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Guidance for Leadership

Creating Dynamic Progress

Friendship—Ten future division members of SGI-Brazil join the first U.S.-Brazil future division exchange, Aliso Viejo, Calif., June 28, 2019. Photo by Debra Williams.

These are excerpts of Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada’s address, made during the Eighth Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial, held on March 6, 2022, in conjunction with the Second Youth Division Leaders Meeting in Yokohama, Japan. The text originally appeared in the March 7, 2022, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.

My heartfelt congratulations to you on the Eighth Headquarters Leaders Meeting and the Second Youth Division Leaders Meeting! 

I want to begin by expressing my profound distress over the heartrending tragedy in Ukraine, a crisis in which warfare continues to threaten the lives, dignity and livelihood of the people there. As Buddhists upholding our belief in the absolute sanctity of life, let us pray with ever-stronger resolve that this crisis will end as quickly as possible, so that people may once again return to days of peace and safety. …

The History and Development of the SGI in Brazil

At the headquarters leaders meeting in February, the Hyogo women’s division’s “Sunflower” Chorus gave us a beautiful rendition of “Saudação a Sensei” (Welcome, Sensei), one of SGI-Brazil’s favorite songs. This song pulses with the spirit to advance kosen-rufu based on the oneness of mentor and disciple, which transcends time and place. 

When the military government came into being in Brazil in 1964, the SGI members were placed under surveillance. And in 1974, Ikeda Sensei was denied entry into the country. Informed of this last-minute denial by telephone, SGI-Brazil members were heartbroken. Sensei encouraged them with the following: 

Now is the time for the Brazilian members to rise up and use this challenge as the starting point for dramatic advancement that will lead to tremendous new growth and development. … 

In the long run, those who have suffered, who have endured the greatest hardship, always become strong. That is a fundamental tenet of Nichiren Buddhism. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 11, revised edition, pp. 58–59)

Since then, our fellow members in Brazil have persisted mightily, earning the trust of their communities while battling falsehoods and prejudice. Ultimately, they won support for and understanding of the Soka Gakkai. …

The actions that each member took to secure peace in their land eventually transformed the destiny of an entire country, and, in 1984, Sensei returned to Brazil for the first time in 18 years. … He said to them: 

The incredible efforts you have made, the solid development you have achieved, and the beautiful heart-to-heart network of solidarity you have built over the years are truly amazing. With the deepest appreciation, and moved to tears by all you have done, I would like to wholeheartedly applaud and commend you, wishing that I could personally embrace and shake hands with each one of you. (NHR-30, 640)

Today, as the pandemic continues its scourge, I know you are all facing the most trying of times, at work and in your personal lives. Yet every hardship and bitter experience can lead to a stronger self and stronger Soka Gakkai. The ability to turn hardships into springboards for progress is found in what Sensei describes as “solid development” and the “beautiful heart-to-heart network of solidarity.” …

It is vital for us to once again unite in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind” and realize “solid development” in securing peace in our land and advancing in our human revolution. Let’s do this together! 

Safeguarding the Advance of the Soka Gakkai

Devilish functions invariably arise when we advance kosen-rufu. This is why we must remain ever vigilant, never allowing such devilish functions to take advantage. 

Take social media for instance. It enables us to share an incredible amount of highly informative content that can help each person grow and help our communities flourish. It’s a wonderful development. 

On the other hand, however, we must also be extremely cautious, because incorrect or misleading information can easily go viral and cause irreparable harm. 

This is especially true for social media accounts created and managed by district or other organizational level leaders that serve as somewhat “official” platforms. These accounts are used to share activity updates and help overall communication among members as well as to transmit official information from the Soka Gakkai or our publications. But please bear in mind that such accounts should never be used to spread rumors or hearsay. 

It can be hard to ascertain whether much of the information online is true or false, right or wrong. Trying to exploit or undermine the Soka Gakkai, some people mask their true identity or intent while trying to deceive members with enticing posts. Since devilish functions work to sow discord, let’s unite in safeguarding the advance of the Soka Gakkai and kosen-rufu. 

The Prayer, Action and Sincere Voice of One Person

In closing, Nichiren Daishonin writes: 

If a spark as small as a bean is set to a single blade of grass in a spring field of a thousand square ri thick with grass, it becomes in an instant an immeasurable, boundless blaze. (“The Offering of an Unlined Robe,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 533)

The prayer, action and sincere voice of one person can become the veritable spark that sets off a blaze of growth leading to dramatic progress in kosen-rufu. 

With youthful hearts, let’s all strive toward March 16, then on to April 2 and May 3, to achieve the dynamic progress of kosen-rufu throughout Japan and the world! Thank you. 

A Formula for Unending Victory

How do I deal with those who have disappointed or discouraged me?