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Daily Life

Protect the Pure World of Children

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The following excerpt is Ikeda Sensei’s guidance on bringing up children with humane brightness and cheer. It can be found in Happy Parents, Happy Kids, pp. 93–95

I cherish the boys and girls of the future division. I suppose that among you who have gathered here today, there are those who have many children. Children are worthy of respect because they raise a racket innocently and with such earnest. To repress their will is an utterly merciless act. You must place great value on the will of children to forge ahead. I am very fond of the children who are honest and unpretentious. It is because, when I am with them, I feel myself become rejuvenated.

I want the young fathers and mothers among you to thrive with your children, surmounting difficulties. Your children’s education may cost you a lot of money. And you may live in cramped quarters. Moreover, your children are probably often so boisterous that you are not well rested. However, these are mere trifles. Your duty as parents is to bring up your children honorably, and this is what you must strive to do. Unless you can embrace your wives and children with genuinely deep affection and are able to protect them, you will be unable to guide others. Probably there are cases where you are badly off and cannot afford to buy as many things for your children as you would like. My experience was the same. However, precisely such a situation is for a parent to have an attitude positive enough to beam on your children and say: “Let’s chant together,” “Let’s go out together to enjoy the scenery,” or “Let’s watch the beautiful sunrise together.”

Money cannot raise children. Money cannot determine success in their upbringing. A child’s development is what the attitude of his or her parents makes of it. I earnestly ask that you rear your children with a humane brightness and in a largehearted and cheerful manner. And I hope that you will create a tradition of wonderful marital love and parental affection.

The Japanese classic New Tale of the Heike, a novel by Eiji Yoshikawa, reads: “Even though one may examine a child thoroughly, one will fail to discover any attempt at evil of his own making within his nature. By inborn nature, children merely come to reflect the evil ways of the world and of adults.”[1] Children’s minds are by nature as pure as snow. Nevertheless, some of them are infected with the evil ways of the world and take to an evil path. This is in large measure due to the demoralizing influence prevalent in the adult world, and responsibility rests with the adults.

A topic widely talked about is the bad influence on children of certain kinds of television programming and publications. What lies behind the shallow interests projected by mass communications are the base minds of adults who are bent on making money in any way possible. It is to rectify such evils in life, and to reform our respective communities and society and to purify them, that we are striving in the propagation of Buddhism. To protect children, we must forge ahead, and in doing so, we are walking the correct path.

The New Tale of the Heike also reads, “If one is to give lectures, one should stand at a street corner and give lectures to adults in society, and to people of power who have the means to effect the greatest influence on the world.”[2] I entirely agree on this point. This passage tells us that ordinary people should voice their views on what they think is right to people of power who influence society. This remark gets to the heart of the matter. However many people there are who timidly yield to the powerful, and are totally silent and without spirit, left to them alone the reformation of society can never take place. Therefore, we must have a great deal of courage for the sake of the Law, other people, and society. If we lose the compassion and courage to champion the interests of women, children, and the fragile, we have no right to call ourselves Buddhists.


  1. Translated from Japanese. Eiji Yoshikawa, Yoshikawa Eiji zenshu (Collected Writings of Eiji Yoshikawa), vol. 39 (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1982). ↩︎
  2. Ibid. ↩︎

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