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The New Human Revolution

Great Path

The New Human Revolution, vol. 24, chapter 2

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Installment 10

Installment 1

We recite and we sing!
A rainbow of poetry and song of our grand adventure
shines in the skies of kosen-rufu.

Why do I sing?
To kindle hope and ignite a flame of courage
in the hearts of sorrowing friends!
To sound in each person’s heart
an ode to the human spirit,
so we may walk together the great path of truth and justice!

Of what do I sing?
Of the limitless power of human potential!
Of noble heroes of the people
who bravely face the tempests of hardship,
turning suffering into joy,
and make triumphant songs of life resound!
Of lives pure, beautiful, and strong,
like the lotus flower blooming in muddy water.
Of hearts, rich, vast, and boundless,
encompassing the whole universe!

Ah, people!
How noble, how lofty!
With reverence,
I will continue to sing of my friends’
victorious dramas of human revolution.

The summer sun blazed.

A power boat glided over the Seto Inland Sea[1] with its silver waves and green islands. The breeze was pleasant.

At 1 p.m. on July 24, 1978, Shin’ichi Yamamoto and his party embarked on the King Romance, which they had chartered to save time, from Okayama Prefecture to the Shikoku Training Center in Aji, Kagawa Prefecture. This was Shin’ichi’s second visit to Shikoku this year.

Shin’ichi said to his wife, Mineko: “I will foster highly capable people here in Shikoku. Our members are the Soka Gakkai’s treasures. Kosen-rufu develops only when we raise capable people. I will meet with everyone I can and nurture champions who share my spirit.”

Installment 2

The King Romance docked at the pier in front of the Shikoku Training Center shortly after 2 p.m. The summer sun beat down, and the temperature exceeded 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Sensei! Welcome!” Kagawa members greeted Shin’ichi with smiles, their faces wet with perspiration in the intense heat.

“Thank you for meeting us despite the hot weather,” Shin’ichi said. “Let’s take a group photo.”

Shin’ichi’s encouragement began the moment he arrived. He next toured the training center and spoke to everyone he met inside, on the grounds, and at the beach, thanking and encouraging them. He even went for a swim in the ocean with some of the youth, hoping it would become a fond memory for them.

Members from Okayama had gathered that day to participate in a training course. Shortly after 6 p.m., an outdoor session began in the training center garden as sunset colored the sky over the Inland Sea a bright red.

A banner reading “Welcome to the Shikoku Training Center!” hung at the back of the stage set up for the occasion.

Chorus groups from Kagawa, where the center was located, welcomed the Okayama members with the new Soka Gakkai songs “Stand Up, My Friends,” “The Stars Shine,” and “Life’s Journey.” A koto performance by a group of Kagawa women’s division members came next, followed by an Awa Odori traditional dance by members from Tokushima and a chorus singing the new Chugoku song, “Ode to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.” Then the new Shikoku song, “Our Land,” was introduced.

The distant summits, our summit,
the land of Shikoku is our land . …

The members’ voices rose into the sunset sky as they sang with all their might, expressing their passion to contribute to their beloved home region. They sang it again and again.

When they got to the lines in the second verse “eagerly embrace and protect us, / like the Iron Encircling Mountains [of Jambudvipa],”[2] Shin’ichi vowed in his heart: “I will become the Iron Encircling Mountains and protect my fellow members in Shikoku, children of the Buddha with the mission of Bodhisattvas of the Earth! Don’t be defeated, my friends in Shikoku! You must win no matter what!”

Installment 3

Twilight approached on the Aji seashore.

After the joyous singing, which brimmed with fresh resolve, Shin’ichi faced the microphone. With a smile, he said: “I enjoyed your enthusiastic performance to mark a new dawn of kosen-rufu in Shikoku, sung with great love for your region! I was filled with hope!”

During the training session, Shin’ichi emphasized that it is in the realm of faith, where we dedicate our lives to the grand objective of kosen-rufu, that we can find supreme joy and fulfillment, and he called on everyone to be determined to make a fresh start.

