Skip to main content

Ikeda Sensei’s Lectures

Youth and Faith—Awakening to Our Own and Others’ Dignity

Ikeda Sensei’s Lecture Series [87]

At the Florida Nature and Culture Center, Weston, Florida, January 2023. Photo by Jon Wilson.

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, often told young people: “Don’t be afraid! Live boldly, as lions!”

Because he treasured young people immensely, he always warmly encouraged them. He voiced his hope that each would “summon up the courage of a lion king” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 997) and become a victor in life, undefeated by any hardship.

Since the time of our founding president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, fostering youth and producing leaders of the next generation have been the unchanging tradition and spirit at the heart of the Soka Gakkai.

Youth Seeking the True Way to Live

During an interview for a Tohoku Broadcasting radio program [in December 1956], Josei Toda was asked, “Why does the Soka Gakkai have such a large youth membership?” His answer was very clear: “Because we have a profound philosophy.”

“Youth,” he continued, “search for a life philosophy. That pursuit leads them to climb higher and higher summits. And the higher they climb, the greater their joy, which is why once they join the Soka Gakkai, they don’t leave.”

These are the words of a great educator who always warmly cared for and supported young people seeking the true way to live. I can still hear Mr. Toda’s voice ringing with affection and compassion.

Ascending the Summit of Kosen-rufu Together

Josei Toda continued: “I am walking the same path. I’m just a step or two ahead, that’s all. I am not saying that I have reached the summit; I am saying, let’s make our way to the summit together!”

This invitation to seek the truth of Buddhism together must have encouraged countless young people. We engage in Buddhist study in the Soka Gakkai so that together we can learn about the principles of Buddhism, develop our lives and ascend the summits of kosen-rufu and of attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime.

July is the Soka Gakkai’s month of youth. Praying for the dynamic growth of all my dear friends of the young men’s, young women’s, student and future divisions, I would like this time to discuss two of Nichiren’s writings, focusing on the theme of youth and faith. First, let us study “On the Offering of a Mud Pie,” a letter expressing Nichiren’s infinite hopes for young people.

Heartfelt Delight at Nanjo Tokimitsu’s Growth

[“The Teacher of the Law” chapter in the] fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra states: “If there is someone who seeks the Buddha way and for the space of a kalpa[1] presses palms together in my [Shakyamuni Buddha’s] presence and recites numberless verses of praise, because of these [expressions of praise for] the Buddha [that person] will gain immeasurable blessings. And if one lauds and extols those who uphold this sutra, one’s good fortune will be even greater” [see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 203].

The point of this passage is that one will gain greater blessings by giving alms to the votary [practitioner] of the Lotus Sutra, who in the evil world of the latter age is so intensely hated, than by giving alms to the Buddha for a whole medium kalpa.[2] And if you should wonder who is making such a wild statement, it is none other than Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, himself. Whether you doubt or believe him is up to you. (“On the Offering of a Mud Pie,” WND-2, 499)[3]

Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter in November 1274 to his young disciple Nanjo Tokimitsu, who had sent him sincere offerings, including mandarin oranges, konnyaku,[4] burdock root and other items.

In May 1274, the Daishonin left Kamakura to take up residence on Mount Minobu. Just two months later, in July, the 16-year-old[5] Tokimitsu, out of his passionate seeking spirit, visited the Daishonin at his dwelling there.

Roughly a decade had passed since the Daishonin last met Tokimitsu, then still a child. He was truly delighted to see how Tokimitsu had grown into a fine young man who had inherited his late father’s Buddhist faith.[6]

In the letter, written about four months after Tokimitsu’s visit, Nichiren expresses his boundless hopes for the future of this young successor.

The passage from “The Teacher of the Law,” the 10th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, he cites here is quite extraordinary. It states that the benefits gained by making offerings to those who embrace the Lotus Sutra—especially, those who practice the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law—surpass the benefits gained by making offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha, the one who preached the Lotus Sutra.

Nichiren goes so far as to call this “a wild statement” (WND-2, 499). Yet this is what the Lotus Sutra teaches, he explains; they are the words of Shakyamuni, the lord of the teachings. Ultimately, he says, it is up to Tokimitsu whether he chooses to believe them or not.

