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Embodying Unity in Diversity Based on the “Great Wisdom of Equality”

March 12, 2021

President Ikeda sent the following message to the 2nd Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting toward Centennial 2030 and the 55th Anniversary Nationwide Men’s Division Leaders Meeting,[1] held conjointly in the Three Founding Presidents Conference Room at the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, on February 28, 2021.

As if celebrating the 800th anniversary[2] of the birth of Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, an exceptionally beautiful golden full moon smiled brightly in the sky last night, February 27. This date is also observed as Women’s Day by our members in countries such as the United States, Brazil, and New Zealand, as well as in various regions of Japan, including Hokuriku[3] and Okinawa.

            The Daishonin writes: “For those who have profound faith, it is as though a full moon were illuminating the night” (WND-1, 94).

            With their deep prayers, our women’s and young women’s division members everywhere are warmly supporting today’s Men’s Division Leaders Meeting being held in tandem with this uplifting Headquarters Leading Meeting.

            Congratulations! 

The Daishonin notes that the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are bodhisattvas “who had thoroughly forged their resolve” (WND-1, 953). This is because, without firm resolve, they would not be able to spread the Mystic Law in the evil and corrupt age of the Latter Day of the Law.

            It will soon be the 10th anniversary of the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami [that struck on March 11, 2011]. The members of our invincible Tohoku Soka family have risen with heroic fortitude and resilience from this catastrophic, once-in-a-millennium natural disaster. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to change poison into medicine, they have worked tirelessly to rebuild and remake their beloved communities.

            The Daishonin is surely praising each one of these incredibly noble members as a true Bodhisattva of the Earth who, in enduring the unendurable, has forged even stronger resolve. Long live the proud “victorious people of Tohoku”![4] 

I am reminded of the time a group of youth and I climbed up to the ruins of Aoba Castle[5] in Sendai [the capital of Miyagi Prefecture in the Tohoku region] with our mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda [on April 25, 1954]. Looking down over the famed City of Trees below through the morning mist, Mr. Toda voiced his profound and powerful hopes for the people of Tohoku, who had faced and overcome so many natural disasters throughout the centuries.

            That is why we the youth vowed with him to accomplish the goal of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land through widely spreading the Mystic Law, which the Daishonin had advocated with a great lion’s roar. That unforgettable “Aoba Pledge” we made that day was a pledge for kosen-rufu, a pledge for establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.

            The key to fulfilling that pledge, Mr. Toda told us, is for the Soka Gakkai to build a strong castle of capable people.

            Everything hinges on capable people.

            The Daishonin writes: “One whose presence pervades the realms of heaven, earth, and humanity and who does not waver in the slightest is called [a king]” (cf. WND-1, 1063).

            True kings, true champions of humanity, are those who remain unshaken, calm, and resolute, who take responsibility for working for the happiness and security of the people and the peace and prosperity of society. These are the defining qualities of capable individuals of principle and integrity that the world is waiting for.

            A king, a champion of humanity, is synonymous with the term “golden pillar” that we use to describe our men’s division members. When such “golden pillars” of our noble movement emerge and stand proudly with the heart of a lion king, one after another, then just as the Daishonin teaches in his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” they will transform where they are into an everlasting Buddha land, into a shining, indestructible treasure realm (cf. WND-1, 25).[6]

            A pillar stands firmly and fulfills its mission, whether others are aware of it or not. Let us of the men’s division continue to support in every way we can our fellow members, each of whose life is a precious treasure tower, and staunchly protect the great castle of kosen-rufu. Striving to be leaders who respond to the sincere hopes of the people and earn their respect and trust, let’s together achieve great victories in life and kosen-rufu as a legacy for our young successors. 

Our Soka castle of capable people is bound together by the ties of mutual respect, perfectly reflecting the Daishonin’s words “You should respect one another [as Buddhas do]” (WND-1, 757). It is also defined by unparalleled unity in diversity based on the “great wisdom of equality” (LSOC11, 209–10). It is a realm where individuals freely reveal their unique capacities in accord with the principle of “cherry, plum, peach, and damson blossoms” (cf. OTT, 200) while striving together in common purpose “with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim” (WND-1, 217).

            That’s what makes our movement a model of spiritual solidarity that the world, today filled with growing division and isolation, is earnestly seeking.

            Sixty-five years ago, during our landmark Osaka Campaign [in 1956], Mr. Toda and I spoke of our hopes for the future, sharing our vision of bringing peace to the land and to the world based on the life-affirming principles of Nichiren Buddhism.

            Mr. Toda declared that the Soka Gakkai—which he called “the king of the religious world”—would send truly capable individuals into every area of society and become a pillar of peace, culture, and education for the global family of humankind. It would serve as a vast source of inspiration, enriching society as a whole and opening new horizons for the future of humanity. He also predicted that this would become a reality in the culminating stages of my endeavors, and we are seeing precisely that happening right now! 

Capable individuals are fostered in the course of taking action for kosen-rufu. They are forged through experiencing hardships.

            With the global citizens of the youth division as our flag bearers—each a young Bodhisattva of the Earth developing admirably and rising to life’s challenges—let’s strengthen our vow to realize the Daishonin’s ideal of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land as we continue advancing together like a waterfall—fierce, unflagging, unfearing, merrily, and proudly.[7]

 

Translated from the March 1, 2021, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai daily newspaper

 

[1] The men’s division was formed on March 5, 1966, and this year celebrates its 55th anniversary.

[2] Nichiren Daishonin was born on February 16, 1222. According to the traditional Japanese way of counting, a person is counted as one year old on the day of their birth.

[3] In the Soka Gakkai organization, Hokuriku Region encompasses Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures.

[4] A phrase from the Tohoku Soka Gakkai song “The Aoba Pledge.”

[5] Aoba Castle: Also known as Sendai Castle. Built by warlord Date Masamune (1567–1636).

[6] The Daishonin writes: “If you do so [take faith in the Mystic Law], then the threefold world will become the Buddha land, and how could a Buddha land ever decline? The regions in the ten directions will all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever suffer harm?” (WND-1, 25).

[7] President Ikeda’s call here echoes the lines from his poem “The Waterfall”: “Like the waterfall, fierce, / like the waterfall, unflagging, / like the waterfall, unfearing, / like the waterfall, merrily, / like the waterfall, proudly— / a man should have the bearing of a king.”