01 Mar 2019 Youthful Successors, Arise!
SSA General Director’s March 2019 Editorial
The glorious March has dawned upon us.
As we stepped into this third month of the year, it brings to mind the gathering of 6,000 youth division members before second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda in March 1958, when he made an impassioned speech to entrust the future and responsibility of the Soka Gakkai to the youth. Since then, we have witnessed the rapid growth of the organisation, with SGI President Ikeda taking the lead after he became the third President in 1960. President Ikeda wrote in the “Afterword” of The New Human Revolution, Volume 30, “The sun of Nichiren Buddhism has risen brightly in the skies of the 21st century, and the banner of Soka humanism waves in the 192 countries and territories around the globe.”
We are all fortunate to be able to practise Nichiren Buddhism, due to the strong vows laid down by the youthful disciples of President Toda back in the late 1950s.
This year, as we commemorate the spirit of March 16, Kosen-rufu Day, let us resolve again to ensure the flow of kosen-rufu (spreading world peace through individual happiness) through each of our strong determination to foster the youth division members.
This month is also of special significance to SSA as we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the establishment of Soka Peace Centre which houses the Mentor Memorial Hall since its opening on March 23, 2014.
Since then, we have conducted more than 500 sessions of SSA Mentor and Disciple Training Course for more than 6,500 leaders and members. This castle of peace has become a place where countless disciples, particularly our youth, renewed their resolutions for kosen-rufu. President Ikeda wrote in his message to us at the opening ceremony, “With members of the youth division taking the lead, I ask that all of you advance with refreshing dynamism with the heart of a youth…let’s use this new Soka Peace Centre to foster a stream of capable people committed to contributing to the betterment of society while creating a refreshing groundswell of trust and friendship into our communities and societies!” To respond to our mentor’s great expectations, we must continue to foster more capable people.
Youth are our precious successors for the future. As expounded in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, “‘Joy’ means that oneself and others together experience joy… Both oneself and others together will take joy in their possession of wisdom and compassion.” (OTT, p. 146) As Buddhists, we aim not only to benefit ourselves and improve the world in the present, but also to ensure a bright future for humanity; and the only way to achieve the latter is to develop and empower many young people, who would be grounded in the philosophy of respect for human dignity.
In his peace proposal this year, titled “Towards a New Era of Peace and Disarmament: A People- Centred Approach”, President Ikeda wrote on his conviction in the mutual inspiration among youth, that holds the key to a hopeful future. He highlighted a report submitted by the SGI youth last year as a contribution to the United Nation’s Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. The report provided the following analysis: “In fact, involving youth seems to have the ripple effect of reaching those who are not aware of the issue, and further energising those who are already engaged.”
President Ikeda has devoted his entire life to fostering young people. In his travels around the world, he has focused especially on encouraging the youth division and Future Division members. In addition, he has also founded schools and universities in Japan, U.S., Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Korea to foster global citizens who are committed to leading contributive lives.
As disciples who share the same vision as our mentor, let us similarly renew our determination to cherish and empower our youth. Let us pray and support every single one of them so that they may grow into humanistic leaders who can contribute to Singapore as good citizens and build a hopeful future.
(Adapted from SSA Times issue 601)