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Ikeda Sensei

Shine On Brilliantly, Our May 3!

Photo by Seikyo Press
Photo by Seikyo Press

The following is a poem Ikeda Sensei composed in 2010 in commemoration of Soka Gakkai Day, May 3, which also marked the 50th anniversary of his inauguration as third Soka Gakkai president. The original text appeared in the May 3, 2010, Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Ah, our May 3!
Unforgettable May 3!

It is the day
my mentor, Josei Toda,
became president.
It is also the day that,
sharing my mentor’s commitment,
I succeeded him as president.

After weathering the cold winds
of February and March,
and viewing the cherry blossoms
of the spring month of April,
finally came that morning
radiant with the first leaves of early
The month of May
is the most glorious time of year.

Our May 3,
bathed in noble light!
Light is a symbol of good;
darkness, a symbol of evil.
Light is not afraid of darkness.
Champions of light fear nothing.
Light is victory that shines eternal.
Negative are the hearts
of those who dwell in darkness.
is the light of courage
that makes people’s hearts
strong and true.
Darkness seeks to obstruct light,
but light is unstoppable.
is the light of progress
that illuminates a future
of infinite hope.

Ah, our May 3,
resplendent with victory!
May 3,
shining forever
with the brilliant spirit
of mentor and disciple!

The joy of celebrating
May 3 each year—
a history filled with
the smiles and determinations
of our members!

There are countless days of celebration
in the pages of world history.
But many such anniversaries,
even historians will admit,
are little more than empty rituals
divorced from the people.

For those of us
dedicated to kosen-rufu,
our May 3 is a day of great rejoicing.
How bright and joyful it is!
How invigorating and refreshing!
Like the sun rising on a new day!

On the clear, sunny day
of May 3, 1960,
as a youthful leader
of 32 years of age,
together with our members
brimming with pride and joy,
I embarked on a new journey—
the journey of worldwide kosen-rufu.

Five decades of steadily climbing
an unscaled summit,
one step at a time;
now a magnificent vista
unfolds before us—
a mighty network
of peace and happiness
encircling the globe.

In “On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,”
Nichiren Daishonin states:
“If persecutions … keep occurring
again and again to someone
who is not guilty of the slightest fault,
then one should realize that person
is a true votary of the Lotus Sutra
in the age after the Buddha’s passing.”

Devoting our lives
to the correct teaching of Buddhism,
we have faced untold tempests,
but we have triumphed through them all.
Many steep mountains and valleys lay
in our path,
but we have intrepidly made our way
across them all.

Writes the Daishonin:
“Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra
are as if in winter,
but winter always turns to spring.”
Cherishing these golden words,
our members in each region
have joyfully enacted wondrous dramas
of changing poison into medicine.

first president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
is surely delighted!
So, too, second president Josei Toda!
And all our deceased fellow members
who in life strove for kosen-rufu
are most certainly smiling on us
with happiness and contentment
from the pure land of Eagle Peak,
enveloped in the noble virtues
of eternity, happiness, true self and

Nichiren Daishonin
and boundless multitudes
of Buddhas and bodhisattvas
are surely praising us,
the mentors and disciples of Soka.
This is true without a doubt
in light of the Daishonin’s writings.
How wonderful!
How inspiring!

We have won!
Soka has won!
Ah, our May 3!
Let us all join together
in giving three cheers for
our personal victory,
all our fellow members’ victory,
and the shared victory of mentor and

“He conquers twice
who conquers himself
in victory”—
these are the wise words
of a thinker of ancient Rome.

Complacence is the greatest foe.
Remain vigilant in victory.
The spirit of May 3
is to always keep forging ahead
bravely and vigorously.

I will strive as a disciple!
I will strive as a youth!
In this lifetime,
I will carry out the great struggle for
the Law
transcending life and death,
applying myself with courage and
selfless dedication
to advance kosen-rufu
even one more step!

“We have a mission
to accomplish kosen-rufu without fail …
I leave the future to you.
I’m counting on you to realize kosen-rufu!”
These words of my mentor
resonate unceasingly
in the depths of my life.

My mentor, Mr. Toda,
is in my heart
shining brightly
like the eternal sun.
Committed to answering his call,
I will exert myself again today
in a spirit of oneness with my mentor!
The promises I made him
I will fulfill!

When we walk with the sun,
we can forever win radiant victories.
Because this is life’s supreme path.

