The Human Revolution Vol. VII
Readings for July 2007
(Chapter titles and page numbers from the current edition are given for each excerpt)
“Flight” pp. 820-1
On January 2, 1953, his 25th birthday, Shin’ichi was appointed as a YMD Corps leader. On the evening of the 4th, he came upon the text of the poem “A Star Falls in the Autumn Wind on Wuchang Plain,” by Bansui Doi, and shared it with some of his friends who came to visit.
Shin’ichi began to explain the meaning of the poem in his own words.
“This epic describes the feeling of this heroic commander-in-chief. He is ill, seriously ill; his troops are losing one battle after another; he must not let the enemy know of his illness. What his mind dwells on is the unfavorable development of the war, the complete confidence that the late emperor placed in him and the destiny of the Han dynasty.
“For K’ung-ming, who is devoted to the rule of righteousness, it is unbearable to think of the people suffering from the war. He fondly remembers the peaceful days, more than twenty years earlier, before he began to serve the late emperor.
“Now he is weak with illness in the wailing autumn wind on the Wuchang Plain, his mind alone filled with the spirit of brave and unswerving loyalty and sincere devotion to the cause. Heaven and earth stretch out infinitely before him.”
The young people, intensely still, listened to Shin’ichi. Everyone felt as if something profound were flowing through the atmosphere of the room. While Shin’ichi dwelt on this jewel of a poem, his heart full of deep emotion, a thought had suddenly occurred to him. Didn’t this poem contain something quite similar to the conviction of Mr. Toda, who was valiantly standing alone for the cause of kosen-rufu? When people are bound together for a common objective, they can communicate perfectly without uttering even a word. Their minds are connected as if by electric current— the best proof of solidarity among people of the same mind. It was probably because the youths unconsciously responded to the thought arising in Shin’ichi’s mind that his words moved their hearts with such unexpected force.
“Flight” pp. 823-828
On January 5 at a New Years’ dinner with the leaders, a YMD member (Nakamichi) sings the song for President Toda and the others for the first time. Toda is deeply moved and asks to hear it over and over again, then launches into a detailed explanation of the text in terms of his own life and mission.
“That was a beautiful song,” Toda finally said to Nakamichi. “Would you sing it again, please?”
At this request, Shin’ichi Yamamoto rose to his feet. The two young men sang in duet, their voices rising and falling. The singing resounded throughout the large room, into which the sun was now throwing its brightness through a break in the clouds. When the duet ended, Toda demanded another encore from the two.
“Sing it once again,” he said.
The two men began to sing, their voices even more vigorous than before. Toda was humming, and some of the leaders sang aloud following Shin’ichi and Nakamichi. Soon they were beating time, clapping their hands. The singing became louder and louder, all of the leaders now joining in the chorus. It was a spontaneous drama, filled with vigor and enthusiasm. Josei Toda’s eyes were damp, but he was totally oblivious to the tears that from time to time streamed down his cheeks. Each time the song ended, he would ask to sing it once again, a total of six times. There was no moving on to other songs.
When the leaders began to grasp some meaning from the verses, Toda, who alone had a complete understanding of the profound implication of the epic, spoke:
“Do you understand the true spirit of this poem? It is not as simple as you may think. Even now I can clearly hear the voice of K’ung-ming as he howls at heaven and wails at the earth. Can any of you tell me your impression of this poem?”
All were awed with the awkward development of the situation; none of them dared speak up.
“Can no one answer? Well, that may be natural,” Toda said mournfully, half to himself, as he lit a cigarette.
“You should hear a song with your heart, not with your ears. Then, and only then, will you gain a clear understanding of its spirit. Otherwise, you may catch the meaning of the individual words, but not the depths of the song. True, the poem we just heard describes the spiritual anguish of Chuke K’ung-ming as he neared death—that much you understand. If you cannot advance beyond merely sympathizing with him in his agony, then the poem will end right there along with your thoughts.
“The reason Chuke K’ung-ming’s feeling appeals so strongly to the depths of my heart is not because of mere sentimentality. What strikes me most are the sense of responsibility as well as the inner struggle of a person who is aware of his own mission and who stands alone to carry out that mission. Chuke K’ung-ming had one mission that he had to accomplish by all means possible.”
It was not a superficial explanation. Toda’s words carried a note of urgency that seemed to be flowing, of its own accord, from the innermost part of his life. He was now bringing the listeners, inch by inch, into his own world. Silence reigned over the room. Toda continued to speak.
“Now, with his mission still unfinished, K’ung-ming’s life hangs over a precipice by the merest thread. His army is losing battle after battle. What can a person think and how would he feel if he finds himself in such a critical dilemma? Certainly, his feelings would not be at all sentimental, much less resigned. K’ung-ming is about to die in a terrible predicament. Alone, he muses in silence, his head bowed. What would you do if you were in his position?”
Toda interwove fantasy with reality in his talk. After a few seconds of silence, he resumed his explanation. “K’ung-ming’s tenacity of purpose on his deathbed is still alive in history. It was this intense tenacity that struck a responsive chord in me, moving me to tears in spite of myself. Perhaps I have not yet made myself sufficiently clear. Let me elaborate. The first stanza, I venture to say, could be applied to the sad plight of Nichiren Shoshu when the Daishonin’s Buddhism was in danger of ruin. Who was truly concerned about this? Even now there is only jealousy and criticism both within and outside of the orthodox school.
“The next stanza indicates the person who regards the Daishonin’s will, of which he is mindful even in his dreams, as his own mission and stakes his life on it. ‘Should the great tree fall at last,’ what will be the fate of Nichiren Buddhism? I am growing gradually weaker from the illness spreading through my body. What will become of kosen-rufu if I succumb to my disease now? Because I am aware of the great, noble mission, and because no one else is, I cannot think of the future of Nichiren Buddhism without weeping. I cannot die yet. I am not allowed to die even if I want to.”
It was a heartrending speech—the most intense of all grievous cries. The words pierced like so many nails into each heart in the room. The leaders had already begun to feel ashamed of their own superficial understanding of the song. They were now listening in all seriousness, as though electrified.
“The third stanza describes the social situation, which is as turbulent now as it was in K’ung-ming’s day. People are groaning in suffering, all faith lost in both the gods and the Buddha. It is a simple matter to imagine the peaceful world that we will see when kosen-rufu is attained, but as things now stand, it is nothing but a daydream. Many ambitious and scheming leaders are engaged in ugly struggles for power. None of them has any mind to learn Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings, the teachings with which to wage the indescribably difficult struggle for establishing a true paradise of peace. In the midst of cruel and merciless strife, common in a troubled age, I am subjected to criticism and denunciation, my heart agonized and painful.
