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The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu

The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu: Special Edition [2 of 2]

Learning From The New Human Revolution

This month we will study selected excerpts from The New Human Revolution that were originally published in the January 6, 13, 20 and 28 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper. Ikeda Sensei appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto.

Determination

The New Year’s Gongyo was held in the Mentor-Disciple Hall at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters from 1:30. In Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s remarks, he discussed a line in the closing passage of “Life Span,” the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, “At all times I think to myself” (Mai ji sa ze nen) [The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 273]. Quite simply, what this means is the constant thought we have in the depths of our hearts. The constant thought of the Buddha is to enable all living beings to attain enlightenment. In other words, the Buddha’s mind is perpetually turned to the happiness of all people.

“The kind of commitment or attitude we have in the depth of our lives—what we are thinking, praying and wishing for—is crucial. It is a clear reflection of our life state. Let us, as disciples of Nichiren Daishonin from the remote past, make his great vow for kosen-rufu and the happiness of all people our own resolve and mission. I hope that each one of you will return to the vow you made in the remote past and aspire, chant and take action for kosen-rufu.” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, p. 97)


Speed

“Speed has always been a source of victory for the Soka Gakkai. Likewise, if Nichiren Daishonin heard that one of his followers was ill, he immediately dispatched a letter to encourage that person. The Daishonin was always prompt.

“Living in today’s fast-paced world, speed is even more essential. That’s why I make every effort to respond as quickly as possible with words of encouragement when I receive messages from members.

“For instance, whenever members come to the Soka Gakkai Headquarters to report on their activities, I always try to respond and take action right away. Sometimes I have someone deliver a message on my behalf. Such promptness is the ironclad rule of leaders. As long as we respond and act quickly, the Soka Gakkai will develop. If you do, you will grow as well. But if this attitude is lost, everyone will feel uneasy and eventually grow dissatisfied.”

· · ·

“Shouldn’t the youth be the very first to rise to take on any challenge?” (NHR-5, revised edition, 216–17)


Treasures of the Heart

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

“The state of happiness attained through accumulating abundant treasures of the heart is an inner state of being, but it manifests in our expression, our words and actions and our character.

“Our words and actions will be brimming with gratitude, joy and certainty. We’ll be considerate of others, not motivated by selfish desires but by a compassionate desire to be of service to others. We’ll also be accepting and warm, with a friendly smile for everyone.

“No matter how long we live, we’ll always be filled with a spirit of self-improvement, dynamism and vitality. We’ll exude a youthful spirit, as the Daishonin said when he wrote, ‘You will grow younger’ (“The Unity of Husband and Wife,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 464).

“Some people, in contrast, are always complaining, criticizing, dissatisfied, unfulfilled, envious and resentful. This is not only an expression of their personal unhappiness but also increases their unhappiness.”

What is the decisive factor in establishing a life state of absolute happiness? It is not one’s wealth or social standing. It is not one’s position within the Soka Gakkai. It is established through carrying out one’s human revolution by cultivating one’s life through earnest and consistent Buddhist practice. (NHR-25, 134–35)


Compassion

After offering these seven characteristics of human revolution—health, youthfulness, good fortune, wisdom, passion, conviction and victory—Shin’ichi went on to say that being a true Buddhist practitioner also requires bringing forth one’s compassion, which embraces all of these characteristics.

Referring to [second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda’s guidance on compassion, Shin’ichi said that for us ordinary mortals, taking courageous action translates into compassion. He then emphasized the importance and nobility of dedicating one’s life to kosen-rufu, which itself is the practice of compassion and courage. … “Those who practice the correct teaching of Buddhism and dedicate themselves to making a positive contribution to society and the welfare of others are worthy of genuine respect and admiration. Fame and wealth have nothing to do with it. Such people are manifesting the life state of a bodhisattva.

“The Soka Gakkai is an organization that has reached out to those who are suffering and enabled them to revitalize their lives. And its successive presidents have devoted their lives to this cause.” (NHR-19, 187–88)


Creativity and Invention

If one is determined to encourage people, one can always find a way to do so, no matter how busy one may be.

