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Ikeda Sensei

Expanding Our Hope-Filled Movement of Respect for the Dignity of Life

Photo by Jonathan Wilson.

Ikeda Sensei sent the following message to the Seventh Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial on Feb. 6, 2022, held in conjunction with the Hyogo General Meeting, at the Hyogo Ikeda Culture Center in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, in the Kansai region. Soka Gakkai members throughout Hyogo Prefecture also attended the meeting remotely at 31 centers. This message was originally published in the Feb. 7, 2022, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.

Thank you for gathering in person or online to join today’s Soka Gakkai headquarters leaders meeting and jubilant Hyogo General Meeting! It marks the kickoff for my beloved Ever-Victorious Hyogo and Ever-Victorious Kansai as they lead the way in making joyful, dynamic strides toward a vibrant spring of Soka.

Nichiren Daishonin cites an old proverb: “One is the mother of ten thousand” (“A Sage and an Unenlightened Man,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 131). Everything starts with courageously reaching out to one person in sincere dialogue.

In February 1952, in tandem with the February Campaign in Tokyo’s Kamata Chapter,[1] a youthful comrade sharing my spirit rose into action and with a fervent pioneering resolve introduced the first new member to Nichiren Buddhism in Kansai.[2] Such unseen efforts paved the way to the development of our great, world-renowned organization in Kansai today.

Congratulations on the 70th anniversary of our indomitable kosen-rufu movement in Kansai! Today, intrepid young successors, like Kusunoki Masatsura[3] of the song “Dainanko” (The Great Hero Kusunoki), embodying the principle of “from the indigo, an even deeper blue,” are emerging to take the lead. And the efforts of our entire Soka family to engage in sincere Buddhist dialogue with one person after another are creating a future of bright hope and promise beyond measure.

With our awareness and conviction as disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, we will be allies to those who are suffering and build a world where all people can live with true security and peace of mind.

Over the past seven decades, in the spirit expressed by Nichiren Daishonin as “sharing as one a friend’s joys and sorrows” (see “Reply to the Honorable Konichi,” WND-2, 964), my dear Kansai members and I have shared the struggles and delights of kosen-rufu and life.

I recall how during the Osaka Incident,[4] Kansai members delivered a copy of the Daishonin’s writings to me while I was being held in jail for questioning. That volume, with its authorization slip from the detention center attached, has been carefully preserved for posterity. 

Because we are united by the solid bond of basing ourselves on Nichiren’s writings, we have nothing to fear. There is a passage from one of the Daishonin’s letters that the Kansai members and I engraved in our hearts: 

Now you and I are joined together as teacher and lay supporter. But so long as you live [being an ordinary mortal], you must follow and obey the ruler of the nation. Thus you are going to face this present perilous situation, but I can hardly hold back my tears [thinking how your personal crisis will serve to relieve you of your past offenses]. … Though your body must face the perils of the present crisis, your mind is one with the mind of the Buddha. And though in your present existence you must enter the realm of asuras, in your future existence you will without doubt dwell in the Buddha land. (“The Refutation of the Three Great Teachers,” WND-2, 958–59)

In this age of turmoil and confusion, amid seemingly never-ending challenges, we of the Soka Gakkai dedicate ourselves to spreading the Mystic Law. With the same mind as the Buddha and the same spirit as the Daishonin, we strive to develop an unshakable, eternal state of happiness in the depths of our lives and help others do the same. And we take courageous, patient action to positively transform our communities and society—in the spirit of “purifying the land three times” as described in the Lotus Sutra (see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 212–13)—and realize the Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” 

This is the Soka Gakkai spirit originating with first and second Soka Gakkai presidents Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda. 

I was in Hyogo’s Amagasaki City, a place where I forged deep ties with Kansai members, the night before I was pronounced not guilty on all charges in the trial stemming from the Osaka Incident. I passionately called on my fellow members to embrace this indomitable vow: “With our awareness and conviction as disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, we will be allies to those who are suffering and build a world where all people can live with true security and peace of mind.”

