Skip to main content


A Profusion of Cherry Blossoms Adorning the Soka Citadel of Mentor and Disciple

Photo by Masahiro Makino / Getty Images.

Seventy years ago, in the month of April, standing at the site of Aoba Castle in Sendai, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda declared: “The Soka Gakkai must build its castle from capable people!”

On that occasion, the young Daisaku Ikeda asked him what young people need to do to become genuinely capable individuals. President Toda replied that three key qualities are needed: “an awareness of mission,” “a spirit to improve” and “patience.”

Without an awareness of our mission, we cannot bring forth from within the power of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. However, this alone is not enough. If we possess a spirit of continuous self-improvement and the perseverance to patiently challenge ourselves, we can bring our potential into full bloom. These are essential guidelines for our youthful successors to etch in their hearts.

Those who support and foster young people should have the same attitude. Unless we strive to grow and to advance in our own lives, we will not cultivate the ability to discern each person’s potential and inspire them.

We also learn this from Ikeda Sensei’s actions. With his focus on the future of worldwide kosen-rufu, he was always in the vanguard striving for its realization. Amid his great daily activities, he, more than anyone else, discerned the potential in each individual and encouraged and nurtured them.

I will never forget the way Sensei encouraged young members on the day he designated April 28[1] as Ishikawa Day and Toyama Day,[2] 50 years ago.

A general meeting was being held that day in Kanazawa City.[3] As soon as Sensei arrived at the venue, he walked up to the youth division members in the reception area and sincerely encouraged them.

He also composed a series of poems, to be presented later to the young people he could not meet in person. One of them read: “Like Mount Hakuba, stand proud as I will, too.”[4] As he was doing this, Sensei was thinking not only of all the members he was visiting that day but also all of the youth who had moved away from the region as well. He was always thinking deeply about what action he could take to foster and encourage young members. Today’s Soka Gakkai was built upon these tireless efforts.

A well-known sutra passage cited by Nichiren Daishonin reads, “If you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 279).

Please ask yourself: Am I filled with passion about my mission for kosen-rufu? Do I have the spirit to strive for self-improvement alongside the youth, while setting a good example? This is the driving force to ensure the eternalization of our Soka citadel of mentor and disciple.

Now that spring has arrived, let’s bring flowers of friendship to bloom in profusion like cherry trees bathed in sunlight, and compose dramatic tales of growth and development alongside the young people in our communities.

April 12, 2024, World Tribune, p. 9


  1. April 28 is the anniversary of Nichiren Daishonin first proclaiming Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, in 1253. ↩︎
  2. Ishikawa and Toyama: prefectures in the Hokuriku region of Japan. ↩︎
  3. Kanazawa City: located in Ishikawa Prefecture. ↩︎
  4. Mount Hakuba: A mountain in Toyama and Nagano prefectures, part of the Japanese Alps. ↩︎

A Summer of Expansion From Our Neighborhoods

The Wisdom to Listen