“In the fourth stanza, the author wonders why Chuke K’ung-ming chose to assume the regency of the kingdom of Shu even though he knew that it would mean hardships. If he had wished, he could have remained in the idyllic community of Nan Yang, in camaraderie with the farmers, exchanging jokes and playing the flute, just as he had been doing for twenty years. His mission and position, however, had now grown so supremely important that he was no longer allowed to indulge in such rural luxuries.
“I am in similar circumstances. Without realizing my mission for kosenrufu, I could have worked to my heart’s content in some suitable occupation, enjoying my liquor and leading a life full of merriment. Why did I choose to toil, sleeping or waking, for the accomplishment of this difficult mission? I wonder why as much as you do.”
These words lightened his disciples’ feelings of shame. Toda continued to lead them, step by step, into a far-reaching sphere of reasoning that they did not even suspect existed. He now came to the lyrics that begin, “Who could dispute the success or failure—Of the loyal man who gave his life? The Milky Way spans aloft in the shadowy skies...” These lines brought to mind a clear picture of one man—himself.
“This stanza portrays something entirely different from what is commonly called ambition. To bring eternal, fundamental salvation to the masses of people who have always been victims of troublesome times—this is too great a goal to be undertaken from ordinary or superficial motives. What task can be more extensive and more meaningful than this, I dare ask. No matter what people may say about the success or failure of this undertaking, there is but one path: to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to the cause of kosen-rufu.
“Much to my regret, there is no one who can fathom my thoughts. From this stems my solitude. I am a common mortal. I am convinced that only the Daishonin—that is, only the Gohonzon—knows how I feel. Because of this conviction, an enormous, unswerving courage wakes up within me. There is no other support to which I can cling.”
Toda even looked and sounded different than his usual self. The sentiments in the depths of his heart pierced the people’s minds and pointed them in one direction. At the same time, it seemed as if he was gazing intently into his own innermost being.
“‘In the dead of autumn night on Wuchang Plain, the wind howls and the dew weeps…’
“Chuke K’ung-ming’s death finally comes in this last stanza, sadly enough, leaving his mission unaccomplished. True, K’ung-ming’s name remains immortal even today, nearly two millennia after his death, but his failure is an indisputable fact. Perhaps failure is admissible in K’ung-ming’s case but not in mine. If the great cause of kosen-rufu were to end in fiasco, humankind would wander in utter darkness.
“If there should be someone else who could carry out this task, I would not care what may happen to me or when. As it is, however, there is no one. This is not to say that you are unreliable; on the contrary, I have full confidence in you, but that does not get us anywhere. There is no choice but for me to devote my life to discharging my heavy responsibility, no matter what hardships I may feel and no matter what people may say. There is no alternative but for me to sacrifice myself alone where no one can see or even notice. My sole source of strength now is the conviction that only the Daishonin knows what I am doing.
“Because of this conviction, tears of joy pour from my eyes. I wept this afternoon because the poem ‘Wuchang Plain’ almost perfectly represents my feelings. Have I made myself clear to some extent? All right, let us sing once again.” Toda did not disguise his feelings. His pure emotion, free from exaggeration or embellishment, strongly moved the people’s hearts. The spacious room was now silent, filled only with the passion blazing in earnest seeking minds.
The autumn wind, with deepening sorrow,
blows from Mount Ch’i.
Gloomy clouds gather over the battleground
of Wuchang Plain.
Frequent are reports of defeat, stained with tears.
The leaders sang “Wuchang Plain” in chorus for the seventh time that evening. Having learned the spirit of the poem and Toda’s mind, they now felt their own visions deepened and widened, and they conveyed that feeling through the singing. Some of them discreetly wiped away tears. Toda was meditating on the song, silent and motionless as though pondering every word and phrase.
No other song followed; in fact, there was no longer any need. Thus, at half past four in the afternoon, the New Year’s dinner party ended with the singing of “Wuchang Plain,” or, to put it more aptly, the new year began with this song.
“Flight” pp. 831-2
On January 6, a meeting was held to announce the new youth division leaders’ appointments, including Shin’ichi’s.
The newly inaugurated leaders, including the young women’s division leader and the leader of the First Corps of the young men’s division, took turns in presenting youthful resolutions. All of them pledged sincerely to live up to their vital missions.
When Shin’ichi Yamamoto was speaking, Toda lowered his eyes pensively for a moment. It was not that he entertained any apprehension about Shin’ichi’s ability as a corps leader. He was proud that this disciple, whom he loved as the apple of his eye, had now come to the forefront, but at the same time, he felt some unexplainable sadness and loneliness in a corner of his heart. It was no longer necessary to keep this boy under his thumb. The Daito Company continued to achieve favorable business results, which meant that the firm had built a secure foundation. The time was ripe to set Shin’ichi free so that he could exert his extraordinary abilities to their fullest in Soka Gakkai activities. The campaign during 1953 would prove to be most crucial—one on which the success or failure of kosen-rufu would depend. The times demanded that Toda release this young man. Shin’ichi had undergone tremendous hardships in running the company’s business. Now that he had surmounted the difficulties with admirable skill and perseverance, the youth must go out to tackle even harder work—this time on the battleground of kosen-rufu.
Toda told himself he should be smiling on such a happy occasion, but he could not escape the feeling of a parent who experiences a helpless sense of separation when his child becomes independent and leaves home. Beginning about 1949, Toda’s business had encountered one setback after another. Most of the employees deserted the company, but Shin’ichi stayed to the end. This compelled Shin’ichi to do the work of several people. With his weak constitution, the hard work imposed a twofold strain on him. He was thus unable to participate in Soka Gakkai activities for days on end.
Toda placed his complete trust in Shin’ichi. To be more exact, business was impossible even for one day without this young man. For his part, Shin’ichi never lost confidence in Toda, but some of the Soka Gakkai leaders went so far as to reprove him to his face, charging that he had forsaken his faith. From time to time he lamented the inconsiderate attitudes of those who lacked any clear understanding of his position. Shin’ichi worked with all his might to keep Toda’s business going. He firmly believed that this was the most important objective if the great cause of kosen-rufu was to be achieved in the future. He was also convinced that only he could do it—a conviction unshakable but painful, for he was subjected to an endless string of life-or-death crises.