When Shin’ichi attended a meeting but didn’t have time to deliver a long speech, he would encourage the members by enthusiastically leading them in Soka Gakkai songs. Sometimes he would lead the members in giving three cheers, pouring his whole spirit into it. Or he might sit for a commemorative photograph to reinforce their vow of shared struggle, or shake hands with each person there with the intent of forming a strong bond with each individual.

Sometimes he would send poems or messages of encouragement.

All of this was an expression of his attitude that if he let the present moment slip away, he might never have another chance to encourage someone, and he was determined to encourage each precious member.

If the wellspring of one’s spirit is brimming with intense commitment and determination, the refreshing waters of creativity and invention will well up powerfully. Continual encouragement is the driving force of the procession of happiness that is kosen-rufu. (NHR-24, 319)


Health

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

“To reinforce your health, make a conscious determination to strive to be healthy, chant resonantly every day, manifest exuberant life force and participate vigorously in activities.”

Exerting oneself is invigorating. Concerned for the health of the members, Shin’ichi continued: “Paying careful attention to your diet, amount of sleep and exercise are all indispensable for promoting health. Naturally, you shouldn’t overindulge in food or alcohol, or eat too late at night. Make sure you get enough sleep, and that it is sound and restful.

“It’s also essential to find creative ways to incorporate exercise into your daily life to stay strong.”

Up to the time the militarist authorities jailed [founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo] Makiguchi, he remained energetic and active for kosen-rufu despite being in his 70s. He did not neglect suitable mental and physical exercise.

· · ·

“Basically, we all need to look after and manage our own health. In the end, it’s our personal responsibility. We know our own body better than anyone else.” (NHR-25, 292–93)


Fostering Capable People

“I hope you will remember that racking your brains and dedicating yourselves to support the members’ growth in faith also leads to your own development. Please realize that for you, as leaders, the members are all good friends, helping you do your human revolution and attain Buddhahood in this lifetime.

· · ·

“It is often said that the true measure of a leader is how many outstanding individuals he or she fosters.

“The Buddha regarded helping all living beings attain enlightenment as his mission and joy. Likewise, let us, as disciples of the Buddha, in our respective roles, make it our greatest joy to chant for our juniors to surpass us as leaders and for them to contribute greatly to our movement. This is what gives us meaning as leaders of kosen-rufu.

“Through doing activities together with your juniors, please share with them the basics of faith. Capable individuals are fostered through shared struggle.” (NHR-26, 335–36)


Work

“You can’t do good work if you look at your job as a temporary thing and think you’re not important to your company’s success.

“Mr. Toda used to say: ‘If all one cares about is collecting a paycheck, they’re just a parasite. To be deserving of a paycheck, it is necessary to support the company by working hard.’ He said, ‘In faith, do the work of one; in your job, do the work of three. That is the behavior of a genuine Soka Gakkai member.’

“The Daishonin writes, ‘Regard your service to your lord as the practice of the Lotus Sutra’ (“Reply to a Believer,” WND-1, 905). His message is that we should regard our work as the practice of our Buddhist faith and rise to its challenges in that spirit. It is important that in our jobs we apply the Soka Gakkai spirit and our experiences in faith of making the impossible possible so that we can break through any barriers that limit progress.”

Shin’ichi spoke as if to shake his listeners to the very core of their beings with his prayer that they become the best employees in their workplace. Buddhism is about winning. The only way to demonstrate the truth of Buddhism is to attain actual proof of victory in society. (NHR-24, 264–65)


Shine the Spotlight on Each Person

Everyone is a protagonist on the stage of kosen-rufu. That’s why it’s important to shine the spotlight on each person, and encourage and inspire them through dialogue.

· · ·

“Nichiren Daishonin sent letters to many of his disciples, including Shijo Kingo and Nanjo Tokimitsu. The number of his surviving letters included in the Gosho alone is surprising.

“What does this tell us? Quite simply, that these letters are expressions of his immense compassion, his determination to encourage each of his disciples as much as possible so that they could complete the path to attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime, no matter what happened.

