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Ikeda Sensei

Become a Model for the Rest of the World

Photo by Renato Marzan / Unsplash.

This section of Living Buddhism will feature Ikeda Sensei’s seminal guidance to the members of the United States. The following speech was given at the First SGI-USA Training Meeting held at the Malibu Training Center in Malibu, California, on
February 12, 1990. It can be found in
My Dear Friends in America, fourth edition, pp. 3–5.

This is my first visit to the United States in three years, and it gives me great joy to be reunited with my friends in America, who are so dear to me.

Originally this trip was scheduled to include three South American countries—Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay—but the importance of the United States [in terms of worldwide kosen-rufu] made me decide to change my schedule and send a representative on my behalf to South America so that I can concentrate on the United States at this particular time. I hope to meet with various Latin American leaders, including General Director Roberto Saito of Brazil, who will be in Los Angeles for the 11th SGI General Meeting on February 17.

When I left Japan, I was asked to convey very best regards to all SGI-USA members on behalf of Soka Gakkai President Einosuke Akiya and many other top leaders. I would like to take this opportunity to give you their best wishes.

During my stay here, I am scheduled to attend the 11th SGI General Meeting, the First All-America General Meeting, the Second SGI Pan-American Joint Conference, training sessions for the women’s division and the youth division and other events.

Furthermore, I will have discussions with Dr. Linus Pauling and Professor Norman Cousins, who are both my acquaintances. I am also scheduled to meet with Dr. Armand Hammer. I hope you will lend me your support during my stay.

The worldwide kosen-rufu movement was launched here in the United States 30 years ago. These 30 years have been the first phase. Now I would like to designate this last decade, up to October 2, 2001, as the second stage in the worldwide kosen-rufu movement.

The purpose of my current visit to your country is to see that this new phase gets off to a smooth start.

All of you are together as like-minded seekers of the way from the infinite past. I hope you will advance further in harmony as wonderful companions who have a deep connection with one another, based on the Mystic Law.

All members are equal in front of the Gohonzon. You are beautiful friends sharing the same faith. I would like all of you to move forward cheerfully and amicably, and with hearts and minds in unison.

A true leader is someone who protects his or her members, praising them and being tolerant toward them. In contrast, leaders who exploit their positions in the organization, rebuking people and acting in a highhanded manner, not only cause the Buddha’s children to suffer but make causes for their own suffering in the future, as well. If you allow that kind of leader to have control, then both parties—the leaders and the members—will end up in misery. This must be avoided at all costs. The world of faith exists for the purpose of attaining Buddhahood and true happiness in this life.

It is important to have a sufficiently elevated life condition so that you can calmly accept whatever happens in life, always striving to put problems into proper perspective and to solve them with a positive attitude. Happiness blossoms forth from such a strong and all-encompassing life condition.

You can forge the path to a fulfilling and enjoyable life if you have the depth of faith to regard everything as a source for creating happiness and value. Conversely, if you see everything in a negative or pessimistic light, your life will gradually but inevitably be plunged into darkness. Buddhism teaches the subtle principle of one’s determination and, moreover, the power of faith.

I would like the SGI-USA to be a model for the rest of the world. I hope to make my next three weeks here worthwhile and satisfying. I intend to make an all-out effort, spending as much time as possible together with you during my stay.

From My Dear Friends in America, fourth edition, which is available at your local SGI-USA bookstore or at

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