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Ikeda Sensei

Winning in One’s Youth With the Power of the Mystic Law

Nanjo Tokimitsu

This guidance from SGI President Ikeda originally appeared in the March 1, 2019, issue of the Mirai [Future] Journal, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly newspaper for the junior high and high school divisions.

Let me start by sharing with you, the young global citizens of Soka, a well-known passage from Nichiren Daishonin’s writings: “Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra are as if in winter, but winter always turns to spring” (“Winter Always Turns to Spring,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 536).

These words are cherished by our fellow members throughout the world.

Congratulations to all of you who are graduating from school this month![1] Having weathered a winter of challenges, you have triumphantly welcomed a spring of hope!

March, a month when nature comes alive, is also known as the Month of Successors in the Soka Gakkai.

On March 16, 1958, a ceremony was held in which second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda passed the baton of kosen-rufu to the youth. This took place more than six decades ago. Since then, as Mr. Toda’s direct disciple, I have traveled tirelessly around the world to share and spread the Mystic Law with my fellow members.

Now, this baton of world peace is being carried on by our future division members. This brings me tremendous joy and reassurance.

It is my wish that throughout the course of your lives, in both good times and bad, you will always keep moving forward based on the Mystic Law and together with the Soka Gakkai and your fellow members. This is the message I want to impart to you more than anything.

No matter how long the winters of adversity might persist and things don’t go as you planned, if you remain steadfast in faith, you will definitely be able to usher in a spring of great victory.

In April 1279, as the harassment and persecution of Nichiren’s followers in Atsuhara[2]
intensified, one of his disciples was attacked and wounded in an assault.[3]

Nanjo Tokimitsu also found his life in increasing danger. Amid such tense circumstances, the Daishonin wholeheartedly encouraged him, referring to the many persecutions he himself had undergone for the sake of safeguarding the correct teaching. He urged Tokimitsu: “Commit yourself to the Lotus Sutra and have faith in its teachings” (“Persecution by Sword and Staff,” WND-1, 964).

Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, fully trusting the power of the Gohonzon. Persevere in faith, refusing to be defeated by anything—that was Nichiren’s heartfelt message.

He also writes, “You must not only believe in [the teachings of the Lotus Sutra] yourself but also encourage others to do the same, so that you may save those who were your parents in all your past existences” (WND-1, 964–65).

Here, the Daishonin offers boundless encouragement to Tokimitsu, saying that, through the power of faith in the Mystic Law, he can help lead to happiness everyone with whom he shares a connection, including even his parents in past existences. He reminds Tokimitsu how fortunate he is to embrace the Mystic Law at a young age.

However deep your suffering or difficult your problems, if you summon forth the courage to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and tackle them head-on, you can definitely find a way through.

When Mr. Toda’s businesses were in dire crisis, he said to me: “Fight fiercely for the sake of kosen-rufu. Whatever the outcome may be, leave everything to the Gohonzon.”

I did just that, praying and exerting myself arduously. After weathering the storm, Mr. Toda was inaugurated as second Soka Gakkai president and freely began to take the lead for the dynamic growth of our movement.

Just as Nichiren indicates, when you stand up in faith based on the correct teaching of Nichiren Buddhism, you can bring the light of happiness and peace to everyone in your life and society, now and into the future. Please have absolute confidence in this.

One of my most trusted friends is the Argentine human rights activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. He is a champion of justice who has fought long and hard for those who are suffering.

In the 1970s, many nations in Latin America were ruled by military dictatorships, which inflicted great harm and oppression on their citizens. Dr. Pérez Esquivel established a human rights organization and began activities in support of the poor. The dictatorship in his country continued to kidnap, torture and kill citizens. Dr. Pérez Esquivel dauntlessly kept up his nonviolent struggle for human rights, including searching for those who had been made to “disappear.”

As a result of such activism, he was imprisoned for 14 months, during which time he was cruelly tortured. Through his wife’s resolute calls for justice and messages of solidarity from people of conscience around the world, he was finally released. He pursued activities to defend human rights not only in Latin America, but on the global stage. In 1980, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Pérez Esquivel was originally an artist—a sculptor, painter and architect—and a professor of architecture. Why did he oppose the military dictatorship in spite of great personal danger?

He says it was because his conscience, his spirit and his human dignity would not permit him to remain indifferent to the suffering of his fellow human beings [4]

He declared: “When people work together for the shared objectives of liberty and peace, they can demonstrate extraordinary capabilities.”[5]

Dr. Pérez Esquivel continues to work energetically for peace today. In 2018, he and I issued a joint appeal titled “To the Youth of the World: An Appeal for Resilience and Hope.” Calling for young people everywhere to come together and tackle the world’s problems, we affirmed: “The future of humankind depends on the present, on young people who have the courage to confront reality, never submitting before adversity.”[6]

Your courageous day-to-day efforts to challenge yourself will shape tomorrow’s world.

A single young person possesses limitless power. The way to develop that power, that life force, is prayer to the Gohonzon, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo infused with a vow.

My mentor, Mr. Toda, declared: “When we are joined by many youth who believe and practice the great Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, we will definitely accomplish kosen-rufu, that is, world peace.”

Today again, let’s powerfully chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and forge ahead—as bright as the sun and as fearless as lions!

From the next installment of this series [April 2019], as the new school year begins, I would like to share with you the path to a victorious youth, through studying letters that the Daishonin wrote to various disciples.

Please look forward to it!


  1. In Japan, school graduation takes place in March, and the new school year begins in April. ↩︎
  2. Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji District, Suruga Province (present-day central Shizuoka Prefecture), starting in around 1275 and continuing until around 1283. In September 1279, 20 farmer disciples were arrested on false charges. They were interrogated by Hei no Saemon-no-jo, the deputy chief of the Office of Military and Police Affairs, who demanded that they renounce their faith. However, not one of them yielded. Hei no Saemon-no-jo eventually had three of them executed. ↩︎
  3. The Daishonin writes, “Gyochi [the deputy chief priest of Ryusen-ji temple] incited the official in charge … to attack Shiro, a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra [who was one of the farmer believers of Nichiren in Atsuhara], with a knife and wound him at the time of the religious rites in the fourth month [April 8, 1279]” (“The Ryusen-ji Petition,” WND-2, 826). ↩︎
  4. Translated from Spanish. Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Daisaku Ikeda, La fuerza de la esperanza: Reflexiones sobre la paz y los derechos humanos en el tercer milenio (The Power of Hope: Reflections on Peace and Human Rights in the Third Millennium), (Buenos Aires: Emecé, 2011), p. 39. ↩︎
  5. Ibid., p. 30. ↩︎
  6. Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Daisaku Ikeda, “To the Youth of the World: An Appeal for Resilience and Hope.” The text can also be accessed by visiting » “Resources” » “Written Works” » “Lectures | Speeches | Messages.” ↩︎

“Opening the Door” to a Boundless Life

Inheriting the Ultimate Law of Life