The Human Revolution Vol. X
Readings for October 2007
(Chapter titles and page numbers from the current edition are given for each excerpt. )
Shinichi Yamamoto is entrusted by his mentor, Josei Toda, with the task to lead the Kansai election campaign. With only thirty thousand membership households in Kansai compared with ninety thousand membership households in Tokyo, Shin’ichi contemplates the seemingly impossible mission at hand.
When Shin’ichi heard what Toda expected of him in the forthcoming Kansai campaign, he responded to his teacher’s call without a moment’s hesitation. However, even at that moment he was all too painfully aware of the wide gap that lay between reality and the goal.
At first Shin’ichi sank into despair. Although he told no one, he was in constant torment, day in and day out, with the baffling problem of how to unfold the campaign. In the midst of his painful search for a solution he was about to scream out in agony, when one after another, like rising clouds, passages of the Gosho appeared in his mind. These passages sharply pointed out to him how to turn the impossible into the possible. They told him that the key to victory did not necessarily lie in numerical strength but in the indestructible unity of even a few people and clearly revealed that the power of faith was unlimited. After all, wasn’t he a believer of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism in the Latter Day? If the Daishonin’s teachings were true, then there was no way that he could fail to prove them. Did not the Gosho state, “Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other” (WND, 1001)? Shin’ichi now thoroughly realized that the only thing he could count on were the Gohonzon and the Gosho.
Shin’ichi began by determining to win the victory and then traced the process backwards to decide on the first step to be taken in the campaign. To achieve the goal, it was essential to at least double the present membership. If this were realized, victory waited at the end of the road, no matter how severe it might be along the way. Very well, Shin’ichi thought. In order to double the current strength, the members would have to be participating happily in their movement to spread Buddhism. This, in turn, demanded that they be sufficiently inspired and encouraged to increase their power of faith and strengthen their prayers to the Gohonzon. They had been practicing for only a short time. They must first of all be deeply convinced of how truly great and valid Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism was. They must realize the righteousness of his teaching through documentary, theoretical and actual proof so that a whirlpool of joy—the joy of faith—would emerge.
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Determination pp. 1314 – 1315
At a Suiko-kai meeting, the young men’s division special training group, Pres. Toda gives the young men guidance about fulfilling their own unique missions through pure faith.
“I’m eagerly but patiently looking forward to the day when you will spread your wings and take to the air,” Toda said to the youths. “None of us are full-time ministers or priests. We are all destined to display our full powers in the arena of our missions. There cannot be a single exception. Otherwise it won’t really be kosen-rufu. You are carrying out your Buddhist practice and striving for your human revolution right now in order to prepare for that day. This is not to say that you pursue your practice in order to gain fame or fortune or merely to achieve your own ambitions. That you must never do. Faith must be pure through and through. If not, you’ll never be able to develop a life force strong enough to fight against devilish functions. This is a most important point. Keep it in your minds forever.”
Toda ran his eyes over the assembly. “You may not understand now,” he said after a while, as if speaking to himself, “but it doesn’t matter. In any event, I’ll open a path through the thorny thickets you must eventually surmount. So just trust and follow after me.”
* * * * * * * * *
Shin’ichi answers a question from a member at a Gosho lecture he conducted in Kansai and speaks about the greatness of faith in the Gohonzon.
“Then what changes enlightenment into ignorance? Illusions do. A life filled with illusions is impure, while one free from them is pure. When impurity prevails, enlightenment is transformed into darkness.
“The Daishonin clearly perceived that principle. For this reason, he left the Gohonzon with us people in the Latter Day of the Law. He taught us that by praying to the Gohonzon we can completely purify our defiled nature every time. That’s why faith is essential to human life and why you must sincerely practice. Doing so, you’ll find your minds becoming clearer. Everything will go as you wish, and before you know it you’ll be on the road to true happiness. I may not have been very thorough, but I hope you have gained some understanding about this passage. Please keep going over it until you’ve mastered it.”
