01 Nov 2019 Creating Another Milestone with Our Mentor
SSA General Director’s November 2019 Editorial
Recently in September, together with some SSA leaders, I had the opportunity to travel to India to participate in the significant opening of Bharat Soka Gakkai’s (BSG) new headquarters in New Delhi and the new Ikeda Auditorium at the Soka Bodhi Tree Garden. The Ikeda Auditorium has a seating capacity of 3,000 and is the largest auditorium in the SGI.
It was an unforgettable and deeply moving experience for everyone to be able to witness the dynamic and refreshing growth of BSG, in particular their youth division and Future Division. I was also reminded of how SGI President Ikeda has exerted himself tirelessly for almost six decades since he was inaugurated as third Soka Gakkai president in 1960. He has striven to realise the vision of his mentor Mr Toda to relieve the world of sufferings through the compassionate propagation of Nichiren Buddhism.
For us in SSA, we are truly indebted to President Ikeda for sowing the seeds of Nichiren Buddhism in Singapore in January 1961. While he was travelling to India to fulfil the prophecy of the westward transmission of Buddhism, his plane stopped for refueling in Singapore. As he waited in the airport, he prayed deeply for the emergence of Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
Nichiren Daishonin indicated in the Gosho “On Reprimanding Hachiman” his vision of the westward transmission of Buddhism. He stated, “The moon moves from the west eastward, a sign of how the Buddhism of India spread in an easterly direction. The sun rises in the east, an auspicious sign of how the Buddhism of Japan is destined to return to the Land of the Moon.” The rapidly growing membership in the Asian countries, in particularly India, is a testament to his prediction.
Today, the stone plaque bearing the inscription “Kosen-rufu in Asia” was buried in the grounds of the 170 acres (a land area equivalent to 115 football fields) Soka Bodhi Tree Garden. Also located in the Soka Bodhi Tree Garden is the World Peace Monument. On one side of the monument, President Ikeda’s calligraphy of the words “World Peace Monument” were engraved; while on the other side is President Ikeda’s dedication for this monument. The “Kosen-rufu in Asia” plaque and World Peace Monument symbolise the prime and starting point of the shared vow between mentor and disciples for worldwide kosen-rufu.
Truly, the BSG members have grown in leaps and bounds in response to President Ikeda’s wish to ensure that the westward transmission of Buddhism will become a reality. They have, through their membership expansion of 225,000 to date, continued to take pride in being the ‘Shin’ichi Yamamotos’ in their own right, and strive to show actual proof as that one genuine disciple who have transformed their lives based on Nichiren Buddhism and helped others to become happy. (The character Shin’ichi Yamamoto refers to SGI President Ikeda in the novel The New Human Revolution.)
For us in Singapore who share the BSG members’ great joy, let us similarly advance in high spirits to be that one genuine disciple who will show concrete victories as we enter the glorious 90th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai Founding in the year 2020.
As we commemorate November 18—the Soka Gakkai Founding Day this month, let us renew our determination to revitalise Buddhist humanism in the same spirit as our three founding presidents of the Soka Gakkai, namely President Makiguchi, President Toda and President Ikeda.
The next two years will be of profound significance for SSA as we advance towards November 18, 2021, together with our mentor. It is the year which we will be establishing our new centre in Punggol. However, it must not be just another physical building but one that will be our bastion of kosen-rufu, a crystallisation of the arduous efforts of all who have trailblazed kosen-rufu in Singapore.
As what President Ikeda states in The New Human Revolution “Bold Advance” chapter, “Gakkai culture centres are not idle palaces of luxury; they are bastions of kosen-rufu. Bastions are a base from which a struggle is carried out. So the most fitting way to mark the new completion of a bastion is with victory in a struggle.”
The year 2021 will also mark the 60th anniversary of President Ikeda’s first trip to Asia for the sake of worldwide kosen-rufu. We are all fortunate to create another milestone together with President Ikeda. As such, let us advance with great joy and encourage everyone to forge SSA into a citadel of faith, courage and victory, to welcome the year 2020 in high spirits whilst striving our best in the remaining months ahead.