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July 19, 1951—the Founding of the Young Women’s Division

The skies over Tokyo were clear and the air, warm. Outside the former Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Nishi-Kanda, Tokyo, 74 young women gathered under the stars. 

The recently inaugurated second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda had assembled these young women on Thursday, July 19, 1951, to establish a division of their own.  

Six years had passed since the end of World War II, during which the suffering voices of women reverberated throughout Japanese society and the world. Bearing this in mind, Mr. Toda encouraged each young woman present to become happy without exception. 

He said:

Everyone in the Soka Gakkai’s young women’s division should become happy down to the last member. The history of women up to today has consisted of women grieving over their destinies. You are young women who embrace Nichiren Buddhism. You need not grieve over your destinies any longer. This hinges, however, on the condition that you carry through with a pure, strong faith throughout your lives. Praying that each one of you will attain happiness, I will close my speech for today. Congratulations! (The Human Revolution, p. 595)

Recalling Mr. Toda’s strict yet warm training of the young women’s division members, Ikeda Sensei discusses how to practically apply this guidance:

People who don’t practice Nichiren Buddhism don’t have to do gongyo or attend meetings. Living a free and easy life, doing whatever one pleases, may seem enviable. But life isn’t that simple; it is governed by the uncompromising law of cause and effect.

Why do we need philosophy? Why do our lives need Buddhism?

This great Buddhism that we practice is the bright, unsurpassed way that noble forerunners risked their lives to bequeath to us in their fundamental search for absolute happiness and their ardent desire to enable all people to find it. …

A person who studies philosophy, who studies Buddhism, comes to discover life’s depths. What an immense joy it is to seek and attain true and lasting happiness, one’s heart soaring free and deep emotion welling forth in one’s life. How immeasurable is the delight of apprehending life’s profound wonder as well as our own being brimming with limitless joy! (July 2021 Living Buddhism, p. 21)

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

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