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Ikeda Sensei

Look Up at the Moon and Keep Your Spirits Bright!

NEW YORK, USA - APRIL 26: Full moon rises behind Empire State Building during sunset in New York City, United States on April 26, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - APRIL 26: Full moon rises behind Empire State Building during sunset in New York City, United States on April 26, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

This essay from the Treasures of the Four Seasons series first appeared in the Sept. 1, 2019, issue of Boys and Girls Hope News, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly newspaper for the elementary school division.

Summer vacation has flown by, and school has begun again [in Japan]. You might feel nervous or anxious returning to school after such a long break, but don’t worry, everyone else is probably feeling the same way. Everyone has worries of some kind.

At such times, look up at the sky and say hello to the sun, moon and stars, who are keeping a friendly watch over you. Stretch your arms high above your head and let your mind and body relax.

I hope you will cheerfully make a fresh start, reaching out to your friends and supporting and encouraging one another.

Have you ever participated in the Japanese custom of autumn moon viewing? The harvest moon is said to be the most beautiful moon of the year, so moon viewing has become quite popular. This year’s harvest moon will fall on Sept. 13 (2019).

Speaking of moon viewing, I remember a lovely evening (Sept. 22, 1983) that I spent with students of the Kansai Soka Junior and Senior High schools. The schools are located in Katano, Osaka, an area with romantic place names such as Amanogawa (Milky Way) and Hoshida (Field of Stars). On that occasion, I enjoyed gazing at a beautiful round moon together with students living in the schools’ dormitories or in off-campus boarding facilities. Cherishing that memory in their hearts, those students have all grown splendidly, contributing in their own unique way in places throughout Japan and the world. As their schools’ founder, nothing could make me happier.

This year (2019) marks a half-century since the astronauts of Apollo 11 made the first moon landing. Envisioning the dawning of the space age, I met and held dialogues over the years with many astronomers, astronauts and other key figures involved in space exploration, including the Apollo program.

I once met Soviet cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebrov (1944–2013) at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji, Tokyo. As our conversation drew to an end, the moon was shining beautifully over a small hill nearby called Moonlight Hill.

Mr. Serebrov said that when people see the sun, or admire the moon and the stars, they feel uplifted and stop fretting over petty cares and worries.

When we turn our gaze to the heavens, our hearts become as vast as the universe. As if viewing our lives from the sky, our problems and worries come to seem small and insignificant. Our spirits brighten. The sun rises and the moon shines in our hearts.

On the evening of the harvest moon one year, I composed a poem, titled “The Moon’s Wish,” while gazing at the moon with members of the elementary school division. Based on that poem, I later wrote a children’s story called The Princess and the Moon. And a Fife and Drum Corps leader went on to set the poem to music. One of its verses goes:

The gentle round moon calls out:
“Please grow bright,
please grow upright,”
watching down on all
as it travels on its journey
with the moon rabbit.[1]

Nichiren Daishonin says, “For those who have profound faith, it is as though a full moon were illuminating the night” (“The Essence of the ‘Medicine King’ Chapter,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 94).

No matter how big your problems, you can make yourself shine as bright as the full moon by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Many of your parents and grandparents have striven with optimism and integrity to illuminate others with the light of faith in the Mystic Law. And it is all of you who will illuminate the world and the future with smiles as bright as the full moon.

The moon appears in different shapes during the lunar cycle, sometimes showing only a half-circle or a slender crescent. Sometimes we can’t see the moon at all, but the full moon always returns. Together with the sun, the moon is constantly generating a rhythm of hope.

Whatever happens, always remain bright and positive! Please advance vibrantly with the sun and serenely with the moon!


  1. In the folklore of Japan and other parts of Asia, a rabbit can be seen on the surface of the full moon. ↩︎

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