Skip to main content

Feature

The Year of Youth and Dynamic Progress

SGI-USA youth division members strengthen their bonds of friendship at a July Youth Discussion meeting, Santa Monica, Calif., July 2019.
Connections—SGI-USA youth division members strengthen their bonds of friendship at a July Youth Discussion meeting, Santa Monica, Calif., July 2019. Photo by Debra Williams.

On Nov. 18, the Soka Gakkai announced its 2022 theme: the Year of Youth and Dynamic Progress. As we reflect on the past year and approach a new one, we may wonder how to make “dynamic progress” amid incredible uncertainty. However, when we look at the Soka Gakkai’s long history, it is our proud tradition to make significant strides in the most challenging circumstances.

Ikeda Sensei, in his message to the 46th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of the New Era of Worldwide Kosen-rufu, held on Aug. 26, 2020, put such challenges into perspective, stating:

The decade from the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary to its centennial in 2030 will be crucial. We must be even more determined to show victorious proof of our own human revolution, to transform all great evil into great good and to effect a powerful change in the destiny of all humankind.[1]

In times like these, it is the Bodhisattvas of the Earth who are capable of creating a shift in humanity’s trajectory toward a century of human dignity and peace. With this in mind, it is all the more vital that we make greater strides to expand our movement for kosen-rufu while fostering young people and invigorating the organization with fresh, youthful energy.

Let’s take a look at some practical actions we can take in 2022 to win in our lives, families and communities.

Widely share this Buddhism to transform our land

In Sensei’s message to the Fifth Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial, held on Nov. 18, 2021 (see pp. 2–3), he spoke of next year’s significance:

Next year [2022] marks the 70th anniversary of the February Campaign, in which I led the way to dynamic progress in our movement for kosen-rufu to repay my gratitude to my mentor. Let’s make our courageous lion’s roar of the oneness of mentor and disciple for justice and humanity resound in our troubled world. Let us spread wide our wings of compassion and wisdom to embrace and encourage our suffering friends, and soar in the sky with regal majesty and pride!

Seventy years ago, in February 1952, Daisaku Ikeda was 24 years old when he led Kamata Chapter in introducing a record 201 families to Buddhism in a single month. The chapter’s breakthrough became a clarion call for the organization to achieve second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s vision to expand its membership to 750,000 households in his lifetime, empower ordinary people to transform their lives and communities and “banish the word misery from the face of the Earth.”[2]

Especially with February as the birth month of Nichiren Daishonin and President Toda, Sensei and the members made a powerful determination to achieve a resounding victory to reply to their mentor, rooted in the conviction that there was no suffering that could not be overcome through their efforts to chant and teach others about Buddhism.

As each person held Buddhist dialogue with one person after another, a fresh wave of energy began to flow vibrantly and spread throughout the organization, and in 1952, the Soka Gakkai increased its membership fourfold. Sensei says, “As disciples, the ultimate way of repaying our gratitude to our mentor is to dedicate ourselves to propagating the Mystic Law and leading as many people as possible toward a life of genuine happiness.”[3]

Challenge our own human revolution

Never forgetting our daily practice of gongyo and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can continue to polish our own lives and bring forth the courage, compassion and wisdom of the Buddha, and apply them to our daily interactions. Sensei says this about the process of human revolution:

The natural process is for people to grow little by little, with the passage of time. Human revolution is a step beyond that gradual process, propelling us rapidly in a positive direction. And while it is a rapid improvement, it is also growth that continues all throughout our lives. There is no end point. And our Buddhist practice is the engine, the driving force, for our human revolution. …

The SGI has consistently followed the path not of abstract arguments but of actual human revolution—transforming our minds, orienting them in the direction of supreme goodness in our real lives through concrete action. …

Human beings always remain human beings; we can’t transform ourselves into some higher being. That’s why the most important thing is to transform ourselves as human beings. … If we are impoverished in terms of our own humanity, our lives remain poor and empty inside.[4]

The Mystic Law is the ultimate principle for moving everything in a positive direction. In Sensei’s message to the headquarters leaders meeting on Nov. 18, he explains:

The great Buddhism of human revolution that we practice teaches us to activate this transformative power in our own lives and urge others to do the same. It enables us to overcome any apathy or inertia in our hearts “day by day and month after month” (see “On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 997), make dynamic strides in our lives and create a better world.[5]

Study Nichiren Daishonin’s writings and Ikeda Sensei’s guidance

In The New Human Revolution, vol. 24, Sensei recalls 1977, which was designated as the Year of Study. He explains the reason for emphasizing study that year: “[Shin’ichi Yamamoto][6] believed that for the Soka Gakkai to make a great leap forward in starting a new phase in the effort for kosen-rufu, all the members would have to engrave the writings of Nichiren Daishonin in their hearts more than ever.”[7]

The Daishonin’s writings—and Sensei’s guidance—are filled with teachings of hope and overflow with the compassion to lead all people to enlightenment. They have the power to inspire and encourage those who are suffering to revitalize their lives and reveal their greatness. At this important new point of departure, and as we head toward our centennial, next year’s theme embodies our determination for the SGI to make even more dynamic progress, with the youth taking the lead in this effort.

Foster capable individuals by expanding our efforts to encourage others

In vol. 30 of The New Human Revolution, Sensei writes about the importance of caring for others in developing our own humanity:

Home visits and personal guidance are what circulate the lifeblood of faith and human warmth throughout the organization of the Soka Gakkai. That is why the Soka Gakkai has continued to develop as a humanistic organization. Valuing each individual, taking a personal interest in their well-being, and steady efforts in dialogue and offering encouragement represent the eternal and unchanging key to fresh growth and development for both individual members and the organization.[8]

The district is the main place where these bonds are forged. Discussion meetings are forums where people of all backgrounds come together in friendship, share their experiences in faith, study Buddhism and support one another in their human revolution.

Toward 2030, with SGI-USA’s focus on “The District Is the Core,” let’s continue to treasure our families and communities, foster capable individuals who embody the same commitment to transform the world and build an even broader solidarity of global citizens committed to peace.

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

References

  1. Sept. 18, 2021, World Tribune, pp. 2–3.
  2. The New Human Revolution, vol. 3, revised edition, p. 99.
  3. February 2016 Living Buddhism, p. 12.
  4. The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, pp. 9–10
  5. See pp. 2–3 of this issue.
  6. Shin’ichi Yamamoto is Ikeda Sensei’s pseudonym as he appears in The Human Revolution and The New Human Revolution novels.
  7. The New Human Revolution, vol. 24, p. 139.
  8. NHR-30, 163.

Win in the End

Ringing the Bells of Peace Throughout the World