Enduring one trial after another, Shin’ichi gradually improved business results and finally brought to perfection the basis for all of Toda’s enterprises. Only after this did Toda decide to send the youth to the front. The takeoff of the Soka Gakkai in 1953 gave Shin’ichi Yamamoto the chance to soar toward the infinite expanse of the sky.
The atmosphere in the hall of Jozai-ji temple grew warmer, belying the bitter cold mid-winter evening outside. Josei Toda took the rostrum with an unexpectedly stern look on his face. He stood a short distance from the table and began to speak, his hands behind his back. He did not say a word about the inaugural ceremony.
“True, the Soka Gakkai is growing, but the current strength is only about twenty thousand households. The attainment of my lifelong goal— 750,000 families—is still a long way off. Kosen-rufu must be realized, no matter what the obstacles. If my goal has not been fulfilled before I die, dispense with my funeral.”
At his inauguration as president on May 3, 1951, Toda had made a similar remark that had made great impact on all Soka Gakkai members. Now, one and a half years later, to everyone’s surprise, he repeated the shocking statement. For some time, Toda’s mind had been tortured by the awareness that his goal would be impossible to achieve under the existing lineup of Soka Gakkai leaders. A simple calculation based on the results of the past one-and-a-half years indicated that the target was a dream far removed from reality. He had writhed in inward agony, day in and day out.
On this evening, as Shin’ichi Yamamoto assumed the post of corps leader, Toda felt the need to remind this disciple of his mission. The youths listened to Toda, with youthful seeking spirit and an awareness of their mission.
“The Prime Point” pp. 842-4
President Ikeda reflects on the source of Toda’s greatness and his determination to share the essence of Nichiren Buddhism, as he had realized it in prison, with as many people as possible.
One who attempts to make an accurate appraisal of Josei Toda will find it difficult to draw an easy conclusion about the essence, or prime point, of his life. True, he was an educator, but far removed from the stereotypical idea of a teacher. Although he managed several companies, he did not fit into the category of entrepreneur. A religious personality, yes, but far more than the average person of religion. He was a leader of the people—and an extraordinary one at that.
Deep within his existence lay an unrivaled originality—one above and beyond any categorization. People tend to attribute this creative faculty to his natural gifts or his character. It seems to me, however, that it is only when we ponder what caused such inborn qualities to manifest themselves to their fullest that we can approach the essence of Josei Toda.
Originality is one quality that defies all attempts at imitation. It is the power to create something that has never been seen or heard of before, eclipsing any facile, fashionable interpretation. True, any number of people have distinguishing traits, but people of true originality are rare. Even rarer are those creative people who actually achieve something noteworthy.
Josei Toda had an originality that no one even began to emulate. The exact instant this distinguished power manifested itself was the unforgettably sublime moment that Toda experienced in prison. That moment drew a line between the earlier and latter halves of Toda’s life—when the eye of his mind was opened after his careful and attentive study of the Lotus Sutra. In his lifetime, Toda would relate that experience over and over again and still be unable to express himself to his satisfaction. It must have been an indescribably mystic state of life during which he realized his true mission.
One must remember that this mystic experience in no way resulted from a mere superficial reading of Shakyamuni’s twenty-eight-chapter Lotus Sutra. True, this study played an important role, but nothing more. Toda read—between the lines of the Lotus Sutra—passages of Nichiren Daishonin’s “The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings.” He hurled his entire being into this most difficult, yet most accurate, explanation of Nammyoho- renge-kyo and thereby obtained access to the depths of this life philosophy. This, I believe, is the exact essence of his enlightenment.
The unwavering opening of the eye of Toda’s mind came as a final settlement of accounts for the earlier half of his life, a life filled with distress and suffering. His vision, now without the slightest blur, overflowed with life and vitality, clearly reflecting his awareness of his mission for the latter half of his life. This enlightenment led to unbounded delight and provided him with an entirely new perspective. The path that lay ahead of him was that of kosen-rufu—an unparalleled undertaking in the history of humankind. Moreover, his mystic experience embodied the highest principle of salvation befitting modern society.
Immediately after his release from prison, Toda made every effort to share the enlightenment he had gained amid the bitterness of prison life. It was no accident that the reconstruction of the Soka Gakkai began with Toda’s lecture on the Lotus Sutra to a group of four people. To impart to others the depth of awareness he had experienced was impossible except through the medium of the Lotus Sutra. Toda’s earnest lectures on this sutra continued through their first and second phases but would soon be suspended because of his business failure.
In his lectures, Toda tried to explain to his audience the mystic experience of his own enlightenment through the intermediary of the Lotus Sutra. As the series advanced, the still-limited capability of the participants caused the pure tone of his theories to give way little by little to an interpretation of his experience, borrowing examples from the Tendai school and, consequently, taking on a stronger flavor of that school. As a result, his business suffered a tormenting setback as though paralleling the undesirable direction his lectures were taking.
This failure, however, forced Toda to read the Lotus Sutra with more determination and even clearer insight. His explanations of Buddhist philosophy became purer and more easily understandable yet brilliant and full of confidence. This was evident in every lecture after his inauguration as president in 1951
Whenever he found himself deviating even the slightest from the correct path, Toda would always return to his own starting point, his mystic experience of enlightenment, and start anew. By this time he had discontinued chapter-by-chapter explanations of the Lotus Sutra and confined his class A lecture to the two cardinal chapters: “Expedient Means” and “Life Span.” He also selected newly converted people for his audience. This seemed to be a wild plan, since lectures on Buddhist scriptures are considered extremely difficult to understand even for experienced members, let alone beginners. Toda had the courage to undertake this almost impossible task. He would not digress even for an instant from the enlightenment he had grasped during that sublime moment in prison, after reading the Lotus Sutra with his entire being, based on the Mystic Law. He wanted new believers to share fully his ultimate realization at the very first stages of their practice.
“The Prime Point” pp. 863 - 4
After sharing much of a sample of Toda’s lecture on the Lotus Sutra, President Ikeda again discusses Toda’s conviction and the impact of his lectures on his listeners.
Toda proceeded with his lecture without the slightest hesitation, confident of the correctness of his own awakening. Filtered through Toda’s explanation, even the most esoteric Buddhist terms were completely divested of abstruseness and transformed into words of everyday use. Perhaps no other person had ever given a lecture that embraced such a profound philosophy yet was connected so directly to the true nature of human life. For Toda, the correct teaching of Buddhism existed in the reality of life itself. He was not applying Buddhist principle to actual life; he didn’t need to do so because he had learned through his own enlightenment that the essence of Buddhism was one and the same with the reality of life.
