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Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace

Peace, Culture and Education: The Future Division–Part 6
(Chapter 28)

PART 3:

KOSEN-RUFU
AND WORLD PEACE

OVERVIEW OF THIS SERIES

“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.

The following is a breakdown of the three-year series, which began serialization in the July 2014 Living Buddhism.

  1. HAPPINESS discusses the differences between relative and absolute happiness; the teaching of the Ten Worlds as a principle for transforming our lives; the significance of carrying out the daily practice of reciting the sutra and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for making that transformation; and the Buddhist view of life and death, in which both are experienced with joy.
  2. HUMAN REVOLUTION focuses on the Buddhist way of life, in which people strive to bring forth their highest potential and shine with courage, wisdom and compassion.
  3. KOSEN-RUFU AND WORLD PEACE takes up the ideals and principles of worldwide kosen-rufu; the movement and humanistic organization of the SGI; the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple shared by the three founding Soka Gakkai presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda; world peace; and respect for the dignity of life.

The Future Division: The Key to the Ongoing Development of Kosen-rufu

—Part 6—

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. 

Fostering “Torchbearers of Justice”

In this selection, Ikeda Sensei explains the significance of his decision to form groups for the organization’s younger members soon after his inauguration as third Soka Gakkai president, reaffirms the seven guidelines he established for the future division and shares the hopes he sought to express in the song he wrote for them, “Torchbearers of Justice.”

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

From the study lecture series “The Buddhism of the Sun—Illuminating the World,” published in the May 2017 issue of Living Buddhism.

“We must foster fine young people who can work for the benefit of society, their country and all humankind. That is the purpose of the Soka Gakkai,” said my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. He constantly asserted that the fundamental purpose of the Soka Gakkai is to develop capable individuals who can contribute to peacebuilding and people’s happiness.

I feel exactly the same.

I have worked wholeheartedly to foster our youth division members who will play the leading role in shaping the future of humanity. I have also earnestly raised our future division members with the intention of calling forth successive generations of young Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

In my travels around Japan and the world, I have tried whenever possible to meet with future division members and have forged countless heart-to-heart bonds with them.

Without successors to carry the baton of the Soka Gakkai spirit, worldwide kosen-rufu will not develop, and the realization of happiness for all humanity and world peace will remain a dream.

I am happy to say that today, in this new era of worldwide kosen-rufu, graduates of the future division are making remarkable contributions all around the globe.

And our present future division members everywhere, who are growing strongly and vigorously, will be the ones who sound the momentous bell marking the start of the third series of Seven Bells[1] in the second half of the 21st century.

The enduring foundation of the Soka Gakkai has been established.

■  ■  ■

Josei Toda often said: “The children of Soka Gakkai members are born possessing the eternally shining star of happiness and victory that is faith in the Mystic Law. Let’s all pray for the growth of our children! The Soka Gakkai exists to nurture young people.”

It was because I was firmly resolved to carry on this spirit of my mentor, that I lost no time in establishing the high school, junior high school and boys and girls divisions—which together comprise the future division—soon after my inauguration as the third Soka Gakkai president.

At the time, some top Soka Gakkai leaders suggested that there were more important priorities, but I declared: “If we don’t plant saplings, trees will not grow. If we wait to plant them, when we need sturdy, tall trees, it will be too late. We mustn’t let the time for action slip by!”

The right time is not something one waits for; one creates it!

The time of planting saplings requires our greatest care and effort. In the early days of the high school division in Japan, as if providing sunlight, water and nutrients to young saplings, I put my heart and soul into giving lectures to its members on such important writings as “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life” and “Letter from Sado.” I gave my all. We spoke, studied and sang together. I have been closely involved in fostering future division members from the very start, right up to the present day.

I have found it deeply gratifying and reassuring that all of our members, taking my spirit as their own, treasure the future division members and are working tirelessly alongside me to nurture their growth.

Over the five decades since the future division’s founding, many members all around the world, at times amid truly challenging circumstances, have devoted themselves to fostering the future division members with the same prayer and commitment as I have. I will never forget their dedicated efforts. It is no exaggeration to say that the Soka Gakkai has achieved such remarkable growth precisely because we have engaged in developing the future division in such diverse and creative ways.

