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Ikeda Sensei

Widely Spreading the Light of the Buddhism of the Sun

Third Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting

The Daisaku and Kaneko Ikeda cherry trees are in full bloom at the SGI-USA Washington, D.C., Culture Center, April 2021.
The Daisaku and Kaneko Ikeda cherry trees are in full bloom at the SGI-USA Washington, D.C., Culture Center, April 2021. Photo by Jenn Geisler

Ikeda Sensei sent the following message to the Third Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial and the Women’s Division 70th Anniversary “Hope” General Meeting, which were held jointly and celebrated May 3, Soka Gakkai Day, at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Tokyo on April 18, 2021.

At the gathering, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada announced that, with Sensei’s approval, the women’s division and young women’s division in Japan will make a fresh start by joining together in the new women’s division (Jpn josei-bu). As the first step, from May 3, the Japanese name for the women’s division will change from fujin-bu to josei-bu [with the English translation remaining unchanged]. As the second step, from Nov. 18, the young women’s division will officially join with the new women’s division. [These changes only apply to the Soka Gakkai in Japan.]

Sensei’s message was originally published in the April 19, 2021, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.

Congratulations on the creation of the new women’s division (josei-bu) in Japan—merging the present women’s division and young women’s division (fujin-bu and joshi-bu)—in a historic milestone building on their legacy of seven decades.[1]

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “Among all the teachings of the Buddha’s lifetime, the Lotus Sutra is first, and … among the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, that of women attaining Buddhahood is first” (“The Sutra of True Requital,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 930). That is why the happiness and victory of women is the first priority of the Soka family.

Once, addressing a group of women, my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, said with deep feeling: “Where else in the world can we find women who are so concerned for the welfare of the people and so engaged in discussing the future of our world from the 21st century on into the eternal future of the Latter Day of the Law? You are here by your own choice, based on the vow you made in the infinite past.”

Nichiren, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, is surely aware of all your efforts, and both founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and President Toda are without a doubt watching over you.

I hope you, the women of Soka, will forge ahead confidently, with ever-greater optimism and pride, camaraderie and good cheer. Striving together in the world’s most beautiful unity in diversity—each of you blossoming in your own unique way—please create a shining century of hope for women, a century of respect for life, of equality and of peace.

On April 20, 1951, ahead of his inauguration as second Soka Gakkai president, Mr. Toda founded the Seikyo Shimbun, marking the start of a revolution empowering people, especially youth, to speak out for what they believe in.

As the paper celebrates its 70th anniversary this month, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to our members who deliver it each day and to all who have supported and contributed to the paper over the years, sharing it with friends and helping build it into the great publication it is today.

Thanks to the development of its digital edition, the paper’s features are now being accessed by readers in 206 countries and territories, a crystallization of the prayers of mentors and disciples that the Seikyo Shimbun would be read the world over.

Noting the power of words and writing in spreading the Mystic Law, the Daishonin says:

A single character of the Lotus Sutra is like the great earth, which gives rise to all things. A single character is like the great ocean, which contains the water from all rivers. A single character is like the sun and moon, which illuminate all four continents [the entire world]. This single character changes and … becomes a Buddha. (“Reply to Onichi-nyo,” WND-1, 1089)

I hope that our young Bodhisattvas of the Earth of the youth division, utilizing the Seikyo Shimbun and its sister publications across the globe, will make even greater efforts to demonstrate this far-reaching, value-creating power of words.

During our discussion meetings in Japan this month [April]—which also marks the anniversary of the Daishonin’s declaration of his teaching—members are studying a passage from “On Reprimanding Hachiman.” President Makiguchi underlined this passage in his copy of the Daishonin’s writings.

The Daishonin, looking back over his efforts [of 28 years] since proclaiming his teaching on April 28, 1253, writes:

I, Nichiren, have done nothing else, but have labored solely to put the five or seven characters of Myoho-renge-kyo[2] into the mouths of all the living beings of the country of Japan. In doing so, I have shown the kind of compassion that a mother does when she labors to put milk into the mouth of her infant child. (“On Reprimanding Hachiman,” WND-2, 931)

By compassionately sharing the Mystic Law and advancing kosen-rufu, we of the Soka Gakkai are carrying on in modern times this infinitely compassionate and persevering struggle of Nichiren.

In particular, we must never, ever forget that our great movement for peace, culture and education owes its existence in large part to the efforts of Soka women dedicated to kosen-rufu. While praying and struggling to change their destiny, they have continued to reach out with compassion, courage and perseverance, undeterred by criticism and opposition, to introduce the Buddhism of the Sun to one person after another.

As we celebrate May 3—Soka Gakkai Day and Soka Gakkai Mother’s Day—and together with the new women’s division in Japan, let us reignite this essence of the Soka Gakkai spirit in our hearts. Let us spread the “highly effective medicine” (The Lotus Sutra and its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 269) of the Mystic Law so that our friends, our communities and the lands where we dwell can enjoy its boundless benefit.

Let us pledge to achieve a resounding victory of “many in body, one in mind” and the “oneness of mentor and disciple,” together with our inspiring fellow members everywhere!


  1. The women’s division and young women’s division were founded on June 10 and July 19, 1951, respectively. ↩︎
  2. Myoho-renge-kyo is written with five Chinese characters, while Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is written with seven (nam, or namu, being composed of two characters). Nichiren Daishonin often uses Myoho-renge-kyo synonymously with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in his writings. ↩︎

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