It is no accident that Toda began to understand the profundity of the Lotus Sutra while enduring the torment of prison life. He discovered that the truth to which he had been awakened was in itself the supreme principle for the salvation of modern society. This brilliant discovery would develop into a great current of philosophy that would flow unceasingly through the latter half of his career.
People overlooked this extraordinary truth. The majority of those who had known Toda during the first half of his life failed to recognize this discovery. Even those few who dimly perceived it could not believe that he had discovered the Law for the revolution of human life. Those who met Toda for the first time in the latter half of his career were still immature in their faith. They merely stood agape and marveled at the powerful strength of his persuasion, their minds too small to delve into the source of that strength. Now, more than a dozen years after his death, they have begun to realize, though not yet clearly, the wellspring of his persuasive power.
Toda’s sublime experience in prison awakened him, inwardly, to the mission for which he was born in this world. Outwardly, it established itself as an indestructible principle for the salvation of humanity. Since that time, his speech and action became a force both visible and unseen, releasing people from the depths of the sea of suffering and delivering them to the shore of a new life. The lecture provided Toda with precious opportunities to share his understanding.
“The Prime Point” pp. 865-8
Following one of his lectures, President Toda responds to a member’s question concerning the immediate disciples of the Daishonin. After pointing out the differences between Nikko Shonin and the “five senior priests” in terms of their understanding of their mentor, he strictly warns about the importance of being courageous disciples for the sake of the future of the Soka Gakkai.
“That is a very good question. Thank you,” he said as he turned toward the questioner, bowing slightly.
“This question includes not just one but several points that must be made clear,” he began. “In the first place, the five priests did not serve at the Daishonin’s side long enough to reach the profound state of oneness between mentor and disciple. Certainly all of them devoted themselves to the Daishonin and carried out the propagation of his Buddhism, but they had only a short time to learn the correct teachings directly from him.
“In the second place, they could not grasp a true perspective of the Daishonin’s Buddhism because they were not at his side during the most vital stages of his life. Nichiren Daishonin first established the invocation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Before that, however, he had referred to it simply as the Lotus Sutra. Again, this is a matter of literal versus implicit meanings; the five priests viewed the Lotus Sutra only from the literal viewpoint as did all scholars in those days. They understood the Lotus Sutra as Shakyamuni had expounded it, but they were ignorant of the true meaning of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
“The Daishonin’s Buddhism underwent several important stages. First, he strove to propagate the invocation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Then, during his exile on Sado Island, he inscribed the first Gohonzon. Finally, after returning from Sado, he made a will to the effect that he would entrust the construction of the sanctuary of the essential teaching to us, the people of the Latter Day of the Law. Naturally the five senior priests completely misunderstood the importance of the Gohonzon inscribed during and after the Sado exile. Only Nikko Shonin, founder of the head temple, knew the true significance and value of the Gohonzon, because he was the one disciple who had always been at the Daishonin’s side, serving the true Buddha.” Toda’s answer was precise and correct, but as the explanation concerned a very fine point of doctrine, he remained silent for a while, looking as if he was turning over his thoughts. Then he continued, mentally comparing the present with the Kamakura period.
“Since there were few means of communication in those days compared with our time, it was exceedingly difficult to convey the Daishonin’s guidance. To add to this difficulty, the Daishonin first established the invocation, then inscribed the Gohonzon, and finally entrusted the construction of the sanctuary of the essential teaching to posterity, an interval of many years between each of these events. If these three supreme principles had been revealed all at the same time, it would have been much easier for the five priests to understand his Buddhism. At any rate, it was an age in which no one had even heard of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I think the five priests deserve some credit for at least realizing the importance of the invocation in such a time. The five senior priests lived in different provinces, each as the leader of believers in their respective localities. As I have explained, however, they knew the significance of the invocation but not that of the Gohonzon. Hence Nikko Shonin’s reprimand that since they understood the import of the invocation, there could not be any reason they should not be able to understand that of the Gohonzon as well.
“When people died in those days, it was the religious custom to place a statue of Amida or Mahavairochana Buddha within the coffin. The five priests, therefore, must have felt no sense of guilt in committing the Gohonzon inscribed by the Daishonin to the earth together with the body. What a silly and hopeless bunch of disciples! Alarmed, Nikko Shonin ordered that this blasphemous act should cease immediately and that all of the Gohonzon should be brought to him. The order was duly executed.
“As I have said, the five senior priests comprehended the principle of the invocation but not the essential importance of the object of devotion. In other words, they did not understand the profound doctrine of the threefold secret teaching. It is for this reason that today the Soka Gakkai constantly urges its members to study Nichikan’s ‘Threefold Secret Teaching.’ When Nikko Shonin reproved the five priests for their errors, it was not in any way out of hatred against them. We must read the passages of Nikko Shonin’s ‘Refutation Against the Five Priests’ in this light.
“Well, I guess that’s about it. Have I given you a satisfactory answer? If I have not, go ahead and ask further. This kind of session is rare, you know.”
The questioner stood again, his head slightly inclined to one side. All eyes were turned upon him. For a moment the man hesitated, uncertain whether to ask again, but apparently encouraged by Toda’s smile, he began to speak, as if he had finally made up his mind.
“I am sorry, sir, but I am not yet fully convinced. According to all accounts, even the five priests—for example, Nissho and Nichiro—seem to have accompanied the Daishonin on many of his propagation campaigns, converting quite a few nonbelievers. Also, according to ‘Reply to Nii-ama,’ when O-ama implored the granting of Gohonzon from the Daishonin, he rejected the request on the grounds that she was not eligible. On the other hand, he granted Gohonzon to Nii-ama, though not completely without apprehension. Thus the Daishonin was very selective in matters concerning the Gohonzon. He dwells at great length on the Gohonzon in a number of Gosho, such as ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind’ and ‘The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon.’ Even such an amateur as I can understand most of his explanations about the Gohonzon. Why is it, then, that those educated five senior priests failed to comprehend?”
That was a reasonable question. Toda listened, nodding repeatedly until the question ended.
“That’s another good question,” he said, running his eyes over the audience. “This is a very important matter. We are now engaged in fierce propagation activities. Because of our campaign, we are being subjected to all sorts of slander. At a glance our present plight appears to resemble that in which the Daishonin and his disciples found themselves. In fact, the situation was much worse seven hundred years ago. People in his day regarded the Daishonin’s actions as something like subversive acts. Hence the relentless persecution. Despite this suppression, however, neither Hei no Saemon nor the regent could lay so much as a finger on the firm unity of believers during the lifetime of the Daishonin. When he died, those in power availed themselves of this excellent opportunity to carry out another great oppression. It was at this time that the five priests turned their back and fled. They must have been scared out of their wits.