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Determination pp.1319 – 1320
Shin’ichi realizes that to be victorious in the Kansai campaign, every member must have firm conviction in faith. He determines to give thorough faith guidance to as many members as possible.
Shin’ichi was determined to give thorough guidance to each one of the Kansai members because he knew it to be the key to the entire campaign. The more difficult the goal, the more necessary it was for each member to be joyfully striving to fulfill the objective. That was an absolute requirement that could never be satisfied unless the members all stood up together on the basis of faith. For this to happen, he first devoted all his energy to developing one member’s faith at a time. He was determined to do as much as time and his own physical strength permitted. He would meet as many members as possible, get to know all about them and their troubles, and do everything in his power to give them courageous faith.
The next day Shin’ichi was already living up to his determination so that others could follow suit. He threw himself into creating an eddy of joyful activities. That day he devoted all his time to individual guidance. He met anyone who came to the Kansai Headquarters, whether they were leaders or not. Praying that not a single one would drop out during the campaign, he encouraged them heart and soul. Guidance continued from ten o’clock in the morning to six o’clock in the evening, with Shin’ichi displaying an almost frightening strength of spirit.
Since President Makiguchi’s day, the traditional pattern of guidance had been one-to-one dialogue, personal guidance aimed at opening up new horizons in the heart of the listener. It was no surprise that the problems brought to Shin’ichi on January 5 were numerous and varied. Some people suffered from illnesses for which medical science had no cure. Others faced financial difficulties they could not overcome no matter how hard they worked. Still others were afflicted with troubles between husband and wife or parent and child that neither ethics nor morality could solve. They all, of course, were tremendously worried. They had taken faith and been told they could rid themselves of their troubles. Finding that it wasn’t all that easy, understandably enough, they had become extremely impatient for a solution and many began to harbor doubts about Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. They brought their problems to this still young man, Shin’ichi Yamamoto.
Shin’ichi took all problems upon himself. In each case he began by leading the members to recognize that their sufferings arose from the question of karma. Then he explained the Buddhist teaching about life existing throughout the past, the present and the future. In light of this principle they should first strive to solve the fundamental problem of karma. Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism exists for this purpose. He told them this with conviction and related a number of experiences to illustrate his point.
He placed prime emphasis on enabling each person to summon up his power of faith. In most cases he saw their expressions visibly soften as feelings of relief, warmth and joy appeared in his listeners’ hearts. By the time they left, all of them were marveling at this young leader, Shin’ichi Yamamoto, who had counseled them as sincerely as if their problems were his own.
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Determination pp. 1324 – 1325
Shin’ichi gives guidance that in addition to strong prayer, “the best strategy and most effective action” are also essential to win any campaign.
“So our campaign will begin with the strong prayers of all the members in Kansai,” he resumed. “But are fervent, single-minded prayers enough? No, they are not. Listen carefully so you won’t misunderstand. Chanting is only the first step. The second factor is to use the best strategy and the most effective action. Without this second part we will never be able to gain the initiative to win. Neither the first nor the second factor alone is enough. Only when both are perfectly harmonized can the impossible become possible. Then, and only then, will victory be ours. I could not be more convinced of this. Then what brings about this harmony? Faith does. This is why I keep stressing that faith is the basis of everything. Do you understand?
“I mentioned the best strategy and the most effective action. From such terms you may think of the kind of election campaigns that have been run by others. You might even feel tempted to adopt the same tactics, but that would be fatal. In a letter admonishing Shijo Kingo, Nichiren Daishonin says, ‘Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other.’ He teaches us that the strategy of the Lotus Sutra—that is, planning and action based on faith—is superior to any other. That strategy alone ensures the most effective action. You don’t need to waste your energy scurrying about aimlessly.
