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Encouragement

Expanding Our Soka Movement—the World’s Foremost Gathering of Philosophers

Ascending a New Summit of Kosen-rufu Together

Photo by Sung Yoon Jo/ Getty Images.

This essay by Ikeda Sensei was published in the Nov. 5, 2022, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun. 

November, the month we celebrate the glorious anniversary of our founding,[1] is here once again!

Today, Nov. 5, is Young Men’s Division Day. It commemorates the day in 1961, when we held a gathering of 100,000 outstanding young men, thereby fulfilling our vow to our mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. 

From the moment Mr. Toda expressed his ardent wish to achieve such a grand gathering of youth, I set off around the country, calling out to members: “When we rally young Bodhisattvas of the Earth, treasuring each one, we are certain to achieve victory. Now is the time to build a solidarity of youth toward realizing peace for all humankind!”

Today, some 60 years later, young men directly carrying on my spirit are making a fresh start with a new leadership lineup [in Japan]. Nothing is more reassuring than to see such outstanding individuals striving courageously to share Nichiren Buddhism—with members of the Soka Group, Gajokai and Young Men’s Division Academy leading the way.

Nichiren Daishonin cites a sutra passage that states: “If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 279).

Let’s take the lead in changing human history with fresh, innovative ideas and initiatives. Doing so will open doors to a new future, where the triumphant song of youth united for peace will ring out. 

The Soka Gakkai will always triumph through the power of youth; it will develop and thrive forever through the power of capable people.

This Nov. 18 will mark one full year since the fresh start of the Ikeda Kayo-kai [in Japan, with the young women’s division merging with the women’s division]. In the language of flowers, the lotus—one of the symbols of the Kayo-kai (literally Flower Sun Group)—means purity of heart and eloquence.

Our young women are incredibly noble. Like magnificent lotus flowers that emerge unsullied while growing in muddy water, they bring radiant blossoms of happiness and wisdom to bloom amid the harsh realities of society. And like the sun [the Kayo-kai’s other symbol], they illuminate their surroundings by steadily engaging in cheerful, uplifting dialogue. My wife, Kaneko, and I are always warmly watching over the Ikeda Kayo-kai and their inspiring gatherings. 

Our student division members everywhere are also forging circles of friendship and trust as they promote dialogue toward solving social and global issues with wisdom and conviction in these troubled and chaotic times. Their efforts are truly inspiring.

In my dialogue with Aurelio Peccei (1908–84), co-founder of the Club of Rome, we explored the concept of human revolution as a means for overcoming the threats confronting humankind. He and I agreed that all life inherently possesses the infinite potential for value creation and that confidently awakening that potential within all people would lead to a renaissance of the human spirit. We were convinced that young people carrying out their human revolution would be the key to transforming the world.

Today, the youthful global citizens of Soka, embracing the principles of the “mutual possession of the Ten Worlds” and “three thousand realms in a single moment of life,” are unlocking their own Buddha nature and helping others do the same. With patience and perseverance, they are creating a groundswell of dialogue based on respect for all people—emulating the spirit of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging[2]—for the sake of a brighter future.

Tomorrow [Nov. 6], the Study Department Introductory Exam will be held [throughout Japan] for the first time in four years. 

Nowhere else but in the Soka Gakkai do we find such open, all-embracing communities of learning where people of all ages—from our seniors in the Many Treasures Group to members of the junior high and high school divisions—come together to study a philosophy of respect for the dignity of life.

Nichiren Daishonin declares: “If the Law that one embraces is supreme, then the person who embraces it must accordingly be foremost among all others” (“Embracing the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 61).

I am chanting that the exam will be carried out smoothly, without accident, and that all the members and their friends who are taking part, as well as everyone who has supported them in their studies and also the event staff, will enjoy boundless and immeasurable benefits. 

As we approach the start of the Year of Youth and Triumph, let us unite together as the world’s foremost gathering of philosophers and make a song of the triumph of peace and humane values resound far and wide!

December 16, 2022, World Tribune, p. 2

References

  1. The Soka Gakkai was founded on Nov. 18, 1930. ↩︎
  2. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging appears in “Bodhisattva Never Disparaging,” the 20th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This bodhisattva—Shakyamuni in a previous lifetime—lived after the death of the Buddha Awesome Sound King. He would bow to everyone he met and say: “I have profound reverence for you, I would never dare treat you with disparagement or arrogance. Why? Because you will all practice the bodhisattva way and will then be able to attain Buddhahood” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 308). However, he was attacked by arrogant monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen, who beat him with sticks and staves and threw stones at him. The sutra explains that this practice became the cause for Bodhisattva Never Disparaging to attain Buddhahood. ↩︎

Striving With Strong Faith to Overcome All Obstacles