Genuine faith comes from within. It is something we must decide for ourselves. Nichiren here is encouraging Tokimitsu to walk the path of faith on his own initiative and volition.

The Practitioners of the Lotus Sutra Are Supremely Noble

“The Teacher of the Law” chapter of the Lotus Sutra clarifies that both the offense of slandering people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and the benefit of praising and making offerings to them are greater than the offense of slandering or the benefit of praising and making offerings to Shakyamuni. It indisputably conveys Shakyamuni’s true intent; it is the Buddha’s declaration.

In the narrative in the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni’s bestowal of prophecies of enlightenment on voice-hearer disciples of his day ends with the preceding 9th chapter, “Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts.” Then, from “The Teacher of the Law” chapter, the focus shifts to the important theme of who will spread the Law widely in the evil age after Shakyamuni’s passing. This theme begins with the sutra clarifying how truly noble are those who embrace and spread the correct teaching in that corrupt age.

From the aspect of the Law or teaching, the benefit attained by propagating the Mystic Law [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo], the essence of the Lotus Sutra, in the Latter Day of the Law is immense beyond measure. Shakyamuni and all other Buddhas originally attained enlightenment through the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore, the benefit of spreading the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is incalculable.

From the aspect of the person, meanwhile, “The Teacher of the Law” chapter explains that bodhisattvas who have attained the same state as the Buddha and vowed to help guide all people to enlightenment will propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil latter age. These bodhisattvas willingly relinquish their karmic reward of rebirth in a pure land and choose to be born in the troubled saha world[7] to engage in the bodhisattva practice of relieving others from suffering. This is the teaching of “voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma.”[8]

“The Teacher of the Law” chapter states that such a person “is the envoy of the Thus Come One.[9] He has been dispatched by the Thus Come One and carries out the Thus Come One’s work” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 200). These individuals are the protagonists of the Lotus Sutra’s propagation in the evil age of the Latter Day. And as envoys of the Thus Come One, they are doing the same work as the Thus Come One.

Consequently, in the context of the people of the Latter Day of the Law, instead of receiving direct instruction from Shakyamuni, they connect with the correct teaching of Buddhism and enter the path of faith by encountering these bodhisattvas who have vowed to lead all people to enlightenment. This is what makes the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day supremely noble.

The Way Kosen-rufu Unfolds in the Latter Day of the Law

“The Teacher of the Law” chapter precedes the Ceremony in the Air,[10] and so the Bodhisattvas of the Earth[11] have yet to appear. Nevertheless, the chapter does refer to bodhisattvas who “voluntarily assume the appropriate karma” appearing in the evil age after Shakyamuni’s passing to teach the Lotus Sutra in order to guide those who are suffering to enlightenment. It also explains that these bodhisattvas will need to be ready to spread the Lotus Sutra amid the headwinds of opposition and persecution, and that this is the unchanging pattern by which kosen-rufu proceeds in the Latter Day of the Law.

This is expressed in “The Teacher of the Law” chapter with the words “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Thus Come One [Shakyamuni Buddha] is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?” (LSOC, 203). “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower,” the 11th chapter, and “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter, also clearly identify obstacles that will arise when spreading the correct teaching in the Latter Day, such as the “six difficult and nine easy acts”[12] and the “three powerful enemies.”[13]

Perhaps if a resplendent Buddha with superhuman attributes[14] were to appear in the evil age after Shakyamuni’s death to lead people to enlightenment, those difficulties might not occur. But ordinary people would then regard that Buddha as a supernatural being completely divorced from their lives, from whom they would passively await salvation. In that case, they would be unable to awaken to their own inherent dignity, their Buddha nature.

When we ordinary people courageously share the correct Buddhist teaching with others in this corrupt age, we are certain to encounter opposition, just like Bodhisattva Never Disparaging.[15] But if we summon our faith and press on when we encounter such adversity—just as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging refused to be intimidated and steadfastly continued his practice of revering others—we can bring forth our own Buddha nature and build a magnificent state of life.

The inner light radiating from those who have triumphed over such hardships will illuminate everyone around them, leading even those who once opposed Buddhism to awaken to their own inner dignity and worth. In this way, one person after another will shine as an infinitely noble being, creating an ever-growing forest of treasure towers. This is the formula for kosen-rufu in the age after Shakyamuni’s death.