“If we were to remain alone, we’d be unable to gain inspiration in faith or encouragement from our fellow members, and it would be very hard to achieve substantial personal growth or overcome challenges.

“This is the reason that we place such importance on personally meeting and talking with members one to one to offer them guidance and encouragement.” (https://www.worldtribune.org/article/justice-volume-27-chapter-2-63-66/)


Oneness of Mentor and Disciple

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

“The oneness of mentor and disciple starts from living life with the same spirit as one’s mentor and always keeping the mentor firmly in one’s heart. It is easy to talk about the way of mentor and disciple, but if our mentor isn’t in our heart, we aren’t genuinely practicing Buddhism.

If you think of your mentor’s heart as being separate from your own, then the mentor’s actions and guidance cannot serve as an internal standard or model for you. You may then instead take how your mentor views or appraises you as a standard for your behavior. If that happens, you may tend to strive hard if your mentor strictly tells you to but may slacken your efforts if left on your own, and you may even become calculating in trying to elicit the mentor’s approval. You will then neither be able to deepen your faith nor carry out your human revolution.

If leaders fall prey to that tendency, they will extinguish the true spirit of Buddhism, and the pure realm of faith will become a realm of worldly affairs ruled by personal advantage and calculation.

Only by firmly establishing the great way of the oneness of mentor and disciple in one’s own heart can one further the eternal perpetuation of the Law. (NHR-25, 298–99)


Courage

“Nichiren Daishonin states: ‘In battles soldiers regard the general as their soul. If the general were to lose heart, his soldiers would become cowards’ (“The Supremacy of the Law,” WND-1, 613). That you have achieved this goal of seven million households is proof that you have fought courageously as great generals. Without a doubt, your wonderful accomplishment is being wholeheartedly praised and applauded by Nichiren Daishonin, President Makiguchi and President Toda.

“Courage gives rise to hope and strength. Courage is the driving force that enables us to break through the shell of our lesser self and elevate our life condition. Great generals! The curtain has now risen on a period of fresh construction, and an alliance of Soka champions is now solidly in place. A new age has come. Let us step onto the grand stage of history with the sun of courage shining ever brighter in our hearts!” (NHR-13, 329)


Carelessness

A famous proverb says that a thousand days of brilliant achievement can be erased in a single instant. There are cases too numerous to mention of people who accomplished wonderful things only to have them destroyed by a slight act of carelessness. In every endeavor, true victors are those who never relax their guard, remain strict with themselves and continue challenging themselves to the very end.

Shin’ichi’s tone was stern. “There are many factors that led to your mistake, but at the core of them all is arrogance. … You … start to take your job lightly, thinking that since you’ve come so far without making a mistake, everything will be fine. In other words, you become overconfident.” (NHR-12, 125)


Victory

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

For what purpose do we struggle? To become happy. To build a strong self that can never be defeated. To carry out our human revolution. We also struggle for the happiness of others and for the peace and prosperity of society. …

We are Bodhisattvas of the Earth who have appeared in order to spread the Mystic Law and lead people everywhere to enlightenment. Our mission is the realization of the happiness of all humanity, the true aim of kosen-rufu. As long as we have taken up this struggle, we must win. We must fight until the very end, determined to triumph no matter what.

The key to winning in any endeavor is to first win over oneself. How we perceive our obstacles depends on our inner life state. We must win—over cowardice, over the tendency to give up, over laziness. When we triumph over our own limitations, we will make great strides in our lives and shine with the brilliant light of victory. (NHR-19, 161–62)


Changing Poison Into Medicine

“I would like you to pour your entire beings into encouraging everyone on my behalf. Some of our members will have lost loved ones who were also practicing Nichiren Buddhism. Please convey this message to them:

‘Though everything else might be destroyed, the good fortune and benefit we accumulate in our lives through our Buddhist practice will endure eternally. Nichiren Buddhism teaches that if we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo even once, we can attain Buddhahood. Our members who have lost their lives, therefore, have most certainly transformed their karma in this existence, and will be able to embrace the Gohonzon again in their next existence and lead happy lives.

