Skip to main content

Seeking Spirit

The New Human Revolution, “Seeking Spirit” Chapter, Installment 54

Volume 27, Chapter 4

By Daisaku Ikeda

In 1965, Katsuji Sugayama was appointed a young men’s division corps leader, supporting young men in the chapter. On September 2, he received the corps flag from Shin’ichi Yamamoto at a meeting at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters. He burned with a fighting spirit.

Sugayama was responsible for a vast area that included Betsukai, Nakashibetsu, Shibetsu, Rausu, Shibecha and Teshikaga, in total about the size of Fukuoka Prefecture (approximately 5,000 square kilometers [3,100 square miles]).

This was his arena of action. He started with a little more than 300 members. A year later, that number had grown to 470. The other young men inherited his spirit and carried on the example of his earnest and consistent efforts.

The name Betsukai came to be known throughout the Soka Gakkai in December 1970, at the 19th Young Men’s Division General Meeting, held under the theme of “Blazing New Trails.”

Masaru Sugitaka, who had moved to Betsukai from Tokyo to become a dairy farmer, shared his experience of overcoming hardship and achieving victory after eight years of difficulties.

Sugitaka had gone to Hokkaido filled with hopes and dreams and had married there. Though already a Soka Gakkai member, he was not serious about his Buddhist practice. At first, his dairy farm went well. But three years of unseasonably cold weather left a shortage of hay and other cattle feed, and he lost five of his ten cows. He cursed the heartless forces of nature. Even worse, his two-year-old son died in an accident.

In his despair, he remembered the words of his mother to never forget his Buddhist faith and practice.

A fellow member visited Sugitaka regularly, making the 100-kilometer (62-mile) round-trip journey in the depths of winter on his motorbike. The member was the elementary school teacher from Nakashibetsu whom Sugayama had supported and encouraged. Struck by his sincerity and passion, Sugitaka decided to challenge himself in faith.

He chanted earnestly, worked hard and summoned all his ingenuity to rebuild his dairy operation. Through these efforts, he increased his farm to about 43 hectares (106 acres). In addition, all the calves that were born were higher-priced females, and his herd grew to 30.

Sugitaka became a young men’s division block leader, and just as his leaders had done for him, he regularly visited members in his area to encourage them. One after another, they stood up in their Buddhist practice until all 23 attended the monthly discussion meetings.

As long as the tradition of offering heartfelt personal guidance is passed on, kosen-rufu in the local community has a bright future.

Read more