As the votary, or practitioner, of the Lotus Sutra in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law, the Daishonin spread the correct teaching in the face of life-threatening persecutions. Later in the same letter, he shares with Tokimitsu his feelings, the determination that has driven him, and the course of action he has taken:

I, Nichiren, had profound hopes of aiding the country of Japan, but the people of Japan, high and low alike, all seemingly bent on the destruction of the nation, not only did not heed my advice, but again and again treated me with animosity. Powerless to do otherwise, I retired to this mountain forest. (WND-2, 500)

Rising to Take Action and Winning Alongside Our Mentor

At the conclusion of this letter, Nichiren describes his unflagging efforts to speak out for truth, writing: “For the past twenty years or more [since I proclaimed my teaching,][16] I have never spared my voice. … Though others may slander us, we are teachers of the Law who take no heed of such a thing” (WND-2, 500–01).

By offering himself as an example of someone who has practiced just as the Lotus Sutra instructs and has fought his hardest in the face of adversity, Nichiren no doubt hoped to pass on his indomitable commitment to kosen-rufu to his young disciple.

In describing the reality of his struggle to lead people to enlightenment, the mentor here, I feel, is calling on his disciple to stand beside him so they may take action and win together. Learning of the Daishonin’s noble efforts, Tokimitsu was doubtless inspired to stand up with a deep commitment of his own.

Nichiren’s entire life, in which he tirelessly spread the Mystic Law while enduring endless difficulties, was dedicated to the happiness of the people. It exemplifies the spirit of the Lotus Sutra, which teaches that all people can attain enlightenment.

His noble, selfless commitment to spread Buddhism also prompted him to remonstrate with the authorities of his day. One example can be seen in his writing “A Further Letter to the Lay Priest Yadoya,” included for the first time in the new Japanese edition of the Nichiren Daishonin Gosho zenshu (The Complete Works of Nichiren Daishonin) [published in November 2021].

‘Not for My Own Sake’

A month has passed since my letter to you in the eighth month and, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you have not yet responded.

This weighs heavily on my heart. Perhaps it has slipped your mind because you are busy. Or perhaps I am deemed too insignificant to warrant even a single line.[17]

A certain sutra says, “The lion neither disdains the small hare nor fears the great elephant.”[18]

The ultimate path in the study of Buddhism is to willingly give one’s life to repay the debt of gratitude to one’s country. Therefore, what I am doing is not for my own sake. (“A Further Letter to the Lay Priest Yadoya,” Gosho zenshu, new edition, p. 853)[19]

At the beginning of 1268, an official letter from the Mongol empire demanding that Japan become one of its tributaries [with the threat of invasion if this demand was not met] sent shockwaves through the Kamakura military government. The calamity of foreign invasion predicted by Nichiren in his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land” [submitted to Hojo Tokiyori in 1260] seemed imminent.

Nichiren had again taken steps to remonstrate with the government, this time addressing the regent Hojo Tokimune,[20] who had newly assumed the reins of power [that March]. [As he had done when submitting “On Establishing the Correct Teaching” eight years earlier,] he had sought to use the lay priest Yadoya,[21] a high-ranking official in the Kamakura government, as an intermediary.

But as we can glean from “Letter to the Lay Priest Yadoya” (WND-2, 312), written that August, there was no response from the government. “A Further Letter to the Lay Priest Yadoya,” composed a month later in September, was Nichiren’s second attempt to urge Yadoya to resolve the crisis by losing no time in reporting the Daishonin’s concerns to Tokimune.

The Daishonin thus engaged in a lionhearted struggle of words with the nation’s leaders in Kamakura.

He stresses: “The ultimate path in the study of Buddhism is to willingly give one’s life to repay the debt of gratitude to one’s country. Therefore, what I am doing is not for my own sake” (GZ, new ed., 853).

These words express Nichiren’s consistent conviction throughout his life. In other writings, he declares: “I say all this solely for the sake of the nation, for the sake of the Law, for the sake of others, not for my own sake” (“The Rationale for Writing ‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,’” WND-1, 164); and “I do not speak out for my own sake, but for the sake of the gods, for the sake of the ruler, for the sake of the nation, and for the sake of all living beings” (“Letter to Hojo Tokimune,” WND-2, 315).

