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Seeking Spirit

The New Human Revolution, “Seeking Spirit” Chapter, Installment 50

Volume 27, Chapter 4

By Daisaku Ikeda

Sugayama started practicing Nichiren Buddhism because he wanted to escape living a hand-to-mouth existence. He had no hopes for the future. Shy and clumsy with words, he felt inferior to others, and he strongly wished to overcome that as well.

A fellow young men’s division member spoke to him with conviction: “If you practice Nichiren Buddhism and wholeheartedly engage in Soka Gakkai activities, you will develop a strong life force and become a confident, capable person at ease in any situation. That is the case for everyone. It’s what we call human revolution.

“The future of Japan, no, the future of the world, depends on us, the youth. So you have a mission to help Japan and the world, starting from right here in Betsukai!”

These powerful words inspired Sugayama. He felt his world open up.

Earnest words filled with conviction and passion awaken the hearts of young people.

Sugayama began participating in Soka Gakkai activities. At the time, there were only four young men’s division members in Betsukai. They belonged to Sapporo Chapter, with Kushiro as the center of activities for eastern Hokkaido. Traveling there, however, was costly and time-consuming, so the best they could usually do was to be in touch once in a while.

In September 1960, Sugayama received a postcard from a fellow member informing him of an upcoming young men’s division meeting in Kushiro. But Sugayama didn’t think he could attend because he didn’t have the train fare.

The postcard stated that the Soka Gakkai was achieving groundbreaking progress under the leadership of third Soka Gakkai President Shin’ichi Yamamoto. It went on: “If you continue to let your environment defeat you and use that as an excuse not to attend meetings, you can’t expect to grow. The first step is to overcome your challenges, triumph over your weaknesses and decide to come to meetings. Make a fresh determination and put it into action! And become a person who can take the lead in Betsukai!”

The words “let your environment defeat you” pierced Sugayama’s heart. But as the day of the meeting approached, he still had not made up his mind whether to attend.

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