Men’s Division, Safeguard the Citadel of Soka!
February 22, 2012
Let us, you and I,
living out our lives
as men of wisdom and victory.
There is a famous saying from a country along the ancient Silk Road: “Just as every hill is followed by a dale, a man can overcome any situation.”[i] This, indeed, captures the spirit of our men’s division members. [SGI Newsletter Editors’ Note: March 5 is the anniversary of the establishment of the men’s division.]
Surmounting every challenge with confidence and dignity, no matter how difficult the way forward, imparting courage to all, and forging onward together to savor the joy of victory—that is the way of true champions of kosen-rufu.
In a letter to the Ikegami brothers who were battling obstacles that had arisen on the path of faith, Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Put into flames, a rock simply turns to ashes, but gold becomes pure gold” (WND-1, 497). Overcoming hardships that test both body and spirit is what forges genuine character. Enduring arduous trials in life, including crises at work and serious illness, enables one to become a golden pillar of strength.
When the business ventures of my mentor were in the most desperate straits, he declared: “I’m ready for whatever happens! Josei Toda is Josei Toda. The Daishonin’s writings teach us to win in absolutely everything through faith. The more persistently we strive in faith, the more certain we are to greet a dawn of resounding victory.”
What is the meaning of the magnificent treasure tower that appears in the Lotus Sutra? Responding to a question from his disciple Abutsu-bo—a predecessor of today’s men’s division members—the Daishonin writes: “In the Latter Day of the Law, no treasure tower exists other than the figures of the men and women who embrace the Lotus Sutra. . . . Abutsu-bo is therefore the treasure tower itself, and the treasure tower is Abutsu-bo himself” (WND-1, 299). The lives of the men and women who dedicate their lives to kosen-rufu are indeed the most precious and respectworthy treasure towers.
Through the power of the Mystic Law, the treasure tower of our life can transform the various sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death into the fragrant breezes of eternity, happiness, true self, and purity, serving as a model and source of inspiration for others. This is a perfect description of the members of the Many Treasures Group.
There is one such member from Tohoku whom I will never forget. He is around my age and has fought many struggles alongside me. In his younger days, he recovered from bankruptcy while exerting himself as a chapter leader. During the difficult times of the first priesthood issue in the late 1970s, he continued to earnestly chant daimoku and dauntlessly lead the members in his local area. I sent him this poem: “Though times may be hard, / I’m counting on you / to protect the members.” He was firmly resolved to defend the Gakkai from being trampled on and torn asunder by devilish forces.
In Tohoku, now close to a year after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, this pioneering men’s division leader continues to warmly encourage members and protect the citadel of Soka. The other day, I heard the following good news from him: “I’m happy to say that I’ve never felt better. My days are filled with a sense of satisfaction, appreciation, and joy at being able to continue in my efforts.”
If the men’s division brims with vigor and enthusiasm, the women’s division will be thrilled. The youth division will also be lively and energetic, and the future division will grow strongly and happily. And people in our communities and society at large will take positive note. A golden pillar turns everything around it into gold.
In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin states: “The daimoku of the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] is like the roar of a lion” (OTT, 152). The more challenging the situation, the more we need to chant daimoku. The invincible “lion’s roar” of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo allows us to summon forth powerful life-force and triumph over our difficulties without fail.
American Buddhist journalist Clark Strand has suggested that it is “the dynamic experience of vocal sound and the vigor with which Soka Gakkai members chant that accounts for their active, hands-on approach to life.”[ii]
The men’s division is presently expanding its ranks and its younger members (recent graduates from the young men’s division) are vigorously throwing themselves into activities. Also making admirable efforts are the members of such men’s division groups as the Ojokai (Community Center Security Group), as well as the Taiyo-kai (Sun Group) and Kanto-kai (Fighting Spirit Group) [groups for those who have retired from the workforce and now participate in kosen-rufu activities during the day].
I will also remain a fighting member of the men’s division as long as I live. I’d like to share these words of Mr. Toda with my fellow men’s division members who share my heart and vision: “For the sake of kosen-rufu, let’s show the world what it is to live as men of courage and conviction!”
As SGI members
the Buddha’s intent and decree,
your names are certain to live on forever
as noble pillars of our movement.
(Translated from the March 2012 issue of Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai monthly study journal)
[i] Translated from Russian. Kazakhskie poslovitsi i pogovorki (Kazakh Proverbs and Sayings) (Almaty, Kazakhstan: Kochevniki, 2005), p. 18.
[ii] Clark Strand, SGI to Sekai Shukyo no Tanjo (Soka Gakkai International and the Birth of Modern Religion), translated by Mariko Imai (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 2011), p. 163. (From the original English manuscript.)