September 2007 Highlights

The Human Revolution Vol. IX
Readings for September 2007

(Chapter titles and page numbers from the current edition are given for each excerpt)
”Spark” pp. 1167-1168
As the Soka Gakkai prepares to debate the provisional Minobu Sect (see the complete work for details), President Toda reflects on the desperate measures employed by those who oppose Nichiren Daishonin’s authentic teachings.

“This is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard,” he said. “For them to select Mokumyo Munakata is understandable, but I’m surprised that they also chose Myogi Osanai. I thought he belonged to the Kempon Hokke school…”

The Kempon Hokke school was founded by Nichiju in Kyoto about one hundred years after Nichiren Daishonin’s death. It maintained that the Buddhist doctrines should be transmitted by the scriptures only and not from mentor to disciple. Moreover, since it insisted on the superiority of the essential teaching to the theoretical, it had for many years been at odds with the Minobu school, which denied that there was any difference between the two.

It was the height of contradiction for Minobu to now select Myogi Osanai as one of its own representatives. It was proof that the school was severely lacking in authorities on Buddhism. Minobu could no longer even hold a religious debate without needing to invite a priest of another school—this time, of all people, Osanai of the rival Kempon Hokke school! It clearly showed the extent of Minobu’s decline in its study of Buddhist doctrines.

“So Myogi Osanai has finally become one of Minobu’s mercenaries,” said Toda to the people around him. “This will be very interesting indeed.”

As he spoke, Toda realized that the various Nichiren schools had a last begun to join forces in order to cope with the Soka Gakkai. This was a golden opportunity to prove the correct teachings of Buddhism’s supremacy to the world—clearly a chance on which Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai could stake their very existence.

Alone in the dead of night, Toda devoted himself to working out effective plans for the March 11 encounter.

It was nearly dawn and bitterly cold, but he was still wide awake. He was wondering in what form a modern public confrontation should be held. Sovereignty now rested with the people, and their religious freedom was at last ensured. No longer was there an omnipotent head of state as in ages past. Public confrontation would now only be conducted when the people demanded it.

In this sense, the Soka Gakkai activities held throughout each day and the discussion meetings taking place each night could be considered precious, miniature public debates. However, opportunities in which the people were given the chance to judge the validity of religions by themselves still reached only a pitifully small portion of the populace. For the effects of a confrontation to reach the nation, it was necessary to hold a religious debate on which the future of Nichiren Buddhism and Soka Gakkai hinged. This must be the type of public confrontation undertaken in the modern age.

As Toda realized this, the true significance of the incident in Otaru loomed up with increasing clarity. In all likelihood the event was one worth staking the Soka Gakkai’s existence upon….

”New Growth” pp. 1213 - 1214
President Toda explains the significance of the Soka Gakkai’s propagation campaign as the organization prepares to make greater inroads in the leading sectors of society.

Kosen-rufu is not simply a campaign for expanding the membership of the Soka Gakkai. Members embrace the Gohonzon and devote themselves to the practice of faith. It is only fitting that first of all, as human beings, they should change their own lives. Individuals who have changed their own lives will also improve their destiny and cause a reform in their families. A group of such individuals will naturally cause a fundamental change in the local community. Not only in the local community; they will spread out to all sectors of society—political, economic and industrial, as well as educational, culture, scientific and philosophical. In all of these fields, Soka Gakkai members, having revolutionized their lives, will display their abilities in their daily activities, creating great waves of change. These waves will gradually form a new tide surging toward the future, eventually leading to a change in the destiny of all humankind. This, Toda decided, should be the true activity of kosen-rufu based on the Mystic Law.

He often spoke to the leaders about this, but they only listened politely, as if it were just a dream. Now, less than four years after becoming president and launching full-scale activities for kosen-rufu, he realized that the young buds he had awaited were beginning to open.

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“Suppose the membership greatly increases in a certain area. There certainly must be one among them who is capable of leading others. After all, the movement for kosen-rufu is the work of the Gohonzon from beginning to end. We are arrogant if we think we are carrying it out on our own. The Gohonzon will never fail in any of its work.