“Situations change from moment to moment. We must see those changes more quickly than any others and take appropriate action. Only faith makes that possible. I myself realized only recently that the Lotus Sutra contains the very essence of a generals’ strategy. When the two factors I mentioned work together in perfect harmony, ‘All others who bear you enmity or malice will likewise by wiped out’ (WND 1001) as the Gosho states. Our plans and actions must be second to none.
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Determination pp. 1326 – 1327
Shin’ichi returning to Tokyo after spending two days in Osaka. On the train he reflects on what happened during his stay.
There is something forlorn about a night train. In his seat Shin’ichi reflected upon what had happened during this two-day stay in Osaka. He felt satisfied to know that he had accomplished his initial objectives exactly as planned.
His forehead was hot—a slight fever. Some of the passengers were talking with each other, others reading, still others already asleep. A hint of alcohol wafted from the man soundly asleep in the seat across from him. Annoyed by his snoring, Shin’ichi himself could not get any rest. He took out several post cards from his briefcase, careful not to make noise. Then he began to write words of encouragement to some of the leaders in Kansai he was especially concerned about. As he did so, he called their faces to mind one after another.
The train sped on. The constant clickety-clack of its wheels echoed through the darkness outside as it carried Shin’ichi closer and closer to Tokyo. There was a Headquarters staff meeting scheduled at eleven o’clock the next morning. Shin’ichi would see Josei Toda again. He had not seen him for the past three days. He imagined his mentor’s face superimposed over his own in the darkened window pane, which made a perfect mirror.
In this manner, Shin’ichi Yamamoto commenced his historic Kansai campaign in 1956. He was not aware that it would be historic, however. Nor did he consider that he was making infinite exertion in a single moment. All he knew was that he thought more deeply, racked his brains harder and was more firmly resolved to win than ever before. Accordingly, he dedicated himself wholeheartedly to his practice day and night. A phrase describing Bodhisattvas of the Earth in the fifteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads, “day and night with constant diligence/they may seek the Buddha way” (LS, 220). He had been continually devoting himself to his activities, valiantly following the way of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, just as this phrase described. Unnoticed, he had struggled and worried for several months before going to Osaka that January day.
In “The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings,” Nichiren Daishonin interprets the above phrase as follows: “If you exert one-hundred million aeons of effort in a single moment of life, the three bodies [of the Buddha] that have always existed in your life will emerge and dwell within your mind from moment to moment. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is an assiduous practice” (GZ, 790). Shin’ichi Yamamoto was taking infinite pains every single moment, and as the result of his dedicated practice, enlightened Buddha wisdom imbued his mind. There was a profound reason, therefore, that every action he took during the unparalleled Kansai campaign in 1956 would prove to be exactly the right move, as he turned the impossible into possible at every juncture.
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Determination pp. 1332 – 1333
President. Toda arrives in Osaka by plane and is greeted by Shin’ichi at the airport. Shin’ichi had made painstaking efforts to prepare for his mentor’s arrival and had not seen him in several days. That evening, Pres. Toda gives a lecture on the Expedient Means Chapter.
“Here I am in Osaka to give you a lecture. Why? Because I want to rid Osaka of sickness and poverty. I have no other wish. For this wish to be fulfilled, first of all you must practice faith. But if I let it stop there and only tell you to do the practice without any explanation, you’ll remain unconvinced. Such is the tendency of people today, and rightly so. On the other hand, if I can show you how truly great Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is, you’ll be convinced enough to exert yourselves in your practice of faith. So, this evening I’ll begin by doing just that.
“Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is the most profound and righteous religion in the world. It is the one and only living religion in our time. There are several criteria by which to judge the validity of a religion. One of them is called the five guides. This is a very strict principle. I’ll now show you, in the light of the five guides, how superior the Daishonin’s teaching is to all the other religions, thoughts and philosophies in our age.”
