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Ikeda Sensei

The Key to Future Victory Is Here and Now

Photo by leonid_tit/ Getty Images.

This summer, Japan and many parts of the world are experiencing record-breaking temperatures. Japan has also encountered a series of natural disasters caused by intense rainfall and powerful windstorms. Recently, Typhoon Khanun inflicted considerable damage on Okinawa and the Amami region and continues to have a major impact on Kyushu and other parts of western Japan. Utmost caution also needs to be taken with Typhoon Lan forecasted to strike Japan in the coming days.[1]

I am praying wholeheartedly for everyone’s safety and security in the afflicted areas, for damage to be minimal and recovery to be quick. I am also chanting for everyone to avoid heat-related illnesses and for the protection of crops amid these harsh conditions. 

Nichiren Daishonin lamented, “We live today in a time of trouble, when there is little that ordinary people can do [literally when the power of the people is weak]” (“The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1134). 

Let us reaffirm our commitment to strengthening and uniting the power of the people as we strive to build a peaceful and prosperous realm based on the humanistic principles of Nichiren Buddhism.

The Japanese word mirai, meaning future, appears repeatedly in the Daishonin’s writings. 

For example, in “On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” he says, “If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity [mirai]” (WND-1, 736). 

In “The Opening of the Eyes,” he states, “Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the other Buddhas intend to insure the future [mirai] propagation of the Lotus Sutra so that it can be made available to all the children of the Buddha in times to come [mirai]” (WND-1, 286). 

And in “On the Buddha’s Prophecy,” he writes, “I have seen that the Buddha’s prophecy applies to you; now what do you yourself predict [for the future (mirai )]?” (WND-1, 401).[2]

In fact, the word mirai appears 175 times in the new Japanese edition of the Nichiren Daishonin Gosho zenshu (The Complete Works of Nichiren Daishonin). 

The future is also a major theme running through the Lotus Sutra, which clarifies the crucial question: What is the correct teaching that should be spread in the evil latter age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, and who will spread it? 

To ensure the happiness of all living beings throughout the eternal future of the Latter Day of the Law, the Daishonin overcame every conceivable hardship and revealed the essence of the Lotus Sutra in the form of the Gohonzon. 

Our Buddhist practice is for the present and the future. In accord with the teaching “If you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present”[3] (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 279), it is important to create great causes now that will assure great victory in the future. 

In that respect, our future division leaders are truly respectworthy torchbearers whose efforts in fostering young successors carry on the noble work of the Buddha. 

We are already a month into Future Division Dynamic Growth Month [in Japan], which began on July 8.[4]

I am immensely grateful to all our precious members who, amid this sweltering heat, continue to pray each day for the happiness and well-being of our young successors, the princes and princesses of Soka, and make admirable efforts to impart refreshing breezes of hope and courage to them. I am also pleased to hear about this year’s Future Division Summer Challenge focusing on our annual summer contests.

I would further like to express my sincere respect to those engaged in the noble endeavor of raising children, as well as to our entire Soka family supporting their dedicated efforts. Not least, I wish to convey my appreciation to the Education Department members, who are creating safe and supportive spaces for parents through holding family education discussion sessions and other related activities.

On July 30, a vibrant Nationwide Future Division Summer Training Course was held at Soka University, a “fortress for peace,”[5] and broadcast live to Soka Gakkai centers throughout Japan. The melody and singing of the future division song “Torchbearers of Justice” by 25,000 junior and senior high school members who participated in that course continues to resonate powerfully and deeply in my life.

Everyone was moved by the experience of a high school division member from Kanagawa Prefecture. The young woman shared her struggle of not being able to attend school as she wished during her elementary and junior high school years. Thanks to the support and encouragement of her fellow Soka family members, however, she gained the strength not to be defeated by her difficulties. Today, she is enrolled in a high school correspondence program, leading a fulfilling life as she strives admirably to realize her dreams for the future.

The first to carry the torch of faith in her family was her great grandfather, a dear old friend of mine whom I will never forget. We first met at a discussion meeting I was leading in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 1952. 

Wishing to become a painter, he moved from Kyushu’s Saga Prefecture to Tokyo. He attended that discussion meeting, his first, at the invitation of a friend. Speaking together, he shared with me his doubts about whether he could succeed as an artist. Without hesitation, I said to him: “Give Nichiren Buddhism a try and become the best painter in all Japan!” He nodded deeply and decided to join the Soka Gakkai.

I continued to encourage him at every opportunity. He became a renowned artist and was an inaugural member of the arts division when it was founded. In his later years, he served as the honorary director of the Fuji Art Museum in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture. One of his paintings is on display at Soka University of America.

The young man I spoke with at that discussion meeting so many years ago embraced the Mystic Law and created a magnificent masterpiece of art and life. Now, the triumphant music of faith spans four generations of his family. Through all of life’s challenges, the family no doubt exchanged a tremendous amount of support and encouragement with fellow members over the years. 