“In any group, at any stage of its growth, there will certainly be one who can become its leader; but, alas, we common mortals cannot perceive this with our eyes. We need pure, penetrating faith at all times and under any circumstances. Only with such faith can our ordinary eyes see with even a fraction of the Buddha’s wisdom.

”New Growth” p. 1220
Embarking on an unprecedented campaign, the candidates from the Soka Gakkai understood that the only sure path to victory is through faith.

To achieve their victory, they knew that they could rely on only one thing—faith. Only faith could make the impossible possible. It might have seemed that the candidates were hopelessly lacking—little more than fly-by-night campaigners. They had the one thing which the other candidates did not, however—a golden faith forged, polished and perfected through their untiring daily practice. Their sole strategy was faith. It was the highest and most effective key they could have. As intangible as it was, it would enable them to challenge and overcome the powerful rivals they faced. Their unity in faith, together aiming at one goal—kosen-rufu—could never fail to bring about victory. The official announcement became a turning point. The Soka Gakkai members in each electoral district began to strengthen their unity.

Takeo Konishi’s campaign headquarters was located next to the tracks near Kamata Station in Ota Ward. On one wall of the office hung a large sheet of paper with Toda’s ode, which he had made public on New Year’s Day:

The journey to spread the Mystic Law is long,
Yet encouraging each other,
We strive onward hand in hand.

”New Growth” pp. 1222-1224
President Toda reflects on the potential role of the Soka Gakkai in the field of public service in Japan.

…He [Toda] knew full well how corrupt and depraved politics had become and how frantically the political parties were pursuing selfish interests. They regarded the people as nothing more than a means for expanding their own strength. The political world was an abominable reality. He knew that he had to make it his duty to see that honest and forthright statesmen would come forth—statesmen determined to live and die for the people. Then, some time in the future, it might become necessary to form a political party from these same statesmen— should they unanimously agree to such an organization.

Contemplating this possibility, Toda concluded his speech with a strong resolution: “My position is quite clear: I intend to bring about a fundamental change in all sectors of society—political, economic, culture and so on. I will firmly stand by this resolve to the end as the president of the Soka Gakkai.”

In his campaign speech Toda declared to the world that the Culture Department’s decision to participate in the elections did not stem from political ambition; rather, it arose from a fervent wish for the happiness of all people and the desire to bring peace and prosperity to society. Political activity, he said, was just one necessary step on the way to making that wish come true. The deeper meaning of this declaration was just barely discernible to the Soka Gakkai members comprising the majority of the audience. It must have been tremendously confusing to the general public.

Throughout its seven-hundred-year history, Nichiren Buddhism had met with insufferable pressure from political power. As part of the movement for kosen-rufu, Toda had now undertaken initiating a change in that power, a change to stem from within the human being. There was no hiding the fact that the populace, the common citizens whom he loved more than anything else, even now continued to groan under the heavy pressure of politics. He himself now took the responsibility to bring happiness to them, both materially and spiritually.

Toda perceived the fundamental cause of evil in politics. Politicians occupied themselves only with striving for power. Political parties were nothing more than gangs of such individuals and the people, the eternal victims. To Toda, their anger was almost tangible. Penetrating power’s evil essence, he knew that even if the people turned their indignation toward direct political action, they would only be able to bring about a superficial change rather than the fundamental reforms that were needed. Naturally, therefore, he had not the slightest intention of making a political organization out of the Soka Gakkai.

History shows that reforms confined to political dimensions often cause bloodshed. A political revolution achieved at the loss of precious blood can survive only through further sacrifices of the people themselves. And this will have to be replaced by yet another revolution with more bloodshed. Humankind’s history is a series of such follies. Whatever the age, people have always been bewitched and manipulated by the devilish nature of political power.

