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The Seven Bells

A far-reaching vision for world peace.

Massimo Colombo / Getty Images.

After second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s passing on April 2, 1958, Ikeda Sensei, then-Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, deeply considered how to carry on his mentor’s work of advancing kosen-rufu.

He recalled Mr. Toda saying: “The Soka Gakkai should advance a major step every seven years” and “Let’s sound a bell every seven years to mark our progress toward kosen-rufu. Let’s aim to strike seven bells![1]

Realizing that the Soka Gakkai had made significant steps every seven years since its inception in 1930, Sensei announced on May 3, 1958, the concept of the Seven Bells—seven sets of seven-year periods marking key milestones.

Among them was the one he had discussed with Mr. Toda in February 1958:

[President Toda] said to me, “Daisaku, do you think you can accomplish a membership of 3 million households in the next seven years?” I promised him I would, saying: “I feel even more determined. I will definitely realize this goal.” Through the united efforts of all his disciples, we achieved that goal in five, not seven, years.[2]

What’s more, in his November 2023 headquarters leaders meeting message, Sensei wrote that the Soka Gakkai’s membership outside of Japan had grown to nearly 3 million prior to his passing.[3]

Now, as we look toward the future, it is up to us, as Sensei’s disciples, to carry on his vision for kosen-rufu toward the 22nd and 23rd centuries and beyond. Sensei writes of the Seven Bells:

These are, of course, not “prophesies.” Rather, they are my determinations for the future arising from my wholehearted prayers for peace. …

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.[4]

Below, we list the first and second sets of Seven Bells, underscoring Sensei’s far-ranging vision for the realization of world peace, and present the themes for the third through seventh sets of seven bells.

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

First Seven Bells (1930–79)

The Soka Gakkai’s Founding and Development

1930–37: Founding of the Soka Gakkai with the publication of The System of Value-Creating Education by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda
1937–44: Full-fledged launch of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai and the passing of President Makiguchi in prison
1944–51: Inauguration of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda
1951–58: Realization of President Toda’s lifetime goal of 750,000 member households
1958–65: Inauguration of Ikeda Sensei as third president, the realization of 3 million member households and the beginning of The Human Revolution
1965–72: Realization of 7.5 million member households and establishment of Soka University
1972–79: Solidification of kosen-rufu in Japan and the full-fledged global spread of Nichiren Buddhism with the founding of the Soka Gakkai International

Second Seven Bells (2001–50)

Consolidating the Groundwork for Peace in Asia and the World

2001–08: Introduction of the Soka Gakkai’s Five Eternal Guidelines
2008–15: Completion of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu
2015–22: Completion of The New Human Revolution
2022–29: 10th Anniversary of the Hall of the Great Vow’s Completion
2029–36: Soka Gakkai’s Centennial
2036–43: Soka Gakkai’s 110th Anniversary
2043–50: Soka Gakkai’s 120th Anniversary

Third Seven Bells and Onward

A Far-Reaching Vision

Third Seven Bells (latter half of the 21st century): Establishing the respect for the dignity of life as the underlying spirit of the age
Fourth Seven Bells (first half of the 22nd century): Laying an indestructible foundation for lasting world peace
Fifth Seven Bells (latter half of the 22nd century): Creating a brilliant flowering of humanism
Sixth and Seventh Seven Bells (23rd century): Millennial anniversary of Nichiren Buddhism and the start of a new phase of kosen-rufu

February 2, 2024, World Tribune, p. 10


  1. The Human Revolution, p. 1945. ↩︎
  2. Nov. 18, 2023, World Tribune, p. 2. ↩︎
  3.  See Ibid., p. 3. ↩︎
  4. The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 3, revised edition, pp. 522–23. ↩︎

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