Relevant Reads

Following is an excerpt from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s essay, “The Magnificent Ceremony on March 16” (World Tribune 3/27/98).

I have fulfilled my vow to my mentor.
I have fulfilled my vow to my fellow members.
I have fulfilled all the objectives I pledged to achieve.

President Toda & IkedaOn that day, when we gathered at the foot of Mount Fuji, we entered a new stage in the progress of kosen-rufu.
It was a cold day. The grand peak of Fuji looked down on us from above, serenely witnessing the event.
The ceremony on March 16 was exhilarating. Mr. Toda announced that he was passing the baton of kosen-rufu to the youth division.

On that day in 1958, some 6,000 young disciples gathered with their mentor, Josei Toda, whose life was quietly ebbing away. Everyone celebrated that landmark day with joy and excitement. Brave young men and women dedicated to kosen-rufu had assembled from all over Japan. They shook hands, patted each other on the shoulder, and talked and laughed together. It was a joyful vision of future triumph.
Four decades of indestructible achievement have passed since that day.

On March 1, Mr. Toda said to me: “The rest will be up to you, Daisaku. I’m counting on you.” A few days later, he made a suggestion: “Let’s conduct a ceremony that will serve as a trial run — a dress rehearsal — for kosen-rufu, in preparation for the future.” Mr. Toda knew that he would never rise again, never again stand at the head of the march for kosen-rufu, directing its advance.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Life is limited, and we must not begrudge it. What we should aspire to, after all, is the Buddha land” (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 5, p. 132).
March 16 was a ceremony to eternally honor and pay tribute to the selfless spirit of Mr. Toda, who had lived in complete accord with these words of the Daishonin, and to pass that legacy on to the next generation.

At the proud ceremony, Mr. Toda declared: “The Soka Gakkai is the king of the religious world.” This impassioned cry, this lion’s roar, is engraved forever in my being. At that moment, I vowed in my heart to see to it that the Soka Gakkai would indeed be king. “King of the religious world” means king of the realms of thought and philosophy. The Chinese character for king is written with three horizontal strokes, one above the other, intersected by one vertical stroke. Here are the “three” of the third month, March, and the “one” of 16. Where is the six? It is represented by the 6,000 Ganges rivers who would follow in their wake. For us, the great ceremony on March 16 showed clear proof that “the assembly at Eagle Peak has not yet dispersed” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 757).

President Toda in the LitterOn April 2, 1958, 17 days after the ceremony on March 16, Mr. Toda’s noble life came to an end. March 16 had been a farewell ceremony, the passing of the baton.
Forty years have passed since then. In that time, the Soka Gakkai has soared to become the king of thought, the king of human rights, the king of peace.

The comrades who have struggled by my side over the years are all living wonderful lives of triumph and good fortune. I will always honor these noble friends, through all time.

Disciples are those who carry out the mentor’s teachings. Disciples are those who fulfill their vows. I have done these things, and that is my greatest pride.
Nichiren Daishonin writes, “If you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present” (MW-2 [2nd ed.], 172). A powerful determination and our actions in the present moment determine the future. March 16 is the eternal starting point of true cause, when all disciples stand up to be counted. For me, each day is a day of fresh commitment, each day is March 16.

Today, the rising sun tints the great mountain range of the 21st century. Following the model of March 16, I have passed the baton of the Soka Gakkai spirit completely to the youth. Soon, yes, soon, their time for glory will be here.
March is the time when trees and shrubs begin to parade their fresh greenery and their lovely new blossoms. Youth, whom I will always love and trust, the 21st century is yours. Your time has come. It has, inexorably, begun.





The second Soka Gakkai president, Josei Toda, said: “I entrust the future to all of you. I’m counting on you—counting on you to accomplish kosen-rufu”

Sometimes it may be daunting to think about taking on the vast mission of kosen-rufu. Many times, it’s a struggle just to get through one day—wrestling with getting up in the morning, self-esteem issues, family problems, relationships, school, work or all of the above. And compared to that, the thought of declaring and spreading Buddhism far and wide, the literal meaning of kosen-rufu, may seem a bit removed from daily life.