After the session, Shin’ichi jumped in among the participants, shaking their hands, putting his arm around their shoulders and encouraging them. A number of vice presidents and Shikoku region and prefecture leaders followed along.

Sweat streamed down Shin’ichi’s face and body.

When he visited Shikoku six months earlier, it was winter. Bracing himself against the cold winds, he had stressed to each group of leaders, and showed them through his actions, the importance of serving and respecting every member as they would a Buddha. He had insisted that supporting members is a leader’s prime responsibility, launching a leadership revolution in Shikoku.

Buddhism is a teaching of compassion. And compassion can only impart value when it is embodied in our behavior. Nichiren Daishonin writes: “The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being” (“The Three Kinds of Treasure,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 852). The Buddhist way of life is to respect others, guiding and encouraging them toward the great path of happiness. In such behavior lies the essence of Buddhist practice.

If leaders revolutionize their thinking and character and make compassion their way of life, that compassion will ripple through our membership, expanding the network of people committed to encouraging and supporting others in their community and society. And no doubt the bonds between people, which have steadily eroded in the modern world, will be restored.

From another perspective, kosen-rufu means each of us embodying the principles of Buddhism as our personal philosophy and way of life and connecting with others by forging bonds of trust.

An important mission of Soka Gakkai members is broadening such circles of connection and creating an age and a society of respect for the dignity of life in which people value and support one another.

Installment 4

The next afternoon, July 25, a commemorative leaders meeting took place at the Shikoku Training Center to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the first chapter in Shikoku.

Here as well, everyone sang the new Shikoku song, “Our Land,” spreading waves of joy.

At the meeting, Shin’ichi offered guidance based on Nichiren Daishonin’s letter “On the Treasure Tower.” The Daishonin writes: “In the Latter Day of the Law, no treasure tower exists other than the figures of the men and women who embrace the Lotus Sutra. It follows, therefore, that whether eminent or humble, high or low, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are themselves the treasure tower, and, likewise, are themselves the Thus Come One Many Treasures” (WND-1, 299).

The treasure tower refers to the magnificent tower that appears in the Lotus Sutra adorned with the seven kinds of treasures[3]—such as gold, silver and lapis lazuli. The Thus Come One Many Treasures is the Buddha who attests to the Lotus Sutra being the true teaching for the enlightenment of all people.

In other words, by striving in faith, human beings toiling in the real world can, just as they are, shine with the golden brilliance of treasure towers—as embodiments of the Mystic Law—and, like Many Treasures Buddha, attest to the greatness of Buddhism.

Founding Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi studied this letter deeply, underlining many of its passages in his copy of the Daishonin’s writings.

Shin’ichi then read another passage: “Abutsu-bo is therefore the treasure tower itself, and the treasure tower is Abutsu-bo himself. No other knowledge is purposeful” (WND-1, 299).

“Here, the Daishonin tells Abutsu-bo, the letter’s recipient, that each of us, just as we are, embody the Mystic Law and that the treasure tower is none other than we who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is the conclusion of the Daishonin’s teachings, which is why he states: ‘No other knowledge is purposeful.’

“Essentially, we are the treasure tower and the supreme object of devotion. The Gohonzon is the clear mirror of life that enables us to reveal our inner treasure tower. As such, the treasure tower exists wherever we are, and we can transform that place into a Land of Eternally Tranquil Light.[4] We have nothing whatsoever to worry about.”

Installment 5

Nichiren Daishonin also writes, “You, yourself, are a Thus Come One [a Buddha] who is originally enlightened and endowed with the three bodies”[5] (WND-1, 299–300). In other words, we ordinary people are complete and perfect Buddhas, lacking nothing.

This is the foundation of Soka humanism. It was on this passage that Shin’ichi based his spirit of serving the members as if they were Buddhas and encouraging leaders to do the same.

Thinking of Shikoku’s beautiful mountains, Shin’ichi said: “Shikoku is a land of great scenic beauty. Just the mention of Shikoku fills me with excitement. I hope you will make this land and your communities the stage for carrying out your mission, an eternal Buddha realm, and strive cheerfully to advance kosen-rufu here with your sights set on the 21st century.

