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Peace, Culture and Education: The Purpose of Buddhist Study—Part 4

Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace—The Purpose of Buddhist Study

“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.

It has been a Soka Gakkai tradition since the time of first Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi to strive in the “two ways of practice and study” as taught by Nichiren Daishonin. In this selection, SGI President Ikeda reviews this noble history and stresses that practice and study are the heart of the bright path of mentor and disciple.

Basing Our Lives on the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin

On his first visit to the Soka Young Women’s Center, Ikeda Sensei presented young women’s division members with five eternal guidelines. Discussing the second guideline, “Study the world’s foremost life philosophy,” Sensei stresses the importance of studying the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin in one’s youth. From a speech delivered at a young women’s division gathering commemorating the third anniversary of the Soka Young Women’s Center, Tokyo, June 4, 2009.

A vibrant seeking spirit to strive energetically in the two ways of practice and study has spread across the globe. People everywhere are studying and putting into action the great humanistic teachings of Nichiren Buddhism. Nichiren Daishonin’s vision is being realized by the Soka Gakkai, the organization faithfully carrying out the Buddha’s intent.

The Soka Gakkai will forever base itself on the Gosho, the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. They are writings of hope, proclaiming to humanity that “Winter always turns to spring” (“Winter Always Turns to Spring,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 536). They are writings imbued with respect for the dignity of life, affirming that “Life is the foremost of all treasures” (“The Gift of Rice,” WND-1, 1125). They are writings of peace, opening the way for actualizing the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land” (see “On Establishing the Correct Teaching,” WND-1, 6).

And they are writings of victory, demonstrating the triumph of reason over authority and of right over wrong.[1]

Nichiren’s writings are a brilliant source of hope; studying them fills us with courage and wisdom. This is because doing so brings his indomitable spirit to life within us, igniting the bright flame of faith for overcoming obstacles.

My wife, Kaneko, has an indelible memory from her childhood of first Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi attending a discussion meeting at her home and quoting from the writings of Nichiren Daishonin with absolute conviction—even as agents of the Special Higher Police, the so-called thought police who were monitoring the meeting, looked on. She also received direct training from second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda who set forth the guideline: “Young women, make study your foundation!” That is why she has always continued to read the Gosho in earnest, whatever the situation.

Even after becoming a women’s division member, she used any spare moment she could find to read even a few lines of Nichiren’s writings. In the midst of the turmoil surrounding the Freedom of Speech Incident,[2] a newspaper reporter came to our home to interview me. He happened to see my wife quietly reading the Gosho, and later said how surprised he was that she should be engaged in Buddhist study even at such a difficult time.

That’s how my wife has remained undefeated. It’s why the women’s division has stayed unshaken. Even in times of the greatest hardship, they have always remained calm and composed, and continued to encourage members with a smile. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and studying the Daishonin’s writings are the sources of their victory.

Mr. Toda spoke of the way to approach reading the Gosho, saying: “As you read each line, you should try to absorb it deeply, so that you can say ‘How true! It’s just as the Gosho states!’”

It’s important to read Nichiren’s writings each day, even if only a few lines, and try to put them into practice. Please study earnestly, practice diligently and create a brilliant example of winning in life based on Buddhism.

To be continued in an upcoming issue.

Translated from the February 2018 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

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


  1. Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Buddhism is reason. Reason will win over your lord” (“The Hero of the World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 839); and “Though evils may be numerous, they cannot prevail over a single great truth” (“Many in Body, One in Mind,” WND-1, 618). ↩︎
  2. Freedom of Speech Incident: The name given to a controversy that arose in 1970, when the Soka Gakkai defended itself against libelous claims. For further details, see the “Fierce Winds” chapter of The New Human Revolution, vol. 14. ↩︎

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