For all of us,
there are times
when we must stand up.
There are crucial moments
when we must fight.
We must take timely and appropriate
not letting those opportunities slip by.
And we must win without fail.
This is the path of mentor and disciple
and the eternal essence
of Nichiren Buddhism.
There is no greater source of pride.

In “The Selection of the Time,”
the Daishonin writes:
“The Buddha’s prediction concerning
the occurrence of quarrels and disputes
has proved anything but false …
Can there be any doubt that …
the great pure Law of the Lotus Sutra
will be spread far and wide throughout
and all the other countries of Jambudvipa?”

On Nov. 18, 1930,
as the Great Depression
cast a shadow threatening
to darken even children’s future,
Mr. Makiguchi founded
the value-creating education society,
Soka Kyoiku Gakkai,
forerunner of our organization today.

On May 3, 1951,
as the people of neighboring Korea,
a great cultural benefactor of Japan,
were suffering amid the ravages of war,
Mr. Toda was inaugurated
as the second president.
He vowed to propagate
Nichiren Buddhism throughout Asia.

And during the Cold War,
as dangerous crises and conflicts
brutally divided the world into rival blocs,
I, the third president,
set about holding dialogues
to unite humanity.

To bring peace to the world,
happiness to the people,
and victory to humankind—
this fundamental commitment and ideal
is the heart of kosen-rufu
and of establishing the correct teaching
for the peace of the land.
The Soka Gakkai,
an organization that accords
with the Buddha’s intent and decree,
was born to realize these lofty goals.

“I wish to eradicate misery
from the face of the earth!”—
inheriting this fervent wish of Mr. Toda,
the Soka Gakkai will continue its efforts
as long as there are people
weighed down by suffering.
We of the Soka Gakkai
will press onward tirelessly,
until mothers and children
weep tears of grief no more.
And we will definitely succeed in our aims.

I am ready to face all hardships!
The Daishonin writes:
“I have never known a moment’s ease;
I have thought only of propagating
the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra.”
The first three presidents
have inherited this spirit.

I am ready to agonize more than anyone!
I am ready to suffer more than anyone!
And more than anyone,
I am ready to give my all,
as an ally of the unheralded ordinary
to encourage and support my fellow
who are working the hardest for

In the depths of winter,
my thoughts were with the members
standing alone in the freezing wind;
at the height of summer,
I prayed for the well-being of members
exerting themselves in the scorching heat.
Whenever I saw a brightly lit stage,
I would press my palms together
in respect and appreciation
for the noble efforts of those working
behind the scenes, unnoticed.
I have little time for
the indolent and self-absorbed.
I dedicate my life to
my true comrades,
my sincere fellow members,
who, far from the limelight,
chant earnestly
and work energetically
to blaze new trails
where none before existed,
and who, though no one may praise them,
are content in knowing that
the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the
are aware of all their efforts.

In reply to the lay nun Sennichi
living on distant Sado Island,
the Daishonin writes:
“Merely seeing each other’s face
would in itself be insignificant.
It is the heart that is important.”

Though we might not meet in person,
our hearts, as members of the Soka
are always and forever
together and one.
The happy, confident faces
of our infinitely sincere
and dedicated fellow members,
striving on the front lines
of our movement day after day,
are never out of my thoughts
or those of my wife.

The Daishonin states:
“If you propagate [the Mystic Law],
devils will arise without fail.
If they did not,
there would be no way of knowing
that this is the correct teaching.”
We have dauntlessly triumphed over
all obstacles and devilish functions
that have assailed us.

The men’s division—
valiant champions
of manifesting Buddhism in society!
The women’s division—
noble mothers of kosen-rufu,
experts in the art of happiness,
cheerfully deflecting
the cruel darts of slander and abuse,
and transforming karma into mission!
The dear, intrepid youth—
taking on difficult challenges
and emerging victorious through all,
their invincible spirit
only burning more brightly
in the face of onslaughts
of hatred and jealousy!

These comrades in faith
are my precious treasures.
These successors
are my greatest pride.

Where can we find
the world’s foremost wonders?
The American poet Walt Whitman
eloquently proclaims:
“The most perfect wonders of the earth
are not rare and distant
but present with every person—
you as much as any.”

Our own being
is a “cluster of blessings”
containing all the treasures of the
The most sacred entity of happiness
is our own life.
The key to opening this treasure house
is faith in the Mystic Law.

We have courage.
Courage can substitute for compassion.
As long as we have courage,
wisdom will flow forth
limitlessly from within.

