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Ikeda Sensei

Appreciation to Those Who Offer Their Homes as Meeting Places

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The following excerpted essay, from Ikeda Sensei’s series “Thoughts on The New Human Revolution,” was originally published  in the Feb. 5, 1999, World Tribune. It is translated from the Dec. 16, 1998, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.

This has been another remarkable year of triumphs for the Soka Gakkai—a year in which we have again worked hard to revitalize society by spreading the ideals of a new humanism. 

The wellspring of all these efforts is the discussion meeting, an oasis where people can refresh and revitalize their lives. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all those who have offered the use of their precious homes for meetings. It is impossible to fully describe the trouble that these sincere members go to in making their homes available for this purpose. It is no easy thing to arrange parking space for automobiles or bicycles, or to ensure that the sound of gongyo and Soka Gakkai songs does not disturb the neighbors. They also need the full understanding and cooperation of their whole family. 

All Buddhas and Buddhist gods—the protective functions of the universe—are surely praising these generous individuals who welcome members and guests to their home with warm smiles and spare no effort to ensure that all are made comfortable.

In the “Acceleration” chapter of The New Human Revolution, vol. 6, I wrote about a moving story of revitalization set in a shantytown area known as Dokan in Fukuoka, on the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, Kyushu. The area was filled with an unsightly array of tightly packed dilapidated lean-tos, but lively discussion meetings were being conducted there, just as in other parts of Japan. A Soka Gakkai group leader and his wife, who made their living by running a fresh fish shop, offered their home—a small, refurbished warehouse—for meetings. Because most of the participants came barefoot, being too poor to own shoes, the tatami-mat flooring of their home soon became soiled with mud and grime and had to be replaced several times a year. But the group leader and his wife never uttered a single complaint; they were solely concerned with serving their fellow members.

All Buddhas and Buddhist gods—the protective functions of the universe—are surely praising these generous individuals who welcome members and guests to their home with warm smiles and spare no effort to ensure that all are made comfortable.

Many of the members were also too poor to eat three square meals a day, so the group leader and his wife would make a simple stew of leftover fish and serve it to them. They even invited members to use their bath. They were the first residents of Dokan to have a real home. Everyone was very happy for them and used to say, “You’ve got yourself a palace,” as proud as if it were their own home. The group leader and his wife said they would never forget members telling them later with deep appreciation that attending meetings at their home had inspired them to strive in faith and see the hard times through. 

Benefits of Responding with Joy,” the 18th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, teaches that those who, during a discussion of Buddhism, make room for others to sit, will acquire immense benefits. How much greater, then, will be the benefits of those who actually provide meeting places for such a discussion! They will surely be infinite and immeasurable. …

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi also opened his home as a base for Soka Gakkai activities, making available for that purpose two small, adjoining ground-floor rooms. Josei Toda, too, even after resigning as general director of the Soka Gakkai when his business fell into dire financial hardship, continued to hold discussion meetings at his home. The talks that he gave during those times about the theory of life remain engraved in my memory with great clarity.

When I was still single and living in a one-room apartment, I held discussion meetings in my tiny home as well. Four or five people completely filled the space. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for those who attended in such cramped conditions, but the meetings were energetic and enthusiastic. I spoke about the teachings of Buddhism with all my heart, striving earnestly to enable others to embrace faith in the Gohonzon. I firmly believed that no matter how small and shabby my room might be, the gatherings I held there were modern assemblies of the Lotus Sutra.

After getting married and soon thereafter moving to a small house in Kobayashi-cho in Tokyo’s Ota Ward, my wife and I continued to open our home as a venue for discussion meetings. And when our children came along later, it offered them an excellent opportunity to experience the wonderful world of the Soka Gakkai firsthand.

The homes and venues our fellow members make available for Soka Gakkai activities are precious places of Buddhist practice and centers for nurturing human potential. They are beacons for the widespread propagation of the Daishonin’s teachings in our communities and majestic citadels of the people’s victory. 

I chant daimoku every day, with a feeling of the deepest gratitude, for all who offer their homes or other facilities for this purpose. I pray: “May the places you provide in service of kosen-rufu endure eternally as great palaces of benefit and good fortune. May your families prosper. Thank you, thank you so much!”

July 14, 2023, World Tribune, pp. 2–3

Joyfully Sharing Our Experiences in Faith Is a Source of Boundless Benefit