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Ikeda Sensei

Accumulating Treasures of the Heart (Shijo Kingo Part 2)

Shijo Kingo

Happy youth jumping
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This is from a series of Ikeda Sensei’s encouragement for the members of the junior high and high school divisions. It was translated from the Nov. 1, 2019, issue of the Mirai [Future] Journal, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly newspaper for the junior high and high school divisions. Part one can be found in the April 16, 2021, issue of the World Tribune.

Soka—today this word has become the hope-filled banner of our members everywhere, global citizens working for the peace and happiness of all.

The word soka was introduced to the world on Nov. 18, 1930—the day that our first Soka Gakkai president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, and his disciple, Josei Toda, published the work Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System of Value-Creating Education). This date is regarded as marking the Soka Gakkai’s founding.

Mr. Makiguchi declared: “The purpose of life is to create supreme value and to attain the greatest possible happiness.”

“Soka” means value creation; it is the path by which all people can attain happiness—absolute happiness that cannot be destroyed by anything. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda described this as a state “in which one can feel fulfilled wherever one is, and life itself is a joy.”[1]

In this installment, let’s explore what happiness in life means for Soka Gakkai members.

Shijo Kingo was a leading figure among Nichiren Daishonin’s followers. Out of his sincere wish to guide his feudal lord, Ema, to happiness, Kingo tried to convert him to Nichiren’s teaching but ended up alienating him. Ema eventually threatened to confiscate his estates unless he renounced his faith in the Lotus Sutra. Later, however, Ema fell ill and called on Kingo, who was a skilled physician, to treat him.

Kingo reported this to the Daishonin, who responded with the letter “The Three Kinds of Treasure.”

Kingo was a person of strong conviction and integrity. At the same time, he was short-tempered, which sometimes caused strained relations with others. His wife, Nichigen-nyo, must have worried about her husband, praying for him and supporting him in times of hardship.

In this letter, Nichiren gives Kingo detailed advice on how to conduct himself, such as not allowing his quick temper to get the better of him. He then imparts the words that have become a guideline in faith for many of our members around the world, “More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all” (“The Three Kinds of Treasure,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 851).

First are the “treasures of the storehouse.” They include money, clothing, food and housing—things that are all indispensable to our lives. Next are the “treasures of the body.” This includes health, an important foundation for happiness. Our unique abilities and skills, as well as such things as social status and titles, can also be regarded as treasures of the body.

But circumstances can deprive us of both the treasures of the storehouse and the treasures of the body. What treasures, then, are enduring and capable of bringing us absolute happiness? They are the “treasures of the heart”—the good fortune and benefit we accumulate in our lives through our dedicated efforts for the sake of others, for the cause of good and for the welfare of society. No one can rob us of the treasures of the heart; nothing can destroy them.

The Daishonin explains that when we live with the spirit that “the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all” (WND-1, 851), we can create unsurpassed value from the treasures of the storehouse and the treasures of the body. And he encourages Kingo to “strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart” (WND-1, 851).

Kingo continued to face various hardships, but by recognizing that “the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all,” he lived with integrity, steadfastly making faith his foundation and learning to master his emotions. In the end, he turned his fortunes around dramatically and was granted additional landholdings.

For all of you, my young friends, valuing the treasures of the heart as precious above all means cherishing your goals and aspirations. It means having a clear vision of why you are studying and what you are striving to achieve.

Nothing is nobler than the spirit to make a great vow and grow as a person. Your vow can be to show gratitude to your parents by doing well in your studies, to dedicate your life to helping those who are suffering or to become a capable person so that you can contribute to worldwide kosen-rufu. When youth who embrace lofty ideals continue to make steady efforts and progress, they accumulate boundless treasures of the heart, day after day.

Moreover, through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and challenging yourselves “day by day and month after month” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” WND-1, 997), you can strengthen and enrich your hearts and develop your abilities and character. You can definitely make your youth a time of great joy, filled with true fulfillment and creativity.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and peace activist Betty Williams, whom my wife, Kaneko, and I consider a dear friend, once said, “We must make the world better than how it was when we came.”[2]

Mrs. Williams is renowned for her ceaseless dedication to bringing an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland. Today, she continues to be involved in activities to promote and protect the human rights of women and children. [Mrs. Williams passed away on March 17, 2020.]

In 2004, Mrs. Williams attended the opening of the exhibition “Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World,” co-sponsored by SGI-USA and held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. She shared these words:

We want to live and love and build a just and peaceful society. We want for our children, as we want for ourselves, our lives … to be lives of joy and peace. We recognize that to build such a life demands of all of us, dedication, hard work and courage. … We dedicate ourselves to working with our neighbors, near and far, day in and day out, to building that peaceful society.[3]

Soka Gakkai members, including many of your parents and grandparents, have done just this—solidly uniting with fellow members in their communities and working together to realize a peaceful society and a better future. Your seniors in the Soka family are people rich in the treasures of the heart, creating value for the happiness of all. They are noble beyond compare.

Each of you has undeniably inherited those treasures of the heart, and they are shining within you. I hope that you will do your best to accumulate your own treasures of the heart as well.

Please be brilliant suns of Soka, illuminating the way to happiness and peace for people in your communities and around the world. I am counting on you!


  1. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (The Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 4 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1984), p. 444. ↩︎
  2. At a Q-&-A session with students at Soka University of America on Feb. 7, 2004. ↩︎
  3. From the declaration of the Peace People. Co-founded by Betty Williams in 1976, the organization campaigned for an end to violence in Northern Ireland. <accessed May 5, 2021>. ↩︎

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