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Guidance for Leadership

Our Human Revolution Is the Pathway to Peace

Photo by Lee Jane / Unsplash.

Congratulations to all of you today on the Ninth Headquarters Leaders Meeting, held in commemoration of Soka Gakkai Day and Soka Gakkai Mother’s Day! …

Fifty years ago in May, Ikeda Sensei began engaging in dialogue with the eminent British historian Arnold J. Toynbee. While half a century has passed since then, their foresight shines with even greater brilliance today, as exemplified in Professor Toynbee’s observation: 

A future religion that is to bring into being, and to keep in being, a new civilization will have to be one that will enable mankind to contend with, and to overcome, the evils that are serious present threats to human survival. (Choose Life, p. 293)

Professor Toynbee cites three factors that are considered the greatest challenges to humanity: Greed that dwells in our lives; war and social injustice; and the destruction of nature caused by humans. 

In that sense, as global citizens alive today, we are facing the greatest trial. 

In response to these challenges laid out by Professor Toynbee—one of the foremost thinkers of Western society—Sensei drew upon Buddhist wisdom, as he explained: 

Greed is a matter between the human being and himself, war and injustice are ills between human beings on the social plane, and environmental destruction involves relationships between man and nature. 

According to Buddhist philosophy, these three [self, society and the natural environment] are called the [three realms of existence]. (Choose Life, p. 293) 

After briefly describing the three realms to Professor Toynbee, Sensei concludes his thoughts, expressing his belief that maximum effort must be made to transform and improve these three sets of relations. 

He then says: 

To effect any kind of improvement in the world situation, each individual must improve—indeed revolutionize—himself from within. (Choose Life, p. 294) 

Sensei affirms that the genuine religion desired for the future is one that makes this inner revolution possible. 

The daily struggle in which each of us engages to advance our human revolution, though it may appear to be the most roundabout way, is, in fact, the most direct and preeminent path for humanity to achieve peace and prosperity. 

I would even go so far as to say that our individual growth and victory determine whether Nichiren Buddhism is indeed the genuine religion desired for the future. 

Nichiren writes, “In the final analysis, unless we succeed in demonstrating that this teaching is supreme, these disasters will continue unabated” (“The Treatment of Illness,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1114). The Daishonin entrusted us with this decree. 

Kosen-rufu is an eternal battle between the Buddha and devilish functions. Likewise, Buddhism is a win-or-lose struggle. Justice can only be gained by winning. With the spirit that the triumph of Soka is the triumph of the people, let’s go forward, always forward, and open a new chapter in the annals of kosen-rufu. 

Let’s begin by taking concrete action to greatly expand our circles of dialogue and further deepen our friendships in our communities. Thank you very much! 

Virgin Islands National Park, U.S. Virgin Islands