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The Mentor’s Hopes for the Youth of the SGI-USA

Photo by Seikyo Press.


On June 16, 1981, Ikeda Sensei arrived in New York, his first visit there in six years. His trip took place not long after he had stepped down as third Soka Gakkai president on April 24, 1979, to shield the members from the authoritarian machinations of the priesthood.[1]On April 24, 1979, Daisaku Ikeda stepped down as third Soka Gakkai president to shield the members from the perverse machinations of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood. He then turned his focus to opening the path of worldwide kosen-rufu. The New York organization was hit hard by the rhetoric of the chief priest of the local Nichiren Shoshu temple, who actively sowed discord and obstructed the unity of the members by spreading lies and distorting Buddhist doctrine. The effects were such that there were few leaders, no youth division, and efforts to spread Nichiren Buddhism had grounded to a halt.

It was in this context that Sensei came to revive the Soka Gakkai spirit in New York, determined to meet with as many members as possible during his short stay. He reaffirmed the basics of faith and emphasized that the “Soka Gakkai spirit of mentor and disciple is the driving force for kosen-rufu.”[2]https://www.sokaglobal.org/resources/study-materials/buddhist-study/the-new-human-revolution/vol-30-chapter-4-51-60.html <accessed on April 22, 2021>. Sensei describes the main reason for his trip: “To communicate thoroughly to each the conviction and pride of the Soka Gakkai, which was dedicated to fulfilling the mission of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.”[3]https://www.sokaglobal.org/resources/study-materials/buddhist-study/the-new-human-revolution/vol-30-chapter-4-51-60.html <accessed on April 22, 2021>.

On June 20, he crystallized his hopes and expectations for the SGI-USA youth in the form of a poem read at a U.S.–Japan Goodwill Exchange Meeting.

This month marks 40 years since his iconic poem “To My Beloved Young American Friends—Youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth” was penned.

In it, Sensei stresses that the youth who uphold the Mystic Law in America have a mission to revitalize their land and the entire world, defining the power source for accomplishing this mission with the single word faith.

Read in full here.

Notes   [ + ]

1. On April 24, 1979, Daisaku Ikeda stepped down as third Soka Gakkai president to shield the members from the perverse machinations of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood. He then turned his focus to opening the path of worldwide kosen-rufu.
2. https://www.sokaglobal.org/resources/study-materials/buddhist-study/the-new-human-revolution/vol-30-chapter-4-51-60.html <accessed on April 22, 2021>.
3. https://www.sokaglobal.org/resources/study-materials/buddhist-study/the-new-human-revolution/vol-30-chapter-4-51-60.html <accessed on April 22, 2021>.