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Ikeda Sensei

The Unwavering Commitment of Bodhisattvas of the Earth

Maroon Bells and Lake, Colorado, USA. Photo by Xsandra/GettyImages.

This monthly encouragement by Ikeda Sensei was originally published in the June 2020 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

June is the birth month of founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi. In a wonderful coincidence, he was born in 1871 in Japan’s Niigata Prefecture, exactly 600 years after Nichiren Daishonin was exiled to Sado Island, also today part of Niigata.

In “On the Buddha’s Prophecy,” composed on Sado, Nichiren writes: “I have suffered difficulties day after day and month after month. In the last two or three years, among other things, I was almost put to death. The chances are one in ten thousand that I will survive the year or even the month” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 402). It was under these indescribably harsh conditions of exile that he boldly predicted a future where the Buddhism of the Sun would illuminate the entire world.

During World War II, when the lineage of the correct teaching of Nichiren Buddhism was on the verge of perishing, Mr. Makiguchi selflessly dedicated his life to propagating the Mystic Law based on his commitment as a Bodhisattva of the Earth.

Imprisoned as a result of his beliefs, Mr. Makiguchi declared in a letter he wrote at that time: “What I am going through is nothing compared to the hardships endured by the Daishonin on Sado.”[1]

The invincible “heart of a lion king” that Mr. Makiguchi demonstrated at the risk of his life, always together with the Daishonin, is the eternal starting point of the spirit of mentor and disciple in the Soka Gakkai.

In the course of our lives and kosen-rufu, there may be times when we are forced into difficult and challenging situations of uncertainty. But when we think of Mr. Makiguchi, who died for his beliefs, and the devoted efforts he made to the end of his life to spread Nichiren’s teachings while enduring persecution, there is no need for us to be anxious or distraught.

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, and I also shared that same unwavering commitment.

The Daishonin teaches us, “When one practices the Lotus Sutra [in the Latter Day of the Law], difficulties will arise, and these are to be looked on as ‘peaceful’ practices” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 115). When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and take action to overcome the hardships we encounter, we are truly practicing Nichiren Buddhism and are able to accumulate great good fortune.

Nichiren also writes, “If one experiences extreme hardship in this life [because of one’s faith in the Lotus Sutra], the sufferings of hell will vanish instantly” (“Lessening One’s Karmic Retribution,” WND-1, 199). In accord with this principle of “lessening karmic retribution,” we can attain the indestructible life state of Buddhahood, and impart hope and courage to those around us.

As humanity unites in confronting the current difficult challenges, how reassuring is the presence of our Soka network of youthful global citizens who shine with a commitment to the life-affirming principles of Nichiren Buddhism and the wisdom for changing poison into medicine. The voices of our youth raised in song, uniting the world, are also truly inspiring and uplifting. Members in India are singing proudly:

You and I together
Invincible forever
It’s now or never
Invincible forever[2]

May the vast mountain ranges of capable Bodhisattvas of the Earth, who carry on the legacy of Mr. Makiguchi, radiate the brilliant light of disciples growing “bluer than the indigo.”

The great mountain
stands unshaken
by the storm.
Without being anxious or swayed,
create a beautiful rainbow of victory!


  1. Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 10 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1987), p. 282. ↩︎
  2. These are lyrics from the new Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) song titled “Invincible Forever.” ↩︎

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