“I would also like to see many capable individuals emerge from this wonderful place. Perhaps you could adopt ‘Let’s become capable people’ and ‘Let’s produce capable people’ as your mottoes as you move forward. What do you say?”

Applause resounded through the room.

“Since you all agree, let’s take a great step toward building a Shikoku of capable people. I am looking forward to the next five, ten and twenty years!”

With a rousing chorus of “Our Land,” the Shikoku members set off toward a new era.

The Kagawa Future Group[6] was also established that day, and Shin’ichi expressed his high hopes for them: “You are setting forth into the future. I entrust the next century to you!”

In between these activities, Shin’ichi thought about lyrics for a song for Tokyo.

Tokyo, Japan’s capital, was home to the Soka Gakkai Headquarters. As the main bastion, the organization there was crucial for kosen-rufu and the future of the Soka Gakkai. It was no exaggeration to say that a strong Tokyo meant a strong Soka Gakkai, and the advance of Tokyo was the advance of kosen-rufu.

That’s why Shin’ichi wanted to give the Tokyo members an uplifting song that would make them proud and inspire them to achieve great progress.

Installment 6

After the events at the Shikoku Training Center, including the commemorative leaders meeting and an informal discussion with women’s division members, Shin’ichi worked on the Tokyo song late into the night.

As he pondered the lyrics, he considered what the Tokyo organization needed to develop even further as the main bastion of kosen-rufu in Japan and the world.

Tokyo had a large membership with a diverse range of talent. But this could quite easily weaken each individual’s sense of responsibility and mission. That is, they might fall into the trap of thinking that things will turn out fine without them, that someone else would take care of it. In addition, many leaders in Tokyo had been around since the Soka Gakkai’s early days and had a wealth of organizational experience. They knew well what kinds of activities were to take place and when and the usual procedures to be followed. Undeniably, as a result, they tended toward complacency, with some losing their enthusiasm and seeking spirit.

Shin’ichi wanted to create a song that would motivate members to break through such tendencies, to which they might succumb without noticing, a song that would revitalize their spirits.

At that moment the word inspiring popped into his head.

“When we take the Buddhist view, we find inspiration in everything,” he thought. “We realize that we have appeared at this time here in Tokyo, the headquarters of kosen-rufu, as Bodhisattvas of the Earth with the great mission to spread the teachings. We see that we have wondrously gathered with innumerable friends in faith from every corner of the universe to engage in a great struggle for Buddhism and fulfill our vow from time without beginning. We understand that we ourselves are raising the curtain on an age of worldwide kosen-rufu, the wish of Nichiren Daishonin. Each is a truly wondrous and profoundly moving fact, nothing but deeply inspiring.”

Once Shin’ichi had settled on this key word, inspiring, the vision of the song gradually started to take shape.

“Each of our daily acts is itself the dance of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. That’s it, I’ll make a song about one day in our lives. Morning prayers, the midday sun, members rushing to activities in the evening, a star-filled night sky … It could have four verses.”

Installment 7

On the afternoon of July 26, the King Romance departed from the Shikoku Training Center, sending white spray into the air as it weaved between the islands of the Seto Inland Sea[7] toward Shodo Island.

The day before, a Shikoko leader had told Shin’ichi about the struggles and efforts of the members there: “Two torrential rainfalls have caused many deaths and injuries on Shodo Island. Our members’ faith moved them to stand up as pillars of the community and work hard for the recovery.

“In addition, because the Shodo Island Center will soon be celebrating its 10th anniversary, everyone is eagerly engaging in activities so they can mark the occasion with an increase in membership.”

Shin’ichi quickly responded: “That’s great! I want to meet and encourage them. Tomorrow, on our way back to Okayama, I’d like to visit the center. What do you think? When I first visited Shodo Island 11 years ago, I promised that I would come again.”

Shikoku Region leader Seitaro Kumegawa smiled excitedly and said, “That would be wonderful!”

The high-speed boat had been chartered to shorten travel time. It would only take about 30 minutes to reach the island from the Shikoku Training Center.

