Soka Champions of Encouragement
As we enter the month of March, I’m reminded of my mentor Josei Toda’s triumphant lion’s roar [on March 16, 1958]: “The Soka Gakkai is the king of the religious world!” This was his powerful declaration that we are champions of the philosophy of respect for the dignity of life, illuminating the world with Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism of the Sun; champions of the people dedicated to encouraging others with the wish of guiding all to happiness.
Nichiren Daishonin continued to sincerely encourage a disciple who was battling a serious illness while holding important responsibilities in society. In one letter, he wrote: “You should rely on Nichiren as your staff and pillar. When one uses a staff, one will not fall on treacherous mountain paths or rough roads, and when led by the hand, one will never stumble” (WND-1, 451). The Daishonin promises to staunchly guide and protect his disciple in both life and death.
Inheriting the Daishonin’s spirit, the mentors and disciples of Soka have continued to reach out and tirelessly offer words of encouragement to those who are suffering.
The Daishonin says that all living beings possess the Buddha nature, but unless they encounter “good friends” or sincere Buddhist practitioners, they will be unable to reveal this inherent potential (cf. WND-2, 861).
Soka Gakkai members, as just such “good friends,” have confidently shared with those around them their conviction that anyone can attain Buddhahood in this lifetime and that there is no karma that cannot be transformed. As a result of this encouragement, our network of Bodhisattvas of the Earth in which each person shines with brilliant dignity—a gathering resembling the wonderful assembly of the Lotus Sutra—has appeared in this world.
People around the globe long to lead lives of true empowerment and resilience, fully revealing their potential and developing the strength to overcome difficulties. The realm of encouragement created by the Soka family is contributing greatly to that goal.
Mr. Toda often said to his beloved and trusted Tohoku members: “All things are constantly changing. The fundamental power of the universe that underlies that change is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the Gohonzon and cause the Mystic Law within your lives to pulse vibrantly. Change your lives and society for the better. Bring forth benefit!”
March 11 will mark the 10th anniversary of the devastating March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Our admirable friends in Tohoku have risen from the depths of grief and sorrow, dried their tears with the resolve not to be defeated, and moved everything in the direction of hope, renewal, and harmony. The immeasurable treasures of the heart they have accumulated are sure to extend to their deceased family members, friends, and loved ones. Through the good fortune of their Buddhist practice, they are together connected eternally as “Buddhas in both life and death” (cf. WND-1, 456).
Our Tohoku members, who have bravely weathered bitter winters of adversity, are champions of humanity shining with the light of happiness. Following their lead, let us usher in a spring of renewal for the world, brightening people’s lives with words of encouragement, which have the power to even change the future!
With the pulsing energy
of champions of encouragement,
a magnificent drama
of victory in this lifetime.
(Translated from the March 2021 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai monthly study journal)