Toda gazed warmly over the tightly packed audience, his thick glasses glinting. Not the slightest sound disturbed the hall, not even a cough. All eyes, burning with enthusiasm, focused upon Toda. Toda thought how easy it felt to give them his lecture tonight. The five guides is a rather difficult concept. Toda went from one guide to the next, explaining each in terms easily comprehensible to the participants. First, one must correctly understand the teachings. Second, one must correctly understand the people’s capacity. Third, one must clearly recognize the time. Fourth, one must correctly recognize the society and culture. Finally, one must firmly grasp the religions and philosophies that have been propagated up to the present.
“So now you have some idea of what the five guides are,” Toda continued. “When we employ the five guides to closely examine all religions, thoughts and philosophies in this age, we necessarily arrive at the conclusion that Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is the greatest of them all. As you continue to embrace the Gohonzon—the object of devotion which the Daishonin left us—for a year, two years, three, five, seven, ten, fifteen years, you’ll find yourself in a state of happiness greater than you ever imagined. You’ll then realize that what I, Toda, said was not false. From this moment on you need not feel anxious about your future. You must not let some foolish doubt cause you to quit your faith halfway or become too lazy to continue. Never slacken your efforts, and continue to do gongyo every morning and evening.” His words were laden with confidence.
Determination pp. 1335 – 1336
After spending a few days in Osaka, Pres. Toda now back in Tokyo, summons a meeting with the council of top leaders to his room and gives guidance on the importance of unity based on faith.
“Just think about it. What kind of unity has enabled the Soka Gakkai to become what it is today? It is the unity of faith and nothing else. The unity of many people in one mind. The human mind is a very changeable entity, easily influenced by circumstances to move in any direction. So it is no easy task to unify different minds into one. You cannot achieve true unity merely by running around barking orders.
“Nothing can be achieved unless we carry out our activities with the realization that the Gohonzon is reverently positioned in the center of any activity, under any and all circumstances. Only when we engage in our activities with that realization can there be unity based on faith. Those in responsible positions must not forget this at any time or under any circumstance. True, liquor or cakes can bring about temporary unity, but when they are consumed that’s the end of their mission. On the other hand, the Gohonzon eternally entails the mission for kosen-rufu—the mission to dispel all kinds of misery from this earth. If we forget this and focus only on inessential matters, our activities will lose the source of their vital force. You must deeply realize that our unity derives solely from the power of the Gohonzon, not from any technical efficiency in running the organization. Our unity is based on faith from beginning to end, so anyone will be able to begin to practice joyfully once you convince him how truly great and powerful our faith is. It takes time, patience and endurance, however.
“Our campaign this time is nationwide. We may win it or lose it depending on how strong our unity is. At any rate, one characteristic of this campaign is that because of it, our range of unity is expanding on a nationwide scale. All of you hold responsible positions. You must not forget, even for a moment, that our unity is in a totally different dimension from one centered on liquor or cakes or money, and that no unity on earth is stronger, firmer or more beautiful than that centered on the Gohonzon. You’ll keenly realize this when you have actually commenced the campaign. Anyway, have absolute faith in what I say. Then inexhaustible wisdom will well forth without fail so that you’ll be able to take the most appropriate action for any new development.”
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Determination pp. 1337-1338
After the guidance session with the top leaders, Toda realizes that among his disciples, only Shin’ichi is able to fully understand and act upon his intention, as exemplified by his actions in the Kansai campaign.
This was the Soka Gakkai’s first such nationwide campaign, and it was sure to cause much confusion among the members. Only the Kansai members, under the leadership of Shin’ichi Yamamoto, would follow the correct path of faith from beginning to end. They would go through a severe struggle and achieve a victory the likes of which no one dreamed possible.
Most leaders were still too inexperienced to know how difficult it really is to carry through with one’s pure faith when faced by all manner of trying circumstances. The leaders in charge of the Tokyo area understood Toda’s words, but they became confused when it came to proving the true significance of unity. Among the many leaders with long experience of faith, complicated junior-senior relationships prevented them from forming true unity. Regrettably enough, what they considered unity was only superficial, not firmly based on faith. Theirs was unity in name alone. They struggled to lead the members but the members just would not follow. The situation grew so alarming that the leader of the whole Tokyo area had to be replaced in the middle of the campaign. However, it was too late to turn the tide. By a narrow margin their candidate would go down in defeat.
