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May 3 Soka Gakkai Day

Photo by Seikyo Press

“This moment and the place where you are right now is what matter. When committed disciples rise into action with a self-reliant spirit, the sure flame of Soka will burn and spread brightly from where they are, from that very moment.”[1]

—SGI President Ikeda

May 3, Soka Gakkai Day, is considered a New Year’s Day for the SGI, a time when the members stand up with fresh resolve to strive for the peace and happiness of all people. This year we celebrate 60 years since SGI President Ikeda was inaugrated as third Soka Gakkai president.

On this day, in 1951, Josei Toda was inaugurated as the second Soka Gakkai president amid awar-torn, defeated Japan.

Although the Soka Gakkai had just 3,000 members at the time, President Toda vowed at his inauguration to light the torch of happiness for 750,000 families in his lifetime. This year we celebrate 60 years since SGI President Ikeda was inugurated as third Soka Gakkai president.

His young disciple, Daisaku Ikeda, watched as his mentor made this declaration, and he determined in his heart to accomplish the goal so bold that some assumed that President Toda had misspoken.

And two years after his passing, Daisaku Ikeda was inaugurated on May 3, 1960. President Ikeda recalls pledging in his heart:

“Sensei, following in your footsteps, I now begin my great lifelong struggle for the Law. Transcending life and death, I will march forth boldly on a journey for world kosen-rufu in which I will spread the Daishonin’s Buddhism to the farthest reaches of India. Please wait and see.”[2]

Just five months after his inauguration, President Ikeda boldly set off to America to make his mentor’s vision a reality by sparking the global kosen-rufu movement. Everywhere he went, he kept President Toda in his heart.

And with each May 3, no matter what adversity he faced, President Ikeda continued to live out the path of mentor and disciple.

The Spirit of May 3

May 3 is the day when the Soka Gakkai set forth to fulfill the great vow of realizing kosen-rufu through the compassionate propagation of Buddhism in complete accord with the will and decree of Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren Daishonin. The spirit of May 3 is the shared vow of mentor and disciple. Making a personal vow and acting to fulfill it is the quintessential stance of a Buddha.

As long as this day of eternal commitment remains as its foundation, the Soka Gakkai will brim with the inexhaustible and indefatigable life force of the Buddha, and continue to open the way to victory forever, unimpeded by any obstacle.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assail me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 280). When I was inaugurated as the third president of the Soka Gakkai on May 3, 1960, I made this passage from “The Opening of the Eyes” my own spirit and vowed to dedicate my life to the realization of worldwide kosen-rufu, ready to bear all hardships and persecutions along the way.[3]

­­—SGI President Ikeda


  1. May 3, 2008, World Tribune, insert, p. B. ↩︎
  2. The Human Revolution, p. 1970. ↩︎
  3. May 12, 2006, World Tribune, pp. 1, 5. ↩︎

Excerpts From Nichiren’s Writings in Volume 16

A Struggle of Words