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Peace, Culture and Education: The Future Division—Part 5

Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace—The Future Division: The Key to the Ongoing Development of Kosen-rufu

“The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace” is a three-part series that features key selections from SGI President Ikeda’s collected works, which thus far have been compiled into 150 volumes in Japanese. These selections introduce core concepts expressing the wisdom and universal message of Nichiren Buddhism. Through this series, SGI members throughout the world are able to simultaneously study the SGI president’s thought and philosophy.

With the conclusion of this series, readers strongly requested that two key themes vital to advancing kosen-rufu be further explored: raising the future division and the importance of Buddhist study.

Treasuring the “Emissaries of the Future”

Citing guidance from second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, Ikeda Sensei emphasizes that fostering talented individuals is the way to secure the ongoing development of kosen-rufu, and also a noble undertaking to bring peace to society. From a speech delivered at a representative leaders training session, Nagano Prefecture, August 26, 2007.

The Soka Gakkai began as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (literally Value-Creating Education Society) under the leadership of two highly principled educators, first Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. All of its endeavors begin and end with the aim of fostering people, especially young people. That is why the members of the youth division and, above all, the future division is the hope, the focus and the very heart of the Soka Gakkai.

“Children are the treasures of the future,” Mr. Toda said of the children who would shoulder the future of not only the Soka Gakkai but humanity as a whole. “Think of them as ‘emissaries of the future,’ and take the very best care of them.”

All children without exception are precious, possessing infinite potential. They are treasures who will shape the future. This is why the name “future division” is so significant.

Mr. Toda stressed that we should always strive to inspire children with high ideals. Children are pure-hearted. If they have great ideals or dreams they can aspire to, they will grow and develop without bound.

Mr. Toda also said: “Always respect children as full-fledged individuals. Even if, for instance, they may not understand what’s going on at a meeting, later on they’ll remember they were there. It’s important for them to see things with their own eyes, hear things with their own ears and  experience things for themselves.”

Fostering capable successors is absolutely paramount for any kind of organization or institution. No matter how large an organization grows, it will not endure unless it fosters new capable individuals. It may possess many fine buildings, but without a steady stream of successors, it will quickly fall into decline.

This is also true for the Soka Gakkai. It is vital that we renew our efforts in earnest to identify, train and foster capable individuals.

In the home as well, it’s important to teach children how wonderful it is to practice Nichiren Buddhism. Please chant wholeheartedly and interact with your children with the firm resolve to foster them into outstanding successors in faith.

That being said, there may be times when your children are reluctant or unable to participate in Soka Gakkai activities for various reasons. Everyone’s situation and circumstances are different; but the prayers and sincere actions of their parents are certain to reach their hearts. The time is sure to come when they will stand up on their own.

It’s important to remember that the reason we seek to communicate our Buddhist faith to our children and encourage them to practice is for the sake of their happiness and for the eternal prosperity of our families.

In a letter known as “The Span of One Kalpa,” Nichiren Daishonin cites the following famous Buddhist story: “Long ago, the boy called Virtue Victorious fashioned a mud pie and offered it as alms to Shakyamuni Buddha, and later he was reborn as King Ashoka, ruler of Jambudvipa, and in the end became a Buddha” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 653).

Nichiren Daishonin frequently refers to this account in his letters to his disciples [for example, “The Drum at the Gate of Thunder” and “The Person and the Law”]. The point of this story is to demonstrate the immense benefit acquired by making offerings to the Law. From another perspective, I feel it’s also deeply significant that this boy, having formed a connection with Buddhism, later became a great leader. In the same way, the members of the future division will mature to become great humanistic leaders. They are noble individuals who have encountered the profound principle of the Mystic Law and will go on to accumulate great good fortune as a result.

Those in charge of supporting the future division, having taken my spirit as their own, are at the forefront of our endeavors to foster these treasures of the future, and I would like to thank them sincerely for their dedicated efforts.

Our daily activities, valuing each and every individual, are the ultimate expression of humanistic education.

There is no more sacred undertaking than our activities to impart hope to people and build peace in our societies. Please advance with confidence and pride.

Be Good Friends to the Future Division Members

Sensei has frequently offered encouragement and advice for those supporting the development and growth of the future division members. In this selection, he urges them to always “be friends to the future division members.” From the essay series “Our Brilliant Path to Victory,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, on August 8 and 9, 2011.

Fostering others contributes to our own growth. Teaching others makes us wiser. Learning together with our future division members, developing and advancing together with them, is a path of lifelong youthfulness, giving us fresh zest and vitality.

The 21st Century Mission Group—comprising future division leaders from the youth division in Japan—was established on July 17, 1995. At that time, I asked these leaders to “be friends to the future division members.”

Buddhism describes a person who exerts a positive influence on another as a “good friend.” Nichiren Daishonin states: “The best way to attain Buddhahood is to encounter a good friend” (“Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain,” WND-1, 598).

By doing activities together with the future division members as supportive older brothers and sisters with whom they can talk about anything, the division’s leaders are fulfilling their mission as “good friends.”

I’m sure these youth leaders all have their own problems and challenges, be it at work or in their daily lives, and are striving to do their best in the face of untold hardships. But the future division members are watching their earnest efforts closely. They will deeply take to heart the sincere words of such leaders.

I often receive letters from members telling me how grateful they are for the past support and encouragement of a senior in faith, saying that it played a formative role in their life.

It doesn’t matter whether our efforts are met with applause or praise from others. Unseen virtue in the form of dedicating ourselves for others’ happiness adorns our lives with visible reward and brings immeasurable good fortune and benefit to our families for generations to come.

To be continued in an upcoming issue.

With Ikeda Sensei’s permission, some minor edits and revisions have been made to the original Japanese, and excerpts of remarks originally in dialogue format have been recast as monologues for ease of reading.

—Selected Excerpts Editorial Committee

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