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Ikeda Sensei

Shine Brightly as Youthful Treasure Towers!

Photo by Naassom Azevedo / Unsplash.

This monthly encouragement by Ikeda Sensei was originally published in the July 2021 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

When I was young and struggling with illness, my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, once encouraged me by having me read this passage from The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings:

Our head corresponds to myo, our throat to ho, our chest to ren, our stomach to ge, and our legs to kyo. Hence this five-foot body of ours constitutes the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. … Now persons like Nichiren and his followers, who have learned to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, may be said to have entered the treasure tower. (pp. 28–29)

Mr. Toda told me firmly: “Because you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, your body itself constitutes the Mystic Law. So don’t let yourself be defeated by the likes of the ‘devil of illness.’ Win and shine brightly as a youthful treasure tower for the sake of kosen-rufu and society.”

Young people today face a host of daunting challenges, especially now amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many have lost hope and confidence and are suffering from loneliness. That is why it is my deepest wish that they may awaken to the supremely noble treasure tower of life that they and all people possess.

Nichiren Buddhism is a teaching for making one’s youth shine its brightest.

In a letter to his young disciple Nanjo Tokimitsu, Nichiren Daishonin writes:

[Shakyamuni, Many Treasures Buddha, the innumerable Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and all heavenly deities] will, as a shadow follows a form, guard anyone who has firm faith in this Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] and who remains at all times stalwart and unwavering in that faith. Think of this, think of this, never let your mind stray, be firm in faith at all times, and you will “enjoy peace and security in your present existence and good circumstances in future existences” [see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 136]. (“The Four Virtues and the Four Debts of Gratitude,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 638)

And just as Nichiren instructed, Tokimitsu remained “firm in faith at all times.” Even during the Atsuhara Persecution, he never retreated a single step, staunchly supporting the Daishonin and protecting his fellow practitioners. Never letting his resolve waver, he brilliantly triumphed over oppression by the authorities, financial hardship, the untimely deaths of loved ones, his own illness and countless other challenges. Today, he is admired as a model of faith by our members around the world.

As young people, you uphold the Mystic Law, the fundamental law of the universe, and contribute to peace in the most valuable way possible by laying the foundations for a better world based on the life-affirming principles of Nichiren Buddhism. Spending your youth in this way will never be cause for regret.

When you keep striving to fulfill the vow of mentor and disciple, even while grappling with your own problems and struggles, every single effort, every hardship, will make the treasure tower of your life shine all the brighter. The radiance of your lives will in turn inspire many other young people seeking the way, enabling each of them, too, to shine as a hope-filled treasure tower.

You, my young friends, celebrating the youth division’s 70th anniversary,[1] have a truly wondrous mission. Taking pride in your invincible unity, open wide the great path to happiness and security for all humanity with the spirit of genuine respect for others that is your hallmark.

Shine triumphantly,
youthful treasure towers—
firm in faith at all times,
strongly united,
and with the courage of lions!


  1. The young men’s division was founded on July 11, and the young women’s division, on July 19, in 1951. ↩︎

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