01 Apr 2019 Expanding the Ranks of Kosen-rufu
SSA General Director’s April 2019 Editorial
Recently, at the various activities that SSA held in the month of March which included the 22 commemorative prayer sessions in the Memorial Prayer Room at Soka Peace Centre for 700 representatives commemorating the 5th anniversary of the Mentor Memorial Hall, National Day Parade Recruitment, Youth Believers Training Course, Wee Kim Wee-Soka International Seminar for Global Peace and Understanding, Women for Peace Interfaith Symposium, and the Individual Regional Study Meetings, I was deeply encouraged to see enthusiastic streams of members, especially the vibrant youth division members at every platform.
SGI President Ikeda shared in his recent message to SSA in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the Mentor Memorial Hall, “Nothing gives me greater joy than to witness how my noble comrades of faith in Singapore are advancing in high spirits with the youth division taking the lead at the forefronts of our movement. This is truly reassuring. As each and every one of you strive to take on new challenges to achieve further victories of your human revolution, I believe all Buddhas and benevolent deities are praising your admirable efforts and will render their utmost protection without fail… Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day states, ‘When one carries out the single practice of exerting faith in Myoho-renge-kyo, there are no blessings that fail to come to one, and no karma that does not begin to work on one’s behalf.’ (WND-1, p. 133)”
It is indeed heartening to witness this since the World Youth General Meeting one year ago that had gathered more than 750,000 youth at 1,500 venues in Japan and around the world that was held in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of March 16 last year. I am convinced the dynamic strides that our members have made in the first quarter of this year, over and above their daily challenges, to dedicate themselves on this supreme path to a life of unsurpassed value, will definitely bring forth great good fortune in their own life.
The practice of Nichiren Buddhism empowers one to become strong and happy. Looking back in history in the month of April, Nichiren Buddhism was established on April 28, 1253, by the then 32 years old Nichiren. Today, it has empowered many of us, ordinary people, to become self-reliant individuals brimming with courage, wisdom and strength. Second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, who passed away on April 2, 1958, after completing his lifelong goal of having 750,000 households practise Nichiren Buddhism in Japan, also held the vision to spread Nichiren Buddhism far and wide throughout the world. At the start of 1956, Mr Toda had composed the following waka poem, as an expression of his great wish to transmit Buddhism for the happiness of the people in Asia in particular,
To the people of Asia,
Who pray for a glimpse of the moon,
Through the parting clouds,
Let us send them, instead,
The light of the sun.
Nichiren Daishonin too speaks clearly of the westward transmission of Buddhism in the Gosho. Mr Toda’s waka poem is one such expression of his determination to realise this vision expressed in the Gosho.
Today, Nichiren Buddhism, based on the practice of the Lotus Sutra, is being practised in 192 countries, including Asia. This is made possible particularly by the dedication of President Toda’s disciple, President Ikeda, who took over the baton as third president of Soka Gakkai on May 3, 1960, at the youthful age of 32. As President Ikeda wrote, “As practitioners of the Buddhism of the sun, let us pledge together to strive ever harder to illuminate society, the world, and the future with the light of human revolution, and make a powerful new start on our journey of kosen-rufu, the shared struggle of mentor and disciple.”
Presently, we are having a fresh series of New Friend Dialogues to further share Nichiren Buddhism with others. As practitioner who inherit the heart and spirit of our predecessors, let us proudly share with our friends this wonderful philosophy that enables us to bring forth the noble Buddha nature we all inherently possess.
Nichiren Buddhism is a teaching for the triumph of the ordinary people. It is a teaching for all humanity to live together in peace, transcending differences and fostering human dignity and social harmony. Let us continue to inspire individual stories of human revolution and social engagement exuberated by SGI members worldwide and expand the horizons of worldwide kosen-rufu, from where we are.