Today, in our age of such daunting challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing natural disasters due to climate change, our Soka movement of respect for the dignity of life is becoming an invaluable support and lifeline for people throughout Japan and around the world. Our members are demonstrating unsurpassed resilience with their spirit to overcome all hardships based on the Buddhist principle of “changing poison into medicine.” 

In that respect, our organizations in Hyogo and in Kansai are models of hope, courage and unity.

It was also 70 years ago, in August 1952,[5] that I took my first step for kosen-rufu in Kansai. I remember crossing the bridge over the Yodogawa River on board the Tsubame special express train and gazing at the majestic form of Osaka Castle aglow in the sunset sky.

With that visit, I initiated, and carry on to this day, a joint struggle with comrades in faith awakened to our vow for kosen-rufu from the distant past. Together, we have striven tirelessly to build in Kansai a magnificent, indestructible, everlasting castle of peace and security for the people.

At the time of the devastating Kobe earthquake of January 1995, this culture center where today’s meeting is being held, as well as other Soka Gakkai facilities in stricken areas of Hyogo and the Kansai region, served as evacuation centers and relief supply distribution hubs—castles protecting the people. Courageous members from throughout Kansai and other parts of Japan, youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth, devoted themselves unsparingly to relief and reconstruction efforts. I will never forget this noble history.

Now, plans are underway for the construction of a grand new Soka Gakkai auditorium in Kansai as one of our centennial projects. It is sure to be eagerly anticipated by members around the world.

The Daishonin writes that if our prayers are strong, the protection of the heavenly deities will likewise be strong, underscoring his message with the analogy “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). Through the strong faith and solid unity of each of you, my friends in Kansai—the “rulers” of this new glorious castle of mentor and disciple—please continue to further strengthen and expand the protection of the heavenly deities. And with the confidence that nothing surpasses the “strategy of the Lotus Sutra” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 1001)—that is, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—set forth anew in our movement dedicated to the highest good. Please make a song of spring, brimming with happiness and an ever-
victorious spirit, resound far and wide!

In celebration of today’s Hyogo General Meeting, I would like to present you with two works of calligraphy that I inscribed in the past for Hyogo Women’s Division Day, March 16 (in 1983).

In Great Hyogo,
skies clear and earth illuminated, 
adorn this existence 
with rich benefit 
like the moon growing full.


I entrust you, my friends, 
with building 
our Great Hyogo.

In closing, I pray for the health, happiness and victory of our members everywhere. Stay well!


  1. February Campaign: In February 1952, as a 24-year-old chapter advisor, Ikeda Sensei led Tokyo’s Kamata Chapter in achieving the unprecedented monthly propagation result of 201 new households, breaking through the previous monthly record of around 100. ↩︎
  2. Giichiro Shiraki, a Kamata Chapter member whom second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda appointed the acting leader of the newly formed Osaka Chapter, went to Kansai in February 1952 and began his efforts to share Nichiren Buddhism with others. He introduced the first new member for Osaka Chapter, which is regarded as the starting point of the kosen-rufu movement in Kansai. Mr. Shiraki later went on to become the first chapter leader of Osaka Chapter.  ↩︎
  3. Kusunoki Masatsura (1326–48) was a Japanese military leader during the Nanbokucho period. When he was just a boy, his father, Kusunoki Masashige (1294–1336), a prominent samurai warrior, parted with him as he left for his final battle, entrusting Masatsura with his legacy. ↩︎
  4. Osaka Incident: The occasion when Sensei, then-Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, was arrested and wrongfully charged with election law violations in a House of Councillors by-election in Osaka in 1957. At the end of the court case, which began on Oct. 18, 1957, and concluded on Jan. 25, 1962, he was fully exonerated. ↩︎
  5. Sensei arrived in Osaka on Aug. 14, 1952, the fifth anniversary of his first encounter with President Toda. ↩︎

How can I recover from a serious setback?

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