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Creating a Record of Actual Proof and Victories in 2023!

Photo by Jonathan Wilson.

by Adin Strauss
SGI-USA General Director 

To the precious members of the SGI-USA,

I want to thank you for everything in 2022 and the past few very trying years. And welcome to 2023, the Year of Youth and Triumph! 

I’m convinced that 2023 will be a very special year for kosen-rufu in America, a year when we will move beyond the pandemic and take a giant step in our personal human revolution, which will surely create waves of peace and unity that will permeate our land. 

I would like to share excerpts from The Human Revolution. To set the scene, it is New Year’s Day 1948, and Josei Toda is conveying the importance of taking initiative in our activities and refreshing our spirit to advance kosen-rufu in the New Year:

[A Soka Gakkai leader named Mr. Harayama said,] “A happy New Year to you, sir. Please continue to [support us] this year, just like last year.” 

[Josei] Toda responded with a smile, “A happy New Year to all of you, too, but please let’s not continue ‘just like last year.’ If we do, kosen-rufu will never be achieved. Mr. Harayama, will you still continue slow-paced activity ‘just like last year’?” 

A roar of hearty laughter filled the room. 

“I will be greatly distressed if Mr. Mishima continues to complain, Mr. Konishi to sulk and Mr. Seki to wear that old pale and worried look ‘just like last year.’” 

More laughter filled the room. …

“If things continue in this manner, …  everything will remain mere theory. If you think that faith means merely following after me and taking no initiative yourselves,  … you will practice faith merely from force of habit. … This is a real danger.” …

Toda was always considering how to enable a hundred people to advance together one step, rather than just a single person taking a hundred steps. …

“Also, please don’t just parrot my words. … I want you to give heartfelt encouragement through your own confidence and belief in Buddhism. …

“Everything in the universe, from the heavenly bodies to the smallest creatures, constantly changes. Nothing can be just as it was even a moment before. … This being the case, what is most important is how you change, for better or for worse. …

“Japan is now occupied by a foreign power, suffering in helpless misery. People are … thrown into despair. Yet I, for one, have not in the least given up hope!” …

“In the light of Buddhist truth, the current situation cannot last for long. … The closer we approach … kosen-rufu, the sooner our present conditions will change. In essence, the kosen-rufu of a country means to bring about a complete and remarkable change in its destiny. No one has yet achieved this in the history of humankind. No great philosophy, system of thought or religion has ever succeeded in saving even a single person from ultimate unhappiness. The best they could offer was spiritual consolation. …

“I declare, without a doubt, that we can do the very thing that no one else has been able to do. This is what Nichiren Daishonin absolutely guaranteed! … 

“We are going to realize … that which no one else has ever achieved and therefore has been thought to be impossible. There can be no greater accomplishment for humankind. Ours is the most difficult task imaginable, but we can achieve it without fail.” (The Human Revolution, pp. 269–71)

This November, we will be commemorating 10 years since the completion of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu. Ikeda Sensei penned the following poem to mark its completion: 

Mentor and disciples

have created this triumphant citadel

of the great vow. 

(Dec. 6, 2013, World Tribune, p. 5)

Recently, at an SGI leaders meeting, a leader said, “There is no greater testament to the shared struggle of mentor and disciple than building citadels in our local communities of capable people brimming with songs of victory.”  

I completely agree and I know we all feel the same way!

Revolutionize Youth Activities!

Sensei states in The New Human Revolution, vol. 24:

“The times are rapidly changing. The fundamental essence of our faith won’t change, but the way we operate and the style of our organization has to adapt to the times. … 

“We have to keep up with the changes in our society and learn about new ways of thinking from our youth.” (p. 181)

This year, a new youth team will introduce a fresh approach to youth activities that will be attractive while not straying from the core of our faith—gongyo and daimoku, the Gohonzon, study, propagation and Sensei.

By Nov. 18, 2023, our districts will be overflowing with joyful, benefit-soaked, thoroughly human-revolutionizing youth.

Sensei declares:

“Strengthening the [district] depends, then, on how much benefit its members can experience, how much human revolution they can achieve and how joyful they are.

“Concretely speaking, an ideal example of a really strong [district] is one in which, when you ask its members in a discussion meeting, ‘Can someone share an experience of receiving benefits?’ everyone eagerly raises their hand, excited to tell others. This is not something that can be measured by statistics.” (NHR-24, 188)

With daimoku and timely, compassionate action for the sake of others, we will create an environment where everyone in our community feels supported and experiences tremendous benefit and joy!  

In closing, in 2023, I will break through the shell of my own lesser ego and bet my entire life on achieving these goals. And I will create a record of actual proof and victories for kosen-rufu that I look forward to sharing with you. I hope you will join me!

Thank you very much!

Jan.1, 2023, World Tribune, p. 6-7

Dancing With Joy

SGI-USA Focus for 2023