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Encouragement

Creating a Groundswell of Peace Through Human Revolution and Respectful Dialogue

11th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting

Josh Miller Photography/ Getty Images.

Ikeda Sensei sent the following message to the 11th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial, held on Nov. 12, 2022, at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo. The meeting commemorated Soka Gakkai Founding Day and marked a fresh start toward 2023—The Year of Youth and Triumph—and the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu. This message was originally published in the Nov. 13, 2022, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.

In this turbulent year, we have achieved magnificent dynamic progress and are able to celebrate another brilliant anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding with our fellow members and good friends around the world. 

Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, is surely aware of all our efforts. 

In one of his letters, Nichiren commends the lay nun of Kubo, who, along with her young daughter, persevered with unwavering faith during the Atsuhara Persecution,[1] undefeated by the struggles that life brought. I would like to read these words as praise for all of our women’s division members and indeed our entire Soka family. Nichiren writes: 

Where strong winds cause the grasses to bend and flashes of lightning fill people with alarm—in a world such as ours, how wonderful it is that to this day you remain unshaken in your faith! … How deep are the roots of your faith, how pure the jewel in your heart. How admirable, how admirable! (“Reply to the Lay Nun of Kubo,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 755)

Thank you for all your tremendous efforts. Thank you so much!

In the verse section of “Life Span,” the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra that we recite every morning and evening during gongyo, we find the passage: 

This, my land, remains safe and tranquil, 

constantly filled with heavenly and human beings. 

The halls and pavilions in its gardens and groves 

are adorned with various kinds of gems. 

Jeweled trees abound in flowers and fruit 

where living beings enjoy themselves at ease. 

The gods strike heavenly drums, 

constantly making many kinds of music.
(The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 272)[2]

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei  Toda once lectured on this passage, using his characteristic humor to encourage members who were devoting themselves earnestly to sharing Buddhism with others while struggling with illness and financial hardship in their own lives: 

Though you may live in a small, cramped, one-room house, if you uphold the Mystic Law, you can fill it with warm and happy smiles. By decorating it with a few simple flowers, you can create your own garden and grove. You can adorn your home, your castle, with treasures of the heart and make it resound with wonderful music.

Your efforts to compassionately share the Mystic Law are creating a realm of peace, culture and the pure joy of just being alive—starting from your humble home and spreading out to your community and society as a whole. 

“Your efforts to compassionately share the Mystic Law are creating a realm of peace, culture and the pure joy of just being alive.”

The eminent British historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889–1975) placed the greatest trust and hope in the development of our grassroots Buddhist movement, whose members strive to carry out their human revolution and elevate their life state while working steadfastly to create happy, harmonious families and pave the way to a more humane and peaceful world. 

In our discussions five decades ago [starting in May 1972], Professor Toynbee and I arrived at the shared view that a future religion capable of creating a new civilization must enable humanity to contend with the evils that are serious present threats to human survival and remove those threats through the inner transformation of each individual.[3]

Professor Toynbee found deep resonance with Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Nichiren Buddhism, in terms of the far-reaching dimension of changing the destiny of humanity and living with love and compassion for the natural environment and the entire universe.

Over the past half century, through the prayers, dedication and solidarity of our members—ordinary people united in diversity—we have built, one after another, castles of peace, culture and education. Many thoughtful people around the world are applauding our accomplishments—as no doubt Professor Toynbee would, too. 

Today, when the threats to humanity’s survival are greater than ever, let us harness the power of dialogue based on respect for others and respect for life, and brightly illuminate the world with the great light of wisdom, courage and compassion of the Buddhism of the Sun.  

The “Life Span” chapter sings of “the halls and pavilions in [the] gardens and groves” (LSOC, 272), and construction is now underway on just such a hall, a grand new auditorium for Kansai. 

Mr. Toda used to say to me: “I am Josei and you are Daisaku. Let’s join together to build a great castle [Jpn daijo, combining the first characters in Daisaku and Josei] of Soka!” 

