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Ikeda Sensei

Building a Society That Supports Aging With Joy

Photo by Hoss Mcbain.

Originally published in the August 2022 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

In the letter Nichiren Daishonin wrote to the lay nun Myoichi containing his famous words “Winter always turns to spring” (“Winter Always Turns to Spring,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 536), he expresses his appreciation for her sincere support and assistance, saying: “In what lifetime could I ever forget what you have done for me? I will repay this debt of gratitude by serving you in the next lifetime” (WND-1, 536).

It has been 75 years since I threw myself into the movement for kosen-rufu as second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s disciple.[1] I would like to impart that message from the Daishonin to all of you, my unforgettable, treasured comrades who have triumphed in countless great struggles alongside me while sharing joys and sorrows.

Nichiren Daishonin is fully aware of all your “good deeds, both great and small, without overlooking the slightest detail” (“The Gods Same Birth and Same Name,” WND-1, 316). We are people rich in visible reward from unseen virtue, connected by our shared vow and trust, who will remain together eternally.

The verse section of the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra that we recite every morning and evening contains the words: “This, my land, remains safe and tranquil, constantly filled with heavenly and human beings” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 272). You, my noble comrades in the struggle—the Many Treasures Buddhas of Soka—are praying and taking action based on the humanistic principles of Nichiren Buddhism to create right here in this troubled world a more secure and tranquil “treasure land” like that described in the sutra. That is also a challenge you have taken on as members of a generation that knows firsthand the misery of war and the preciousness of peace.

Each of you has your own painful battles with karma. In the course of your unsparing, untold efforts in life and kosen-rufu, you may face the sufferings of illness, aging and the loss of loved ones. But you have taken to heart Nichiren’s message “Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 283). As champions of unwavering, steadfast faith, you are certain to transform even the most challenging karma and savor the brilliant triumph of attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime, in accord with the Buddhist principle of “lessening karmic retribution.”[2]

Our rapidly aging society is a new frontier in human history. Upholding the Mystic Law—the teaching through which “not a one will fail to attain Buddhahood” (LSOC, 75)—let us of the Soka family unite with respect for all people to build a society that supports aging joyfully.

I hope that you, our Many Treasures Group members, will set an inspiring example for the youth—who are heading into an age of 100-year lifetimes—of “using our long lives to save living beings” (see LSOC, 280). And I fervently pray for the arrival of a spring of tranquility and security for our planet, overflowing with global citizens committed to working together for peace, culture and education.

With absolute confidence,
we forge ahead on
our journey of mentor and disciple,
together with the Daishonin,
our great joy everlasting!


  1. Ikeda Sensei met his mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, for the first time on August 14, 1947, and joined the Soka Gakkai to embark on the path of faith 10 days later on August 24. ↩︎
  2. Lessening karmic retribution: This term, which literally means, “transforming the heavy and receiving it lightly,” appears in the Nirvana Sutra. “Heavy” indicates negative karma accumulated over countless lifetimes in the past. As a benefit of protecting the correct teaching of Buddhism, we can experience relatively light karmic retribution in this lifetime, thereby expiating heavy karma that ordinarily would adversely affect us not only in this lifetime, but over many lifetimes to come. ↩︎

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