Inheriting the Spirit of Compassion to Save All

SGS General Director’s April 2022 Editorial

This year marks the 770th1 anniversary of the establishment of Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching.

On April 28, 1253, after more than 20 years of intensive study and practice of Buddhism, Nichiren Daishonin first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and declared with absolute conviction that the time has come for all people to practise and chant the daimoku of the Mystic law, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, to overcome all their suffering and gain enlightenment in this lifetime.

From that day on, and for the many years that followed, the Daishonin had to endure persecution after persecution to propagate the Mystic Law. He selflessly dedicated his life to kosen-rufu and established the correct teaching for the peace of the land.

Ikeda Sensei, in an editorial, talked about the significance of April 28.

“On April 28, 1253, a great declaration rang out with the power to illuminate the lives of all humanity. It was Nichiren Daishonin’s first proclamation of his teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, issuing from his home province of Awa (present day southern Chiba Prefecture) and echoing into the eternal future of the Latter Day of the Law.

“For the rest of his life, the Daishonin continued to proclaim the correct teaching, fully prepared for the inevitable persecution doing so would bring. In ‘On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,’ he writes: ‘If in this present existence I am so fearful for my life that I fail to speak out, then in what future existence will I ever attain Buddhahood? Or in what future existence will I ever be able to bring salvation to my parents and my teacher? With thoughts such as these uppermost in my mind, I decided that I must begin to speak out.’ (WND-1, p. 727)”

This spirit of compassion to save all human beings from suffering and help them gain enlightenment was inherited by the Soka Gakkai.

Second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, who succeeded President Makiguchi, devoted himself to carrying out his mentor’s great vow for kosen-rufu and propagated the Daishonin’s Buddhism in war-torn Japan. Before his death on April 2, 1958, he rebuilt the Soka Gakkai and laid the foundation for the worldwide propagation of the law, achieving the unprecedented membership of 750,000 households in 1957.

Without their efforts and selfless dedication, we would not have this opportunity in this lifetime to encounter this great Buddhism, which has helped us to transform our lives and brought happiness to millions of people around the world.

How can we, disciples, repay our gratitude to our Soka Mentors and the Daishonin?

It is for us to achieve great actual proof of happiness through our human revolution and contribute to society as good citizens. It is for all of us to strive joyously in harmonious unity with the spirit of “many in body, one in mind” for the happiness of all people. Let us make even greater efforts to engage in dialogue to encourage others with genuine care and warmth. Our attitude or resolve at each moment is key.

At this present time of unprecedented challenges let us renew our determination to fulfil our vow as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, brimming with a powerful resolve that moves the universe and create a bright and hopeful future together!

1 According to the traditional Japanese way of counting. Nichiren Daishonin established his teaching on April 28, 1253.