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Ikeda Sensei

Stand Tall With the Majestic Dignity of Mount Fuji!

Huayang / Getty Images

The following essay by Ikeda Sensei was originally published in the Aug. 3 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues unabated, I am praying earnestly for everyone’s health, safety and security.

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “Though calamities may come, they can be changed into good fortune” (“How the Gods Protect the Place of Practice,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 669). I will continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for all my precious fellow members around the world to achieve resounding victories in their personal dramas of changing poison into medicine. 

I have long held the conviction that the 21st century will be decisive in terms of how many Bodhisattvas of the Earth— capable individuals who actively contribute to society— we can send forth into the world from the great realm of Soka.

Sharing the wish and prayers of founding Soka Gakkai presidents Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, who cherished young people above all, I have poured my energies into training and fostering our future division members. Now, countless inspiring successors, like a vast forest of towering trees, rise from the fields of humanistic education that so many dedicated men’s and women’s division members worked hard to cultivate alongside me. Each is extraordinary. They have all achieved outstanding growth.

And what is most reassuring is that these capable individuals—embodying the principle of “from the indigo, an even deeper blue”[1]—are now fostering the next generation in an unending chain or ripple effect of encouragement that will ensure the eternal transmission of the Law.

In particular, I am filled with immeasurable gratitude for our future division leaders, who have taken my spirit as their own and are devoting themselves tirelessly to nurturing our young successors.

Our future division members are truly citizens of the 21st century. Encompassing elementary school through high school students—the present members have all been born from 2002 onward. Their young lives are unfolding in this century, when more and more people are predicted to live to the age of 100 and beyond.

The French author Victor Hugo (1802–85) was born in 1802 and took lifelong pride in living at the forefront of the 19th century.

My mentor, Josei Toda, was born in 1900 and gave his whole life to the cause of transforming the tragic destiny of humankind in the 20th century. Now, a century after his birth, today’s future division members have emerged as the flag-bearers of peace in the 21st century.

Humanity is presently facing the global crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. Our elementary, junior high and high school students are striving to do their best in their studies while grappling with anxiety, restrictions and constantly changing conditions.

But overcoming daunting challenges in our youth strengthens and trains us, enabling us to fulfill a great mission and create enormous value.

Those who embrace Nichiren’s hope-filled teaching that “Winter always turns to spring” (“Winter Always Turns to Spring,” WND-1, 536) in their youth are invincible.

Our future division members in Japan and around the world are forging ahead cheerfully and resiliently, refusing to let the current crisis get the better of them.

Though unable to gather in person, members in every country and region are meeting online to encourage one another through songs, performances and lively conversations.

Every future division member is “a person who can inherit the soul of the Lotus Sutra” (“The Hero of the World,” WND-1, 839). Their vibrant, develop- ing young lives are infinitely precious treasures of humanity and the hope of the world.

The path of walking alongside and fostering the future division members is filled with wonderful hopes and dreams that are like beautiful rainbows appearing after a rainstorm.

About a half-century ago, a group of future division members and I worked together to build a path at a training center in Shizuoka, Japan. It was hard work, as we picked up stones and pulled weeds. I wanted them to personally experience the effort that goes into building a path and the pride felt upon its completion.

I said to them: “When the path is finished, people can walk along it. I will do my best to build a path for all of you, and I hope that you will do the same for the sake of the future. For that is the great path of mentor and disciple.”

A junior high school student who took part in that effort formed a dream to become such a person—someone who could build a path for worldwide kosen-rufu. She went on to attend Soka University and became the university’s first student to study at Moscow State University. With constant prayer, study and hard work, she has become a first-rate Russian interpreter and translator, building a path for peace and friendship between Japan and Russia, and a path for other aspiring young people to follow in her footsteps.

She has worked together with a team of translators and editors around the world on the Russian translation of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, published by Moscow University Press, the sixth and final volume of which was released recently.

The paths of mission of our members everywhere, forged through inquiry and creativity based on the oneness of mentor and disciple, will continue to spread all around the world. 

The future division in Japan has made its theme for this summer “Challenge Your Dreams.” With the encouragement of their parents and leaders, our young members are taking on such challenges as reading books, writing essays, painting and drawing, and studying foreign languages. These activities all represent a wonderful opportunity for them to expand their dreams, discover new ones or solidify the ones they already have. I hope they will engage in this summer challenge in an enjoyable and creative way.

