SGI-USA Men’s Division Monthly Meetings
Suggested study material for July, 2006
The suggested material below is excerpted from SGI President Ikeda’s essay, "Our Power Comes from Awareness," published in the June 16, 2006 issue of World Tribune, page 2 and 3.
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I have a great predecessor in Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the first president of the Soka Gakkai, and an eternal mentor in the second president, Josei Toda. And as the third president, I have disciples with whom I share deep karmic bonds throughout Japan and the world, as well as young successors, the youth of the essential phase.
Filled with supreme happiness, I decided to embark on a new struggle for the eternal victory of our movement. The French thinker Marquis de Vauvenargues declared that of all plans, the greatest plan is to decide.
The time has come to join me and the Soka Gakkai in launching a tremendous new groundswell of dynamic development toward our 80th anniversary and — further still in the future — our 100th and our 150th anniversaries.
Nichiren Daishonin declares, “If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity” (WND, 736). He calls on his disciples to widely spread throughout the globe the eternal and imperishable Mystic Law, which has the power to enable all people, from now into the infinite future of the Latter Day of the Law, to realize their innate Buddhahood. Our invincible organization, the Soka Gakkai, has boldly appeared in this troubled and war-wracked age with a vow to fulfill this noble mission in accord with the Buddha’s will and decree.
President Toda once spoke to me of the profound significance of the Soka Gakkai’s mission, asserting that in the sutras of the future, the Soka Gakkai’s name would be recorded as “Soka Gakkai Buddha.” A thrill ran through me when he pronounced those words.
The Buddha Awesome Sound King appears in “Bodhisattva Never Disparaging,” the 20th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. But this Buddha is not a lone individual. After the first Buddha Awesome Sound King passed into extinction, he was followed by another Buddha Awesome Sound King, and “this process continued until twenty thousand million Buddhas had appeared one after the other, all bearing the same name” (LS, 266).
In other words, according to the Lotus Sutra, “twenty thousand million Buddhas” all named Buddha Awesome Sound King strove continuously to lead living beings to enlightenment over an incredibly long period of time. President Toda’s brilliant interpretation was that this series of Buddhas of the same name could be seen as an organization, a “harmonious assembly of believers” under the single name of Buddha Awesome Sound King.
Our individual life spans are limited, but if disciples of successive generations inherit the mentor’s fundamental spirit of striving for kosen-rufu and continue to act together toward that goal as an organized body, they will exhibit the eternal life force of Buddhas working continuously to guide all living beings to enlightenment.
The Soka Gakkai shines with the great light of compassion, dispelling the darkness of peoples’ suffering and imparting hope and courage. It speaks out with the lion’s roar for the sake of truth and justice, fearlessly vanquishing evil and wrongdoing. It has unshakable conviction in the power of faith to transform karma and create happiness for oneself and others. It possesses harmony based on the spirit of “many in body, one in mind” and embodies an indestructible citadel of mentor and disciple — both of which assure victory over any onslaught by the three obstacles and four devils. There can be no doubt that the heritage of faith for attaining Buddhahood pulses dynamically in the lives of the mentors and disciples of Soka, flowing on eternally without interruption across the three existences.
That’s why President Toda declared that should a future Buddha preach a sutra like those of the past, it would only be natural to expect that the Soka Gakkai — the harmonious body of believers directly linked to Nichiren and actually carrying out kosen-rufu — would appear in its pages named as a Buddha. Such is the noble mission and the greatness of the Soka Gakkai.
In a letter to one of his disciples, Nichiren writes: “Should you depart from this life before I do, you must report to Brahma, Shakra, the four heavenly kings, and King Yama. Declare yourself to be a disciple of the priest Nichiren, the foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra in Japan . Then they cannot possibly treat you discourteously” (WND, 82). As the present-day disciples of Nichiren and as mentor and disciples in the great Soka Gakkai, we, too, must continue to strive for kosen-rufu all throughout our lives, and indeed throughout all eternity. Let us take the lead with pride and confidence.
It has been 46 years since I, a disciple sharing the heart and spirit of President Toda, launched my struggle for the sake of Buddhism in this lifetime as the third president of the Soka Gakkai. The time is coming for my direct disciples, the Ikeda disciples of the essential phase of kosen-rufu, to begin to take their place as great leaders in society and the world. As Vauvenargues declared, one’s power is strengthened by his or her awareness of it.
My disciples of noble mission, your dawn has come! My friends, bring forth your limitless power and take up the struggle!
May all of you without exception win in your lives. May you achieve one magnificent victory after another.
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Suggested discussion questions:
1. President Ikeda states his determination to initiate a fresh wave of kosenrufu and, quoting a philosopher who stated that of all plans, the greatest plan is to decide, he appeals us to us to join him. What is it that we should decide?
2. What can we learn from Buddha Awesome Sound King and the millions of Buddhas by the same name as an allegory for the SGI in terms of the equality of mentor and disciple? The oneness of mentor and disciple?
3. President Ikeda states that if successive generations inherit the mentor's spirit of striving for kosenrufu they will exhibit the eternal life force of Buddhas. What does this mean to you in terms of acting in oneness with one's mentor in Buddhism and the resulting benefits of those actions.