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Guidance for Leadership

The Year of Hope and Victory

The year 2021 will be decisive in creating the momentum for victory in the next decade.

Twilights are the time intervals happening between night and day, before sunrise and after sunset.
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In his message to the 46th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, Ikeda Sensei said:

The decade from the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary to its centennial in 2030 will be crucial. We must be even more determined to show victorious proof of our own human revolution, to transform all great evil into great good and to effect a powerful change in the destiny of all humankind.[1]

The year 2021 will be decisive in creating the momentum for victory in the next decade, and all the more so because of the world’s ongoing struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Where there is hope, there is victory, and where there is victory, there is hope. With this firm resolve, let us continue in our various activities as we adapt to the new normal, holding high the banner of the Soka Gakkai’s theme for 2021, Year of Hope and Victory.

The way to realize kosen-rufu and Nichiren Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land” is for each member to carry out the mission of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth in their respective endeavors and illuminate their communities and societies with the light of hope.

The following guidelines also apply to our efforts to foster successors in the youth division and future division as well as in Soka Spirit activities.

1. Hope-filled Dialogue—Build Friendship Through Personal Efforts to Engage Others in Dialogue

• Strive to engage in dialogue with those in our neighborhoods, communities and workplaces in order to build friendships and enable others to form a connection with Nichiren Buddhism.

• Further efforts to introduce others to Nichiren Buddhism, with the youth division taking the lead.

2. Hope-filled Encouragement—Make Our Districts Castles of Victory Through Virtual Visits and Personal Encouragement

• Through one-to-one encouragement[2] and virtual visits, strive to increase the number of participants in district-level discussion meetings as well as the number of active members engaging in Buddhist dialogue.

• Ensure that discussion meetings are focused on personal experiences and deepening members’ conviction in faith so that everyone is inspired to take a step forward.

Opening the Way for the Next 10 Years With a Stand-Alone Spirit

At the Nov. 1 Soka Gakkai Central Executive Committee Meeting, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada shared the following excerpted points. His speech was published in the Nov. 2 Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

We have now entered the month commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding. Amid the challenges of this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, you have all found ways to continue encouraging the members and creatively and resourcefully advancing kosen-rufu. Thank you very much!

In his editorial in the Daibyakurenge’s November issue, commemorating the 90th anniversary, Ikeda Sensei offers utmost praise to the genuine and powerful faith of the women’s division members.[3] I offer my deepest appreciation to the women for their stalwart prayers and warm encouragement.

Sensei has continued to encourage and teach us that the Soka Gakkai’s founding spirit is based on the stand-alone spirit. The significance of Nov. 18 is engraved in “The Vow for Kosen-rufu” monument at the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu.

Sensei writes:

November 18, 1930 — The Soka Gakkai emerged out of the efforts of a mentor and disciple who shared deep karmic bonds. … Carrying on President Toda’s spirit of selfless dedication to propagating Nichiren Buddhism, I stood up as his disciple to become the third president of the Soka Gakkai. …

November 18, 2013 — Here in Shinanomachi, Tokyo—the home of the Soka Gakkai Headquarters, where President Toda took leadership for kosen-rufu in keeping with his mentor’s noble spirit—the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, which I proposed and named, has now been erected. …

It is my most heartfelt wish that all our precious members, directly linked to Nichiren Daishonin and following the lead of the three founding presidents of the Soka Gakkai, will unite in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind” to build an ever stronger groundswell for kosen-rufu, for world peace, into the eternal future.[4]

As we commemorate this significant 90th anniversary, let us once more refresh our determination to rise up with the stand-alone spirit and, based on the oneness of mentor and disciple, express our deep appreciation to our mentor, who has resolutely opened the path of worldwide kosen-rufu.

In addition, throughout this coming decade, which Sensei has said is a decisive time, let us, as his direct disciples, carry on in building a groundswell for kosen-rufu, for world peace, into the future. Let’s start anew toward the 100th anniversary, resolved to uphold the “stand-alone” spirit.

Engaging in Courageous Dialogues

The first focus for next year’s activities is to carry out “hope-filled dialogues” with the determination that “I will expand my own dialogues in order to engage in my personal drama of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land!” This decade will be one in which we focus on expanding our efforts to talk to people about Buddhism.