With his lucid mind, Josei Toda never doubted the existence of the devilish nature of political power. He had reached this conclusion after half a lifetime. Politics should serve the people by giving them peace and happiness. In reality, though, political power always transforms itself into something diabolical that oppresses the masses, Toda knew. He recognized that any ideal form of politics must be able to subjugate this devilish function. He knew, too, that the mere conquering of one regime by another would never lead to the extinction of that devilish nature. The nineteenth century had seen many daring political revolutions. Their cumulative effect had then created new political systems in several countries during the twentieth century—systems that departed entirely from those of the past. But even under the new systems, Toda could see, people were still not liberated from politics’ diabolic power. In fact, the new forms of government had begun to throw the people into even greater agony. He deplored the stupidity of such changes. In their hearts present-day people long to free themselves from such absurd follies. This problem is beyond the solution of politics alone.

For many years Toda had known the answer to this question. Any political system would suffice, he thought, as long as the people found it beneficial to their peace and happiness. He did not criticize political systems in themselves. The core of the issue was the devilish function that lurked in politics itself. Toda attributed the various evils of modern politics to the workings of the devilish function. If the devilish function lurked in politics, then the logical conclusion was that the devilish function possessed those who controlled the political system—that is, the politicians. In other words, the devilish function dwelled neither in a liberal nor in a socialist system. It resided in the human beings who upheld those systems. Devilish power was monopolizing those systems.

Buddhism teaches that each human being possesses the Ten Worlds within. Only in the light of this principle can one clearly recognize the identity of the devilish function. Only when we penetrate the true nature of human life can we realize where the devilish nature of political power originates. Politicians are entirely ignorant of this. Not only that, but when confronted with this Buddhist principle, they refuse to give it even a second thought. They would rather busy themselves countering power with more power. Amidst the struggle of one diabolic force with another, many are sacrificed for naught. Of all humankind’s follies, this is the greatest, and has been repeated over and over again for thousands of years.

That was precisely the reason, Toda coolly reminded himself, why kosen-rufu was a task never undertaken before. This challenge entailed heavy responsibilities and tremendous difficulties. He alone would have to shoulder them all, and this knowledge spurred him toward even greater efforts.

”New Growth” pp. 1228-1229
Shin’ichi Yamamoto encourages the members to each take responsibility for victory in the campaign.

“Then how are we going to win? Our victory depends on how seriously we ask ourselves this question. What do you think can ensure our victory?”

Shin’ichi Yamamoto paused, studying the leaders’ reactions. All of them were watching him enthusiastically. Silence reigned for a while. No one stirred; the words seemed to stick in their throats.

“Well, what can enable us to win?”

No sooner had Shin’ichi repeated his question than a young man spoke.

“Unity,” he stammered. “Our unity, that is, when we all work together perfectly.”

“That’s right. Nothing but unity. But by this word we don’t mean just banding together like self-centered, power-seeking politicians. Ours is the unity of many people who are one in spirit. Therefore it must be firmly based on faith. It is unity with the Gohonzon at the center—a union of people resolved to devote their whole lives to improving the destiny of humankind. In this campaign we will see for ourselves just how strong such unity can be.

“Remember, you’re not waging this campaign just for the campaign’s sake. You seem to have given too high a priority to it already and forgotten its true purpose. You feel you are too busy to take care of your daily Gakkai activities. Faith may even seem like something standing in your way, and you mistakenly think that you cannot win unless you give everything to the election. I understand your impatience, but kosen-rufu is a movement that is global and eternal. It is a comprehensive struggle for promoting the peace and culture of humankind. How can you allow yourselves to be blinded from your religion by a mere election? What can you achieve if you deviate from the starting point of faith? Now is the time for you to inspire yourselves. Stand on your own two feet with a broad view and a deep awareness of kosen-rufu.

“I suggest that you hold discussion meetings and district lectures without reserve. You must put forth more effort for home visits. The organization you turned into an election-first structure must be made back into a faith-first structure and strengthened. I think this is the most urgent thing of all. How about you?”

”New Growth” pp. 1235-1240
President Toda details the true meaning of “patriots” and describes the revolution in society that we are waging in which there are no victims.

