Inheriting the Spirit of July 3

Inheriting the Spirit of July 3

We have started this year, Year of Hope and Victory, with everyone striving courageously as lionhearted disciples to impart hope and joy to everyone in the community. Despite Covid-19, we have heard many inspiring experiences of our members overcoming great challenges they faced.

Last month, the Student Division held the Youth for Peace Symposium—for the first time in an online format. Members across 12 institutions gathered more than 1,200 guests to discuss Ikeda Sensei’s 2021 Peace Proposal, titled “Value Creation in a Time of Crisis”. Congratulations to the Student Division for their valiant efforts!

We have just crossed the mid-year mark and are looking forward to the next half year. This July marks the 70th anniversaries of the Young Men Division and Young Women Division on July 11 and July 19 respectively. I would like to call on our precious youth of SSA to return to the prime point of faith as you reaffirm your mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Ikeda Sensei encourages in his July editorial,

“Young people today face a host of daunting challenges, especially now amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many have lost hope and confidence and are suffering from loneliness. That is why it is my deepest wish that they may awaken to the supremely noble treasure tower of life that they and all people possess. Nichiren Buddhism is a teaching for making one’s youth shine its brightest.”

July 3 also marks the significant Mentor and Disciple Day in the Soka Gakkai. It is a day that commemorates victory in the battle against the devil king of the sixth heaven, manifested as unjust persecution against our three founding presidents1.

The three founding presidents of the Soka Gakkai all suffered unjust persecutions. This is the unequivocal proof that the heritage passed on by Nichiren Daishonin — the mission of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land and realising kosen-rufu — flows powerfully in the Soka Gakkai. As such, July 3 is the eternal prime point of mentor and disciple for us.

How can we inherit the spirit of July 3, the shared vow of mentor and disciple, to fearlessly challenge and remain undefeated in faith in advancing kosen-rufu?

It is to dedicate our lives to practise with the same spirit as Nichiren Daishonin, as exemplified by our three founding presidents. Although we are constrained under the prevailing circumstances to do activities at SSA centres or meet up for dialogues, we can still continue to strive tenaciously in faith to emerge victorious. Ikeda Sensei had said those who persevere tenaciously in faith will emerge victorious. This is the spirit of July 3.

Let us all share this same vast heart as our mentor to achieve a great spiritual victory of transforming the destiny of mankind at this crucial time.

 

1 On July 3, 1945, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda was released from prison, where he had been detained for refusing to submit to the wartime Japanese militarist authorities. His mentor, first Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, had died in prison the previous year, on November 18, 1944, a martyr to his beliefs. On July 3, 1957, Ikeda Sensei, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, was arrested and wrongfully charged with election law violation in a House of Councilors by-election in Osaka in 1957. At the end of the court case, which continued for more than four years, he was fully exonerated of all charges on January 25, 1962.