Growing up, even though I didn’t know what it really meant, I used to think I had to include “the accomplishment of kosen-rufu” in my chanting goals since I heard about it over and over at the SGI meetings I attended. I continued chanting about this goal and began thinking about what it meant to me. I came to the realization that accomplishing kosen-rufu isn’t something that will happen someday in the future. It is something that applies to what I am doing right now. Conquering self-doubt, having hope even in what seems like a no-win situation—if I can live that way, then I can help others do the same, I started thinking. And as I grow in my conviction that the philosophy and practice of Nichiren Buddhism works in helping me become a stronger and happier person, I am more encouraged to share it with people I encounter in life.

The SGI movement to spread the greatness of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has always started from one person with a determination to change his or her surroundings. Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of this philosophy, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the first president of the Soka Gakkai, Josei Toda and the current SGI president, Daisaku Ikeda all started in this way, creating a great chain reaction of faith that has spread throughout the world.

Why did President Toda pass the mission of kosen-rufu on to the youth on March 16, 1958? The “Successors” chapter of The Human Revolution explains, “To open the way for the eternal development of kosen-rufu, Toda gave everything he had to fostering robust, able young successors who would be unfazed by any hardship” (p. 1881). When a person develops a strong foundation of character in youth, nothing is impossible. During the 1950s, President Toda’s closest disciple was Daisaku Ikeda. When looking at the struggles and difficulties President Ikeda has gone through—poor health, working without pay for two years, losing a son, being betrayed by those he trusted— it is apparent how his resolve to work for kosen-rufu helped him rise above all of those struggles and actually transform them into proof of the greatness of Nichiren Buddhism.

President Ikeda shares some advice for those of us in the midst of developing our lives: “Just keep advancing, even if only by one or two steps, in a way that is true to yourself. Those who live their lives to the fullest, unperturbed by the noisy clamor around them, are victors in life. Never give up. If you persevere in your efforts, someone will definitely support and protect you” (Discussions on Youth, vol. 1, p. 69). It is not that we should ignore what is going on around us, but that we should have the conviction that everything will work out for the best with our Buddhist practice.

March 16, Kosen-rufu Day, can be a time to determine not to be swayed by the “noisy clamor” around us and to think about how we want to live each day. It is also a reminder to share the benefits of Buddhist practice with friends, keeping the flow of kosen-rufu going.

* * *
The following excerpt from the “Successors” chapter of The Human Revolution highlights the speech given by the second Soka Gakkai president, Josei Toda, at the historic gathering of 6,000 youth on March 16, 1958. This gathering marked a new era for the Soka Gakkai’s movement as President Toda passed the mission of kosen-rufu on to the youth.

“From the standpoint of the Mystic Law, everyone is equal. And for individuals and the nation to achieve prosperity and happiness, there is no other way but to make the True Law our foundation. To achieve this, it is our mission to accomplish kosen-rufu without fail.

“Today, I want to bequeath this mission to you young people. I entrust the future to all of you. I’m counting on you—counting on you to accomplish kosen-rufu!”

It was a call that issued from the depths of Toda’s life, striking the hearts of the six thousand youth like a bolt of lightning and leaving them profoundly moved. For a moment, a hushed, solemn stillness pervaded. Then their emotion gave way to a powerful surge of determination that erupted the next moment into a storm of tumultuous applause. A snowcapped Mount Fuji seemed to embrace these youth who burned with such passion and resolve for kosen-rufu.

Looking out at the crowd, Toda smiled broadly.

“The Soka Gakkai is the king of the religious world. We are afraid of nothing. Never forget that you are heirs to this legacy. I want you to fight and advance bravely, as valiant young warriors, in the proud battle to spread the Law.”
“The Soka Gakkai is the king of the religious world”—these words were Toda’s grand declaration of victory in his lifelong struggle for kosen-rufu. It was also a final roar—a call to his young successors—in the life of this great lion of a man. (p. 1897)


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2 Responses to “Relevant Reads”

  1. Towards 3.16 Kosen-rufu Day « Sengkang Central Youth Says:

    […] Link: Articles by Daisaku Ikeda and Rika Hagiyama […]

  2. 3.16 Kosen-rufu Day « Sengkang Central Youth Says:

    […] I’ve found two articles online related to 3.16 Kosen-rufu Day. See Relevant Reads. […]

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