“Now, suddenly the five leaders began to declare that they were followers of T’ien-t’ai, as if to say, ‘We are not Nichiren’s disciples.’ Nikko Shonin may well have felt righteous indignation against them. How would you react if a horrible persecution should fall upon our organization? As long as I am alive, you will be able to take it easy and say with pride, ‘We will propagate the Mystic Law. We will attain kosen-rufu,’ but what if I should die tonight? If, after my death, those in power should put unbearable pressure upon this organization in an attempt to wreck it, I just wonder how many of you would still be bold enough to declare proudly, ‘I am a member of the Soka Gakkai.’ There is no guarantee that you would not choose to defend yourself by saying, ‘I am a believer of Nichiren Buddhism but not the Soka Gakkai,’ or ‘I am a mere parishioner of the local temple. Propagation is the last thing that I have in mind,’ or ‘I practice the faith without belonging to any organization.’”
Toda’s eyes grew sharper. None of the members had so much as dreamed of such a situation as their president had just hinted. Toda alone was always keenly conscious of such a crisis, but he had kept it all to himself.
“Certainly, while the Daishonin was alive, even the five senior priests must have considered it their objective to propagate the Law of Nam-myoho- renge-kyo. When their mentor died and relentless persecution began, however, they apparently lost their determination, frightened now that they were bereft of their supreme leader. They were so cowardly that they tried to escape oppression by announcing one after another that they were followers of T’ien-t’ai. Only Nikko Shonin remained steadfast. Hence his stern rebuke against the five backsliders: Nothing is more outrageous than calling yourselves T’ien-t’ai’s followers. We, the true disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, absolutely do not belong to the Tendai school. What we should propagate is the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is inherent in the life of the true Buddha from the infinite past and which was transferred to Bodhisattva Superior Practices.”
Toda paused for a moment, surveying the audience as if to make sure that they had understood thus far, then resumed his explanation.
“It is evident from ancient documents that the five priests called themselves devotees of T’ien-t’ai, losing all shame and decency. It is quite natural that Nikko Shonin severely reproached them. True, the Daishonin died, unleashing persecution from the government, but this does not in the least justify their identifying themselves with T’ien-t’ai’s followers. What cowards! What feebleness of will! Read the ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind’ and you will find the unmistakable phrase ‘Nichiren, the shramana of Japan’ (wnd, 354). The Daishonin is in no way a follower of T’ien-t’ai of China. What stupid disciples of the true Buddha they are to call themselves devotees of T’ien-t’ai!”
In his excitement Toda unintentionally raised his voice. He remembered with anger that the errors of all the erroneous Nichiren schools had begun to germinate openly immediately after the Daishonin’s death. He unconsciously spoke in vehement tones through his eagerness to imprint this historical fact indelibly on the listeners’ minds as a grave warning for the future of the Soka Gakkai.
“The Prime Point” p. 873
On April 28, 1953, Toda met with youth members at the Head Temple after the completion ceremony for the repairs he’d initiated to the Five-storied Pagoda. He briefly shares his determination, and then sends encouragement to Shin’ichi, whose first son was born that day.
“Today, the members of the young men’s division were kind enough to carry me on their shoulders from Myoren-ji to Taiseki-ji. I am deeply touched at this sincere deed. You may think that I am harping on the same string but, truly, my entire life is dedicated to the Gohonzon. I will make Nichiren Buddhism prevail throughout Japan without fail and will further strive to propagate it to the world. This I give you here and now as my lifelong pledge. I earnestly hope that you will share my determination and forge ahead with your utmost effort.”
Toda’s brief speech was immediately greeted by a unanimous “Yes, we will, sir!” The vigorous response echoed through the night air, carrying beyond the luxuriant foliage of the tall Japanese cedars. When he returned to the Rikyo-bo, Toda received the news that Shin’ichi’s first son had been born earlier that day. As a token of his heartiest congratulations, Toda presented Shin’ichi with a fan that he had carried with him, with the following words inscribed with a brush:
A spring moon
Shares my delight
At the birth of your child.
“Under the Wings” p. 878
Toda encourages Haruko Taoka, the woman who had been struggling to lead Bunkyo Chapter, as he prepares to send Shin’ichi to support her organization as acting chapter leader.
“I wish I could personally come to the aid of Bunkyo, but my position does not allow me to spend all my time taking care of your chapter alone. Instead, I will lend you Shin’ichi, my right-hand person. Will that be all right? Are you sure you will not complain?”
“I am quite sure, sir. Please do so by all means,” Haruko replied as if through reflex action. She hardly knew anything about Shin’ichi Yamamoto except that he had been promoted to corps leader only a few months before. Every issue of the Seikyo Shimbun newspaper reported the brilliant activities of other leaders, but not a line had ever appeared concerning Shin’ichi.
Conscious of Haruko’s anxiety, Toda smiled.
“Shin’ichi is young, but he is almost frighteningly sharp and efficient. Take everything he will say or do from the standpoint of faith. He is a person of extraordinary caliber, perhaps poles apart from any of the leaders you have known so far. I tell you, he is close to my heart.”
“Under the Wings” pp 902-3
On June 23, 1953, Toda inaugurated the Educators’ Conference.
Toda decided to form this group to maintain the theory of value-creating education and the principle of educational guidance, the legacy left by his mentor, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi. The coming autumn would see his tenth memorial. The Educators’ Club established by Makiguchi had long since been dissolved. Although Toda was busy leading the surging march of propagation, not a day passed that he didn’t remember his deceased mentor. He had been studying ways of training successors to Makiguchi’s theories, people who would eventually make them known to the world.
“This year we shall observe Mr. Makiguchi tenth memorial,” Toda said at the inaugural meeting. “In commemoration, I’m planning to publish his philosophy of value in book form and send copies to colleges and universities throughout the nation. Whatever the immediate response it may receive, thirty years or fifty years from now it will certainly strike many people with wonder and admiration. Now is the time to invite the public to judge the value of his doctrine. All theories, be they pedagogical or sociological, are ultimately undergirded by the philosophy of value. I want you to do all you can to bequeath Mr. Makiguchi’s teaching to posterity.
“If even only one person tackles this task, the time will come when more and more people will accept our mentor’s theory. If I were to die today there would be no one to inherit and transmit it. It has been more than twenty years since I left the educational world, but I will try to impart all my knowledge to you so that we can conduct research together. I am convinced that the philosophy of value will spread throughout the world. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi’s The Philosophy of Value was published in the autumn and copies presented to every college and university in Japan.