Kumegawa contacted the Shodo Island leaders, and it was decided to hold a gongyo session to commemorate the center’s 10th anniversary at 3 p.m. the next day, July 26.

Shin’ichi said powerfully: “I want to encourage with all my might those who have gone through hardships and suffering. I want to praise them wholeheartedly. I will go anywhere to meet our members, the precious children of the Buddha.”

And so the trip to Shodo Island came about.

The more we visit and talk with people, the wider we open the path for kosen-rufu and the more we inspire others to stand up with fresh resolve in faith.

As the boat carrying Shin’ichi passed several other vessels, people on them waved and called out. They were Soka Gakkai members who made their living fishing.

Shin’ichi and his companions waved back, a scene of friendly exchange on the blue waters.

Installment 8

Shodo Island had a tropical feel. Green mountains spread under the summer sky and sago palms swayed in the wind.

“Sensei! Welcome!”

Members greeted him with big smiles as he stepped off the boat.

“Thank you! Thank you! I am so happy to meet you! Thank you for welcoming me.”

Shin’ichi first visited Shodo Island in September 1967, when he attended a Shikoku Headquarters leaders meeting in a gymnasium in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture. At that time, he had toured the island to solidify plans for building a Soka Gakkai center there.

The decision to build the center was made, and in June the following year, 1968, the building was completed and an opening ceremony held. The 2200-square-foot center stood against a backdrop of lush mountains.

In the decade since, Shodo Island had suffered two torrential rain disasters. In July 1974, 249 homes were destroyed or seriously damaged by mudslides and 29 people killed. Two years later, in September 1976, Typhoon Fran caused landslides that destroyed 212 homes, killed 39 people and seriously injured 91. In the wake of both tragedies, Soka Gakkai members had immediately launched relief efforts, working tirelessly to aid the victims. Shin’ichi had also done everything he could to help.

Arriving at the center shortly after 2 p.m. on this latest visit, he called out to the members: “I made it! Your daimoku drew me here. Let’s make a fresh start together!”

People already filled the center’s large meeting room.

In a separate room, Shin’ichi met with local leaders who reported on the island’s current conditions. They told him that scars from the two storms remained and that the emotional recovery of those who had lost loved ones was the most pressing matter.

Nichiren Buddhism has the power to revive people’s spirits.

Installment 9

Mamiko Otsu, the Shodo Island Headquarters young women’s leader, said, “One of our young women’s division members lost both her parents in the heavy rainstorms two years ago.”

Shin’ichi immediately replied: “I’d like to meet her if possible. I really want to meet with those in similar situations and encourage them face-to-face. That’s why I came.”

Otsu went to find the young woman and brought her in. She looked with surprise at Shin’ichi, who spoke resolutely: “I can imagine how hard it has been for you. You must have been devastated. It must have been so painful. But don’t let this hardship defeat you. You need to be strong. Devote yourself earnestly to faith, live your life to the fullest and become happy for both yourself and your parents. That’s what they would have wished, and it’s the best way you can honor them.

“Please think of me as a father. I will never forget you. Even if you forget, I will be praying for you. Don’t be defeated, no matter what happens and always do your best.”

Fighting back tears, the young woman nodded repeatedly as Shin’ichi spoke.

Shin’ichi then said to Otsu, “Please take good care of her.”

Otsu vowed in her heart to watch over the member like an older sister and encourage her.

Soka Gakkai members strive to help those who are suffering and experiencing hardships. They do everything they can to encourage them. When they see people having a difficult time, they are moved by compassion and cannot overlook them. This is altruism, a way of life cultivated by dedication to one’s mission as a Bodhisattva of the Earth.

Society today has a strong tendency toward individualism, and people often withdraw and avoid interacting with others. As a result, ties are severed, with people growing increasingly alone. Under such circumstances, Soka Gakkai members wish for others’ happiness and strive to connect with them, serving as a force for bringing people together, reviving their spirits and enriching society.

Installment 10

At 3 p.m., Shin’ichi attended the gongyo session commemorating the Shodo Island Center’s 10th anniversary. The room was packed with people, about 100 of whom were non-member family and friends. 

