A Song of Victory Together With Our Mentor
On Dec. 10, 1981, Ikeda Sensei penned the poem “Youth, Scale the Mountain of Kosen-rufu of the 21st Century” for the youth division members of Oita Prefecture, located on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, and by extension, all youth throughout the world. This month, we celebrate the poem’s 40th anniversary.
Leading up to this time, the members in Oita had suffered harassment by priests who “brandished their clerical authority under the name of correct faith but whose actions went entirely against the Daishonin’s teachings.”The New Human Revolution, vol. 30, p. 495. At monthly lectures with Soka Gakkai members present, priests quoted defamatory articles about the Soka Gakkai from tabloids rather than from Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings. They even went so far as to attack Soka Gakkai members at funerals.
While some succumbed to the priests’ abuse, siding with them or leaving the Soka Gakkai, the youth of Oita were immovable and undeterred from the path of faith and the oneness of mentor and disciple.
On April 24, 1979, Sensei, treasuring the Soka Gakkai more than his own life, resigned as its president in the hopes that this would protect the members throughout Japan from the priests’ bullying. The priests sought to restrict Sensei’s activities, barring him from speaking at meetings or printing encouragement in the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.
In 1981, with the spirit to go where the members have suffered the most, Sensei launched a counteroffensive, visiting Oita Prefecture in December 1981, his first visit there in 13 years, to encourage the members and praise the youth who had dauntlessly battled the devil of authority and never gave up their faith.
On the third day of his visit, a youth leaders meeting was to be held. One of the youth representatives expressed their wish to present a poem at the meeting to symbolize their renewed determination toward the 21st century.
It had been 30 years since second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda issued the “Guidelines for Youth,” which opens with the words, “A new age will be created by the passion and power of youth.” Sensei had been feeling that he wanted to present the youth with something fresh and inspiring—a new set of guidelines.
Sensei poured his life into the words of the poem that would become “Youth, Scale the Mountain of Kosen-rufu of the 21st Century.” Sensei recalls of that time:
With intense concentration, pencils working furiously, five young men and women gamely tried to keep up with me and take down my words as I spoke.
After they copied a clean version, I made a number of revisions. But before they could recopy it, the time for the meeting arrived.
The poem was presented in this version, still filled with the red marks of last-minute corrections. …
The entire poem is infused with my fervent prayer:
You must win, no matter what,
Where you are right now!
You must never let your faith
Be destroyed!December 2016 Living Buddhism, p. 14.
This poem expresses Sensei’s deep trust in the youth to advance kosen-rufu, never succumbing to the devilish nature of authority. It is a call to all members to inherit the mission of kosen-rufu into the eternal future.
—Prepared by the World Tribune staff
Read “Youth, Scale the Mountain of Kosen-rufu of the 21st Century”