“Under the Wings” pp 907
President Ikeda reflects on the causes which led to the tremendous growth of the organization in the first half of 1953.
From January to June, a total of 20,891 families joined the organization. This meant that in only half a year the Soka Gakkai doubled its membership. With a sense of relief, the leaders thought the goal of fifty thousand for the year would be easily accomplished. At the same time they were astonished at the frightful precision of Josei Toda’s goals. These leaders fought bravely, reminding themselves that they must at all costs actualize the words of Josei Toda, their revered mentor. This was the cause of their progress and their victory—the source of hope. The efforts of these purehearted leaders continued to produce brilliant results. It was very satisfying to Toda, who knew that this revolutionary movement could succeed only through the efforts of many disciples.
“The Oath of Suiko” pp 915-7
The Suiko-kai, the special training group for young men, was apparently dissolved when the participants lost sight of their profound purpose. In this passage, Shin’ichi takes responsibility, based on his deep relationship with Toda, to revive the group through making an oath.
The Soka Gakkai membership was increasing daily. It would eventually include tens of millions. By that time every part of the organization would have to be securely based on an immovable foundation. For this purpose Toda had to ensure that the handful of youths he was personally training would become excellent leaders.
These youths were ordinary people at that time, but if they became men of unsurpassed leadership capability in ten, twenty or thirty years, kosen-rufu would be accomplished without fail. Toda attended each Suikokai meeting with this long-range scheme firmly in mind and, with love and mercy, provided guidance to its members whom he was certain would fulfill his expectations.
Now, a little more than half a year after its birth, the group was on the brink of collapse. Toda felt disappointment before anyone else, which quickly became anger. While the other young men were intimidated by Toda’s rage and didn’t know what step to take next, Shin’ichi alone squarely faced the president’s fury. With aching awareness, his mind had penetrated Toda’s true intention hidden behind the wrath.
The realization made Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s agony all the more intense. No matter how many apologies the Suiko-kai members might offer, Toda would not forgive them. Shin’ichi knew well that the president was the last man to do anything halfway. The Suiko-kai was like a boat run aground. A stranded ship eventually will be engulfed by the billows or crumble to splinters. Shin’ichi would have to patiently and prudently devise the most effective way to save the group, like an efficient captain. His chanting became more earnest every day.
A week passed, then two. As had been feared, there was not even the slightest indication that the Suiko-kai would be reactivated. Ever since the apple-wine incident, Toda had not said a word about the group. The top leaders of the youth division made their humble apologies to him whenever they had a chance, but nothing would allay his anger. The Kayokai— Suiko-kai’s counterpart in the young women’s division—continued to meet regularly. It was inconceivable that the Kayo-kai remain active while the Suiko-kai be disbanded.
Mr. Toda must be waiting for something, Shin’ichi Yamamoto thought. The president must be expecting the Suiko-kai to be recreated as a group of genuine leaders of the future after intense self-reflection on the part of its members. For what purpose did the Suiko-kai exist? The members had made a feeble start without finding a satisfactory answer to this question— without fully understanding the primary objective and mission of the group. From the very beginning, Mr. Toda had shown a determined attitude in their training. The members, however, accepted his guidance merely as a temporary yardstick for their activities. They did not realize that they were being trained to eternalize Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. This fundamental flaw manifested itself in its most conspicuous form when confronted with the single-minded resolution with which Mr. Toda gave guidance. The student’s question about apple wine was insignificant in itself. What really mattered was the shallow frivolity of the group that had led him to ask such a meaningless, self-centered question. This was the true cause of the Suiko-kai’s failure.
Shin’ichi brooded over the matter, his mind filled with pain. To leave the Suiko-kai as it was would betray his mentor’s true intention. He grew increasingly impatient. If the group was to be reorganized and make a fresh start, what was required? Shin’ichi finally reached his conclusion. What was most important was the resolution and quality of the members of a revived Suiko-kai. Again he searched his mind, questioning himself how the best quality could be ensured for the group. He finally settled on three essential pledges:
1. Pledge to the Gohonzon
2. Pledge to President Josei Toda
3. Pledge among the members themselves
Shin’ichi drafted an oath with these pledges as the three main pillars— better known as the “Oath of the Suiko-kai.” Shin’ichi showed the draft to Toda. The president took off his glasses and read the paper, his nose almost touching it.
“All right,” he said, after reading the draft. “I forgive you just this once. Remember that never again will I tolerate any of your meetings if they turn out to be like a gathering of old men, lacking enthusiasm for the truth. Only fools repeat the same mistake.”
“The Oath of Suiko” pp 918-920; 924
In this passage, President Ikeda describes the history of the founding of the Suiko-kai.
There was a reason Shin’ichi Yamamoto worked quietly and painstakingly to remake the Suiko-kai. He had been the one who had suggested to Toda that this special group be formed. Considering the circumstances surrounding the birth of this group, he held himself more responsible than anyone else for the Suiko-kai’s fiasco.
In the autumn of 1952, Toda’s health was deteriorating due to the fierce struggles and hardships he had undergone following his release from prison. Shin’ichi was sensitive enough to notice and pondered this. Now was the time, he thought, for as many members as possible to indelibly imprint on their youthful lives Toda’s vision for kosen-rufu.
Toda was aware of his failing health. He felt the utmost urgency to thoroughly infuse the formula for kosen-rufu, both in principle and application, into those younger members. He had spared no effort to foster and train the youths, but educating them was not the end in itself. He was visualizing the day when even though he was gone his mission would remain alive. He had found himself in a similar situation a few years earlier. In the autumn of 1950, his publishing business failed, which in turn caused his credit association to collapse. The matter assumed serious proportions, and anxiety mounted every day that he might be held legally responsible. In the depths of his anguished mind a determination emerged, as inflexible as steel—a resolution that the flow of kosen-rufu must not stop at anything. The stream of water must not dry up, no matter what, even though it might have to go underground where no one could see it. He might be forced to withdraw himself from society, but as long as the subterranean current continued to flow, it would eventually break through the surface and gush out in torrents. He felt the need to train those who would carry out his ideas.