The Lotus Sutra teaches
that the bonds of mentor and disciple
date back to a time in the distant past
that is impossible to fathom.
Ah, May 3,
anniversary of mentor and disciple
joined together by an old and mystic

In complete accord with the Lotus Sutra
and Nichiren Daishonin’s writings,
the dynamic advance of Soka,
driven by a spirit of selfless dedication,
has met with the attacks
of the three powerful enemies.

On May 3, 1970,
the tenth anniversary of my inauguration,
I soared like an eagle
amid the harsh blowing winds.
On May 3, 1980,
the 20th anniversary of my inauguration,
I charged ahead like a lion
amid an ongoing storm of persecution.

Nichiren Daishonin notes:
“Because great persecutions …
have repeatedly befallen me,
though [many people]
followed me for a year or two,
all of them later either abandoned their
or turned against the Lotus Sutra.”

From among our ranks, too,
there appeared traitors,
burning with jealousy and resentment,
their hearts ruled by
the devil king of the sixth heaven.
Scheming individuals
bent on destroying
the unity of our members
ran rampant.
Thankless disciples emerged,
people who forgot the solemn path
of mentor and disciple,
growing corrupt and losing sight of faith.

The ancient Greek dramatist
Menander wrote:
“Call no one friend
who shows ingratitude,
Nor let bad men
retain the place of good.”

Have nothing to do
with foolish, ungrateful people,
who are absorbed in wrongdoing!
Laugh them off!
Pay no heed to
self-serving cowards
who have made causes for their own ruin,
discarding their faith and
betraying their fellow members!
Condemn their actions!

Treacherous individuals
who turn on their comrades in faith
in the basest of betrayals,
hearts corrupted by malice and ill will,
are unable to remain within
the pure and unsullied world
of Nichiren Buddhism.
Nor must we let them remain!

Ah, my beloved fellow members!
These heroic champions of the people
were not perturbed
by the vilest plots.
We have won!
We have triumphed over all!
I wish to express my appreciation
to my true-hearted comrades,
who have shared adversity alongside me
and, trembling with righteous anger,
wielded the jeweled sword of
“refuting the erroneous and revealing
the true.”

Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“The greater the hardships befalling him,
the greater the delight he feels,
because of his strong faith.”

On May 3, 1980,
I was in Kansai.
Together with
my fellow Kansai members,
whom I trust absolutely,
I launched a counterattack
to vanquish the devilish forces
arrayed against us.

At that time,
I inscribed the words “May 3”
in a work of calligraphy.
This date is the starting point of Soka.
For it is the ultimate essence
of the Soka Gakkai spirit and
of our unity of “many in body,
one in mind”
and the oneness of mentor and disciple.

In the margin of the calligraphy,
I also wrote these dates:
“May 3, 1983”—three years later;
“May 3, 2001”—21 years later.

I did so with a powerful vow:
“Watch what I will achieve!”
I was firmly resolved in my heart
to bring about tremendous new growth
for the Soka Gakkai without fail.

Inner determinations become reality;
this is a manifestation of
the “wonderful workings of one mind.”
On May 3, 1983,
at the new Tokyo Community Center
in Hachioji,
we together gave a resounding victory

With me were members
from our main bastion of Tokyo,
as well as Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba
and other parts of the Kanto Region,
and also representative regions
throughout Japan.
On that precious site of mentor and
today proudly stands
the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall,
which watches over Soka University
as a regal sentinel.

On May 3, 2001,
on a hill in Aliso Viejo
bathed in the bright California sunshine,
Soka University of America
was opened amid great celebration,
a long-cherished dream come true.

Whatever trials may descend upon us,
we, the members of Soka,
always embark anew toward victory
from the starting point of May 3,
the sun of time without beginning
shining forever in our hearts.
With our sights set on the next May 3,
we forge ahead
determined to raise a brilliant banner
proclaiming our complete victory.

Mr. Toda said:
“The more the lionhearted are attacked,
the stronger they become!
The more the lionhearted are assailed,
the more fiercely they rise to action!
And they let out a mighty lion’s roar
for all to hear.”
Though still an inconspicuous
the tide of the grassroots revolution of
has converged deeply and powerfully
with the yearning of people around
the world
for an age of humanism.
From the old century of war and
to a new century of peace and respect
for life!
Human history
has begun to make a major shift.