“Let me explain what I mean by patriots. They may go different ways, but they have one thing in common: all of them are sincerely concerned about the situation of their country and the suffering of their fellow citizens. They feel as if it were their own affair, and they act with unwavering confidence and full capability to save their country and its people. In a word, they are the revolutionaries of the Mystic Law. To be more specific, they are the executors of kosen-rufu. So, you see, they are essentially different from the so-called royalists of the Meiji Restoration.”

Toda humorously told them his unique opinions of the personalities of the royalists. Then he vividly and indignantly related how excellent, irreplaceable people were killed one after another in strife and slaughter, what great sacrifices a large number of people were forced to make, and what misery and tragedy the restoration had entailed.

“Most of the elite royalist youths were killed before they ever saw the fruits of their endeavor,” Toda continued. “Those who survived—mostly second- or third-class people—established the Meiji government. Now that they had risen to power, they began to degenerate little by little. As always, it was the common people who suffered. So much precious blood had been shed in vain! This can only be described as an irony of history. All past revolutions were achieved through bloodshed and by sacrificing the populace. We’ve already had enough of them. They are just as much human follies as are wars.

“That which we resolve to undertake is a bloodless revolution, one which does not victimize even a single person. It is an unduplicated revolution. We do not fear undergoing any hardship. I am convinced of our success.

“No one outside of the organization will take this seriously. I’m not even sure how much of what I’ve just said you really understand. I don’t blame you, because it is something never before attempted. But I will not let this all end as a mere dream. When kosen-rufu has finally come true, the people will simply marvel at it. No doubt they will lavish praise on us. Until then we must continue to struggle onward with perseverance and fortitude through all the storms of affliction, hardship and slander. We will encounter enormous difficulties when we least expect them. That’s exactly when our unity will be called for—with firm unity we must surmount them one by one. Remember, I won’t have any of you who are here now wavering at such times or giving up your faith.”

Toda’s eyes pierced the young men’s hearts. None of them turned their faces away. All eyes focused immovably on his face and sparkled as if they were diamonds.

It occurred to him that quite a few of the youths considered a possible conflict between what he called a revolution rooted in the soil of the Mystic Law on the one hand and a socialist revolution on the other. This was only natural for young men of that day.

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Toda also viewed all social phenomena from the standpoint of Buddhism. He discerned the harmful effects produced by what Buddhism calls a deviation in the state of life at a given moment. For instance, science in itself is neither good nor evil. However, there is evidently either good or evil in the state of life of those who conduct scientific research or who apply or manipulate science. The state of life at any given moment is capable of causing a diabolic nuclear holocaust. Humankind now finds itself in an age in which an aberrant state of life can lead to total annihilation.

The Buddha and devilish functions lie at opposite ends of the pole. Devilish functions dwell intrinsically in life, just as Buddhahood does. The devilish function lies low as long as reason and morality have the power to hold it in check. However, human beings too often set forth what they arbitrarily calls just causes, to which reason and morality are easily subjugated. We need not cite each of the countless instances in history to prove this; we need only reflect on our own experiences during the past several decades. Human beings are fiendishly clever at covering up what they have done with a plausible cloak of theory. Hitler’s demoniacal genius more than sufficiently illustrates this.

The frightening ignorance of religion is a phenomenon common to both liberal and socialist societies. Both of these differ in their political systems, but one is as powerless to alleviate human beings’ mental afflictions as the other.

”Rising Tide” pp. 1252-1255
President Toda makes a powerful declaration at the 12th General Meeting of the Soka Gakkai on May 3rd, 1955

At last it was Josei Toda’s turn to speak. His face wore an unusual sternness, which made the more than ten thousand participants all the more attentive.

“All states in the world aim at attaining the same objective—to make their people happy,” he began. “Everything—politics, education, economics, all kinds of scientific research—is directed toward bringing happiness to the people. All matters discussed in our National Diet boil down to this same thing. All conceivable measures have been taken and all kinds of studies made. However, our fellow countrymen have not yet found themselves living in a truly pleasant, comfortable land.

