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Daily Life

May 3—Our New Year’s Day

Embarking anew with our sights on the future.

Photo by Benjamin Toth / Getty Images.

In his first essay after completing the epic 30-volume series The New Human Revolution in 2018, Ikeda Sensei wrote:

With fresh determination, let us embark anew toward achieving worldwide kosen-rufu, the goal of world peace that humankind so earnestly longs for.
I will advance. Please advance, too.
I will fight. Please fight, too.
I will win. Please win, too.
Let us join together to spread the great light of human revolution and compose a new and magnificent epic of Soka mentor and disciples! Our journey to fulfill our vow will go on forever![1]

This spirit—to embark anew and advance with our sights set on the future—is the eternal spirit of the Soka Gakkai and of May 3.

Our history on May 3 begins in 1951, with Josei Toda’s inauguration as second Soka Gakkai president. That day, with his declaration of realizing his lifetime membership goal of 750,000 households, the Soka Gakkai launched ahead with renewed spirit.

Then, having accomplished this monumental goal in under seven years, Mr. Toda entrusted kosen-rufu to the youth. He passed away on April 2, 1958. While many in society speculated this to be the end of the Soka Gakkai, Sensei was determined to spark a fresh flame of hope in everyone’s heart.

After much consideration, he decided to make the following May 3 a fresh departure toward a great new goal. With that, as youth division chief of staff, he announced the concept of the Seven Bells[2] laying out a vision toward May 3, 1979, based on President Toda’s guidance.

Since then, the Soka Gakkai has celebrated many key milestones on May 3, including Sensei’s own inauguration as Soka Gakkai president in 1960. It is a day of fresh departure, born from Sensei’s determination to give members hope amid our ceaseless efforts to establish a more peaceful society.

Today we have many milestones ahead: Sensei’s 100th birthday on Jan. 2, 2028, the Soka Gakkai’s centennial on Nov. 18, 2030, and each juncture in the ongoing series of the Seven Bells, a vision for peace in the coming centuries we share with our mentor.

No better day exists to refresh our determination than May 3, Soka Gakkai Day. In the following excerpts, Sensei explains the spirit of this day.
—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

May 3 will forever be a day of fresh departure. Year after year on that day, having fought our hardest, we set off anew in our march for the victory of the people. As long as we of the Soka Gakkai base our lives on the great vow for kosen-rufu, we can bring forth limitless wisdom, courage and life force to strive and win in everything.[3]

•   •   •

The day after we joyfully celebrated May 3 four decades ago [in 1983], I went to Hikawa, on the western edge of Tokyo, with a group of young people. I had fond memories of the area since, many years earlier, I had accompanied Josei Toda there for an outdoor training session of the young men’s division Suiko-kai (Water Margin Group).

I said to the young people with me: “Events in the course of our movement for kosen-rufu may seem small, but as time passes they will gain deeper, greater and eternal significance. This gathering today, and all of you here, are certain to shine in the eternal history of kosen-rufu.”

I was filled with conviction. Even the mighty Ganges River began from a single drop of water. Because the great vow that lies at the heart of our Soka movement is genuine, I knew that our youth, and indeed all our members, would stand up in times of adversity by encouraging and inspiring one another. I knew they would form a mighty river of capable individuals who would eventually change the times and the world.[4]

Because working for kosen-rufu is a long-term undertaking spanning the eternal future of the Latter Day of the Law, the correct way for us to proceed is to strive to win in the present, while also maintaining a longer perspective of 50- or 100-year periods. I am taking various steps now for the sake of the distant future.

What will the future be like? No one knows the answer to that question. All we know is that the effects that will appear in the future are all contained in the causes we make in the present. The important thing, therefore, is that we stand up with a lofty purpose in our hearts, unswayed by our short-term circumstances.

All of us who are now striving for kosen-rufu with unshakable conviction are, in reality, creating the 21st, 22nd and 23rd centuries. Moreover, we are engraving in our lives the causes that will enable us to rejoin the struggle for kosen-rufu at that time.[5]

I hope that we of the Soka Gakkai, with even stronger unity of “many in body, one in mind,” will continue to expand our victorious network of humanism and accomplish great things in the next 100 years of the 21st century. Not all of you may be alive 100 years from now, but the invincible fighting spirit that you leave behind as your legacy will live forever. And there will be the youth, including your children and grandchildren, who will follow in your footsteps.[6]

Mr. Toda said, “As travelers of old would make their way from one milepost to the next, let’s advance along the path of kosen-rufu from one seven-year milestone to the next.” We are advancing in rhythm with the second Seven Bells, which began in 2001. In addition, the Soka Gakkai’s centennial lies in wait only seven years [now six] from now in 2030. 

Who will ring the bells of victory in life and kosen-rufu? You must resolve that you will be the ones! 

First, you need to engage in your human revolution and do your utmost to ensure that your families, Soka Gakkai districts and your wider communities thrive and prosper. I hope you will cherish great aspirations, set concrete goals and challenge yourselves to achieve them one by one with joy and perseverance. 

The grand stage of the second Seven Bells lies before us—the grand stage for building the foundations for world peace. The time for spreading the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism is now.

Again today, ringing the bells of hope and courage in our lives, let us advance in good cheer, from one milestone to the next, aligned with the Mystic Law and in rhythm with the triumphant song of Soka![7]

It is said that Nichiren Buddhism begins and ends with “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.” And dialogue is the backbone of this important work. It is through one-to-one dialogue that individuals form bonds of genuine trust. Neither military force nor political coercion hold any answers.

People coming together without prejudice and transcending national and ethnic differences—our organization is truly a model of that ideal. Just look at the international gathering we are holding today, with so many friends from diverse lands. What we need to do is expand this. We are promoting dialogue for peace throughout the world. We are conducting dialogue with people of different cultures and traditions. …

The Soka Gakkai’s movement for peace is striving through dialogue to establish the philosophy of respect for the dignity of life as the spirit of the age in the 21st century. The dialogues you engage in each day are noble and important. I hope you will continue them with supreme confidence and pride.[8]

May 3, 2024, World Tribune, pp. 6–7


  1. Dec. 7, 2018, World Tribune, p. 3. ↩︎
  2. Seven Bells: Seven sets of seven-year periods marking key milestones. The first series marks the Soka Gakkai’s development from its founding in 1930 through 1979. On May 3, 1966, Sensei spoke of a new series of Seven Bells that he envisaged unfolding in the 21st century. ↩︎
  3. March 2024 Living Buddhism, p. 54. ↩︎
  4. Ibid., p. 59. ↩︎
  5. The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 3, revised edition, pp. 522–23. ↩︎
  6. Feb. 2, 2001, World Tribune, p. 7. ↩︎
  7. June 16, 2023, World Tribune, p. 4. ↩︎
  8. The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 3, revised edition, pp. 524–25. ↩︎

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