Countless individuals
in 192 countries and territories
around the world
have triumphed in their personal lives
and can joyously declare: “I have won!”
How marvelous this is!
How magnificent!
Without a doubt,
the heavenly deities
of the ten directions and three existences
are unanimous in their applause.

Today again,
we, as emissaries of peace,
Bodhisattvas of the Earth,
are undertaking fresh efforts to further
our great humanistic movement,
with the whole world as our stage.

We have seen outstanding women leaders
from around the globe
cheer on the initiatives
of the women of the SGI.

They have included, to name but a few:
American Civil Rights activist Rosa
Chinese mother of the people Deng
Russian theater director Natalya Sats,
Philippine educator Laureana Rosales,
Northern Irish peace activist Betty
and Kenyan environmentalist Wangari

Our May 3
is also a day
for expressing our sincere gratitude
to the mothers of Soka.
Treasure the mothers of kosen-rufu!
Support and protect the women’s

Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“A woman who embraces
the lion king of the Lotus Sutra
never fears any of the beasts of hell
or of the realms of hungry spirits and

The history of kosen-rufu
is a magnificent tapestry
richly woven
from the prayers and efforts
of the incomparable
women of Soka.

My wife and I were married
on May 3, 1952—
a date Mr. Toda personally selected
with a profound intent,
marking, as it did, the first anniversary
of his inauguration as second president.
Our mentor
and many other good friends in faith
rejoiced and wished us well
on the start of our new life together
as a young couple.

Mr. Toda declared that
the Soka Gakkai organization
was more precious to him
than his own life.
For only in this gathering of people
united by the bonds of mentor and
can the heritage of attaining
Buddhahood in this lifetime
continue flowing vibrantly.
And only here
can the powerful life force
of Soka Gakkai Buddha
for freeing people from suffering
be passed on to future generations.

Championing the cause of lasting
that is worldwide kosen-rufu,
we have assembled together,
each in accord with our own vow.
And because we share
the great vow for kosen-rufu
from the distant past,
our unity will never be destroyed.

The rallying cries
for successive triumphs
by the members of Côte d’Ivoire,
pioneers of kosen-rufu in Africa,
resound powerfully:
Itai doshin!” (Unity!)
Victoire!” (Victory!)

In Japan, and around the world,
youth who will inherit
my 50-year legacy of victory,
are appearing one after another,
in accord with the principle
of “emerging from the earth,”
in infinite multitudes.

Many SGI youth
from different parts of the world
enthusiastically join us here
at each youth division
and headquarters leaders meeting—
the rebroadcasts of which
are drawing ever-increasing numbers
of members throughout Japan.

“Dusk falls on the lush greenery
of the village of Sakurai.”…
—a gallant youth
from the great land of India,
to which we owe an immense debt
as the birthplace of Buddhism,
sang these well-loved lyrics
of “Dainanko,”
in an expression of his vow
as a successor.

“Leave the future of kosen-rufu to us!”
—a young woman
of the Ikeda Kayo-kai of Brazil,
a land that is a leading champion
of global kosen-rufu,
voiced this shared determination,
shining with a spirit of gratitude
as pure and refined
as a white lotus.

When disciples earnestly devote
themselves to the vow for kosen-rufu
with the same commitment as their
the power of the Buddha flows forth
from the depths of their being.
And when each precious disciple
succeeds in fulfilling their own individual
vows for kosen-rufu,
it leads to the actualization
of the one great vow for kosen-rufu
shared by mentor and disciple.
This is a fundamental teaching
of Nichiren Buddhism.

Before us lies
the brilliant path to peace,
filled with friendship, hope and glory.
Many thinking people the world over
are watching our efforts with high
The wheels have begun turning
toward the next 50 years
of shared victory of mentor and disciple.
Let’s set forth!

The time has come.
Ah, glorious May 3!
Old and young alike,
with a vigorous and vibrant life force,
thoroughly protected by the heavenly
let’s begin a new struggle!

Ah, our May 3!
The lives of our members
who celebrate May 3
are forever bright and cheerful,
forever advancing,
and forever victorious!

Our hearts in perfect unity,
let’s forge ahead together!
Let’s sing a rousing song in praise
of human revolution!
Ah, shine on brilliantly!
May 3,
our May 3!

—Praying, together with my wife,
that all of you, my infinitely precious
and treasured fellow members,
will enjoy peace, happiness and
good health

My palms pressed together in reverence
In commemoration of May 3, 2010

Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom: Let’s Set Forth With Hope!