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Ikeda Sensei

The Future Begins With America

WTC Tribute in Lights with Freedom Tower and Statue of Liberty

To mark the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, the World Tribune is reprinting the poignant message Ikeda Sensei sent to the members of the SGI-USA on its one-year anniversary. In it, Sensei conveys the important role that America plays in securing peace for all humanity. This message was originally published in the Sept. 6, 2002, World Tribune.

A year has already passed since the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, and I will never forget the shock and heartbreak I felt when I heard the news of the terrorist attacks on my beloved America. Over the past year, I have taken every opportunity to pray deeply for all those who lost their lives and for their family members. Again, I want to express my heartfelt respect and deepest praise for your dauntless spirit and courageous action.

In addition, your friends around the world have been sending you their unstinting applause and admiration. It is my great honor and unexcelled joy to continue to advance together with all of you for the sake of America’s genuine prosperity and for lasting peace around the world.

All of you have stood up … with resolute dignity, a renewed pioneering spirit, sense of mission and deep determination to open a new era of kosen-rufu in America.

My dear members of the SGI-USA, you have developed your organization to more than 2,000 districts nationwide, thereby achieving a beautiful victory!

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “When great evil occurs, great good follows” (“Great Evil and Great Good,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 1119). I am strongly convinced that in response to your courageous faith, which has remained steadfast and unshaken, increasing multitudes of Bodhisattvas of the Earth will dance forth from the land of America.

There are many lessons to be gleaned from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. This incident, directly and indirectly, has caused unimaginable suffering to a great many people, and its destructive effect has been inestimable.

Gazing fixedly ahead into the 21st century, in order to guarantee that such a tragedy never be allowed to happen again and ensure that humankind will absolutely transform its tragic destiny, I would like to affirm the following three points:

First, in order to arrive at a fundamental solution to the problems facing humanity today, open dialogue aimed at developing mutual trust and understanding is essential. At the root of conflicts in the world today lie mistrust and hatred. In order to transcend these, the genuine power of dialogue is indispensable.

To this end, while communicating our beliefs and convictions clearly to others, we must exert ourselves fully to respect the dignity of people’s lives and endeavor to understand them. Respecting our differences and learning from one another, we must tenaciously persist in talking with others, engaging them repeatedly in discussion.

We must recognize that the fundamental path to solving these problems exists only in the process of substantial efforts at dialogue.

Second, each of us must be deeply convinced that a transformation in the awareness of a single person can eventually change the whole world. Efforts to enable a reformation in the life of one person will ultimately move the hearts of many people, reforming society and changing the history of humankind.

To put it another way, as the solidarity of peace and trust among awakened individuals spreads from one person to 10,000, from our local communities to society as a whole, a fresh reformation of the times will become possible.

What we refer to as worldwide kosen-rufu, therefore, is crystallized within the unrelenting efforts of individuals challenging themselves to open the hearts of others, illuminating them with the wisdom of Buddhism. The power of a great human revolution within the life of a single human being will definitely break the chains of the hatred and violence that bind us—now is the time to spread this message to the world.

Please be convinced that the constructive force that each of you are spreading to your communities, to society and to the world far surpasses the destructive force that gave rise to the tragedy of Sept. 11.

Third, let us deepen our awareness and conviction that the future of humankind rests on the shoulders of each member of the SGI.

Today, many people regard the future with fear and apprehension. In contrast, we of the SGI cherish the belief that world peace is possible when we base ourselves on the Mystic Law. We have earnestly and steadily shown proof of this conviction. We are working to create a future of hope and happiness—not merely in theory or principle, but in reality.

Moreover, it is our ongoing mission as SGI members to communicate this message of a hopeful future to the people. Let us then redouble our efforts to expand our network of courage and pacifism throughout the world!

Because we embrace the Mystic Law, we fear nothing. With the heart of a lion king, as Nichiren Daishonin describes it, now is the time to stand up to engage in courageous dialogue and take bold action.

It is my unchanging belief that the happiness and future of humanity depends on the United States. By the United States, I mean each of you, the members of the SGI-USA.

The spread of Nichiren Buddhism in America is the path leading to its spread throughout the world. In this sense, all of you are world leaders.

With this as your pride, let us start anew with bold and dynamic progress. With a vision toward 2005, the 75th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai and the 45th anniversary of kosen-rufu in America, let us thus ensure the transformation of this world of violence and war into a world of dialogue and peace.

Please advance with courage, turning the tragic date of Sept. 11 into a day of rebirth and fresh beginnings for America, a day on which you strengthen your determination and bonds of solidarity to achieve kosen-rufu.

I am always praying earnestly for the health and great happiness of my precious, precious friends in the SGI-USA, each of whom is standing up to fulfill a magnificent mission, as well as for the eternal development and prosperity of America.

Together, please live out your lives cheerfully and with courage, adorning yourselves with supreme fulfillment and victory!

Daisaku Ikeda
Sept. 11, 2002

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