Nichiren was a great person defined by selflessness.

He risked his life by vehemently remonstrating with the authorities, not for his own sake but for the security and happiness of the people and to build a peaceful society. At the same time, as his letters to Nanjo Tokimitsu show, he embraced each of his disciples with the utmost warmth and concern.

Both of these actions are expressions of compassion. They embody the spirit of the Lotus Sutra in action and the struggle to establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land. In addition, in his efforts to protect the people, Nichiren repudiated erroneous teachings that went against the true spirit of Buddhism. And he engaged in a great struggle of words, sharply criticizing the nation’s leaders who ignored the people’s suffering. He persisted tirelessly in this great cause based on the Buddhist teachings.

Youth Taking Action as Successors

Nanjo Tokimitsu, who stood up as a young disciple of Nichiren Daishonin, was later pressured by relatives to discard his faith in the Lotus Sutra. In “The Workings of Brahma and Shakra” (WND-1, 798–801), a letter dated May 1277, Nichiren reminded the embattled Tokimitsu that persecutions arising from “even greater hatred and jealousy than in Shakyamuni’s lifetime”[22] were the inescapable destiny of those who embrace the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day. And he urged his disciple to remain steadfast in the face of onslaughts by devilish functions.

Tokimitsu received instruction from the Daishonin and developed himself year after year, fighting in a manner befitting a youthful successor of his mentor.
One monumental challenge he faced was the Atsuhara Persecution.[23] When his fellow practitioners were persecuted, Tokimitsu stood up with lionlike resolve to protect them, sheltering some in his residence.

At the end of “The Dragon Gate,” a letter written [in 1279] five years after their momentous reunion at Mount Minobu, the Daishonin addresses Tokimitsu as “Ueno the Worthy” [Tokimitsu also being known as Ueno, because he lived in Ueno Village in Fuji District of Suruga Province] (WND-1, 1003). These words express his highest praise for his disciple’s valiant efforts. He awards the 21-year-old[24] youth the title “Worthy,” implying great maturity and wisdom. I read this as the mentor’s powerful encouragement, applauding the intrepid struggle his disciple had waged alongside him over that time.

The relationship of mentor and disciple in Buddhism is to embrace the same great ideals and take action together while walking the same path. In the Lotus Sutra, we find the passage “Those persons who had heard the Law dwelled here and there in various Buddha lands, constantly reborn in company with their teachers” (LSOC, 178). These words point to the vow of mentors and disciples to strive faithfully together lifetime after lifetime in the bodhisattva practice of relieving people’s sufferings.

Living for a Shared Vow

Nichiren urges Nanjo Tokimitsu [in his letter “The Dragon Gate”]:

My wish is that all my disciples make a great vow. … In the end, no one can escape death. The sufferings at that time will be exactly like what we are experiencing now. Since death is the same in either case, you should be willing to offer your life for the Lotus Sutra. Think of this offering as a drop of dew rejoining the ocean, or a speck of dust returning to the earth. A passage from the third volume of the Lotus Sutra reads, “We beg that the merit gained through these [offerings] may be spread far and wide to everyone, so that we and other living beings all together may attain the Buddha way” [LSOC, 168]. (WND-1, 1003)

By cherishing a great vow, we build an expansive life state. By dedicating our lives to fulfill that great vow, we make the most of our limitless potential. By sharing that vow with others, we joyfully expand our circle of friendship, forge bonds of trust and cause our own and others’ dignity to shine.

Mr. Toda often said: “The greater our ideals, the greater our lives will become. No one becomes a true leader without hard work and effort.”

This is the meaning of “so that we and other living beings all together may attain the Buddha way” (LSOC, 168) in the above passage. By dedicating our lives to kosen-rufu along with our fellow members and exerting ourselves in bodhisattva practice, we break through the shell of ego, our lesser selves. We establish lives based on our true, strong, greater selves and live them dauntlessly. We can accumulate everlasting treasures of the heart and lead fulfilling, triumphant lives with assurance and joy.