Those who foster capable individuals are capable individuals themselves in the truest sense.

When we foster capable people today, we are also building a stage upon which new capable Bodhisattvas of the Earth can emerge in the future and be active.

Nichiren writes, “The flower will return to the root and the essence of the plant will remain in the earth” (“On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 737). In accord with this principle, the benefit accumulated by courageous Bodhisattvas of the Earth who spread the Mystic Law also becomes the benefit and good fortune of those who fostered them. The rewards or positive results of nurturing the children of the Buddha are immeasurable and boundless.

■  ■  ■

Belief in and practice of the Mystic Law—for example, valuing each person, working to eliminate misery from the world and believing that every person can become happy—are passed on through contact with Soka Gakkai members who are striving their hardest.

That’s why it’s important to raise our children within the garden of the Soka Gakkai. As part of that process, please share with your children how your family came to join the Soka Gakkai. Talk to them about the roots of your family’s Buddhist practice, about family members’ past efforts for kosen-rufu and significant turning points or events that inspired them in their practice. Hearing members at discussion meetings and other gatherings relate experiences of how they have turned their lives around through practicing Buddhism can also be a major source of inspiration and encouragement.

Today, not only the future division leaders and supporting men’s and women’s leaders, but all our members are engaged in warmhearted efforts to help foster the future division members. They are there to listen to these young people’s problems, offer advice and pray earnestly together with them. Their sincere encouragement is the driving force for the growth of our future division members.

Raising our successors so that they surpass us, encouraging and supporting the younger generation even more than we were once encouraged and supported by those before us—this extremely noble spirit of inspiring others to reveal their highest potential lies at the heart of the Soka Gakkai tradition of fostering capable individuals.

At a future division meeting held at the Kansai Toda Memorial Auditorium on May 5, 1976, I announced the designation of May 5 as “Soka Gakkai Successors Day.”

With sincere hopes for everyone’s growth, and in the spirit of making a promise together with each person there that day, I announced six guidelines for the future division. Later (in May 2013), with the addition of one further point, I presented these seven guidelines to the division for the 21st century:

1) Let’s take care of our health
2) Let’s read books.
3) Let’s always use common sense.
4) Let’s have patience.
5) Let’s make lots of friends.
6) Let’s accumulate good fortune.
7) Let’s cherish our parents.

Future division members are doing their best to live up to these guidelines. I am thrilled when I envisage the bright future that lies ahead of them as they continue to grow and exert themselves energetically, and the magnificent future that lies ahead for worldwide kosen-rufu.

The future division song “Torchbearers of Justice” was originally announced as a high school division song (on August 1, 1978). Soon thereafter, on August 3, 1978, members from throughout Japan gathered at the Soka Gakkai Tachikawa Culture Center for the 11th High School Division General Meeting.

To the young people attending, I expressed my hope that they would all grow to be people who remained true to the commitment they forged in their youth as long as they lived. I had suggested that they join arm in arm and sing their new song together, and they did just that. Solidly united, their faces shining, they sang:

I, determined to be a successor,
proudly waiting for the time …

I can still hear the resounding chorus of the high school division members that day, hearts united as one.

“I” in the lyrics means every one of us. Let’s all join together and work harder than ever to foster the young “torchbearers of justice,” so that our movement will flourish eternally into the future!

This concludes “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace” series in Living Buddhism.

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

References

  1. The first series of Seven Bells refers to the seven consecutive seven year periods in the Soka Gakkai’s development from its founding in 1930 through 1979. On May 3, 1958, shortly after second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s death (on April 2), Daisaku Ikeda, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, introduced this idea and announced targets for subsequent seven-year periods. On May 3, 1966, Soka Gakkai President Ikeda spoke of a new series of Seven Bells that he envisaged unfolding in the 21st century. Also, in 1978, just before the end of the first series of Seven Bells, he elaborated further on this second series of Seven Bells, stating that it would begin from May 3, 2001, and continue through 2050. ↩︎

Creating a Century of Humanism in Which All Can Shine, Part 1

Maintaining Steadfast Faith at a Crucial Moment