Shin’ichi went over to a bespectacled elderly woman sitting in the front row.

“You’re the person who started it all! I’m happy to see you looking so well. I came back, just as I promised 11 years ago.”

“Oh, Sensei! Thank you for coming. We’ve been waiting for you. We’ve been waiting a long time.”

Shin’ichi placed a lei of carnations around her neck. Her name was Hanano Michihata, and she was 78 years old. In August 1953, she became the first Soka Gakkai member on the island.          

At the time, due to the strong influence of local customs and traditions, there was much misunderstanding and prejudice toward the Soka Gakkai. Michihata was often rebuked and shunned when she tried to engage others in Buddhist dialogue. People would point at her as she walked down the street, saying scornfully, “Look, there goes Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.”

But she refused to be defeated, telling herself: “They oppose my Buddhist practice even though they know nothing about it. They ridicule and insult me. This is just what the Soka Gakkai taught me would happen. That means this Buddhism is genuine!”

The negative comments and criticism only strengthened her conviction.

Michihata initially belonged to Suginami Chapter, which was based in faraway Tokyo.[8] When there was something she didn’t understand, she would send a letter with her questions to a senior in faith, averaging around four letters a month. She would then read the responses and encouragement she received over and over until she had practically memorized them and go out to share Nichiren Buddhism.

In August 1954, a year after joining the Soka Gakkai, Michihata was successful for the first time in helping someone begin their practice. It was Chiyo Takuma, the daughter of one of her friends from her school days. Though there was a more than 20-year age difference between them, they worked together to spread Nichiren’s teachings.

Even when they faced opposition or verbal abuse, both felt tremendous joy. And being able to practice together gave them strength and courage.

Those who brim with passionate conviction will not be disheartened by a cold reception. When a new member appears, courage is multiplied a hundredfold.

Though both had their own struggles, they were filled with confidence and hope for the future.

Installment 11

The kosen-rufu movement on Shodo Island that started with Hanano Michihata developed steadily. By July 1978, the organization had grown to comprise one headquarters and five chapters.

Shin’ichi met Michihata when he first visited the island in September 1967. Learning that she was the starting point of kosen-rufu there, he had said to her, “Once we build a center here, kosen-rufu will advance tremendously and the island will prosper further along with it.

“At that time, your presence as the first member will shine brilliantly. One day when a center has been built here, I will come back. I will come to see you.”

Now that reunion was taking place.

“Sensei, I’m so happy,” Michihata said, gripping Shin’ichi’s hand. Tears poured from her eyes.

“I’m happy, too! I’m ten times happier than you!”

“Oh, Sensei!”

“You are so precious to me. You remind me of my mother. May I ask your age?”

“I’m 78. I’m so glad I’ve lived this long.”

“You’re still young! Please stay well for years and years to come, and then let’s meet again.”

“Yes! I will live long and look forward to meeting you many more times!”

Observing pioneer members striving with joy and enthusiasm enables those who come after to strengthen their conviction in faith. That’s why pioneers who have built our movement have a responsibility to practice steadfastly throughout their lives. And younger members need to treat such seniors in faith with kindness and consideration, showing them utmost respect.

That will ensure that kosen-rufu flows on from one generation to the next.

Installment 12

Shikoku Region leaders shared words at the meeting, as did the national women’s division leader and some Soka Gakkai vice presidents.

Each speaker brought smiles and laughter to the members. For instance, when the women’s division leader said, “This is my first time on Shodo Island. I find both the people and the natural setting wonderful, and feel like staying here forever!” smiles and applause filled the room. Everyone was delighted to be there.

A poster featuring a short poem Shin’ichi had written for them that spring hung on one wall:

I will never forget
my dear friends of Shodo Island.
I am praying earnestly
for you to shine with
the smiles of spring.

Beautiful smiles filled the meeting, like spring in full bloom.