This is the ultimate purpose of our Buddhist practice. Young people who learn of this sure way to indestructible happiness can confidently walk the noble path of contributing to the betterment of their societies. They can live the days of their youth with clear direction, purpose and conviction. There is no greater good fortune.

Cherishing a grand vision and sparing no effort to achieve it, Soka youth are treasures; they will play a pivotal role in shaping humanity’s future. The world’s hopes for you are greater than ever.

Making the Philosophy of Respect for the Dignity of Life the Banner of the Age

Professor Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, the supervising editor of the German edition (first volume) of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, has observed: “Nichiren demonstrates through his own life that, regardless of any adversity, confidence and hope can stay alive. Since all living beings possess the Buddha nature, it is important this potential be revealed.”[25]

The professor expressed his profound insight that, even in the context of European culture, Nichiren Buddhism can be deeply understood and its altruistic bodhisattva ideal can change society for the better.

Uniting with like-minded people and institutions, he continued, the Soka Gakkai is striving for individual happiness and world peace—in other words, happiness for oneself and others.

Thoughtful people around the world recognize the far-reaching contributions of the Soka Gakkai, which upholds the philosophy of respect for the dignity of life as the banner of the age.

Illuminating the World’s Future

Josei Toda said: “The defining qualities of youth are passion and a contemplative mind. As long as you possess these, you will never grow old.”

The youthful passion and energy, the contemplative minds and the unity and action of Soka young men and women are a beacon of hope illuminating the world’s future.

The world is seeking a philosophy for creating infinite value into the future.

The age of Soka youth is finally here.

Now is the time to strive our hardest! I am praying deeply for the growth, victory and brilliant achievements of all our youthful champions of Soka, courageous Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

Translated from the July 2022 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

