhara Persecution,[1] even sheltering some of them in his residence.

In the letter, the Daishonin writes:

Just as flowers open up and bear fruit, just as the moon appears and invariably grows full, just as a lamp becomes brighter when oil is added, and just as plants and trees flourish with rain, so will human beings never fail to prosper when they make good causes. (“The Third Day of the New Year,” WND-1, 1013)

Here, the Daishonin offers examples of the indisputable workings of the law of cause and effect in the natural world. By the same principle, he assures Tokimitsu that those who make good causes will prosper without fail.

Nichiren was fully aware of Tokimitsu’s painstaking, behind-the-scenes efforts. That is why, in this letter, he encourages him at the start of the year to begin a fresh struggle for justice, here and now.

However, Tokimitsu continued to face great hardships. The Kamakura military government forced him to pay heavy punitive taxes. He couldn’t afford to keep his horse or even provide suitable clothing for his family. But he persevered courageously in faith and, overcoming a serious illness, went on to achieve brilliant victory.

Youth is a time of grappling with problems. At times, you may lose confidence or worry about your future. But no matter what has happened up to now, the future is yours to change. How can you do that? By making good causes starting where you are right now, just as the Daishonin says.

This means trying your best in everything you need to do and can do—whether in your studies, reading efforts, sports or your relationship with your parents.

By chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the ultimate key to victory, and continuing to exert yourselves one step at a time, your youthful lives will shine brighter and brighter. This is your human revolution, and it will guarantee your future triumph and success.

Former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai (1898–1976) is an example of a person who followed through on his youthful aspirations and led a noble life.

Premier Zhou was quick to take note of the Soka Gakkai as an organization that is grounded in the people, and deeply appreciated my 1968 proposal for the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China. Though he was gravely ill, he met with me in December 1974 in Beijing, and urged me to continue working for a future of friendly relations between our two countries and for peace in Asia and the world.

When Premier Zhou was 19 years old, he traveled to Japan to study. Later, he joined the revolutionary movement in his own country and dedicated himself to building a new China. He took part in the Long March, in which a large force of people traveled more than 7,700 miles, an effort that played an important part in the Chinese Revolution of 1949. As the “people’s premier,” he strove wholeheartedly to serve his fellow citizens, overcoming numerous challenges to establish a strong foundation for the country’s great future development.

On Chinese New Year’s Day in 1918 (Feb. 11), which Premier Zhou had spent as a student in Japan, he wrote in his diary: “Today, I will draw out my plans for the year ahead. … I will write these goals down as part of my first piece of writing of the Lunar New Year.”[2]

The youthful Zhou always had high aspirations to work for the sake of his country and for world peace. Toward that end, he continued to set clear goals and make concrete efforts, day after day, and year after year.

He was committed to carrying on his struggle as long as there was suffering on this earth. He believed that the more he developed himself, the more he could effect change in his country and the world. Even after becoming the Chinese premier, he voiced his desire to keep on learning and improving himself, and to take action to correct mistakes.[3]

Improving oneself is nothing other than human revolution. Essentially, Premier Zhou is saying that it is important to continue learning, and to act with firm resolve, never giving up when you hit a wall or being afraid of failure.

I hope that all of you, too, will courageously and optimistically transform everything into fuel for your human revolution, without despairing or losing heart.

From his youth, Premier Zhou believed that hope is having aspirations.[4]

As long as you have aspirations, you will always feel hope. And as long as you have hope, you can strengthen your determination. It is our daily practice of gongyo and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that deepens our aspirations, forges our resolve and inspires hope within us.

My young successors of the future division—your real stage lies ahead of you.

All of you are the front-runners of our movement in this new era of worldwide kosen-rufu, which will continue toward 2030, the centennial of the Soka Gakkai’s founding, and further, into the 22nd and 23rd centuries.

Cherishing great aspirations for the future, let’s burn with the courageous resolve that “This will be the year,” and open the way to a year of victory!


  1. Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji District, Suruga Province (present-day central Shizuoka Prefecture), starting in around 1275 and continuing until around 1283. In September 1279, 20 farmer disciples were arrested on false charges. They were interrogated by Hei no Saemon-no-jo, the deputy chief of the Office of Military and Police Aff airs, who demanded that they renounce their faith. However, not one of them yielded. Hei no Saemon-no-jo eventually had three of them executed. ↩︎
  2. Translated from Chinese. Zhou Enlai, Zhou Enlai zaoqi wenji (Early Writings of Zhou Enlai) (Tianjin: Nankai Daxue Chubanshe, 1993), vol. 1, pp. 280–81. ↩︎
  3. See Zhou Enlai, Selected Works of Zhou Enlai (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1989), vol. 2, p. 70. ↩︎
  4. See Translated from Chinese. Zhou Enlai, Zhou Enlai zaoqi wenji (Early Writings of Zhou Enlai) (Tianjin: Nankai Daxue Chubanshe, 1993), vol. 1, p. 42. ↩︎

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