Next, a chorus of 43 women’s, young men’s and young women’s division members of the Shodo Island Headquarters took the stage to perform the Shikoku song “Our Land.” The song had debuted two days earlier at the outdoor training session at the Shikoku Training Center, and the music and lyrics had been published just that day in the regional page of the Seikyo Shimbun. Though not having much time to practice, the chorus decided to sing it to show the spirited resolve of members on Shodo Island.

We, Bodhisattvas of the Earth, dance joyfully …

They sang with great enthusiasm, though often out of rhythm and out of tune. But they didn’t let that bother them and continued singing heartily, filled with pride.

Shin’ichi applauded and said with a bit of humor: “Fantastic! You have the spirit ‘Who cares about following the music! We’re following our own path!’ That’s great!

“It’s okay if you’re a little out of tune. The song was only just released, after all. Expecting you to give a perfect performance would be like asking someone who only took faith yesterday to be perfect at doing gongyo.”

Everyone laughed at Shin’ichi words.

Laughter springing from joy is a force for fresh progress. Our gatherings of Soka are bright like the sun.

Next, at Shin’ichi’s suggestion, everyone gave three resounding cheers expressing their vow for the growth and development of Shodo Island.

Installment 13

Shin’ichi next led everyone in a solemn gongyo. He prayed in earnest for Shodo Island’s development, the kosen-rufu movement there and for all the members to enjoy happiness and boundless benefit. Outside, a chorus of cicadas seemed to buzz in harmony with everyone’s chanting.

After gongyo, Shin’ichi presented members with poems he had written on the boat ride there, including one that read: “Shodo Island / from today / unrivaled in good fortune.”

Sitting at the microphone and smiling warmly, Shin’ichi spoke of his joy at returning to Shodo Island for the first time in 11 years. In a conversational manner, he said: “Today, I’d like to talk to you a little about Nichieren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Shakyamuni engaged in various practices and as a result became a Buddha. This is referred to as ‘his practices and the virtues he consequently attained.’ Those virtues, or benefits, are infinite and immeasurable. In ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind,’ the Daishonin writes: ‘Shakyamuni’s practices and the virtues he consequently attained are all contained within the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.[9] If we believe in these five characters, we will naturally be granted the same benefits as he was’ (WND-1, 365).

“How great is the benefit of faith in the Gohonzon and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! It is unfathomable. And that benefit does not depend on one’s social status or position in the Soka Gakkai. The benefit of chanting is the same for everyone.

“Imagine money in a wallet. One person’s wallet may differ from another’s, but the money in it has the same value. Or imagine lighting a candle. The flame will be the same no matter who lights it. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like this. Everyone who chants receives benefit equally.”

We should speak and explain Buddhism in ways that anyone can understand. Only then can we make it accessible to everyone and expand kosen-rufu.

Installment 14

Buddhism’s law of cause and effect is the fundamental law of life that pervades the universe, and no one can escape it. Unaware of this, however, people tend to be preoccupied with immediate things, and that is the cause of human suffering.

Shin’ichi then referenced the examples of members who had practiced since the early days of the movement: “In light of the principle of cause and effect, the outcome of staying true to one’s faith or betraying it is strict. We ordinary people find it difficult to understand this, but after 20 or 30 years, the difference becomes apparent.

“Though hardships occurred along the way, those who remained steadfast and diligent in their faith surmounted them and attained a state of great happiness. So please don’t avoid making efforts or try and take the easy path, but live your lives with sincerity and single-minded dedication, convinced of the law of cause and effect.”

He then spoke about the essence of faith.

“The basics of our Buddhist practice are faith, practice and study. Faith means having faith in the Gohonzon. Practice is practice for ourselves and others, which includes not only chanting but also spreading the teachings and working for kosen-rufu. Study is studying Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings.

“Simply believing in the Gohonzon, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and studying Buddhism are not enough. To correctly practice Nichiren Buddhism requires actions for kosen-rufu.

“Visiting someone to inspire them, sharing Buddhism with another because we want them to become happy, engaging in dialogue to promote kosen-rufu in the community—genuine Buddhist practice is found only in such altruistic action.

