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Ikeda Sensei

Shining Brightly as Ambassadors of Soka!

Chicago. Photo by Yvonne Ng.

Originally published in the July 2022 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

Dynamic progress in human revolution begins with the fierce courage to surmount hardships.

Amid unrelenting persecution while in exile on Sado Island, Nichiren Daishonin called out to Shijo Kingo: “Bring forth the great power of faith, and be spoken of by all the people of Kama-kura, both high and low, or by all the people of Japan, as ‘Shijo Kingo, Shijo Kingo of the Lotus school!’”[1] (“Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 319). It was a time when identifying oneself as a disciple of Nichiren would bring down a torrent of slander and abuse, hatred and jealousy. But that was precisely why Shijo Kingo and his wife, Nichigen-nyo, took great pride in being his disciples, bravely faced and overcame their difficulties, and dauntlessly supported and protected their fellow disciples.

For Shijo Kingo, this also entailed the challenge of controlling his short temper, staying vigilant and always being respectful in his behavior toward others, in accord with Nichiren’s instructions. Through showing actual proof of his human revolution in this way, he came to be spoken of highly by those around him, a triumph of mentor and disciple that rang out far and wide.

I remember an occasion when my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, discussing a passage from the Daishonin’s writings, said: “Faith means making up your mind. If you resolve to win through your Buddhist practice, you’ll have great and joyful victories!”

Once, during a time when the Soka Gakkai was being bombarded with slander, I met with a group of members who were working hard for kosen-rufu in their communities. After thanking and praising them for their efforts, I said: “Some people in your environment may have misunderstandings or negative impressions about the Soka Gakkai. But remember, that is why you are there. You are all ambassadors of the Soka Gakkai. With that awareness, I hope you will create an expanding circle of support and understanding for our movement in your neighborhoods and local communities.”

All around the world, our ambassadors of Soka shine brightly. Like Shijo Kingo and Nichigen-nyo, they are challenging themselves admirably to win over every obstacle by “bringing forth the great power of faith” (see WND-1, 319). And they are forging understanding for our movement through their courageous voices and sincere actions and conduct. That is why the Soka Gakkai will succeed in its endeavors.

At the Osaka Rally[2] in July 1957, I vowed together with the members in Kansai and all of Japan that the correct teaching of Nichiren Buddhism would definitely prevail.

Two decades later, in July 1976, I composed the “Song of Human Revolution” and dedicated it to my mentor. It contains the lines “As the bodhisattvas who have emerged from the earth, / we have a mission to fulfill in this world.”

You and I, together, have a mission to fulfill as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. As we engage in that great struggle, let’s write inspiring, triumphant stories of human revolution and impart hope to the world and to the future!

Young lion successors
who share my spirit—
in this mentor-disciple month of July,[3]
dance vibrantly and win
with dignity and confidence!


  1. The Lotus school was originally another name for the Tendai school, which based itself on the Lotus Sutra. Later, the term came to mean the Buddhism established by Nichiren Daishonin. ↩︎
  2. Osaka Rally: A Soka Gakkai rally held to protest the unjust detention of Ikeda Sensei, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, by the Osaka District Prosecutor’s Office in connection with the Osaka Incident. It was convened at the Nakanoshima Civic Hall in Osaka on July 17, 1957, the day of Sensei’s release after two weeks of interrogation by the authorities. ↩︎
  3. In the Soka Gakkai, July is celebrated as the Month of Mentor and Disciple and the Month of Youth. ↩︎

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