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Ikeda Sensei

Shining as the Foremost Beacons of Hope in All the World

Photo by Dylan Chan / Pexels.

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In December 1955, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda declared his resolve to strive his hardest in the coming year to ensure that not a single member failed to receive benefit and he could say to all the world, “Look what we’ve accomplished!”[1]

Making our mentor’s impassioned vow our own, in 1956 our Kansai members and I, linked by deep karmic ties, set in motion a great, joyous momentum for “the prosperity of the Great Law”[2] and to realize the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” Transforming their karma into mission, everyone brought wonderful benefits of human revolution to bloom in their lives and together achieved a stunning victory for the people in a feat that had been thought all but impossible.[3]

In that struggle to make the impossible possible, employing the “strategy of the Lotus Sutra” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1001), our precious Kansai members and I took one particular passage from Nichiren Daishonin’s writings deeply to heart. They were words addressed to Shijo Kingo, who accompanied the Daishonin during the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, ready to die alongside him:

You were forsaken by your brothers, resented by your fellow samurai, … and hated by people throughout Japan. … Since you thus proved yourself to be the foremost ally of the Lotus Sutra in all of Jambudvipa [the entire world], no doubt the heavenly gods Brahma and Shakra have found it difficult to forsake you.

The same is true of your attaining Buddhahood. (“The Receipt of New Fiefs,” WND-1, 946)

Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, is aware of all our efforts. Our Soka family is advancing tirelessly for kosen-rufu undeterred by the fickle winds of public opinion. Without a doubt, he would highly praise each one of us as “the foremost ally of the Lotus Sutra in the entire world.”

No matter what adversity we may face, let us always press forward bravely with this pride and conviction. The heavenly deities, led by Brahma and Shakra, will never fail to protect us. Indeed, we must be determined to rouse them to action so that they will be driven by an irrepressible desire to defend our gathering of Buddhas.

And let us show actual proof in our lives and in society of the Daishonin’s teaching that “Buddhism means winning” through our invincible faith and humanistic behavior, just like Shijo Kingo.

Our youthful Soka Gakkai worldwide is gearing up to make a fresh departure [with the start of the new year], as we put into practice the world’s foremost philosophy of respect for life and work to forge and expand the world’s foremost people’s movement.

With the ever-youthful life force of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, let us shine as the foremost beacons of hope in all the world!

As our members in Europe sing in the chorus of their new song, “Sun rises in my heart / We will win this victory / A lasting peace on earth / For all humanity.”[4]

Brahma and Shakra—
I call on you to reverently protect
the noble young people
striving with all their being
for kosen-rufu!

Originally published in the December 2023 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal. Ikeda Sensei completed this essay prior to his passing.

From the January 2024 Living Buddhism


  1. Translated from Japanese. See Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 4 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1984), p. 405. ↩︎
  2. Part of the dedication inscribed on the Kansai Kosen-rufu Gohonzon enshrined in the Soka Gakkai Kansai Headquarters. The full dedication reads: “For the Prosperity of the Great Law and Fulfillment of All Prayers.” ↩︎
  3. Osaka Campaign: In May 1956, the Kansai members, uniting around the young Daisaku Ikeda, who had been dispatched by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda to support them, introduced 11,111 households to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism in a single month. ↩︎
  4. Lyrics from the song “Sun Rises in My Heart.” ↩︎

On the Passing of Ikeda Sensei