“When you take action for kosen-rufu, you shoulder a whole new set of challenges beside the ones you already face in daily life. You may at times find it hard or even painful.

“Nichiren Buddhism teaches that this saha world is a world of endurance. We must endure and live with strength. The source of such life force is chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. When you’re sad and when you’re suffering, when you’re happy and when you’re enjoying yourself—keep chanting. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to transform our lives, turning earthly desires into enlightenment and suffering into joy.”

Installment 15

The Daishonin writes: “I became more determined than ever to attain enlightenment and continued to speak out. Accordingly, the difficulties I encountered became increasingly severe, like great waves that rise up in a gale” (“On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” WND-1, 727). Buddhist practice is a struggle against difficulty.

Shin’ichi’s voice grew more powerful: “If you decide to work for kosen-rufu, you will meet opposition and hardships. But your actions are those of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, the emissaries of the Buddha. Therefore, when you strive bravely in Buddhist practice, your life becomes filled with joy. This is the principle that earthly desires lead to enlightenment. It is the great path to forging a state of indestructible happiness.

“Please be confident that the good fortune you have gained by living for the sake of kosen-rufu will become clearly apparent in your lives and those of your children and descendants. I hope you will cheerfully and energetically work together to build a Shodo Island of unity, a Shodo Island brimming with good fortune and benefit.

“However we choose to live it, we get only one life. So let’s strive with courage to make it the best life possible, supporting one another as we advance along the great path of our mission!”

“Yes!” The members’ determined voices rang out as one.

Shin’ichi nodded and said: “I will continue to chant for all of you here on Shodo Island. Please live long, chant abundant daimoku and accumulate boundless good fortune.”

In closing, Shin’ichi suggested that the Shodo Island Headquarters hold a local festival in the coming year. Members applauded vigorously.

After the meeting, Shin’ichi met with married couple Iwao and Hana Nagai, the headquarters men’s and women’s leaders.

“Shodo Island is famous as the birthplace of Sakae Tsuboi (1889–1967), author of the novel Twenty-four Eyes, a work filled with a strong hope for peace. You are here to work for peace and people’s happiness. Shodo Island is your home, your land. Through your hard work and efforts, please make it an island of victory pioneering the way for kosen-rufu.”


  1. Seto Inland Sea: the body of water separating Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, three of the four main islands of Japan. ↩︎
  2. Iron Encircling Mountains of Jambudvipa: The mountain range that forms the circular periphery of the world, according to the ancient Indian worldview. ↩︎
  3. Seven kinds of treasures: Also, seven treasures or seven kinds of gems. Precious substances mentioned in the sutras. The list differs among the Buddhist scriptures. According to the Lotus Sutra, the seven are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl and carnelian (see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 209). ↩︎
  4. Land of Tranquil Light: Also, Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. The Buddha land, which is free from impermanence and impurity. In many sutras, the saha world in which human beings dwell is described as an impure land filled with delusions and sufferings, while the Buddha land is described as a pure land free from these and far removed from this saha world. In contrast, the Lotus Sutra reveals the saha world to be the Buddha land, or the Land of Tranquil Light, and explains that the nature of a land is determined by the minds of its inhabitants. ↩︎
  5. Three bodies: The three bodies of the Buddha. Namely, the Dharma body, the reward body, and the manifested body. The Dharma body is the fundamental truth, or Law, to which a Buddha is enlightened. The reward body is the wisdom to perceive the Law. And the manifested body is the compassionate actions the Buddha carries out to lead people to happiness ↩︎
  6. Future Groups were training groups formed within the future division in Japan. ↩︎
  7. Seto Inland Sea: The body of water separating Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, three of the four main islands of Japan. ↩︎
  8. Until 1970, the Soka Gakkai functioned as a vertical “line” organization, whereby new members automatically joined the same district and chapter as the person who introduced them to the practice, regardless of where they lived. ↩︎
  9. Five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo: Myoho-renge-kyo is written with five Chinese characters. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, meanwhile, is written with seven (nam, or namu, being comprised of two characters). The Daishonin, however, often uses Myoho-renge-kyo synonymously with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in his writings. ↩︎

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