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Ikeda Sensei

Forever Passing On the Mission of Kosen-rufu

Sebastien Gabriel / Unsplash

Originally published in the March 2023 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

What good fortune we have to journey throughout the three existences—past, present and future—with Nichiren Daishonin, the Mystic Law and our fellow members, forever walking the path of eternity, happiness, true self and purity.

In a letter to Soya Doso, who exerted himself in faith alongside his father, Soya Kyoshin,[1] Nichiren writes, “The matter of the late Acharya Daishin[2] was surely most regrettable. But we should consider that what has happened will serve to further spread the teachings of the Lotus Sutra” (“King Rinda,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 990). While expressing grief at the death of this committed practitioner, who had close ties to the father and son, and praying for his eternal happiness, Nichiren seeks to encourage his young disciple.

One who dedicates their life to kosen-rufu is “a Buddha in both life and death” (“Hell Is the Land of Tranquil Light,” WND-1, 456), pervaded with immeasurable treasures of the heart and the boundless gratitude and appreciation of their friends. And with great trust, they also pass on the baton of their noble mission to youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth who will follow in their footsteps in an unending stream.

When we cherish our deceased loved ones in the Eagle Peak within our hearts and carry on their commitment, we can bring forth the most sublime and unbeatable strength.

Commenting on this passage from the Daishonin’s writings, my mentor, Josei Toda, said that the essence of faith is to keep pressing ever forward with the firm conviction that whatever happens in life “will serve to further spread the teachings of the Lotus Sutra” (WND-1, 990). In just that manner, we Soka mentors and disciples have turned every challenge that has assailed us into an opportunity to greatly expand our movement for kosen-rufu and develop our lives. We have overcome every obstacle with our powerful belief in changing poison into medicine. Confident that we will win without fail, we have made even greater efforts to help others form and deepen their connections to Nichiren Buddhism and have gone on to achieve fresh dynamic growth. And we must continue to triumph over all in exactly the same way in the future.

In the letter to Soya Doso, the Daishonin also writes: “The neighing of the white horses [in the story of King Rinda[3]] is the sound of our voices chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (WND-1, 989). With these words, he urges us to make our daimoku resound, strengthening the vitality and intensity of the protective functions, so that we can sing a powerful, rousing song of victory for truth and justice.

It is my greatest pride and honor that in the face of various difficulties—such as the Osaka Incident,[4] the Freedom of Speech Incident[5] and the first and second priesthood issues—my wonderful disciples who are “bluer than indigo” have stood up to fight alongside me.

During the stormy period of 1978 [amid the first priesthood issue], I composed the song “Torchbearers of Justice” for the young lions of the future division. The song continues to be sung, with successive future division graduates making important contributions to society and kosen-rufu.

This present time is an unsurpassed opportunity for us to realize Nichiren’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land” and ensure the eternal transmission of the Law.

With fresh determination, let’s join in energetically expanding beautiful circles of friendship!

The wisdom of
champions of philosophy
is limitless.
Dispel the darkness of our world
through positive dialogue.

From the April 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. Soya Kyoshin was one of the leading believers in Shimosa Province, part of present-day Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures. Nichiren Daishonin gave him the Buddhist name Horen. ↩︎
  2. Acharya Daishin was a priest and a disciple of Nichiren. Acharya (Jpn ajari) was a title of rank in the priesthood. ↩︎
  3. Referring to the story of King Rinda, in which the king is invigorated by the neighing of white horses, which only neigh when they see white swans. ↩︎
  4. Osaka Incident: The occasion when President Ikeda, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, was arrested and wrongfully charged with election law violations in a House of Councilors by-election in Osaka in 1957. At the end of the court case, which continued for more than four years, he was fully exonerated of all charges on January 25, 1962. ↩︎
  5. Freedom of Speech Incident: The name given to a controversy that arose in 1970, when the Soka Gakkai tried to defend itself from libel. For further details, see the “Fierce Winds” chapter of The New Human Revolution, vol. 14. ↩︎

SGI-USA Washington, D.C. Buddhist Center