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The Year of Youth and Triumph

The morning sun illuminates the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, Tokyo, Jan. 2, 2021.
Dawn—The morning sun illuminates the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, Tokyo, Jan. 2, 2021. Photo by Seikyo Press

Next year, 2023, will mark the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu. Upon its completion, Ikeda Sensei penned the following poem: 

Mentor and disciples
have created this triumphant citadel
of the great vow.
(Dec. 6, 2013, World Tribune, p. 5)

Keeping this milestone in mind, the Soka Gakkai theme for 2023 is The Year of Youth and Triumph, signifying that our youth are at the vanguard of our efforts and that each of us is living with a youthful spirit. 

Based on this theme, let’s celebrate May 3, Soka Gakkai Day, with our triumphant spirit to establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land, and Nov. 18, Soka Gakkai Founding Day, with our victories in expanding our Soka network. 

We could say that being a youth means being a person who seeks new encounters. Sensei offers the following guidance: “No matter how old you are, it’s important to seek out new encounters and make new friends. The more friends you have, the more your world opens up, and the greater your hopes for the future will become” (tentative translation). 

The way to open the great path for maintaining a youthful heart throughout our lives is found in creating many new friends, expanding our world and opening even wider our vision for the future, thereby expanding our state of life. As Nichiren Daishonin states, “You will grow younger, and your good fortune will accumulate” (“The Unity of Husband and Wife,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 464).

In the last few years, people of all generations have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which dramatically curtailed our communication with other people and caused a growing number of individuals to feel isolated and alone. This is clearly the time to live the motto “Treasure old friends while making new ones” as we seek out new encounters and friends. 

Next year also marks 30 years since Sensei concluded writing the novel The Human Revolution and started writing The New Human Revolution. He writes: 

In a similar spirit, I have written The Human Revolution and The New Human Revolution, an epic story of kosen-rufu and the victory of ordinary people, as a golden “day-to-day record” of the struggle that I have shared and fought together with all of you, my precious fellow members. Therefore, that epic will not end with the completion of the novel. 

While dedicating ourselves forever to fulfilling the shared vow of mentor and disciple, let’s continue writing an enduring “day-to-day record” of brilliant achievements and triumphs for ourselves and others. May the light of human revolution shine eternally!” (Oct. 12, 2018, World Tribune, p. 3)

The shared vow of mentor and disciple is what makes kosen-rufu possible. Through sharing Nichiren Buddhism with others, let’s advance kosen-rufu as we also carry out our human revolution, writing our own “day-to-day record” of our joyful and triumphant lives. 

Three Focal Points for The Year of Youth and Triumph 

1. Let’s adorn the 10th anniversary of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu by triumphing in our efforts to spread Buddhism!

Ikeda Sensei writes: Kosen-rufu has expanded throughout the world. But this does not mean trying to create ideal places where kosen-rufu flourishes. Rather, worldwide kosen-rufu comes down to all of us—in our own cities, towns, islands, and hamlets—talking about Buddhism with one person then another as we expand our realm of trust and our Soka movement. Genuine pioneers of our worldwide kosen-rufu movement are those who pray each day for the happiness of those around them and the prosperity of their communities, diligently challenging themselves to encourage others and spread Buddhism. (Tentative translation from The New Human Revolution, vol. 29, “The Source” chapter)

2. Let’s give our all in raising youth to triumphantly build our castle of capable people!

Sensei writes: Shin’ichi[1] devoted his life to educating youth. Life is limited. Only so much can be accomplished in one lifetime. That is why the fostering of successors of the next generation who would carry on his work were indispensable to achieving kosen-rufu. (NHR-8, revised edition, 133)

3. Let’s lead triumphant lives based on the oneness of mentor and disciple by studying the The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin and The New Human Revolution!

Sensei writes: “I continue to speak with [my mentor] in my heart countless times each day. Every challenge I face, I imagine what Mr. Toda would do, and I also ask myself whether each of my actions and decisions would please him. To have a mentor is to have a model for living one’s life, and that, I believe, is the essence of education.”

When Shin’ichi spoke of being Toda’s disciple, he glowed with unsurpassed pride and joy. That is the true spirit of a disciple. (NHR-19, 101)

Adapted from an article in Nov. 12, 2022, Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper.


  1. Ikeda Sensei appears in The New Human Revolution as Shin’ichi Yamamoto. ↩︎

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