“I hereby declare the following: Although it may seem a long, roundabout way, true happiness will never be realized unless it is based on a true religion. Then which of the numerous existing religions is true? From the history of Buddhism, from documentary evidence and from actual proof, we cannot help concluding that it is none other than Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

“I declare to all Japanese people,” he continued, “that without Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, our country can never become happy. We have the infallible formula for saving all of the Japanese people. We call it kosen-rufu. On the way to kosen-rufu, we must be prepared to encounter innumerable enemies.”

Toda spoke these words not as guidance for Soka Gakkai members but as an appeal to society—a declaration of the existence and objective of his organization. The mass media at that time considered the Soka Gakkai to be a group with ulterior motives and hurled all sorts of slander and abuse at it. They tried to agitate against its members by calling it a strong-arm religion and fabricating degrading stories that were completely without foundation. Toda foresaw that such attacks would become both more frequent and fierce; hence his broad declaration to society.

“Unfounded slander by newspapers and magazines does not cause me the slightest worry. Nor do I want you to be the least bit anxious, either. Keep your firm conviction that the only way to alleviate the sufferings of Japan and, moreover, of humankind, lies in the widespread propagation of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Live on without any fear and put solid trust in my words.”

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At a Young Men’s Division meeting later that month, held outdoors in the rain, Shin’ichi Yamamoto gives a powerful determination before President Toda speaks.

“We are disciples of President Josei Toda,” he [Shin’ichi] said. “There is a path that disciples should take to serve their mentor. If we are truly Mr. Toda’s disciples, we must always maintain a burning determination to fight, no matter what, for the lofty cause of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Now we find ourselves in the first year looking toward the substantial development of kosen-rufu. We, the members of the youth division, must struggle along a thorny path, but beyond it a bright future awaits us.”

Shin’ichi’s voice echoed in the rain. “Let us dedicate ourselves to this great mission, no matter where the battlefield and no matter what the age. With deep awareness, take pride in being President Toda’s disciples. Let’s win an eternal victory as true members of the Soka Gakkai youth division.”

The young men took Shin’ichi’s words deeply to heart. They did not even bother to wipe off the rain streaming down their cheeks and necks. After brief congratulatory addresses by several guests, Toda mounted the improvised stage. A young men’s division leader quietly came up behind him with an umbrella.

“I am overjoyed to see more than ten thousand youths assembled here in spite of the rain,” Toda said. “Kosen-rufu must be attained in twenty years or so from now. It is you, young men, who will provide the major driving force for that movement. It is you, youth, who will carry out that task. That is why I am so happy.

“I want you to strive even more vigorously to train yourselves, polishing both your study and your faith. Continue to advance as courageous fighters for kosen-rufu so that you will be remembered for generations to come. That is all I expect of you as your president.”

”Rising Tide” pp. 1265-1268
President Toda gives guidance in Nagoya in August 1955 to an audience which included many new members.

“Today our country is poverty-stricken,” he said softly and warmly. “There are lots of poor people. I don’t think anyone can deny that. But aren’t there any rich people as well? Yes, there are—many of them. I’m sure that some of you may have nothing but ten yen to your name, and others have pockets bulging with wads of one-thousand-yen bills. Why does there have to be such a difference? Partially it results from the struggle for existence which no one can avoid, but more fundamentally it is because of what we call karma.”

Toda cited examples that no one could help but understand. “The atomic bomb did not kill all the people of Hiroshima. Some died, some were injured and others were spared. Lots of people are suffering from one disease or another right now, but the entire population isn’t sick. You would naturally want to become wealthy if you could so choose. If you were confronting a disaster that you knew would kill some but leave others unharmed, naturally you would want to be among the survivors. Anyone would rather stay healthy than be sick. That is the way we all feel because we are human beings.

“If you could have your choice in each of those situations, of course you would prefer health, wealth and safety. Do you know how you can have your choice? Simple. Just believe in the Gohonzon. Now, some of you say, ‘He’s too sure of himself to be taken seriously.’ Well, I can give you any number of convincing reasons for what I say.”

Jolting the hearts of his doubtful audience, Toda proceeded to give his convincing reasons. “There are many ways to explain this. But let me start by referring to a brief passage from ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind’ This is a Gosho Nichiren Daishonin wrote about our Gohonzon. The passage promises us that by taking faith in this phrase of Myoho-renge-kyo—that is, the Gohonzon—we shall naturally be granted the same benefits as Shakyamuni Buddha.

