To cherish and empower the youth, the successors of Soka, is a tradition that started from the time of first Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi.
July is a significant month for the Soka Gakkai, especially for the youth division.
762 years ago, in his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land” written on July 16, 1260, Nichiren Daishonin wrote:
“If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not?”
It was the Daishonin’s ardent wish and determination to establish “the correct teaching for the peace of the land”, that he called upon all people to embrace the Lotus Sutra and the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Inheriting the Daishonin’s will and decree, the three founding presidents of the Soka Gakkai selflessly dedicated their entire lives to fulfilling their noble mission for kosen-rufu, the movement towards the realisation of lasting peace.
This year marks the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II and second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda’s release from prison on July 3, 1945. Two years earlier, Toda Sensei and Makiguchi Sensei were imprisoned for their uncompromising stance against Japanese militarism and war aggression. Makiguchi Sensei died in prison from old age and malnutrition.
Upon his release, Toda Sensei immediately dedicated himself to continuing the work of his mentor. Though frail, with a burning resolve he rebuilt the organisation.
With the achievement of his lifelong goal of 750,000 household membership conversion prior to his passing in April 1958, Toda Sensei laid a solid foundation for the Soka Gakkai, fulfilling his promise to his mentor and his noble mission for kosen-rufu.
Incidentally, it was also on July 3, 1957, that Ikeda Sensei was arrested and imprisoned for two weeks on unfounded charges. After a lengthy court case that lasted until 1962, he was completely exonerated of all charges.
July 3 became Mentor and Disciple Day and serves as an eternal reminder of the life and death struggles of our Soka mentors in fulfilling the noble mission of kosen-rufu in accord with the Buddha’s will and decree.
The Young Men Division was established on July 11, 1951 and the Young Women Division, on July 19, 1951. In his writing, “Guidelines for Youth” in 1951, Toda Sensei declared, “A new century will be created by the passion and the power of the youth.”
In this significant month of July, SGS has launched the “Youth Emerge Stronger (YES) — Let’s Bounce Back Better!” gatherings.
Our youth division, armed with this life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism which is the “greatest of all joys” is reaching out passionately to share with their friends.
Together with our youth, let’s turn July into a month of great joy and value-creation and continue to encourage and inspire one another to advance cheerfully!