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Bestowing a Jeweled Crown of Hope on the Emissaries From the Future

San Diego. Photo by Azusa Lord.

The following message by Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada was published in the June 2024 issue of the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal, Daibyakurenge.

Nurturing our future division members is a most sacred endeavor that will shape the next generation.

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the high school division, on June 7, 1964. At the time, Ikeda Sensei was devoting all his energies to fostering its members. When a senior leader suggested there were other priorities to attend to, he responded firmly, “In another 30 or 40 years, the significance of what I’m doing now will become clear.”

His conviction also took the form of a readiness to take action. This translated into visiting and encouraging the “young phoenixes” of the future division everywhere he went. Many of these young members who received Sensei’s encouragement have risen up to become leaders in the Soka Gakkai and in society. The noble drama of their lives attests to the truth of Nichiren Daishonin’s words “If a teacher has a good disciple, both will gain the fruit of Buddhahood” (“Flowering and Bearing Grain,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 909).

Sensei’s nurturing of the future division was based upon trust. He put his whole life into every interaction with young people, respecting each as an individual. It was as if he were engaging in a solemn yet cheerful ceremony in which he bestowed a jeweled crown of hope upon every one of them. 

In July 1966, the high school division’s first outdoor training session was held at the Kanagawa Training Center in Hakone. I was a Seikyo Shimbun reporter at the session, and I was deeply struck by Sensei’s attitude. He was frank and unhesitant in the way he addressed the young people, and both his words and his behavior were completely unaffected. My concern that the high school division members wouldn’t be able to take on his training proved groundless. They were all eagerly receptive to their mentor’s strict compassion and absorbed his warmhearted care. 

His words, which crystalize his spirit of seizing every opportunity to foster the future division members, still resonate with young members today. This is because of his strong faith in the future division and because of the reciprocal bonds between mentor and disciple.

In May and June 1974, during Sensei’s first visit to China, he spontaneously interacted with the groups of children he encountered. He was utterly without pretense; his sincerity was unchanging, regardless of whom he met. In one encounter with a young Chinese girl who asked where he had come from, he told her he was from Japan, and added, “I came all this way just to meet you.” This was his genuine and honest feeling, an expression of his humanistic desire to forge a personal friendship with everyone he met. It was this attitude that created ties of trust with Chinese people.

There is no greater happiness than to have a mentor who always believes in you in the tumultuous days of your youth. Now, let us take Sensei’s behavior as our model as we set forth to nurture our treasures of the future.

June 7, 2024, World Tribune, p. 11

With Great Reverence and Respect, Thank You

Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Archipelago