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Daily Life

A Formula for Unending Victory

Photo by Yvonne Ng.

What’s your determination for next month’s general meeting?” “Let’s fight toward March 16!” If you’ve been around the Soka community for a while, you’ve likely heard comments like these. 

Whether you’re ready to take on a new challenge or hesitant to move your life in a new direction, it’s important to understand why we emphasize determinations, goals and significant dates. Let’s break it down and identify how setting a determination toward this May 3, Soka Gakkai Day, can help us move our lives forward dynamically and consolidate our happiness.

1. Goals pave a path of concrete progress.

Our Buddhist practice enables us to win over our suffering and lead lives of complete fulfillment, while helping many others do the same. Our success hinges on our ability to consistently refresh our resolve to move forward. This starts with setting concrete goals.

Ikeda Sensei explains:

People need goals. First Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi used to say that an arrow aimed at an ill-defined target would never strike its mark. If we aimlessly wander along, we will not feel energized, but with a goal, our steps are purposeful and strong.[1]

The Soka Gakkai tradition is to first decide what the outcome of a challenge will be, resolve to achieve it with daimoku and then trace our steps backward to come up with the best course of action. Each time we accomplish a goal, it serves as a milestone in our development. What’s more, we gain confidence in our ability to surmount future challenges.

Milestones are especially effective when we have our sights set on larger, long-term goals (i.e., what kind of life do you want to live in 2030?). In the Lotus Sutra’s parable of the phantom city, we can find a poetic metaphor for setting milestones.

The parable tells of a caravan of people on a voyage to a treasure, or Buddha, land. Because it is an arduous journey, before long, the exhausted travelers wish to turn back. If they do, however, their efforts will have been in vain. Thus, the leader urges them on, pointing ahead to a city where they can rest. After they reach this oasis and refresh their spirits, the city vanishes. Rejuvenated, the travelers continue on to their true destination, the not-so-distant treasure land.[2]

This parable teaches that the phantom city and the treasure land are one and the same. The Buddha land is not a distant destination but the place where we are right now, striving to develop ourselves and contribute to kosen-rufu for the happiness of all. For us, the phantom city represents the goals we make to develop ourselves and to nurture and extend our kosen-rufu movement. And it is amid striving to accomplish our goals that we bring forth the life state of Buddhahood that is capable of transforming any karma, however deep.

2. Significant Soka Gakkai dates mark the legacy of champions.

We all face a slew of hardships at any given moment. Buddhism teaches that when we determine to help others amid our own difficulties, we transform the function of our hardships into the precise conditions to forge our lives and fulfill our mission. 

To apply faith to daily life, we, as Soka Gakkai members, aim toward significant dates in the history of our kosen-rufu movement, including Kosen-rufu Day on March 16, Soka Gakkai Day on May 3 and Soka Gakkai Founding Day on Nov. 18.

For us, these dates contain profound meaning, marking notable moments when Sensei overcame tremendous hardship with faith and set forth anew, creating a blueprint for countless others to make the impossible possible through faith. By commemorating these dates through reaching personal milestones in our lives and Buddhist community, we become inheritors of Sensei’s spirit to always advance, unbowed by any trial.

3. We can start with our next milestone, Soka Gakkai Day, on May 3.

This year, on April 2, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom, Ikeda Sensei and Mrs. Ikeda recited gongyo at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Tokyo to mark the anniversary of the passing of their mentor, Josei Toda, on April 2, 1958.

For us, May 3 is a particularly significant day, as on this day in 1951 Mr. Toda was inaugurated as the second president of the Soka Gakkai, developing it into Japan’s largest lay Buddhist movement; and on this day in 1960 Sensei became the third president, setting the stage for its dynamic growth into a worldwide grassroots movement with more than 11 million practitioners in 192 countries and territories. Thus, it is a day when we make our mentor’s invincible spirit our own.

The period between April 2 and May 3, in particular, is a time for us to open the “cherry blossom path of Soka” (see here) and advance even more powerfully as Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

With May 3, New Year’s Day for the Soka Gakkai in sight, let us take a fresh step forward, marking the hope-filled rhythm of Soka and setting the stage for ever more victories.

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff


  1. The New Human Revolution, vol. 18, pp. 95–96. ↩︎
  2. See The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 174–75. ↩︎

Nothing to Fear

Creating Dynamic Progress