Toda had resigned as general director of the Soka Gakkai and engaged himself day and night in the arduous task of reorganizing his business. Even then, he managed to find time to occasionally hold private meetings attended by Shin’ichi Yamamoto and several others closest to him. By this time people outside of the Soka Gakkai were calling him names and those within had begun to doubt his integrity. The small group did not even have a name, but at each meeting Toda strenuously sought to lay a solid foundation for the future of his organization. By sometimes using a revolutionary romance as a text, he tried to hammer the kernel of his plan for kosen-rufu into the participants’ minds. While he spoke every word as sternly as if he were leaving his will, he showed the utmost consideration and mercy to the members of the group who, he was convinced, would materialize his concepts. The group continued to meet, though irregularly, until Toda became president.
In the meantime, the lawsuit had taken a sudden dramatic turn in Toda’s favor and he was freed from legal responsibility—a happy end that could only be ascribed to the immense power of the Gohonzon. His revival was the revival of the Soka Gakkai, and soon thereafter he was inaugurated as its second president. But during the six-month-long crisis his burning sincerity toward the perpetuation of the True Law had taken the form of training the special group. The memory of those days returned to Toda whenever he saw Soka Gakkai youths. He seized every opportunity to train the young members with an enthusiasm approaching obstinacy. Eventually, the dynamism accumulated through the secret meetings during that halfyear period served as the prime mover when the youth division was formed immediately following Toda’s assumption of the presidency. The newly founded division displayed enormous energy in every activity, including propagation. Toda realized that for further advancement of the division, it was necessary to set up a new version of that special group that he had personally fostered from the autumn of 1950 to the spring of 1951.
No sooner had this thought occurred to Toda than Shin’ichi Yamamoto implored him to form a new group. Toda left the planning and organization entirely up to Shin’ichi. The two men agreed that the members would read through The Tale of Suiko to begin with, and that the group would be named Suiko-kai after the novel. On the evening of December 16, 1952, thirty-eight young men gathered at the Headquarters in West Kanda. Each arrived with Haruo Sato’s The Tale of Suiko, volume 1, and a heart filled with pride and appreciation at being one of the chosen.
Toda’s cheeks had now turned as rosy as an adolescent’s. The young men remained completely quiet, their ears strained and their eyes focused upon Toda. No one even dared to clear his throat. The room was permeated with the brisk nocturnal air of December. Toda continued:
“Why do we, members of the Suiko-kai, meet twice a month despite our packed schedule? It is because we want to make certain that the great noble mission of our Soka Gakkai will be achieved without fail. Kosen-rufu is a task never before undertaken. True, religion forms the basis of human beings’ lives; it constitutes the deepest soil of human society. It goes without saying that a religious reformation will cause the change of society as a whole. To be more specific, a religious reform will inevitably lead to changes in politics, economics, education, society and culture. If we concentrate our efforts only within the category of religion, kosen-rufu may turn out to be a lopsided partial movement. It is certain that the spread of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism will bring peace and prosperity to humankind. This naturally presupposes a reform in every field of human society.
“True, faith is most important in our lives, but I do not want you to cling to it so narrow-mindedly that you refuse to turn your eyes to the wider spectrum of society. We need not, and must not, become peddlers of religion. Nothing is more secure and easygoing than to live exclusively in a religious world. You should not follow that path. You must grow into efficient and genuine members of society who, awakened to the supreme philosophy of the Mystic Law, will display their full capabilities and contribute to society. This is the only way to save those who are suffering in these difficult times of the Latter Day of the Law. This great path alone leads to the boundless ocean of the Gohonzon’s mercy.
“Who will lead the march along this royal road? You alone! Pioneers are nowhere but in this very room! From this group you will soar into the infinite sky. If you truly resolve to devote your lives to your mission as members of the Suiko-kai, I will lay all of my hopes on your future. I will set my heart at rest and entrust you with the historic task of attaining kosen-rufu.”
Toda was now speaking in a fervent tone, the words reaching toward the distant future. Although the young men didn’t understand much of what Toda said, they felt their hearts shaken to the depths with burning sentiment.
“The Oath of Suiko” pp 931-2
In a discussion at a Suiko-kai meeting about the future worldwide propagation of Nichiren Buddhism, Shin’ichi asked Toda about the importance of learning foreign languages. The passage below is part of Toda’s response, and Shin’ichi’s reflections on the answer.
“You asked me what language you should learn first. Well, our objective is every nation of the world. True, our movement will find its way into some countries earlier than it does into others, but it will not necessarily spread from one to another as in a chain reaction. There is no guarantee that Bodhisattvas of the Earth will emerge in one country after another as we may hope. If you are to make any preparations at all, do so in such a way that you can cope with whatever situation may arise. You will be helpless unless great numbers of capable people come forth, all having as complete a command of one or more languages as they do of Japanese. In any event, victory in linguistics is the first prerequisite for propagating Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism throughout the world. Bear this firmly in mind and take the initiative in realizing kosen-rufu on a global scale.
“However, each man has his own role to play. You, Shin’ichi, need not learn a foreign language, as you are an exception. Have skilled interpreters assist you.”
Shin’ichi felt mystified. Toda had just said that kosen-rufu of the world necessitated the mastery of languages, and now he was telling Shin’ichi to use interpreters. His remarks contradicted each other. Was the president teasing Shin’ichi in full knowledge of his poor linguistic ability? Or was he just being considerate to his disciple?
Perplexed, Shin’ichi was about to inquire about Toda’s meaning, when he remembered the president’s words, “you are an exception.” He wondered for a moment why he alone was allowed the privilege of employing interpreters, but at the next moment the answer came forth of itself. It was his mission, he now realized, the mission that he must fulfill in the future. Toda was not ridiculing his linguistic ability.
If Shin’ichi had mastered the languages of one or two countries, he might become too strongly attached to those countries to pay attention to others as well. That could only hinder the advance toward global kosenrufu. The man in a responsible position must make it his prime consideration to be impartial to all people on the earth. Shin’ichi was now aware that Toda had neither ridiculed him nor been particularly considerate of him. The president’s advice, though brief and spoken almost casually, contained everything Shin’ichi needed. He was truly gratified.
Most of the youths paid little attention to Toda’s casual words, but as the years passed, they would often recall anew such remarks, their vividness increasing all the more after the president’s death. By the time Toda died, Shin’ichi’s brain was packed to capacity with such words and phrases.
“The Oath of Suiko” p. 935
President Ikeda reflects on the impact of the Suiko-kai training with Toda, both broadly in the organization, and on himself personally.
It had been a three-and-a-half-year period at once trying and delightful. During this time, the road to kosen-rufu grew clearer and more solid. The Suiko-kai graduates went on to work to the limit of their capabilities as the mainstays of the Soka Gakkai. Many took their places on the forefront of society—in politics, economics, education, art and so on.
