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Ikeda Sensei

Shouldering the Destiny of Humankind

Visiting SGI representatives from 19 countries and territories attend the 45th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, marking the start of the Year of Advancement and Capable People, held on Jan. 11 at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo. Photo by Seikyo Press.

SGI President Ikeda sent the following message to the 45th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, celebrating the start of the Year of Advancement and Capable People, held on Jan. 11 at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo. Visiting SGI representatives from 19 countries and territories also attended the meeting. The text originally appeared in the Jan. 12 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Congratulations on this joyous New Year’s Headquarters Leaders Meeting at the start of the year marking the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary!

And welcome to the noble leaders of worldwide kosen-rufu from America, Oceania, Brazil, Europe, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea and elsewhere! Thank you for making the long journey here in the cold of winter to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the Soka Gakkai International (on Jan. 26).

In January 1945, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, imprisoned in the Tokyo Detention Center in Sugamo, learned for the first time that his mentor, founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, also incarcerated for his beliefs, had died [on Nov. 18 of the previous year]. From the depths of grief and outrage, Mr. Toda rose up as an indomitable champion of the Mystic Law.

After his release from prison, carrying on his mentor’s great vow, Mr. Toda changed his name from Jogai (meaning “outside the castle”) to Josei (“sage of the castle”). He set forth alone amid the ruins of war-devastated Japan to rebuild the castle of the Soka Gakkai, whose mission it is to achieve kosen-rufu.

Seventy-five years have passed since then. At this first leaders meeting of the Year of Advancement and Capable People, filled with the deepest gratitude and appreciation for both Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda, I would like to offer one of my calligraphic works for display here at the Toda Memorial Auditorium, a magnificent hall of mentor and disciple. It reads: “The Castle of Capable People of Soka” (see p. 3). I inscribed this one year, on the first day of spring according to the old lunar calendar, and I am making it public for the first time.

Let me define the castle we have built as the mentors and disciples of Soka. First and foremost, it is a castle of the people.

All too many castles throughout history have stood as symbols of power looking down on the people. It was Mr. Toda’s conviction, therefore, that unless we build a castle of capable individuals, a castle for, of and by the people, based on the Mystic Law, a teaching of universal enlightenment, we will never be able to bring an end to the cycle of misery afflicting humankind at the hands of the devilish nature of power.

In a passage from The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin being studied at this month’s discussion meetings in Japan, Nichiren Daishonin declares: “In the Latter Day of the Law, no treasure tower exists other than the figures of the men and women who embrace the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]” (“On the Treasure Tower,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 299). With this spirit of the Daishonin in our hearts, we have built a castle of the people dedicated to kosen-rufu. We have actively gone out into the midst of the suffering people and helped one person after another reveal their brilliant inner potential and stand tall as a supremely noble treasure tower of the Mystic Law.

In addition, each of our Soka Gakkai centers and facilities is likewise a castle of the people that is contributing to the prosperity and security of the community.

For instance, in the aftermath of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995—which took place 25 years ago this month—as well as the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and numerous other local natural disasters, Soka Gakkai facilities have not only served as evacuation centers, but also centers providing assistance in rescue, relief and reconstruction work. Through their sincere efforts to support and encourage others, our members have shown incredible resilience in the face of adversity and helped many others do the same. They continue to work each day with a noble determination to never be defeated.

Our castle of the people is also an unshakable castle of peace.

In these uncertain times of deepening division and discord, the global citizens of Soka are overcoming all differences to forge friendships and spread peace through the power of the philosophy of the Middle Way that is grounded in respect for human life; the power of humanistic dialogue, speech and the written word; and the power of cultural and educational exchange to bring hearts together. People the world over are expressing growing trust in and expectations for our movement.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, a bastion of hope for the world. Let’s redouble our efforts to support the U.N. and promote the Sustainable Development Goals, while valuing and utilizing the unique and precious potential of each individual and strengthening the solidarity of the global family.

From our great castle of Soka, dedicated to actualizing Nichiren’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land”—that is, world peace—let us ring the bells of wisdom and philosophy in order to awaken humankind to advance on the path of limitless value creation!

Our castle of the people is also a castle of youth, brimming with hope.

Since its founding, the Soka Gakkai has cared for, believed in and fostered the youth, offering wonderful opportunities for them to realize their potential. I can say with confidence that no other organization compares.

The Daishonin writes that the Buddha kept his true disciples hidden in the depths of the earth and declared that he would entrust the propagation of the Mystic Law in the Latter Day to them (see “Reply to Niiama,” WND-1, 467).

In the light of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren’s writings, the youth who have chosen to appear at this time throughout Japan and the world to fulfill their vow for kosen-rufu share truly wonderous karmic connections, mission and great good fortune.

I fully entrust the eternal transmission of the Mystic Law to the passion and power of our admirable youth division and future division members, who will be in the forefront of our movement in this decade leading to the Soka Gakkai’s centennial (in 2030).

Congratulations to all our young friends celebrating Coming-of-Age Day in Japan (on Jan. 13)!

I am also praying for the success of the small-group general meetings being held throughout Japan (from Jan. 13 to Feb. 2) by the young women’s division members, who are making the inner palaces of their lives shine brightly.

As we rally many new young Bodhisattvas of the Earth to our banner of justice and courage, let us limitlessly open the gateway to happiness and victory!

The life of each of us is a castle, and our mind is its ruler. Nichiren quotes the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai’s words: “If the ruler of a walled city [or castle] is unbending, then those who guard [it] will remain firm” (see “How the Gods Protect the Place of Practice,” WND-2, 668). In accord with this passage, when we continue to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with a vow for kosen-rufu and strong determination in faith, we can activate the protective functions of the universe and increase the numbers of those with whom we share positive connections. We can forge our lives into towering castles as indestructible as diamonds.

In the year ahead, let’s all strive our hardest so that we have no regrets, making our mottoes: “Everyone advancing!” and “Everyone a capable person!” With a bright, upbeat spirit, let’s cause a great flowering of benefit in our lives by challenging our human revolution and efforts to transform our karma, and join together in a rousing cheer of never-ending victory and joy.

And with the unrivaled unity of “many in body, one in mind,” let us make the “Castle of Capable People of Soka,” shouldering the destiny of humankind, triumph and flourish more than ever!

Prayer Infused With A Vow Brings Forth Courage, Wisdom and Strength

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