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Ikeda Sensei

Spread the Warm Encouragement of Soka!

12th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting

Photo by AJ / Unsplash.

Ikeda Sensei sent the following message to the 12th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial, held on Jan. 7,2023, at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo. The meeting was a kick off of the 10th anniversary year of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu. This message was originally published in the Jan. 8, 2023, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.

Congratulations to all our inspiring young friends in Japan celebrating Coming of Age Day [on Jan. 9 this year]! 

With my best wishes for the future of all Soka youth—world citizens dedicated to creating peace in the 21st century—and in tribute to this Year of Youth and Triumph, I would like to share with you a poem I composed on New Year’s Day of 1975, the year that the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) was founded.[1]

Rising to action,
my young friends,
pray to the Buddha
and achieve triumph
like heroes on horseback!
—To my disciples

My wife and I will continue praying strongly and earnestly, day after day and month after month, for each one of you, our dear young friends who share our spirit—especially, those of you standing up with fresh determination as new adults—to realize triumph in your youth and your life. 

The start of the Soka Gakkai’s movement for peace, culture and education that has today spread around the globe can be traced back to 1955, the year when our members embarked on their first full-fledged campaign of grassroots dialogue to create a better society based on Nichiren Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” On New Year’s Day of that year, 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.  

Encouragement is a hope-filled driving force for peace, culture and education. 

From the start of that year, in the days of my youth, I took the lead even more energetically in encouraging my fellow members, as Mr. Toda had called out in his poem, filling them with passion and energy.  

At the time, I was acting chapter leader of Tokyo’s Bunkyo Chapter, so I especially focused my attention on our dedicated district men’s and women’s leaders who strove alongside me, sharing hardships and joys, on the frontlines of our movement. This is because the district is a garden of equality and harmony, an oasis of unity in diversity and the power source for the forward momentum of kosen-rufu. I fondly recall sending a message of encouragement to them at their first meeting of the new year, which I was unable to attend because of work [see the message below].

Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, too, overflow with encouragement. 

In “On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” composed during the Atsuhara Persecution,[2] the Daishonin urges his followers to encourage and support their fellow practitioners [who are facing persecution in Atsuhara] so that no one falls into the evil paths of existence (see The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 998).[3]

As we embark on this new year, let’s all support and encourage our men’s and women’s district leaders even more as they strive tirelessly to fulfill their profound mission of working for the happiness of people in their communities. From our districts—gatherings of “human flowers” embodying harmony in diversity—let us continue spreading the warm, smiling encouragement of Soka to both members and nonmembers alike in a world where too many feel the icy chill of alienation and anxiety.

Let us also make our gatherings of Soka triumph and prosper as citadels of good fortune and the eternal victory of the people, illuminating our communities and lands—where we have chosen to fulfill our vow—with the light of peace and security. 

In “On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” the Daishonin declares: “Nichiren’s followers are like roaring lions” (WND-1, 997). Uniting with the Daishonin and our precious fellow members around the world, let us pledge together to unleash a courageous lion’s roar for truth and justice, activate the protective functions of the universe and make a triumphant song of human revolution and respect for the dignity of life resound far and wide! 

Message to the Bunkyo Chapter District Leaders Meeting on Jan. 8, 1955

Happy New Year to my dear men’s and women’s district leaders!

Please enjoy a brilliant new year radiant with hope like the new day’s sun. I hope each of you will make this a meaningful year in which you accumulate tremendous benefit. 

This year again, remember that Buddhism means winning. 

Men’s district leaders, exert yourselves strongly and boldly, aware of your responsibilities and mission, and strive bravely to the end. Chant earnestly and always advance with invincible courage and firm determination. 

Women’s district leaders, take the lead with good cheer and integrity, striving as the driving force for family harmony and the source of harmonious faith within the district.

My deepest apologies for not being able to attend today’s meeting because of work commitments.

Please unite solidly around your chapter leader and stay well in the coming year! 

January 8

Feb. 3, 2023, World Tribune, pp. 2–3


  1. The Soka Gakkai International was founded in Guam on Jan. 26, 1975. ↩︎
  2. Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji District, Suruga Province (present-day central Shizuoka Prefecture), starting around 1275 and continuing until around 1283. In 1279, 20 disciples, all farmers, were arrested on false charges. They were interrogated by Hei no Saemon-no-jo, the deputy chief of the Office of Military and Police Affairs, who demanded that they renounce their faith. However, not one of them yielded. Hei no Saemon-no-jo eventually had three of them executed. ↩︎

  3. Based on new research, a word in the Japanese text of this writing, previously read as odosu (translated as “frighten”), has been corrected to read as otosu (lit. fall) in the revised edition of the Nichiren Daishonin gosho zenshu. ↩︎

The Joyous Dance of Life and Kosen-rufu