“Oriental philosophy, especially Buddhism, considered how our karma came about and how it could be improved. Shakyamuni’s Buddhism also taught in this way. Those who accumulated good causes in their past existences are born rich, healthy and handsome in this world. Likewise, if you accumulate good causes in this life, you will be born happy in your next existence.

“According to this principle, you were destined to be poor in this world because you were a thief in a past existence. It means that many of you here used to steal in your past lives. You laugh, but it’s nothing to be happy about. How can you stand to be called a thief?

“‘All right,’ you may say, ‘I’ll accumulate a lot of good fortune in this world so that I can be a rich man in my next life.’ Your principle is correct, but I don’t agree with you. If I were poor now, I wouldn’t do such a foolish thing as store up good causes in this world for a result that will only happen in my afterlife. If that is Shakyamuni’s teaching, I no longer believe in what he says.”

Thus denying Shakyamuni’s Buddhism, Toda began to bring Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching into bold relief. The difference between the two has always seemed difficult to clarify, both doctrinally and philosophically. Even this puzzling difference, however, when filtered through Toda’s mind, became easily understandable to everyone.

“What, then, does Nichiren Daishonin say about this? He says that if we take faith in the Gohonzon, he will give us the cause for becoming rich even if we didn’t do anything for it in our past existence. Once we have this cause, we can naturally become wealthy in this lifetime. And the Daishonin will give those of us who made causes for being sickly in our past lives the causes for being perfectly healthy. This is what he will do as soon as we start to believe in the Gohonzon.

“All these causes are bound to produce the promised effect. As the Daishonin says, ‘If we believe in these five characters, we will naturally be granted the same benefits’ as ‘Shakyamuni’s practices and the virtues he consequently attained’ (WND, 365). So all of your wishes are certain to be realized, as Nichikan says, ‘No prayer will go unanswered, no wish will be unfilled. So great is the power of the Gohonzon—the power of the Law and of the Buddha.

“If you doubt this, you had better quit the faith. But if you believe, devote yourselves to the practice. I have told you what the true Buddha in the Latter Day of the Law promises us. To doubt it and, as a result, go through an endless series of sufferings until you die—that is just too foolish for words. To tell others about the power of the Gohonzon and, as a result, make them and yourselves happy at the same time—that is what we call kosen-rufu.”

Toda recalled an interview he had given to a young reporter just a few days before. The man worked for one of the major newspapers, and they had talked about the threats to survival facing humankind.

“The other night a young man came to see me. Since I happened to have some time to spare, I spent several hours with him talking about American and Soviet atomic bombs and the threats they pose. If a war breaks out between the Soviet Union and the United States, most of the Japanese people will be annihilated. We won’t be able to avoid it, no matter how well we use our wisdom. Nor can we avoid it as long as we try to solve the problem from the limited dimensions of politics or diplomacy.

“I told him in conclusion that we have no alternative but to pray to the Buddhist deities for protection. In fact, in the event of any global problem, there is only one way that we Japanese living on this little chain of islands can survive. That is to implore the Buddhist deities to protect us. But they will never answer our prayers as long as the nation slanders the correct teaching of Buddhism.

“We cannot sit still with such a great crisis so close at hand. We have to propagate the Daishonin’s teachings as quickly as possible in order to prevent such a disaster. This is one reason why the Soka Gakkai is working so hard in the movement for kosen-rufu.”

”Actual Proof” pp. 1290-1292
President Toda encourages a member named Osabe whose business has failed. In desperate straits, the member decides to move to a new area. President Toda tells him that changing locations will not solve his difficulties and gives him direction on how to fundamentally change his karma.

Toda assumed a stern expression as he looked at Osabe.

