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The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu

Volume 21: Chapter Three—Resonance

Chapter Summary

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

On May 3, 1975, Shin’ichi Yamamoto attended an event celebrating the 15th anniversary of his inauguration as third Soka Gakkai president, where members were recognized for offering their homes as meeting places and honored with awards such as the Soka Outstanding Achievement Award.

Afterward, at a meeting with young men’s and student division representatives, he formed the Shin’ichi-kai as a training group.

At the May 5 Headquarters Leaders Meeting, he wholeheartedly encouraged the members by, for instance, sitting next to a man and singing a Soka Gakkai song together.

Shin’ichi departed Japan on May 13 to visit France, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. The next day, he met and talked with the president of Paris-Sorbonne University, and the following day, he attended a gathering at the Paris Community Center.

On May 16, Shin’ichi engaged in a dialogue with Dr. Aurelio Peccei, founder and first president of the Club of Rome. That same day, he attended an executive conference of European SGI leaders and the SGI European Friendship Festival while also forming a group for members who work behind the scenes and visiting a core member of the French organization.

After arriving in London on May 18, Shin’ichi met with representatives of the British organization over dinner, reuniting with its general director.
The next day, he paid a visit to Arnold J. Toynbee’s office at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) to deliver specially bound volumes of their dialogue [published under the English title Choose Life: A Dialogue], as well as an honorary professorship certificate from Soka University. While hoping to present these items in person, because Dr. Toynbee was convalescing from an illness, Shin’ichi delivered the items to  his secretary and then returned to France.

In France, through his discussions with individuals such as French author André Malraux and art historian René Huyghe, Shin’ichi felt he struck a chord with them—the shared desire to seek a change in humanity.

Unforgettable Scene

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

Gratitude for a Single Flower

On May 3, 1975, a commemorative ceremony was held to mark the 15th anniversary of Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s inauguration as Soka Gakkai president. At Shin’ichi’s proposal, several awards, including the Soka Outstanding Achievement Award, were conferred in recognition of members’ significant contributions.

Shin’ichi Yamamoto was intent on building a solid tradition of praising and honoring members who strove steadfastly together with him in support of kosen-rufu and the Soka Gakkai. …

The inconspicuous efforts of those striving earnestly for kosen-rufu are guaranteed to blossom into tremendous benefits. This accords with the strict law of cause and effect functioning in all life as taught in Buddhism.

Shin’ichi felt that bestowing accolades on members who strove wholeheartedly for kosen-rufu was a way to convey praise, admiration and deep appreciation for their efforts, in line with the principle that, though their efforts are unseen by others, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas observe all.

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Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda was also always considering how he could praise and encourage disciples who were giving their all for kosen-rufu. …

He also occasionally composed poems lauding and encouraging those who had made outstanding contributions.

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When Shin’ichi left night school so that he could fully support Mr. Toda’s faltering business ventures, Mr. Toda offered to personally instruct Shin’ichi in a wide variety of subjects. Shin’ichi would later affectionately refer to this instruction as “Toda University.” He studied diligently and absorbed every lesson imparted by his mentor. One time, after Shin’ichi had completed a course, Mr. Toda took a flower from a vase on his desk and inserted it in his pupil’s lapel. “This is your award for completing this course with top honors,” he declared. “You’ve done a great job. I’d like to give you a gold watch, but this is all I have. I’m sorry, it will have to do.”

The flower represented the most heartfelt praise from this great mentor of kosen-rufu. To Shin’ichi, that flower was the most wonderful medal of honor in the entire world. Deeply moved, he felt like the most fortunate person on earth.

Years later, Shin’ichi would become the recipient of national medals from many countries, and he would also be lauded with two hundred academic honors[1] from universities and institutions of higher learning around the world, an unprecedented achievement. He was firmly convinced that, in light of the law of cause and effect governing life, the fundamental cause behind this recognition lay in the gratitude he felt in accepting that flower from his mentor and the resolve it stirred in him to make an even greater effort. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 21, pp. 199–202)

Key Passage

The foundation of prayer is always kosen-rufu. And daimoku that originates in the determination to contribute to kosen-rufu produces immeasurable and unlimited benefits. (NHR-21, 250–51)

Volume 21: Chapter Two—People’s Diplomacy

Volume 21: Chapter Four—Jeweled Crown