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All About Advancing With 10 Friends

Photo by Bob Nardi.

Toward the March Youth Peace Festivals, the SGI-USA youth coined the motto “Advance With 10 Friends.” This was based on Ikeda Sensei’s guidance, “If each of you can cultivate 10 genuine friendships, then kosen-rufu will surely advance!”[1]

Focused on friendship and held at the chapter level, these peace festivals are about each member turning their gaze to their immediate communities and neighborhoods.

As we head toward March, let’s reconfirm key points of this effort with SGI-USA youth leaders, Amelia Gonzalez Tesch and Shota Okajima.

Amelia Gonzalez Tesch: First, we invite everyone—all of our Soka family—to join in this noble and joyful effort to spread Buddhism to youth in our communities! As for who can be in our group of 10 friends—anyone, regardless of age, or whether they live near us—can be included.

In addition to creating new friendships, members have shared how this focus is helping them reignite the determination to help their family members, relatives, neighbors, co-workers or classmates become happy. If we can’t think of 10 friends, we can always start with one person. That one person, too, has their own circle of family and friends that our prayers can extend to.

Shota Okajima: Ikeda Sensei explains: “In any event, it’s important to understand that friendship depends on you, not on the other person. It all comes down to your attitude and contribution. I hope you will not be fair-weather friends, only helping others when circumstances are good and leaving them high and dry when some problem occurs. Instead, please become people who stick by your friends with unchanging loyalty and through thick and thin.”[2]

While striving to cultivate many friendships is wonderful, what’s most important is the spirit to never give up on someone, to continue chanting for their happiness and extending our care.

Amelia: Sensei writes: “After talking to a person just once, you may find yourself jumping to the conclusion that he or she isn’t receptive and that you’ll never get anywhere with the person. But people’s minds are always changing, minute by minute, and you can definitely change them through your persevering efforts at dialogue.”[3]

To add to this, in another setting, Sensei recalled his struggles as a youth: “I have stayed in touch with those friends I shared Nichiren Buddhism with in my youth but who didn’t embrace faith. Back then, I wrote in a poem, ‘May you find happiness, my friend!’ This wish for each of them remains unchanged, even though we took different paths. All of my efforts to share Buddhism are golden treasures of my life. And those challenging experiences contributed positively to my later dialogues with world leaders and thinkers.”[4]

Despite his busy schedule, he has fostered genuine friendships throughout the world. We can see in his example that building friendship and trust—regardless of whether the other person starts practicing—is equally important in advancing kosen-rufu.

Shota: On this, Sensei has said:

I’m sure you’re all thinking about how many people you introduced to Buddhism last month and the month before, and you may even feel that you’ve reached the limit and that there are no more people to share Nichiren Buddhism with. Such thinking, however, is actually an obstacle.

But where does that obstacle exist? It exists in our own mind. We create it ourselves. The fact is that there are many people around us we could talk to about Buddhism—we just haven’t made an opportunity to speak with them or we haven’t engaged them in deep dialogue.

That’s where wisdom comes in—the wisdom to figure out how we can start the dialogue, how we can strike a chord in the other person’s heart. We need to muster all our wisdom to find answers to these questions.[5]

Sensei explains, it comes down to the firm resolve to achieve something. With this kind of prayer, we can bring forth the wisdom to make the impossible possible.

February 9, 2024, World Tribune, p. 8


  1. Feb. 18, 2022, World Tribune, p. 8. ↩︎
  2. Discussions on Youth, p. 40. ↩︎
  3. Making the Impossible Possible, p. 89. ↩︎
  4.  For Our Wonderful New Members, pp. 29–30. ↩︎
  5. Making the Impossible Possible, p. 89. ↩︎

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