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Ikeda Sensei

Let’s Confidently Demonstrate the Power of Nichiren Buddhism

Members gather in solidarity and friendship in Teaneck, New Jersey, Octoboer 2023. Photo by Yin Thin Low.

The compassion of Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, was infinitely profound and thoughtful.

I vividly recall the moving words he wrote to a disciple battling illness:

When someone reported to me … that you had been taken with this illness, day and night, morning and evening I addressed the Lotus Sutra on the matter, morning and evening I implored the gods of the blue heavens. And now today I have received word that you have recovered from illness. Could any tidings be more joyful than these? (“Recovering from Illness,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 1034)

The Soka Gakkai is a realm where this spirit of great compassion and caring pulses warmly and strongly.

Our first president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, asserted that by demonstrating the benefit of practicing Nichiren Buddhism, we of the Soka Gakkai have made it possible for anyone to easily grasp the supreme law for living our lives, which all humanity yearns for—that is, the Mystic Law for attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime. He then declared that we will never stop making efforts until we have shared its benefit with everyone and helped them attain unsurpassed happiness.[1]

In accord with Mr. Makiguchi’s powerful conviction, our members have, since our organization’s founding,[2] accumulated endless actual proof of realizing human revolution and transforming karma. They have done so by bravely confronting and overcoming all kinds of sufferings and hardships—including illness, financial difficulties and interpersonal discord—based on their steadfast practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and teaching others to do the same.

Members share their joy-filled experiences in discussion meetings around the globe. Today, not only are such experiences featured in the pages of the Seikyo Shimbun and other print publications, but they are instantly available to the world via various online platforms.

Once, at a discussion meeting, a youth who had just started practicing asked second Soka Gakkai President Mr. Toda about the correct attitude in faith. My mentor’s reply was simple: “You need to have the conviction of one who shows proof.” Warmly encouraging the young man, he went on to explain: “This means having absolute conviction that you will show proof of the greatness of the Mystic Law with your body, your life, your entire being.”

Buddhism teaches that all the problems and struggles we encounter in our lives are due to the principle of “voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma.”[3] They are trials we have willingly taken on as Bodhisattvas of the Earth to help and to guide to enlightenment others with whom we share karmic ties. With this deep awareness, limitless strength wells forth within us, making it possible for us to overcome any obstacle.

The month after the Osaka Incident[4] [August 1957], I embarked on a fresh campaign for the victory of the people with my dear, dedicated members in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward.[5] Throughout, I proclaimed my wish for each of them to become happy without fail and my firm conviction that making great efforts for kosen-rufu is the only way to achieve this.

None of our Soka Gakkai activities is ever wasted. They are all for our own benefit while at the same time contributing to the happiness of others, the prosperity of society and, ultimately, world peace.

Ready to take on all challenges with the heart of a lion king, let us forge ahead with confidence and dignity!

Together with the Soka Gakkai,
which perfectly accords with
the Daishonin’s golden words,
let us open the way through prayer
and turn everything into a victory.

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

From the December 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. Translated from Japanese. See Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 10 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1987), p. 27. ↩︎
  2. The Soka Gakkai was founded on November 18, 1930. ↩︎
  3. Voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma: This refers to bodhisattvas who, though qualified to receive the pure rewards of Buddhist practice, relinquish them and make a vow to be reborn in an impure world in order to save living beings. ↩︎
  4. Osaka Incident: When Ikeda Sensei was arrested and wrongfully charged with election law violations in a House of Councillors by-election in Osaka in 1957. He was fully exonerated of all charges on January 25, 1962. ↩︎
  5. In a roughly weeklong campaign in Arakawa Ward in August 1957, Sensei led the members there in realizing a 10% increase in membership, adding over 200 new member households. ↩︎

SGI-USA Chicago Buddhist Center