From the April 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. Kalpa: In ancient Indian cosmology, an extremely long period of time. There are various views on the length of a kalpa. ↩︎
  2. Medium kalpa: A unit of time in ancient Indian cosmology. Medium kalpa can refer to either of two different periods of time. One is any of the twenty kalpas that constitute each of the four kalpas of formation, continuance, decline and disintegration. The other is a total of those twenty kalpas or the period of any of the four kalpas mentioned above. ↩︎
  3. Addressed to Nanjo Tokimitsu, “On the Offering of a Mud Pie” was written on November 11, 1274. In the letter, Nichiren thanks Tokimitsu for sending sincere offerings of food and other items to him at his residence on Mount Minobu. He underscores the immense benefit attained by those who make offerings to practitioners of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law and praises the steadfast faith of Tokimitsu and his late father. ↩︎
  4. Konnyaku: Also, konjac. A jellylike food made from the root of the konnyaku plant. It is believed to eliminate poisonous substances from the body. ↩︎
  5. According to the traditional Japanese custom of counting a person’s age as one year from the day of birth. ↩︎
  6. In “Reply to Ueno,” addressed to Nanjo Tokimitsu and his mother, the lay nun Ueno, Nichiren writes, “I wonder if he [your deceased father and husband Nanjo Hyoe Shichiro] did not make himself young again and stay behind in the form of his precious, beloved son [Tokimitsu]. Words fail me when I see that not only is there a perfect resemblance, but even his [Tokimitsu’s] heart is the same [as his father’s]” (WND-2, 495). ↩︎
  7. Saha world: This world, which is full of suffering. Often translated as the world of endurance. In Sanskrit, saha means the earth; it derives from a root meaning “to bear” or “to endure.” For this reason, in the Chinese versions of Buddhist scriptures, saha is rendered as endurance. In this context, the saha world indicates a world in which people must endure suffering. ↩︎
  8. Voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma: This refers to bodhisattvas who, though qualified to receive the pure rewards of Buddhist practice, relinquish them and make a vow to be reborn in an impure world in order to save living beings. They spread the Mystic Law, while undergoing the same sufferings as those born in the evil world due to karma. This term derives from Miao-lo’s interpretation of relevant passages in “The Teacher of the Law ,” the 10th chapter of the Lotus Sutra: “Medicine King, you should understand that these people voluntarily relinquish the reward due them for their pure deeds and, in the time after I have passed into extinction, because they pity living beings, they are born in this evil world so they may broadly expound this sutra” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 200). ↩︎
  9. Thus Come One: One of the ten honorable titles of a Buddha, meaning one who has come from the realm of truth. This title indicates that a Buddha embodies the fundamental truth of all phenomena and has grasped the law of causality spanning past, present and future. ↩︎
  10. Ceremony in the Air: One of the three assemblies described in the Lotus Sutra, in which the entire gathering is suspended in space above the saha world. It extends from “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower,” the 11th chapter, to “Entrustment,” the 22nd chapter. The heart of this ceremony is the emergence of the treasure tower from the earth and Shakyamuni entrusting the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, led by Bodhisattva Superior Practices, with propagating the essence of the Lotus Sutra in the evil latter age after his passing. ↩︎
  11. Bodhisattvas of the Earth: The innumerable bodhisattvas who appear in “Emerging from the Earth,” the 15th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, and are entrusted by Shakyamuni with the task of propagating the Law after his passing. ↩︎
  12. Six difficult and nine easy acts: Comparisons expounded in “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower,” the 11th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, to teach people how difficult it would be to embrace and propagate the sutra in the Latter Day of the Law. The six difficult acts are 1) to propagate the Lotus Sutra widely, 2) to copy it or cause someone else to copy it, 3) to recite it even for a short while, 4) to teach it even to one person, 5) to hear of and accept the Lotus Sutra and inquire about its meaning and 6) to maintain faith in it. The nine easy acts include such feats as teaching innumerable sutras other than the Lotus Sutra, walking across a burning prairie carrying a bundle of hay on one’s back without being burned and kicking a major world system into a different quarter. ↩︎
  13. Three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described in the concluding verse section of “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Miao-lo of China summarizes them as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests and arrogant false sages. ↩︎
  14. This refers to Buddhas adorned with the thirty-two features and eighty characteristics. ↩︎
  15. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging appears in “The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging,” the 20th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This bodhisattva—Shakyamuni in a previous lifetime—lived at the end of the Middle Day of the Law following the death of the Buddha Awesome Sound King. He would bow to everyone he met and say: “I have profound reverence for you, I would never dare treat you with disparagement or arrogance. Why? Because you will all practice the bodhisattva way and will then be able to attain Buddhahood” (LSOC, 308). However, he was attacked by arrogant monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen, who beat him with sticks and staves and threw stones at him. The sutra explains that this practice became the cause for Bodhisattva Never Disparaging to attain Buddhahood. ↩︎
  16. Nichiren Daishonin first proclaimed his teaching at Seicho-ji temple on April 28, 1253. ↩︎
  17. Because a portion of the text is missing from the original letter, the precise meaning here is uncertain, but this interpretation is suggested by the context. ↩︎
  18. A paraphrasing of a passage in the Nirvana Sutra. ↩︎
  19. Tentative translation. Because the end of the letter is missing, the recipient is uncertain, but from the content it is thought to be related to “Letter to the Lay Priest Yadoya” (WND-2, 312), written in August 1268, and therefore addressed Yadoya Mitsunori. ↩︎
  20. Hojo Tokimune (1251–84): The eighth regent of the Kamakura military government. During his time in office, Japan was beset by many natural disasters and repeated struggles among members of the Hojo clan, as well as the invasion by the Mongol forces. ↩︎
  21. Yadoya Mitsunori (n.d.): A retainer of the Hojo clan who served two successive regents, Hojo Tokiyori (who after his retirement was known as the lay priest of Saimyo-ji but was still the most influential member of the ruling Hojo clan) and Hojo Tokimune. In particular, he played an important role in the government as a close aide to Tokiyori. ↩︎
  22. A summary of the Lotus Sutra passage “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Thus Come One [Shakyamuni Buddha] is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?” (LSOC, 203). ↩︎
  23. 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 in around 1275 and continuing until around 1283. In 1279, 20 farmer disciples 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. ↩︎
  24. According to the traditional Japanese custom of counting a person’s age as one year from the day of birth. ↩︎
  25. Professor Schmidt-Glintzer’s remarks here and below are from an interview in the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun, March 30, 2021. Translated from his original German text. ↩︎

District Discussion Meeting Material

Setting Goals