All this would come to light only after the election was over, but it is an excellent example showing how difficult it is to be a leader truly worthy of the name. Toda dearly wanted to produce many capable leaders under his wing, but the time was not yet ripe. His disciples recognized the profundity of his guidance but few were able to fully share and act upon his intention.
There was, however, one exception—Shin’ichi Yamamoto. When Shin’ichi was given full responsibility for the Kansai area, he instantly knew what Toda expected of him. He did not need to be told by the president what to do, because he sensed it due to the many years of severe training he had received from Toda. Going through one agonizing experience after another, he worked out his own plans without the aid of anyone. His strategy accorded exactly with Toda’s guideline in every particular. They were one and the same. He no longer needed to try to understand Toda’s guidance; he understood it intuitively. Every word of guidance that Toda gave as the situation changed only made Shin’ichi all the more confident about the way he was carrying out his plans and urged him to redouble his efforts. For Shin’ichi, everything started from his unity with Toda—the unity in the depths of their minds.
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Heartbeat pp. 1352-1353
Toda had spent a few days in Kansai while Shin’ichi remained in Tokyo. Shin’ichi greets Toda at Haneda Airport. Toda can feel the momentum building in Kansai and knows it is due to Shin’ichi’s fierce struggle.
“I’ve done my bit in Kansai, Shin,” Toda said briefly. “All they need there is another push or two.”
Shin’ichi knew that Toda’s determination had begun to run in torrents in Kansai. Another push or two. That, he resolved, was his responsibility. The Kansai campaign was approaching its crucial stage. Shin’ichi wondered at the destiny that had placed him in this decisive battle at such an early stage of his youth. His mind was now completely submerged in the campaign. That night he composed a poem:
Now in Kansai,
Raise the ramparts of Chin-chou Castle,
Strike down the devil’s cohorts.
Never let it crumble!
The day after the next, February 11, Josei Toda would become fifty-six years old. Shin’ichi wanted to repay his debt of gratitude to his mentor by building an indestructible fortress in Kansai. He gave this poem to Toda as a birthday present. Toda removed his glasses and read it, holding the paper so close that it almost touched his nose. His face broke into a smile, and he looked up warmly at Shin’ichi. He picked up his pen, thought for a moment, then dashed off a reply on the same sheet:
The Chin-chou Castle
Built by my disciple’s propagation.
Oh, how happy to behold!
Above all else Toda was pleased with Shin’ichi’s fierce struggle. He had absolute confidence in his disciple’s excellent ability. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than to see Shin’ichi fighting with such dedicated valor. He knew that he himself would not live many more years. Therefore, while still alive he wanted to obtain some indication of what the organization would be like after his death, and he sought that index in Shin’ichi’s struggle. The impregnable fortress had not yet been built; it still lay within the hearts of Toda and Shin’ichi. However, Toda had not the slightest doubt that before long it would become a reality. Overcoming hardship after hardship, his young disciple would finish it without fail. Toda visualized himself looking up in a perfect rapture at the completed edifice. The campaign, he knew, had now placed itself on a favorable tide.
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Heartbeat p. 1355
A unit leaders meeting is held for Osaka and Sakai Chapters in Kansai. Shin’ichi gives guidance to the sixty-four hundred leaders attending.
“Our present campaign in Kansai is a full-scale religious revolution. The word revolution usually carries with it images of riots, brutality and bloodshed. The revolution through Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, however, is one that can save all people without exception and without a single victim. The Daishonin taught us that the ultimate cause of the people’s misery and anguish can be traced back to erroneous religions. We strive to make them understand this teaching and embrace the Daishonin’s Buddhism, the true, fundamental Law of life and the universe. This movement of ours we call religious revolution. Anyone who joins our cause will obtain proof of his own revival and realize how great the Daishonin’s philosophy is. Nothing is more meaningful in our life than carrying out our movement.