Most of the youths, carried away at the time by Toda’s amusing remarks, failed to grasp his true intentions, but Shin’ichi spent every single minute of the three-and-a-half years building in the depths of his life a solid course toward kosen-rufu. The Suiko-kai would be reactivated after Toda’s death, with the fourth and fifth classes totalling 647 members and Shin’ichi playing the main role in their training.
“Moments Without Rest” pp 960-1
At the 10th memorial service for Mr. Makiguchi, Toda explains his determination to publish “The Philosophy of Value” and its relation to the Daishonin’s Buddhism.
“Mr. Makiguchi was purity and earnestness itself. This man of incomparable integrity had to die in, of all places, a filthy prison. Professor Hisatoshi Tanabe, in the introduction to Mr. Makiguchi’s The System of Value-Creating Education, published in 1930, said the following, as though he had a certain premonition: Fabre, principal of a primary school, quietly devoted his life to the study of insects. France, the country of learning, regarded him as a national treasure. Even the education minister paid a visit to the entomologist and expressed the profound thanks of the nation.
“Mr. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, principal of a primary school, has dedicated his entire precious lifetime to the completion of the epoch-making The System of Value-Creating Education, fighting all sorts of hardships and persecution. In what way will Japan, the country of culture, reward this great educator, the pride of the nation?
“It was only with death in prison that the country of Japan rewarded Mr. Makiguchi.”
For a while words died on Toda’s lips. Then he took a copy of the newly published The Philosophy of Value in his hand and resumed his speech, his voice now excited.
“As a disciple of Mr. Makiguchi, I consider it my duty to make the world recognize this superior philosophy that he left behind. True, he was a bit too partial to the philosophy of value just as a parent is to his own children. For my own part, I incurred severe punishment from the Gohonzon because I laid too strong an emphasis on T’ien-t’ai’s Buddhism. These missteps show that no matter what philosophy we may study, the Gohonzon must always be the starting point. The philosophy of value must be used only to verify the righteousness of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Otherwise we would not be able to prove its true value.
“This is the reason I have withheld the publication of this work for the past ten years. Now the time has come. We must ask the public to judge the value of this book. We must do everything we can until the system of value consisting of beauty, gain and good is recognized as the philosophy that will lead the world. Should this endeavor fail to bear fruit during my lifetime, please take over and accomplish the task.”
Toda’s speech that day clearly defined the position of Makiguchi’s philosophy of value. As the sole successor to Makiguchi’s theories, he had published The Philosophy of Value in time for his mentor’s tenth memorial. Furthermore, he had enlisted Joji Kanda to translate the outline of the book into English in preparation for presenting the copies to colleges and universities throughout the world.
“Moments Without Rest” p 963
Spurred on by their successes in 1953, the leaders make a propagation target far larger than the one proposed by Toda for the next year. Toda shares with Shin’ichi the depth of his struggles.
“Try as you may to disprove the eternity of life, it remains an irrefutable truth. There is no reason to carry sufferings into your next existence when you have Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism in your present life. The attainment of Buddhahood in this lifetime—this is the only way that will enable you to live the kind of worthwhile life you have in mind. As for the goal, I had in mind eighty thousand households, but you are dissatisfied with such a figure, insisting on converting one hundred thirty households. You are like children disobedient to their parents. However, I shall tolerate this if you are sure that it will bring you additional happiness.”
Toda used the word disobedient half jokingly, but this remark would prove to be not entirely without foundation. One year later, at the end of 1954, the members would be forced to admit that they had bitten off more than they could chew. Propagation results that year were to total 102,820 households—some twenty-seven thousand below their goal.
In command of the movement for kosen-rufu, Josei Toda planned and acted with utter coolness and astounding efficiency. His convictions always proved to be well-grounded when the results were announced. The precision of his estimates was not mere arithmetic; it derived from something much more profound. When he was alone with Shin’ichi that evening after the general meeting, Toda quoted the Gosho passage, “Each and all sufferings of humankind are entirely Nichiren’s own” (gz, 758). Then he confided to the young disciple what a heavy and agonizing responsibility it was to be president of the Soka Gakkai. The accuracy of his planning and the calmness of his command were accompanied by torturous, consuming inner struggles.
“Moments Without Rest” pp 965-6
At the end of the year, the YMD hold a general meeting and all share a pledge modeled on the oath of the Suiko-kai. Then Toda reflects on his mentor, his struggles of the past ten years, and the mission he still had to accomplish.
Toda stood rigid as a statue, his glasses occasionally glistening. The pledge was modeled after the three-article Oath of the Suiko-kai. This was Shin’ichi’s idea. The resolution of the Suiko-kai, he had decided, must penetrate the hearts and minds of all young men in the division rather than be limited to the handful of members who were receiving Toda’s personal training in this special group.
That night Toda was alone at the desk in his study on the second floor of his home, writing an installment of his novel, The Human Revolution, for the New Year’s issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, because the proofs had to be in the following day. He was now describing the morning in July 1943 when detectives came to arrest him. He let his pen glide over the paper, the scene vividly returning to mind. When he finished writing, he realized that ten years had passed since that day.
Memories brought back more memories. Toda wished his mentor were still alive to see the Soka Gakkai now advancing along the road of soaring growth. It had been ten years of struggle. This year, however, his organization had been able to convert fifty thousand new households. How pleased Makiguchi would be! To Toda, the campaign in 1953 had been a test case; success would pave the way to the attainment of kosen-rufu. He had been eagerly looking forward to the end of that year.
His thoughts now emerged from the past and gazed into the future. The membership had increased to seventy thousand households this year. It would probably become at least one hundred fifty next year, and the year after it would be…Even without undue optimism, his calculation assured him that the organization would embrace 750,000 families in a few more years at the latest.
How he longed for a membership of 750,000 households—sufficient strength to put the movement for kosen-rufu on a solid foundation. While indulging in thought, Toda felt his heart suddenly begin to throb with an unusual palpitation. He put his hand on his chest and, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, rubbed it.
He became aware how much his health had weakened. The misery of prison life had physically destroyed him, and ten years of fierce fighting, during which he had never completely recovered his health, had consumed his body to the point of irrecoverable exhaustion. He was forced to realize
that he was now in the last years of his life.
The Soka Gakkai would come closer to the goal of 750,000 households every minute and with it, he now knew, his own life came closer to an end. His mind awakened anew to the eternal flow of life, Toda reverently faced the Gohonzon to do gongyo.