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Ikeda Sensei

‘Though calamities may come, they can be changed into good fortune’

Ikeda Sensei's encouragement to members after heavy rains and flooding that caused widespread damage throughout Akita.

The following day, Shin’ichi Yamamoto departed for Yamagata City by car to participate in the group photo session scheduled there. It was a cool and cloudy day. Shin’ichi arrived at the Yamagata Prefectural Gymnasium a little after two in the afternoon. The Shonai and Mogami areas of Yamagata had also experienced flooding that destroyed homes and agricultural land.

As soon as he entered the gymnasium, Shin’ichi picked up the microphone and said: “I’ve been so worried about the damage caused by the heavy rains and have been thinking about all of you here in Yamagata constantly. Tomorrow I will also go to see the members in Akita. But how are you all doing?”

“We’re fine!” the Yamagata members replied energetically.

“That’s great! But I imagine some of you are facing problems that you don’t want to mention in front of so many other people. If anyone has something they would like to talk about, anything at all, please write it down later and give it to me. I want to do whatever I can to help and support you.”

The members were touched by Shin’ichi’s sincerity. Among those gathered that day was a woman whose fields had been washed away in the rains. She had been deeply worried and depressed, but after hearing these words of encouragement from Shin’ichi, she felt much brighter.

Having been informed of her situation beforehand, Shin’ichi watched her warmly as he added with emphasis: “Some of you have probably experienced major losses. But Nichiren promises us: ‘Though calamities may come, they can be changed into good fortune’ (WND-2, 669). This is a test to see if you can do that. We must win! Remember, we are all lions!”

Shin’ichi’s words powerfully struck the woman’s heart. She had introduced many people in her village to Nichiren Buddhism. “That’s right,” she thought. “I cannot let this defeat me!” Fresh determination shone in her eyes, as Shin’ichi looked at her intently.

In his book Glück (Happiness), the Swiss philosopher Carl Hilty wrote, “Sufferings either make people strong or they break them.” Sincere and confident encouragement has the power to stir strength in people’s hearts.

—From The New Human Revolution, vol. 16, pp. 186–87

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