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Being on Time

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In the following episode from volume 18 of The New Human Revolution, Ikeda Sensei interacts with a staff member of the the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun, at the beginning of the work day. He appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto.

The Seikyo Shimbun staff were surprised to see Shin’ichi Yamamoto sitting by the attendance ledger when they arrived at work that day. Some greeted him energetically, while others were startled into silence. At nearly 9 that morning, the official starting time, one young reporter came rushing into the office at full speed, his personal seal out and ready to stamp the attendance ledger. He was in such a rush that he didn’t even notice Shin’ichi sitting there as he pressed his seal on the page. With an expression of relief, he raised his head to see Shin’ichi right in front of him. 

He gasped in surprise. Shin’ichi laughed and said: “Good morning. You need to try to get to work a little earlier in the morning.” 

One reporter arrived late. Shin’ichi addressed him in a friendly tone, “Why are you late today?” 

“I’m sorry. I overslept.” 

“Your honesty is refreshing,” Shin’ichi said. “Are you well? Are you overtired?” 

“No, I’m fine.” 

Relieved to hear it, Shin’ichi said in an even tone: “[Second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda was so strict about how we started off the work day. He never trusted employees who hurried in at the last minute or arrived late to work. He believed such behavior was the sign of a character that was undisciplined, irresponsible or cunning.”

Thinking back on his mentor, Josei Toda, Shin’ichi spoke fondly of his memories of the time they spent together: “Mr. Toda used to harshly scold anyone who was late to work, saying, ‘If you are late, you are of no use to us!’ He believed that the entire team would fall apart if even one member turned up late for their assigned duties at the beginning of a struggle. I always arrived at work 30 minutes early and tidied the office, waiting for the others to arrive. It won’t do you any good to start polishing your weapons after the battle’s begun.

“For adults, always being late destroys the trust others have in us. In society, our behavior is regarded as revealing our whole character. And if we are regularly oversleeping and arriving late, we almost inevitably begin to lie about it. That dishonesty, however, is quickly exposed, thus further harming our reputation. It’s very difficult to restore a blemished reputation, I assure you. 

“It’s important to begin the day right. Human revolution is not some abstract notion, separate from our lives; it starts with the details of our daily activities.”

“I understand!” replied the young man, his eyes shining with fresh determination. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 18, revised edition, pp. 57–58)

Our Efforts Awaken Other Buddhas

Q: I’m having a hard time participating in SGI activities because of a busy work schedule. How can I find a way to do everything?