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Ikeda Sensei

Bringing Flowers of Dialogue, Capable People and Benefit to Bloom

Blossoms of Kawazu-zakura (Prunus lannensiana Wils. cv. Kawazu-zakura).
Pink Cherry Blossoms. Masahiro Makino / Getty Images

The following was translated from the March 23, 2021, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, the Seikyo Shimbun.

This year again, a wave of cherry blossoms has begun to make its northward journey from Okinawa, Hiroshima and other areas. A glorious springtime abloom with cherry blossoms has arrived.

Nichiren Daishonin loved and celebrated cherry blossoms. Noting how “the graceful cherry blossoms come forth from trees” (“New Year’s Gosho,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1137), he explained the way for attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime. Based on faith in the Mystic Law, all people can reveal the supremely noble Buddha nature from within and cause flowers of happiness to bloom.

Cherishing the Daishonin’s spirit, the mentors and disciples of Soka continue to pave the cherry blossom path of Soka—the path of human revolution and kosen-rufu—throughout Japan and the world.

With the conviction that planting trees is planting life, I have always made a point of planting trees. Now, many of our Soka Gakkai centers and facilities around the country are graced with beautiful cherry trees.

In May 1967, to commemorate the seventh anniversary of my inauguration as Soka Gakkai president, I planted 16,000 trees of various kinds— including cherries—as a hopeful symbol of growing young people. I did this together with representatives of the youth and future divisions on the planned site for Soka University in Hachioji, Tokyo.

Today, the campus of Soka University, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in April, is adorned with flowers and groves reminiscent of the Lotus Sutra passage “Jeweled trees abound in flowers and fruit” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 272). I am also delighted that my young friends who planted trees with me all those years ago have grown into fine, capable people, standing like a forest of mighty trees.

Blooming of cherry blossoms are the unseen efforts of “cherry tree custodians,” master gardeners who tend and watch over them throughout the four seasons. One such expert shared with me some key points that they pay attention to.

First, because cherry trees “breathe” with their roots, the gardeners take good care of the base of the tree. Second, because the trees are always preparing for fresh growth, the gardeners assist them by making room for new branches to grow. These points have parallels with fostering capable individuals.

Students in Japan are now preparing to move up a grade or start a new school. We are also midway through Future Division Hope Month (March 1–31). I am endlessly grateful for the dedicated efforts of those supporting our future division members.

Nichiren writes, “When a tree has been transplanted, though fierce winds may blow, it will not topple if it has a firm stake to hold it up” (“Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain,” WND-1, 598). Because the times are so turbulent, let us do our best to nurture and support our precious future division members, who are like young cherry trees, with strong prayers and thoughtful encouragement.

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, said with deep feeling: “Hardships tend to arise one after another. And though we’re sure to struggle with them again in the future, we’ll overcome them. That is the power of the Mystic Law and proof of our Buddhist practice.”

My mentor truly loved cherry trees because they bloomed so beautifully after enduring the bitter winter cold.

Thanks to Mr. Toda’s spiritual legacy, we are able to advance in a wondrous rhythm of renewal from March 16 (Kosen-rufu Day) to April 2 (the memorial of Mr. Toda’s passing) to May 3 (Soka Gakkai Day), each year as a wave of cherry blossoms makes its way northward to Tohoku and to Hokkaido.

The youth division members, young Bodhisattvas of the Earth, are striving energetically to expand and develop our network dedicated to realizing the Daishonin’s ideal of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land and the entire world.

In April, the Women’s Division 70th Anniversary “Hope” General Meeting will be held [in conjunction with the headquarters leaders meeting commemorating May 3, Soka Gakkai Day].

Putting down solid roots of trust in our communities and imparting refreshing encouragement to those around us, let us bring flowers of dialogue, capable people and benefit to bloom!

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