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Ikeda Sensei

Build a Solid Foundation

Toshi Takahashi

Today I would like to talk briefly on five points that I hope you will always bear in mind.

In the first place, please advance steadily with the awareness that you are now building a foundation for the next thousand years of the kosen-rufu movement in the United States. There is no need to be impatient. Anything that is accomplished quickly and easily will not long endure. Now is the time to concentrate on the construction of a solid foundation. I hope you will complete this work slowly but surely, filled with hope and joy.

Laying the groundwork may sound tedious and lack the brilliance that attracts people’s attention. However, such painstaking work is indispensable and extremely important. Once the foundation is solidified, you can construct anything on it. Please remember that the task of building the foundation of the castle of the Law, which will endure for a thousand years, is in the hands of the current generation of SGI-USA members. For my part, I will spare no effort in supporting you in any way I can.

The second point that I want to make is that capable people are the greatest treasure. Without capable people, neither the eternal establishment of the Law nor world peace can be achieved.

First of all, you must find capable people. Just as a miner searches for gold ore in ordinary rocks, you have to look for members who possess great potential and then work to develop their ability with your heart and soul.

Prayer is most fundamental in raising capable people. You should pray earnestly to the Gohonzon that the person you have found will become an able person important to the SGI- USA. Then, with this prayer, you take the utmost care to help that person develop. …

You should sincerely respect capable people and raise them with the determination to make them even more outstanding and capable than you are yourself. Looking down on one’s juniors or exploiting them for personal gain is an offense comparable to that of slandering the Law. Please remember that one who raises capable people is great. Such a person is truly capable and important.

The third point concerns holding joyful meetings and conducting dialogue that is imbued with joy and wisdom. By making these your mottoes and living up to them, the SGI-USA can become an exemplary organization for kosen-rufu.

The raison d’être of the world of faith is to help people become happy. In essence, ours is a gathering of supreme freedom and joy. No one has the right to reprimand and cause suffering for others, nor is anyone obliged to let themselves be reproved and made to feel bad.

For example, whether someone succeeds in helping others take faith in the teachings of Buddhism, the simple fact that they practice is in itself most praiseworthy. If you can feel heartfelt joy in expounding the Law and sharing it with others, your blessings will increase still further. Joyfully engaging in propagation and other activities—this is the spirit of Buddhism.

Again, no matter what difficulties you may have, when you go to a meeting and see friends, you feel relief and a sense of joy, and your heart fills with hope. It is my sincere hope that you hold wonderful meetings of this kind—happy gatherings where friends warmly pat each other on the back, encourage one another and share their joys and sorrows.

My wish is that the SGI-USA will become an organization overflowing with smiles, friendship and humanity. I hope that all of you, without a single exception, will lead lives of the greatest fulfillment and joy. …

Fourth, you must respect those who are fighting for world peace, irrespective of their race or nationality.

There are many differences, for instance, between the cultures, climates and social systems of Japan and the United States. Therefore, it is only natural that there might be differences in how kosen-rufu is advanced in the two countries.

Fundamentally speaking, however, infinite variety derives from the one Law, and the true entity of life—as described by the one hundred worlds and one thousand factors, as well as “three thousand realms in a single moment of life”—is the same in all societies. From this view, it is important that we respect anyone who is struggling on the forefront of our movement. This attitude will become a great driving force behind the spread of the Mystic Law.

[Second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda once said, “If you fail to respect those who are fighting for kosen-rufu, you will be unable to develop correct faith, and there will be no development in the organization that you are leading.” In this sense, I ask that you receive guidance on what is important for advancing kosen-rufu.

Fifth, I would like you to forge ahead, always taking good care of your health. All of you are extremely precious children of the Buddha who are dedicated to the cause of propagating Nichiren Buddhism. Nothing would be more regrettable than for you to impair your health.

Therefore, I ask that you maintain a rhythm in your daily life and get ample rest. Things that you volunteer to undertake on your own initiative aside, there is no need to overexert yourself at the expense of your health on account of organizational pressures.

I sincerely hope that you will devote yourself to peace and Buddhism while living with a correct rhythm and carrying out meaningful and enjoyable activities. Please establish a splendid life. I would like to conclude my speech with my prayers that you will open up a path for the prosperity of your families.

From the March 2024 Living Buddhism

Models of Human Harmony