In August 1273, while in exile on Sado Island, Nichiren Daishonin wrote a letter to Shijo Kingo and his wife, Nichigen-nyo—disciples in Kamakura who were struggling with the illness of their young daughter, Kyo’o. In it, he tells them that he has been praying to the gods of the sun and moon for her recovery every moment of the day (see “Reply to Kyo’o,” WND-1, 412). And he declares: “Kyo’o’s misfortune will change into fortune. Muster your faith, and pray to this Gohonzon. Then what is there that cannot be achieved?” (WND-1, 412).

Every family has its problems, and raising children is a universal challenge. There may be times when unexpected difficulties befall our families or our children. But we have the lion’s roar of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! We have the Gohonzon, of which the Daishonin states: “I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart” (WND-1, 412). 

By rousing courageous faith, “misfortune will change into fortune” (WND-1, 412) without fail. We can transform any hardship into future good fortune for our families and children. 

This is the power of faith and practice that “changes poison into medicine” taught by Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, over 750 years ago.

Summer is a time for fostering capable individuals. I myself have countless memories of studying and learning with future division members in summers past. 

In August 1982, a Future Division Peace and Hope Festival was held in Tohoku’s Miyagi Prefecture. I vividly remember the joyous smiles of 4,000 future division members, “emissaries from the future” and the treasures of our castle of capable people in Tohoku, happily singing and dancing together in the summer heat. 

I applauded their spirited performances and said that seeing them strive valiantly and confidently for peace on the grand stage of society and the world in the 21st century would be my personal victory in life, worth all my efforts and hard work.

Living up to my expectations, they grew splendidly and, as the core of the Tohoku organization, played a pivotal role in recovery efforts following the devastating March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. To this day, they continue to courageously serve their communities. 

A bright future does not suddenly appear out of nowhere. It is the culmination of our inner resolve in every moment. That’s why it is essential that we sincerely encourage the person in front of us. Then, we must continue to move forward together, striving harmoniously today and again tomorrow. Only through such consistent and ongoing efforts can we create a brilliant future.

What is the correct way to live?”

That’s the question I asked my mentor, Josei Toda, in August 76 years ago [1947], during our first encounter when I was 19 years old. 

He gave me a clear reply: “It’s fine to think about what is the correct way of life, but you’d be putting your time to better use if you try practicing Nichiren Buddhism. You are young. If you do so, someday you’ll definitely find yourself quite naturally following the correct path through life!” 

It is truly just as he said.

My heart filled with gratitude, I penned The Human Revolution (12 volumes) and The New Human Revolution (30 volumes) to capture in writing the correct path of life I have walked together with the Mystic Law, my mentor, my fellow members and the Soka Gakkai.

I began to write The New Human Revolution on Aug. 6, 1993, three decades ago, in Nagano Prefecture. Choosing the anniversary of the day that an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima—the first use of nuclear weapons in history—I opened the novel with the words “Nothing is more precious than peace. Nothing brings more happiness.”

In that 30-volume work, I convey the story of the shared struggle for human revolution carried out by fellow Bodhisattvas of the Earth in Japan and around the world who are striving tirelessly in the same spirit as me to realize the unprecedented sacred task of kosen-rufu for the happiness of humanity and lasting peace. The Daishonin is surely praising this “wonderful story [that will endure into the future]” (see “Letter to the Brothers,” WND-1, 499).

I am confident that through this novel, I will be able to engage in an eternal dialogue anytime and anywhere with the young people who will carry on the mentor-disciple spirit of the first three Soka Gakkai presidents. 

Shakyamuni spent his formative years gazing up at the towering Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range, while Nichiren Daishonin spent his looking out at the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest body of water. 

Today, we are able to give our splendidly growing young friends of the future division the sun of the Buddhism of the people, foremost in all the universe, and the boundless earth of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, the foundation for the victory of the people. Let this be a source of unsurpassed pride and infinite hope for us. 

While facing a storm of criticism, Mr. Toda once declared: “The struggle we are waging now is for the sake of 100 years, 200 years hence.” Even if no one understands our movement now, he asserted confidently, history is certain to prove it right. 

I fondly recall that when I shared these words of Mr. Toda with Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev, former Soviet president and first lady, they both nodded and smiled in agreement. 

Now is the time for us to initiate a fresh challenge to create a brighter future. Let us reach out to and converse and connect with one person after another. Let us foster capable successors, certain that the key to future victory is here and now!

October 6, 2023, World Tribune, pp. 2–4


  1. Typhoon Khanun approached Japan on Aug. 1, 2023, triggering heavy rainfall in the southern part of the country. Typhoon Lan made landfall on the southern tip of Wakayama Prefecture on Aug. 15, 2023. ↩︎
  2. In the original, all of these passages contain the Japanese word mirai, which is translated in several different ways in English. ↩︎
  3. From The Contemplation on the Mind-Ground Sutra. ↩︎
  4. In Japan, Future Division Dynamic Growth Month runs from mid-July through the end of August each year, coinciding with the summer school holiday period. During this time, various contests aimed at helping future division members broaden their horizons are held. These include English speech contests and art, essay and book review contests. ↩︎
  5. When Ikeda Sensei founded Soka University, he presented it with the following three guidelines: 1) Be the highest seat of learning for humanistic education; 2) Be the cradle of a new culture; 3) Be a fortress for the peace of humankind. ↩︎

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