“You can go to any place and do anything you like to make a living,” he said in a sharp tone, trying to rouse Osabe from his dangerous slumber. “It’s entirely up to you. But hearing you talk, I cannot help feeling that the admirable determination you have on the surface hides too much dependency on the Gohonzon in the depths of your heart. You probably think that if you continue to dedicate yourself to activities in Niigata and help kosen-rufu some way or another, the Gohonzon will naturally protect your life. That’s too selfish and easygoing a way of thinking. Your resolution seems watered down too much by optimism. I know what will happen if you go to Niigata with such a weak resolution. When things don’t turn out the way you think, you’ll probably run crying back to Tokyo. You may not know it, but you’re counting more on the Gohonzon’s protection than on your own courage to directly face up to your own difficulties. Never in my life have I trained anyone to be such a coward!”

Toda’s strict reprimand shocked Osabe. He remained silent and strained to hear every word, feeling as if his entire body was being battered by a waterfall. Toda changed his tone of voice.

“Don’t you understand yet?” he said gently and persuasively. “Look at it this way. Suppose you still hadn’t taken faith in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Your business fails and you and your family are turned into the streets. What will you do? Will you stand up again to provide for your family, no matter what test of hardship or shame you may be put to? Or will you all commit suicide together because there seems no way out? What would you do?”

“I’d do anything to provide for my family,” Osabe replied. Tears welled up in his eyes and he repressed them with an effort.

“That’s what I want to hear,” said Toda. “That’s a true disciple of Toda. When your life is at stake, you struggle with every single ounce of your energy. But the battle against your own karma is even harder than that. Life and faith are exactly the same. To think that you can get through somehow, just because you believe in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, is not real faith at all. When you try so hard that the sweat streams off your brow and you squeeze out wisdom that you didn’t even think you had, then you can make the impossible possible. And that’s the time when the Gohonzon will protect you in every way, shape and form. There’s no doubt about that.

“If you still think that everything will be all right when you go to Niigata, I’ll just have to tell you not to move there. If you really want to go there, then you should be prepared to make it your home. You’re just a man; what do you think you can accomplish without such a firm resolution?”

Toda was speaking severely again. Osabe looked up at the president’s face in spite of himself and saw a warm smile in his eyes. Toda let his thoughts return to his own past. He wanted to give this man seated before him the benefit of his own experiences in life—a life full of ups and downs.

“There’s nothing more miserable in this world than a man who has lost his livelihood,” he said sympathetically. “I faced this situation myself several times in my life, and each time I stood up again—I had to. I didn’t even have the time to think about the hardships I was going through. I was forced to muster up all the courage I had.

“Your karma won’t change just because you move to Niigata. It would be wonderful if one could change his karma whenever he moved to a new place. But the truth is that your karma goes with you wherever you go. Now you’re in deep trouble. You’ve failed in one stage of your life. But fortunately you haven’t been defeated in faith. Do you realize what a blessing that is? It is the greatest treasure a person can possess.”

Osabe came to with a sudden start. President Toda had said that he wasn’t yet defeated in faith. That’s it, he thought. As long as he could remain a winner in faith, there was no reason he couldn’t succeed again. He would go to Niigata—and make it his home. He didn’t know how much he could contribute to kosen-rufu, but anyway he would stake the rest of his life on his mission there. He would devote himself totally. Even if he had to starve to death, he would at least be able to expiate his past sins of slander. No one else needed to know how he felt at the moment. The Gohonzon knew it. And President Toda knew it. What more could he wish for?

Nothing had inspired more courage in the crestfallen Osabe than Toda’s words, “You haven’t been defeated in faith.” He was singing with joy from the bottom of his heart. His face visibly brightened. Seeing this, Toda knew that his determination was genuine.

“So you’ve finally made up your mind,” he said. “Don’t be impatient. Do everything slowly and steadily. If you still find yourself in a spot you cannot get out of no matter how hard you try, come and see me again. I’ll do what I can for you then. Remember, I’ll always be watching you.”

Osabe was so overcome with joy that he burst into tears. He was moved to realize that, for the first time in his life, he had found a mentor in this world who was so completely concerned about a coward like him.

The guidance ended. It had taken much of his precious time, but Toda did not regret it. As he rose and walked out of the room, he thought he might be late for the next meeting if he didn’t hurry.