Many of the leading world thinkers I formed friendships with have spoken of the role that reading played in expanding their dreams.

One of my dear friends, Dr. Joseph Rotblat (1908–2005)—the noted physicist, Nobel Peace laureate and former president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, who was committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons—told me that the joy of reading kept him going when he was a child.

Born in Poland, his childhood took place during World War I. His family was very poor, and sometimes he only had two small pieces of bread to eat each day. His source of enjoyment was reading science fiction stories. The sadness and misery of those times caused him to seek out a world of dreams and imagination.[2]

He vowed to use science to create a world in which war was unnecessary.[3] After many long, hard years of study, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a scientist to benefit humanity and went on to devote his life to creating a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

We must not allow the tragedies of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa to ever happen again. Peace for all humanity is our dream.

It was reading that gave me the dream to write a novel that would continue to be read by future generations—my encounter with Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

In the many years that have passed since then, I have composed the serialized novels The Human Revolution and The New Human Revolution.

They are entirely the result of the personal instruction I received from my mentor in what I call “Toda University,” in addition to the warm support of countless others.

And at the same time, I made all the dreams entrusted to me by Presidents Makiguchi and Toda a reality, including the establishment of Soka University and the Soka schools throughout Japan and across the globe.

What is my next dream? It is that all our future division members around the world will spread their wings of courage and make their own dreams come true.

I love to see the lively drawings and paintings of our future division members.

I have no talent for drawing, but I once did a painting of Mount Fuji, thinking of our precious future division members.

It was May 5, 1979, the first Soka Gakkai Successors Day since I had become the organization’s honorary president. At that time, I was inscribing calligraphic works such as “Justice” and “Shared Struggle.”

At the Kanagawa Culture Center overlooking the ocean, I painted Mount Fuji at dawn on a folding screen. In the foreground, I painted cherry trees in full bloom and pine trees with outstretched branches, with the prayer that each of our future division members would grow splendidly like this.

Four years later, in March 1983, at the end of the school year, I visited Kansai Soka Elementary School in Hirakata City, Osaka. After the enjoyable day’s events were over and the students had gone home, I took a look around the classrooms.

In one third-grade classroom, I noticed the words “We did our best this year!” written in blue chalk on the blackboard. Next to it, students had drawn a picture of them playing a ball game.

I picked up a piece of chalk, wanting to write a reply to this illustrated message. To applaud their efforts and with the wish that someday we would climb the “monarch of mountains” together, I drew a large picture of Mount Fuji.

In the famous Eiji Yoshikawa novel Musashi, the famous swordsman who is the protagonist says to a disciple: “Instead of wanting to be like this or that, make yourself into a silent, immovable giant. That’s what the mountain [Mount Fuji] is.”[4]

In these unsettling times, I would like to impart these words to our members, who burn with an invincible spirit.

In a letter to his young disciple Nanjo Tokimitsu, then battling great difficulties in the region where he resided in the foothills of Mount Fuji, the Daishonin cites [the words of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai], “Since the Law is wonderful, the person is worthy of respect; since the person is worthy of respect, the land is sacred” (“The Person and the Law,” WND-1, 1097).

My supremely noble successors, who uphold the Mystic Law, stand tall with the majestic dignity of Mount Fuji! Cherish grand dreams and strive with optimism and energy to achieve them!

I call on you, my young friends, to make the global society of the 21st century into an indestructible treasure land of peace, happiness and harmonious coexistence. As torchbearers of justice who share my spirit, make a glorious rainbow of victory shine in the sky of the century of life and human revolution!


  1. “Hell Is the Land of Tranquil Light,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 457. ↩︎
  2. See Joseph Rotblat and Daisaku Ikeda, A Quest for Global Peace: Rotblat and Ikeda on War, Ethics and the Nuclear Threat (London: I.B. Tauris and Co., Ltd., 2007), pp. 28–29. ↩︎
  3. See Ibid., p. 30. ↩︎
  4. Eiji Yoshikawa, Musashi, translated by Charles S. Terry (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1981), p. 680. ↩︎

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