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Ikeda Sensei

‘Discarding the Shallow and Seeking the Profound’

4th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting

A joyful SGI-USA July Youth Discussion Meeting in Chicago, 2019. Photo by Susan Forner

Ikeda Sensei sent the following message, which was read by SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda, to the Fourth Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial. The meeting was held conjointly with the Youth Division General Meeting, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the young men’s and young women’s divisions, at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo, on July 7, 2021. This was originally published in the July 8, 2021, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.

There is a scene that still comes vividly to life in my mind. In July seven decades ago [in 1951], we held a special general meeting for the first time before the Soka Gakkai Kosen-rufu Gohonzon, which bears the inscription “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu Through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law.”[1] On that occasion, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda invited up onto the stage several members, young and old, who had made extraordinary contributions to expanding our movement, each fighting with the strength of a thousand. Commending them, he said: “I am sure Nichiren Daishonin has been praising these fine people standing here, way before my doing so. I can’t give them anything myself, but I am certain Nichiren would honor them beyond measure, so I’m not worried in the least. … Let’s give them all a big round of applause!”

I am certain that today, too, Mr. Toda, together with founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, is applauding each of you as a champion of Buddhism and the people, saying: “Well done! Excellent!”

As an expression of my most heartfelt gratitude and praise, I would like to present you with a calligraphy that reads “The Honor of Walking the Great Path to Victory.” [The calligraphy was shown to the audience.] I inscribed these words with the prayer that every single noble member of our Soka family will lead a life resounding with victory into the eternal future as they confidently advance along the great path of mission and success, health and good fortune, joy and harmony.

Everyone, thank you so much for your incredible efforts! I deeply appreciate all you have done.

This year marks the 750th anniversary of Nichiren’s triumph over the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, his near execution on Sept. 12, 1271. At that time, he “cast off the transient and revealed the true.”[2] In accord with his assertion that “Every place where Nichiren meets persecution is the Buddha land” (“The Persecution at Tatsunokuchi,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 196), this event also has the far-reaching significance of the Daishonin illuminating the strife-filled saha world with the supreme light of Buddhahood, which dispels all darkness, so that it can shine as the Buddha land, the Land of Tranquil Light.

Directly connected to Nichiren, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, we are hard at work in society, fearlessly engaging in dialogue and taking action aimed at “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” We strive tirelessly for kosen-rufu, breaking down barriers in our own and others’ hearts, overcoming all obstacles and setbacks and expanding our life state through human revolution. We are building treasure lands of happiness and peace in the places where we are challenging ourselves right now. That is our “casting off the transient and revealing the true.”

My true disciples of the young men’s and young women’s divisions have made remarkable strides in this year of their 70th anniversaries.[3] They have forged a solid network of friendship and trust, their voices of hope and truth ringing out brightly in these confused and troubled times. To celebrate their milestone, I would like to present them with a pair of calligraphies. [The calligraphies were shown to the audience. One read “Discarding the Shallow and Seeking the Profound” and the other “The Heart of a Person of Courage.”]

Milestone—Ikeda Sensei’s calligraphies “Discarding the Shallow and Seeking the Profound” (top) and “The Heart of a Person of Courage” (bottom) are presented at the headquarters leaders meeting, July 7, 2021. They honor the 70th anniversaries of the young men’s and young women’s divisions. Photo by Seikyo Press.

During his exile on Sado Island, which followed the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, the Daishonin wrote “On the Buddha’s Prophecy,” proclaiming his vision of worldwide kosen-rufu. In it, he quoted a passage from the Great Teacher Dengyo of Japan: “To discard the shallow and seek the profound is the way [or heart] of a person of courage” (WND-1, 402). This is the essence of the Soka Gakkai spirit, and these are the words I inscribed in these two calligraphies.

What is the common trait of all great people who have lived truly noble and meaningful lives, whether celebrated or unheralded? It is the quality of courage, of the spirit that dares to take on difficulties, that seeks, chooses and is committed to leading a more profound life.

Faith is the ultimate form of courage.

Nichiren Buddhism, faith in the Mystic Law, is the most profound philosophy of respect for the dignity of life. Our vow for kosen-rufu means making the most profound contribution to peace and the welfare of humanity. And the unity of the Soka Gakkai is built on the most profound bonds of trust among fellow human beings.

May each of our members of the young men’s and young women’s divisions and the student division and future division have “the heart of a person of courage,” regarding hardships as an honor and embodying the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple. I hope you will enjoy a wonderful youth of great joy and victory, and that you will pool your wisdom and strength as youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth so that you can lead the way with optimism and resilience to a new decade of fresh value creation for the global family of humankind.

Nichiren fervently encouraged the Ikegami brothers: “You must grit your teeth and never slacken in your faith. Be as fearless as Nichiren when he acted and spoke out before Hei no Saemon-no-jo [the most powerful official in the land]” (“Letter to the Brothers,” WND-1, 498).

In tune with this wondrous time for the compassionate propagation of the Mystic Law, let us continue our efforts for the sake of people’s happiness, for a safe, secure society and for peace for all humankind, revealing the true brilliance of our lives from time without beginning that are one with the Daishonin. Let’s pledge to make the glorious sun of eternal victory rise again and shine majestically through our invincible unity of purpose!


  1. In addition to the words “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu Through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law,” the Soka Gakkai Kosen-rufu Gohonzon also bears the inscription “To Be Permanently Enshrined in the Soka Gakkai.” This Gohonzon is enshrined in the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. ↩︎
  2. Nichiren Daishonin cast off his transient status as an ordinary, unenlightened person burdened with karma and suffering and, while remaining an ordinary human being, revealed his original, true identity as a Buddha possessing infinite wisdom and compassion (the Buddha of beginningless time or eternal Buddha). This is called “casting off the transient and revealing the true.” ↩︎
  3. The young men’s division and young women’s division were established on July 11 and July 19, 1951, respectively. ↩︎

My True Disciples of the Young Men’s Division—Hold High the Banner of ‘Winning Based on Buddhism’!

Shine Brightly as Youthful Treasure Towers!