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Seeking Spirit

The New Human Revolution, “Seeking Spirit” Chapter, Installment 53

Volume 27, Chapter 4

By Daisaku Ikeda

The day starts early for dairy farmers. At 5 a.m., Sugayama cleaned the cattle stalls, fed and milked the cows and gave them hay. The cows had to be milked twice a day. Depending on the season, he also had to either fertilize the pastures or harvest the grass. Add to that tending to his own vegetable patch and his daily tasks were endless.

Sugayama struggled financially. He took on part-time jobs, such as working as a mail carrier and at a sheet-metal plant. He also threw himself into Soka Gakkai activities. Every minute was precious.

In 1961, after serving as a young men’s group leader, Sugayama was appointed young men’s district leader. There were now 120 young men’s division members in Betsukai.

Sugayama upgraded from a bicycle to a motorcycle for his activities. It was not unusual for him to travel one or two hundred kilometers a day. He was ready to visit members as many times as necessary to help them grow in faith. That was his spirit.

In 1964, a former student division member who was a newly qualified teacher took a post at an elementary school in neighboring Nakashibetsu. But the vastness of the area and the harsh weather conditions often discouraged him from taking part in Soka Gakkai activities. Sugayama traveled 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) on his motorcycle each day to visit the young man.

After doing this for about a week, he went again to see him one evening after a meeting. He knocked on the door, but there was no answer. Having made the long trip, Sugayama decided to wait, so he sat down on the doorstep and started reading the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. It was April. Snow still lay on the ground, and it was bitingly cold.

The young man had already gone to sleep. When he awoke several hours later, he looked out of his window and was shocked to see Sugayama sitting on his doorstep, his breath rising in white puffs.

“He’s been waiting for me in this cold!” the young man thought. “Mr. Sugayama!” he called out. Tears filled his eyes.

The two men engaged in an earnest discussion. Struck by Sugayama’s kindness and sincerity, the teacher decided to become more active for kosen-rufu.

A passionate spirit warms and opens the hearts of others.

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