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Ikeda Sensei

Shining Our Light as Bodhisattvas of the Earth for the Happiness of the People

Photo by Lee 琴 / Unsplash

“Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 386)—this is one of the eternal guidelines of the Soka Gakkai.

How highly Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, would praise the noble efforts of all of you, my friends around the world, who are preparing for Buddhist study exams[1] or participating in study courses with eager seeking spirit.

All that you are learning as you study Nichiren Buddhism together with fellow members—each of you taking time out of your busy schedules while dealing with all kinds of personal challenges—will be engraved deeply in your lives and become a source of immense joy, good fortune and benefit.

In September 1950, when I was working frantically to transform the dire situation of my mentor Josei Toda’s businesses, I copied a passage from “Medicine King,” the 23rd chapter of the Lotus Sutra, in my diary: “This sutra can cause all living beings to free themselves from suffering and anguish. This sutra can bring great benefits to all living beings and fulfill their desires” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, pp. 327–28). These words are a declaration that the Mystic Law is the supreme and ultimate teaching for relieving the sufferings of all living beings.

I felt as if I could hear the loud voice that issued from the magnificent assembly of the Lotus Sutra, calling out: “You must spread [the Lotus Sutra] abroad widely throughout Jambudvipa [the entire world] and never allow it to be cut off” (LSOC, 330).

Retreating was not an option. I resolved to support my mentor, who was leading the propagation of the great Law, and first do everything I could to break through the immediate obstacles that stood in our path.

As Soka Gakkai members, we read Nichiren Daishonin’s writings and the Lotus Sutra, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the happiness of ourselves and others. We base our lives on the ultimate truth of the universe. When we view our problems from the vast perspective of life encompassing past, present and future and the worlds of the ten directions, what incredible courage and wisdom and powerful life force well up within us to embrace and overcome them!

The Daishonin writes in “The Entity of the Mystic Law,” which he composed 750 years ago [in 1273] while in exile on Sado Island, that Myoho-renge is the “wonderful single Law [myoho] that simultaneously possesses both cause and effect [renge],” and that “anyone who practices this Law will obtain both the cause and the effect of Buddhahood simultaneously” (WND-1, 421). How profound “the cause and effect of Buddhahood” we obtain through exerting ourselves tirelessly in the “two ways of practice and study,” undaunted by all difficulties!

During the harsh winter of 1979, I said to treasured friends in Tohoku that the times change, or rather, we can change them. I urged the members to form a clear vision of how to open the way for kosen-rufu, set firm goals and then strive to accomplish them. The more we pray with determination and exert ourselves, I said, the more we will expand our network of friendship, solidarity and kosen-rufu.

The members of our Soka family, with Tohoku in the lead, possess the “heartbeat of champions” and are the “flag bearers of the noble cause of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.”[2]

As Bodhisattvas of the Earth, shining like the sun, let’s make even greater efforts to bring the triumphant light of happiness to all people!

Wishing to enable all
to hear the teaching
of the Mystic Law—
our dialogues as Bodhisattvas of the Earth
bring the light of happiness to the people.

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

From the October 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. In Japan, the Study Department Elementary Exam will be held on October 1. ↩︎
  2. Lyrics from “The Aoba Pledge,” the Tohoku Soka Gakkai song. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the song’s debut. ↩︎

Intro Exam Study Guide

SGI-USA Las Vegas Buddhist Center