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Encouragement

Let’s Advance on Our Triumphant Journey of Peace and Hope

Ascending a New Summit of Kosen-rufu Together

Photo by ooyoo / Getty Images.

This essay by Ikeda Sensei was published in the Jan. 4, 2023, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun. 

The New Year’s Hakone Ekiden[1] men’s relay marathon [on Jan. 2–3] inspired and thrilled people throughout Japan. I would like to wholeheartedly applaud the solid performance and unity of the members of the Soka University team as well as all the other young people participating. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

All living things on our planet have embarked on another yearlong journey around the sun.

On New Year’s Day in 1955, my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, composed the following poem:

The journey to propagate

the Mystic Law

is long;

let us encourage each other

and advance together. 

This poem is engraved on a monument in the courtyard of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. The plaque features my own calligraphy of this poem that I inscribed as Mr. Toda’s faithful disciple. 

Among all the countless journeys of life, the journey to propagate the Mystic Law that is the vow and chosen path of Soka mentors and disciples is eternal and vast as the universe itself. 

Striving year after year to achieve new goals in our ascent to the summit of victory in kosen-rufu, we accumulate immeasurable treasures of the heart for ourselves and our communities. At the same time, we steadily open the great path to happiness for all humankind into the eternal future.

No matter what obstacles rise before us, we share the most precious bonds of mutual support and encouragement with our fellow members. The steeper the road ahead, the more we encourage one another, bring forth our invincible life force and change all poison into medicine. That is the miraculous solidarity of our Soka people’s movement.

Let us exert even greater efforts to use our voices to impart “boundless strength.”

Precisely because the times are racked by deepening division and alienation, let us exert even greater efforts to use our voices to impart “boundless strength”[2] by warmly encouraging others both inside and outside our organization. This is the way to unite the goodness in people and revive our societies. The world today is yearning for the warmth and light of our dialogues based on the humanistic principles of Nichiren Buddhism to create a more peaceful world. 

Mr. Toda placed great significance on the word “advance” (Jpn yukanamu) used in the above poem. Yukanamu also has the implication of bravely setting forth or actively taking on a challenge. 

The year 1955, when Mr. Toda composed the poem, was the year of our victory in the Otaru Debate.[3] It also marked the start of our full-fledged effort to send into society a stream of capable people committed to creating value, contributing to their communities and working for the welfare of the people, which has grown into our movement for peace, culture and education today. 

Sixty-eight years have passed since then, and ever-growing numbers of youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth—travelers who will carry on our long journey to realize kosen-rufu and Nichiren Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land”—are joyously emerging throughout Japan and around the world.

At the start of this new year, I received reports that many new members have joined our movement in countries throughout Africa. 

My wife and I are praying earnestly each day for the health, safety and well-being and also the good fortune and benefit of all our precious members around the world.

My wife has told me that the birth flower of Jan. 4 in Japan is the daisy, a flower well loved in Europe and a symbol of peace and hope. 

With our prayer from time without beginning ever in our hearts, let us win today and make positive causes for tomorrow. Let us encourage one another and advance together on our triumphant journey to make flowers of peace and hope blossom across the globe!

Jan.20, 2023, World Tribune, p. 2

References

  1. The Hakone Ekiden is a two-day race for university men’s track teams from within the Kanto region, held on Jan. 2–3 each year. In this year’s race, the Soka team placed eighth, securing qualification for next year’s 100th Hakone Ekiden. ↩︎
  2. The Japanese word for encouragement, hagemashi, is written with a Chinese character containing two components that together mean “boundless strength.” ↩︎
  3. Otaru Debate: A public debate between Soka Gakkai representatives and priests of Nichiren Shu (the Minobu school), held at the Otaru Civic Hall in the city of Otaru, Hokkaido, on March 11, 1955. The debate was won by the Soka Gakkai, with a young Daisaku Ikeda acting as emcee. ↩︎

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