“Now is the time for you members in Kansai to make a great leap forward in propagation. Be solidly united so that no one will fall by the wayside. We are not doing this for the sake of the Soka Gakkai. Nor are we doing it for the benefit of Osaka and Sakai chapters. In the past, because of our belief in erroneous religions, we found ourselves in the depths of suffering, and even now we still suffer from the aftereffects of our past errors. But we have at last discovered that the way of propagation taught us by Nichiren Daishonin and shown to us by President Toda is the surest and easiest way to open up our lives and make both ourselves and others happy.
“Our religious revolution is our own human revolution,” Shin’ichi continued emphatically. “Success or failure depends on whether we strive to carry out our movement. Friends, let’s pray to the Gohonzon as resolutely as people determined to make a fire with water-logged wood or bring forth water from the desert. With such fervent prayers, launch a full-scale propagation movement in Kansai. Reform your lives and call on the strong life force you need to end the misery that has plagued you up until now. From now on enjoy every day, living to the fullest.”
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Heartbeat pp. 1368-1369
The members in Kansai more and more feeling the joy of their practice reveal their true identities as Bodhisattvas on the Earth under Shin’ichi’s leadership, and Kansai was changing every day.
By March, Kansai was changing daily. In addition to discussion meetings at the district level, meetings at the group level were held at numerous places every evening. At each meeting there were more people than the previous night, and the number of guests was increasing at an unprecedented rate. All the leaders down to the unit leader level found themselves suddenly very busy. The thoroughgoing guidance they had received during the previous two months made them realize how joyful it was to do their religious activities. Most were still poor and distressed by difficulties, but they defied their hardships and carried on their practice of faith. At each meeting more visitors decided to join than before. This proved to the members that they, too, could save suffering people one by one. They felt a never-before experienced joy. They had only recently been racked by physical and mental anguish. They had felt ashamed of themselves. They envied the world and cursed their own destiny. But now that they had begun their vigorous activities, they all realized that they could do the work of bodhisattvas just as they were.
To practice Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is to perform the work of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The members knew that their act of helping the suffering paved the road to their own happiness. Nothing in this world could give them a purer joy than this knowledge. This joy had built up gradually after they had joined the organization and had filled their hearts without their being aware of it. It was something the existence of which they had not even imagined before. They knew of no way to express it by word of mouth, but it was manifest in their bright faces and energetic behavior. Whenever they met, they found themselves complaining less and less. They would exchange warm smiles and see conviction in one another’s face. All this was effecting a drastic change in the discussion and other meetings.
Most members looked poor and shabby. So did the visitors, but there was a marked difference in complexion and behavior between the members and the guests. Whenever they saw the guests, pallid and without any hope in their life, they would almost choke with pity for them, recalling the agonizing days they had passed before joining the organization themselves, but in no way did they consider themselves superior to them.
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Leap Forward pp. 1391-1392
At the Osaka Baseball Stadium, a Kansai General meeting was held under a torrential rain storm. Despite the rain, the members were in very high spirits and the historic meeting went on as scheduled and was a complete success. President Toda gave guidance at the General Meeting.
“I believe it is up to us to realize that only those who stand up and fight to help the people can be true disciples of Nichiren Daishonin. The Daishonin established the source of kosen-rufu when he inscribed the Gohonzon and left us the task of widely propagating the true object of devotion. It is now the time for us to undertake that mission—to accomplish kosen-rufu.”