‘In accord with the principle of “changing poison into medicine,” we can positively transform everything through faith in the Mystic Law. Nichiren Daishonin writes, “When great evil occurs, great good follows” (“Great Evil and Great Good,” WND-1, 1119). No matter how painful things may be now, please believe that you will absolutely become happy. Indeed, please become happy without fail. I am praying and hoping that you will rebuild your lives splendidly, with inner strength and fortitude.’” (NHR-30, October 5, 2018, World Tribune insert, p. 3)


The Power of Women

“From next year, 2001, we will begin the second series of Seven Bells, aiming toward the year 2050!” Shin’ichi spoke of the start of a new series of seven-year periods of development and urged the members to work together, harnessing the solidarity of ordinary people, to make the 21st century a century of humanism and peace.

He also noted that women were taking active leadership roles around the world: “The times are clearly changing. Societies and organizations that respect and value women will flourish from now on.

“The Daishonin states that women open the gateway (see “The Treasure of a Child,” WND-2, 884). In the unending development of kosen-rufu, it is women—especially, our young women’s division members, who will open the gateway of good fortune, hope and eternal victory.”

Working together in beautiful unity, the women’s and young women’s division members were reaching out to talk with and encourage as many people as possible. Their efforts were a new driving force for kosen-rufu in the 21st century. (NHR-30, November 9, 2018, World Tribune insert, p. 7)


Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land

“Nichiren Daishonin stated that establishing the correct teaching is the indispensable foundation for realizing the peace of the land,” he said. “Establishing the correct teaching means to carry out an unprecedented religious revolution based on the Buddhist philosophy that teaches respect for life’s sanctity. This is the only means by which to achieve our human revolution, a fundamental transformation of our lives that takes place in the realm of faith.

“The peace of the land refers to social prosperity, the happiness of the people and world peace. While establishing the correct teaching belongs to the realm of faith, securing the peace of the land takes place on the level of society. The peace of the land depends directly on the principles of reverence for life, respect for humanity and peace. These are universal ideals sought by all people and stem from the very essence of human existence, transcending differences of religion, race, ethnicity or ideology. The philosophy of humanism aims to actualize these principles and is the starting point of all our endeavors.” (NHR-14, 254)


Appreciation

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

“Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda often used to say: ‘Those who are always thankful for the Gohonzon enjoy ever-increasing prosperity and good fortune.’ Those who lose their sense of gratitude will find that their good fortune will begin to dissipate. ‘I’ve always been protected. It’s all because of the Gohonzon.’ From this spirit of appreciation come joy, hope and courage.

“Gratitude also enriches our heart. On the other hand, if we are always dissatisfied and disgruntled, we will impoverish our own heart. By taking part in day-to-day Soka Gakkai activities with a spirit of gratitude to the Gohonzon, we can transform our life state.” …

What is important is having the spirit to work enthusiastically for kosen-rufu with gratitude to the Gohonzon and the Soka Gakkai, which taught us about the Gohonzon.

A person filled with gratitude is also filled with joy. And a joyous spirit is the driving force for new endeavors, development, victory and happiness. (NHR-26, 333–35)


All Efforts Are Observed by the Buddhas Throughout the Universe

Shin’ichi wanted to assure [the members] that although their sincere efforts may seem to go unnoticed by others, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the universe observe all.

Buddhism teaches about the workings of karma. Bad causes produce negative effects, and good causes produce positive effects. Moreover, this law applies throughout past, present and future. One’s thoughts, words and deeds in the past are causes that produce effects in one’s present, and one’s conduct in the present will result in effects in the future. …

Everything is up to the individual. Both positive and negative effects in one’s life are the results of one’s own actions. … Buddhist practitioners should strive to live out their lives with an understanding that Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the universe are aware of their actions, based on the causality of life. …

The Buddha is watching over all our efforts. The courageous actions engraved in our lives will become the power to open a brilliant future. (NHR-24, 121–22)

Seikyo Newspaper

Peace, Justice, and the Poetic Mind