01 Oct 2019 Propelling Peace Starts from Us
SSA General Director’s October 2019 Editorial
“They were all waiting. Everyone was waiting.
They were all seeking Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.
I want to go—to travel the world on a journey for kosen-rufu.”
It was with these words from his mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, that SGI President Ikeda set off from Japan on October 2 in 1960, to plant the seeds of Nichiren Buddhism worldwide. It was barely five months after he had assumed the presidency of Soka Gakkai on May 3 of the same year. Carrying his mentor’s photograph in his breast pocket, President Ikeda had wasted no time in fulfilling his mentor’s wish to bring peace and happiness to the world’s people by striving to lay the foundation of worldwide kosen-rufu.
Five decades had passed to date and President Ikeda has travelled to more than 50 countries, conducting dialogues with leading leaders in various fields, to promote mutual understanding and peace based on the supreme life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism. He had planted the cause for the widespread propagation of Nichiren Buddhism to 192 countries and territories. Today, October 2 is fondly remembered by all in the Soka Gakkai as World Peace Day.
At the First World Peace Conference, President Ikeda had called out to the participants, “As courageous, compassionate, and dedicated disciples of the Daishonin who are fully committed to truth and justice, please live out your whole lives in a positive and uplifting way, striving for the prosperity of your countries, the happiness of the people, and the precious existence of humankind itself.”
Cherishing these ideals shared at the occasion, with the goal of building lasting peace throughout the world, SSA, like many of our sister constituents, has been exerting ourselves in promoting peace, culture and education through various activities to create positive waves of change in our local community. This year marks SSA’s 34th participation in the National Day Parade and 35th participation in the Chingay Parade. We are grateful that we can continue to contribute to the nation through these annual celebrations.
Similarly, our peace lectures, which we hold in collaboration with like-minded partners such as the Singapore Management University (SMU), serve to promote peace and harmony in our community by bringing in learned individuals to speak about related topics. This year, for the 5th Annual Ikeda Peace and Harmony Lecture, we are fortunate to be able to invite Dr Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., Dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, to share his rich interfaith experience. This cannot be timelier in the current global climate where we are more susceptible to religious terrorism or hate speech on social media. The lecture titled “Happiness and Suffering—A Reconciliation between East and West”, will be held on November 1, 2019, at the Singapore Management University.
In addition, SSA recently issued a statement to express our support for the tabling of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony (Amendment) Bill 2019, as part of our civic responsibility to grow common space and safeguard our racial and religious harmony. I believe all these activities are concrete actions derived from our Buddhist practice which upholds the respect for the dignity of life as the most supreme philosophy. Let us continue to do our part to contribute to peace in the community and the world at large!
This month is also SSA’s Subscription Month. Let us encourage everyone to deepen their faith through study by subscribing to and reading our publications. As we strengthen our Buddhist study—the teachings contained in Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, we would be able to avoid forming incorrect perceptions of others or issues and being misled by our own negativities, which prevent us from enjoying the true benefits of our Buddhist practice.
Nichiren Daishonin writes, “Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study; there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere yourself; you must also teach others. Both practice and study arise from faith.” (WND-1, p. 386) Let us continue to study the golden words of Nichiren Daishonin, guidance from our mentor President Ikeda and fellow comrades’ life-changing experiences so as to remain unshaken and doubt-free should difficulties or problems arise in our lives, and to establish a life- state of absolute happiness.