In his message to the recent representative leaders meeting, Sensei mentioned that it was through engaging in dialogues that he gained trust and expanded the Soka network. He also said that the time has come when people are more deeply seeking Buddhist wisdom that can bring an end to the suffering and misery they experience. And he urges us to boldly demonstrate proof of victory based on our efforts in our communities and society to advance kosen-rufu and establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land.

Amid this pandemic, leading thinkers have made note of Soka Gakkai members’ spirit to care for self and others, the depth of the bonds we share as fellow members and the strength of our Soka network. Furthermore, next year we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Seikyo Shimbun, a wonderful tool that has helped establish the path of happiness for self and others.

The essential spirit and practice of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth is to work and pray not only for one’s own happiness but also for that of others and for the peace, security and progress of our society. This entails reaching out and inspiring hope and ease to those with whom we are connected. Using this significant month as a fresh starting point, let us once again determine to expand our dialogues with more people.

In this era of the coronavirus pandemic, the wisdom we have brought forth has taught us that it is through one-to-one interactions that a sense of happiness and fulfillment are strengthened and spread.

Most important are our efforts to try to connect with another person and the sincere concern we develop for those around us. We find joy in meeting with people or simply hearing their voices over the phone. We can also readily communicate with our friends and fellow members through writing letters or emails and over social media. Regardless of how we connect with others, it is in our courageous efforts to deepen friendships and plant seeds of Buddhism that heartening dramas unfold. And it is in such efforts that we experience how powerful our heartfelt words can impact the life of another person.

In addition, this holiday season is a time when we can reconnect with relatives and friends, and deepen our bonds with those whom we cannot regularly meet. While remaining vigilant not to spread the virus, let us use this season to have meaningful exchanges with our friends and family.

Encouraging Each Person

At the most recent prefectural leaders meeting, we reaffirmed that visits2 and personal encouragement are the source of strength in the Soka Gakkai, and we have remained deeply committed to these efforts. Thank you for all your efforts in this area.

The second focus for next year’s activities is “hope-filled encouragement—making our districts castles of victory through visits2 and personal encouragement!” Let’s further develop our efforts to visit2 members and offer encouragement to them.

Next year marks the 65th anniversary of the Osaka Campaign, which began on Jan. 4, 1956, with Sensei’s powerful prayer to the Gohonzon at the Kansai Headquarters, with the side inscription that reads “‘Prosperity of the Great Law and fulfillment of all prayers.” The following day, Jan. 5, Sensei held one personal guidance session after another. Thus, he commenced and set into motion this historic campaign with powerful prayer and personal guidance.

For us, too, as we commence our new campaign for these next 10 years, let’s begin with “powerful prayer” and “one-to-one encouragement.”

My hope is that we, as leaders of our movement, can refresh our resolve and take action to expand our network of dialogue and encouragement with the commitment to each day write a new page in the history of kosen-rufu.

Nichiren states, “Shakyamuni Buddha teaches … that one who makes offerings to the votary of the Lotus Sutra in the latter age for even a single day will gain benefit a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million times greater than one would by offering countless treasures to the Buddha for one million kalpas” (“The Person and the Law,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1097). Just as he says, our efforts to protect the Soka Gakkai, an organization carrying out the will and intent of the Buddha, and the financial contributions we make to advance kosen-rufu will undoubtedly garner fortune and benefit in our lives.

And especially amid this pandemic, which has caused great financial hardships for many, sincerely making financial contributions to advance kosen-rufu enables us to accumulate even greater benefit.

In addition, more than anywhere else, the source of our hope and victory can be found in reading The New Human Revolution. Let us continue studying this novel and challenging our own human revolution.

And with our personal efforts to expand our dialogues and to visit2 members and offer encouragement, let us each start afresh toward the Soka Gakkai’s centennial and passionately take initiative as protagonists who advance kosen-rufu.


  1. The 46th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting was held on Aug. 26 in Tokyo. Ikeda Sensei’s message to the meeting appeared in the Sept. 18 World Tribune, pp. 2–3. ↩︎
  2. While the SGI-USA continues to hold all meetings online and carry out virtual visits, it recently began allowing leaders, who feel comfortable, to do in-person visits by observing the following guidelines: Both participants should be healthy and willing to participate in the visit; they should remain outdoors during the visits; both parties should wear masks and remain six-feet apart at all times. ↩︎
  3. See Ikeda Sensei’s monthly message in the December 2020 Living Buddhism, pp. 4–5. ↩︎
  4. January 2014 Living Buddhism, p. 5. ↩︎

Winning as First Responders