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Ikeda Sensei

Advancing Cheerfully on Our Shared Journey of Hope and Victory

1st Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting

The morning sun illuminates the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, Tokyo, Jan. 2, 2021.
Dawn—The morning sun illuminates the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, Tokyo, Jan. 2, 2021. Photo by Seikyo Press

Ikeda Sensei sent the following message to the first Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting marking the start of the crucial decade toward the organization’s centennial in 2030. The meeting was held in the Three Founding Presidents Conference Room of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu in Tokyo on Jan. 7. This was translated from the Jan. 8 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.

Youth are hope personified. When young people respond to even the most daunting challenges with positivity and resilience and grow in the process, they are a source of boundless hope and inspiration to many others.

As we start a new year, the Soka Gakkai brims more than ever with the vibrant energy of youth, beacons of hope, working together to create limitless value.

In one of his writings, Nichiren Daishonin pays tribute to his parents and goes on to cite a passage from the “Supernatural Powers” chapter of the Lotus Sutra: “As the light of the sun and moon can banish all obscurity and gloom, so this person [a Bodhisattva of the Earth] as he advances through the world can wipe out the darkness of living beings”[1] (“Letter to Jakunichi-bo,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 993).

As the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, the Daishonin made the correct teaching of Buddhism accessible to all people. He deliberately chose to be born in the darkest time in this corrupt and evil latter age and, moreover, as a child of commoners.

He dove into the mire of the real world and expounded his Buddhism of the Sun, which has the power to illuminate and dispel the sufferings of all humankind, not only for millennia into the future but for all eternity.

It was our first and second presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, who brought the brilliant light of the Daishonin’s Buddhism of the Sun to shine and ascend like the dawn in the darkness of the 20th century devastated by two world wars, conflicts of unprecedented scale.

They taught people this supreme philosophy that elucidates the ultimate essence of life, society and the universe based on such profound Buddhist principles as the “mutual possession of the Ten Worlds” and “three thousand realms in a single moment of life.” In this way, the mentors and disciples of Soka have enabled one person after another to bring the sun of hope and victory—the sun of Buddhahood inherent in their lives from time without beginning—to rise within them.

Our members around the world are now creating inspiring dramas of revitalization, dramas of human revolution and transforming destiny, “day by day and month after month” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” WND-1, 997).

This year we celebrate the 800th anniversary of Nichiren’s birth.[2]

With wondrous synchronicity, we have chosen to be born together at this time and work for worldwide kosen-rufu. When we recognize the profound significance of these karmic ties and the mission we share from the eternal past, the great, invincible courage, wisdom and compassion of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth will not fail to flow forth powerfully in our lives.

Nichiren Buddhism illuminates the highest summit—the supreme life state that is the key to actualizing world peace and lasting happiness, goals that all humanity should unite to achieve— and shows us very clearly how we can reach it.

The “darkness of living beings” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 318) is deeper than ever. Let us, therefore, work even harder to spread the great light of the Buddhism of the Sun throughout our local communities and society, and into the future. Let us spread it widely and unreservedly and with unflagging optimism and warmth, as we persevere in our committed efforts to bring genuine peace and security to the land, to the entire world, through the life-affirming principles of Nichiren Buddhism.

Six decades ago (in 1961), on my first New Year’s Day after becoming Soka Gakkai president, I declared to members before the Soka Gakkai Joju Gohonzon,[3] which bears the inscription “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law”: “Let us fight with all our might! I am determined to create a hundred years’ worth of history in one year.”

Starting from early that month, I traveled to Kyushu via Kansai. I then went on to form chapters and attend inaugural meetings in areas throughout Tokyo and the Kanto region and made my first trip to neighboring countries in Asia. On my return, I traveled all over Japan. It was also in the autumn of that same year that I visited countries in Europe for the first time.

Having vowed to create a hundred years of history in a single year, I took action to blaze new trails forward based on powerful prayer. It was a shared journey of mentor and disciple in which I constantly engaged in dialogue with Mr. Toda in my heart.

The Daishonin writes, “Three things are required—a good teacher, a good believer [disciple], and a good teaching—before prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land” (“Those Initially Aspiring to the Way,” WND-1, 880). If we unite in spirit with our mentor and in shared purpose with our fellow members, we can bring forth infinite strength, expand our circle of friendship, activate the protective functions of the universe and open the way to victory. All our prayers will be answered, and we will bring peace and prosperity to the lands where we have chosen to fulfill our vow for kosen-rufu.

The coming decade is an extremely important time, when we must work to resolve the challenges facing our planet and to build a new culture for humankind, a new human civilization, based on respect for the dignity of life and human revolution.

Let’s pledge together to advance cheerfully on our shared journey of hope and victory—the journey of the oneness of mentor and disciple—in this crucial year that will determine the course of the next decade.


  1. The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 318 ↩︎
  2. Nichiren Daishonin was born on Feb. 16, 1222. According to Japanese tradition, a person is counted as 1 year old on the day of their birth. ↩︎
  3. In addition to the words “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law,” this Gohonzon also bears the inscription “To Be Permanently Enshrined at the Soka Gakkai” (Jpn Soka Gakkai Joju). As a result, it is commonly called the Soka Gakkai Joju Gohonzon. It is now enshrined in the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu and also known as the Soka Gakkai Kosen-rufu Gohonzon. ↩︎

Ushering in a New Day of Hope (Part 1)

The Journey of Mentor and Disciple—Respecting All People