Today, as an expression of my appreciation and felicitations to all our members, I would like to share two calligraphic works I inscribed while recalling this spirit of my mentor. 

The first is “Golden Castle” [literally Jinzhou Castle, the name of an invincible fortress in ancient China, which in the Soka Gakkai has become synonymous with the Kansai organization].[4]

Golden Castle

Mr. Toda was overjoyed above all to see the magnificent golden castle the Kansai members and I built through our propagation efforts. It is the mission and true purpose of Soka mentors and disciples, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, to ensure our eternally imperishable, ever-victorious castles of truth and justice—in Kansai, throughout Japan  and all over the world—continue to triumph and prosper, and subdue the devilish forces that inflict suffering and misery on the people.[5]

The second calligraphy is “Castle of Good Fortune.” 

“Castle of Good Fortune”

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “Please believe that your good fortune will increase, as the sea tide swells and as the moon waxes full, and that your life will lengthen and you will be reborn on Eagle Peak”[6] (“The Statue of Shakyamuni Buddha Made at Toki,” WND-2, 354).

As members of the Soka family, each one of us is an expert in accumulating good fortune. In the coming new year, with a powerful life force like the rising tide, let us achieve the great vows we have made for kosen-rufu and our lives, one by one, like the moon waxing full. And striving even more to lead healthy, long lives, together let us make a song of our eternal triumph resound!

Nichiren writes, “If the ruler of a [castle] is unbending, then those who guard [it] will remain firm” (“How the Gods Protect the Place of Practice,” WND-2, 668). I entrust everything to you, our admirable youth division members, the youthful “rulers”—leaders—of our Soka castles of mentor and disciple. 

I am praying for the great success of the Soka Youth Festivals [that will be held throughout Japan in November and December] as you advance from the Year of Youth and Dynamic Progress (2022) to the Year of Youth and Triumph (2023). 

Our communities are places with which we share deep karmic ties; they are our provinces where the Daishonin has entrusted us with the propagation of Buddhism (see “The Properties of Rice,” WND-1, 1117). In the places we have chosen to fulfill our vow for kosen-rufu, let’s enfold in good fortune everyone we form a connection with and joyfully pledge together to create a groundswell of happiness and peace for all humankind! 

References

  1. Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji District, Suruga Province (present-day central Shizuoka Prefecture), starting around 1275 and continuing until around 1283. In 1279, 20 disciples, all farmers, were arrested on false charges and interrogated by Hei no Saemon-no-jo, the deputy chief of the Office of Military and Police Affairs, who demanded that they renounce their faith. However, not one of them yielded.
    Hei no Saemon-no-jo eventually had three of them executed. ↩︎
  2. This refers to the portion in gongyo that reads: “Ga shi do annon. Tennin jo juman. Onrin sho do-kaku. Shuju ho shogon. Hoju ta keka. Shujo sho yu-raku. Shoten gyaku tenku. Jo sas shu gi-gaku.”  ↩︎
  3. Arnold J. Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda, Choose Life: A Dialogue (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007), pp. 293–94. ↩︎
  4. See November 2022 Living Buddhism, p. 51. ↩︎
  5. In February 1956, when the young Daisaku Ikeda led the Osaka Campaign, he composed a poem expressing his determination to achieve a resounding victory and presented it to his mentor, Josei Toda, on Feb. 11, the latter’s birthday: “The Jinzhou Castle / now being built / in Kansai / will be eternally imperishable, / subduing all devilish forces.” Mr. Toda reciprocated with the following poem: “What joy to behold / the Jinzhou Castle / my disciple / is building / through propagation!” ↩︎
  6. Eagle Peak is the place where Shakyamuni preached the Lotus Sutra. It is also called the pure land of Eagle Peak, symbolizing the Buddha land or the eternal state of Buddhahood. ↩︎

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