Toda then elaborated on his views about how kosen-rufu could be attained. He told the members that what they faced was not a thirteenth century movement but a movement in modern society in the latter half of the twentieth century. Extensive campaigns in all sectors of society would eventually lead to the attainment of kosen-rufu. The enterprise had only just begun. Since the endeavor encompassed society as a whole, it would necessarily have some bearing upon the political world as well. An entirely new type of statesman would have to emerge, one who embraced the Mystic Law. As things stood, the only means to produce them was through the elections. The Soka Gakkai intended to conduct election campaigns that were completely open and aboveboard, and Toda emphasized to the participants that he wanted them to fully understand this point.
He made it very clear that the Soka Gakkai harbored no political ambitions in carrying out its activities. All its actions, he said, represented a step toward constructing a new world in which the welfare of the entire society perfectly coincided with the happiness of each individual. In conclusion Toda said:
“Please understand the fundamental purpose that underlies the Soka Gakkai’s belief and practice. Remember that everything you do is for the sake of kosen-rufu, for yourselves, for your organization and for your country. I want all of you to advance with this great conviction firmly in mind.”
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Leap Forward pp. 1413-1414
The Fourteenth General Meeting on May 3rd, 1956. Rapid expansion was occurring in the organization, especially in Kansai, where the members were exerting themselves in faith. Shin’ichi gives a speech explaining the concept the devilish functions that will emerge and try to disrupt their individual faiths but the kosen-rufu movement as a whole.
“In Buddhism the most crucial point is whether one wins or loses,” he began. “The Buddhist struggle is one between the Buddha and devilish functions. Individual members have to fight against the three obstacles and four devils that try to prevent them from attaining enlightenment. The organization as a whole has to counter the three powerful enemies who stand in the way of our march toward kosen-rufu.”
Quoting passages from the Gosho, Shin’ichi warned that the current nationwide campaign would certainly cause the three powerful enemies to appear.
“President Toda stands resolute, commanding our movement for kosen-rufu,” he went on. “The three powerful enemies will no doubt rise in waves against him exactly as Nichiren Daishonin predicted. We are Mr. Toda’s disciples. If and when such enemies emerge, we must confront them with more courage and stronger faith than ever before. I hope that you will continue to advance in the firm unity of many in body, one in mind, convinced that the fiercer our enemies, the closer we are to the attainment of kosen-rufu.”
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Leap Forward pp. 1418-1419
Shin’ichi strictly gives guidance to those members who were neglecting their responsibilities in their daily lives and work and instead hiding by immersing themselves in activities.
“I never trust anyone who doesn’t do his work,” he would scold them. “It is clear from Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching that one should not trust such a person. If you are halfhearted about your job, you can never put your full strength into your religious activities, either.
“The true practice of faith is not as easy as you seem to imagine. As the Daishonin teaches us, ‘Buddhism is like the body, and society like the shadow. When the body bends, so does the shadow’ (WND, 1039). He also states, ‘When the skies are clear, the ground is illuminated. Similarly, when one knows the Lotus Sutra, one understands the meaning of all worldly affairs’ (wnd, 376). He sternly admonishes people like you by saying, ‘Regard your service to your lord as the practice of the Lotus Sutra’ (wnd, 905). You seem to think that you’ll somehow be able to overcome your present difficulty simply by carrying out religious activities, but that’s not the way of the Daishonin’s Buddhism.
“Now is the time for you to clench your teeth and exert yourself both in your work and in your faith, no matter how hard pressed you are. As the Daishonin assures us, ‘Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra are as if in winter, but winter always turns to spring’ (WND, 536). Don’t worry. The Gohonzon knows everything. You are now in winter. To you it may seem to last forever, but no winter ever fails to turn into spring. All you need to do now is to muster your courage. I hope you’ll do your best.”
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Steep Path pp. 1435 - 1436
Due to the tremendous momentum in the kosen-rufu movement in Kansai, the devilish invariably appeared in the form of some members being harassed and arrested on trumped up charges by the police. Shin’ichi sensed that the members’ faith were shaken, gives them guidance.
“I want you now to recall what attitude we should take toward our faith,” he said. “‘The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings’ states, ‘Those who embrace the Lotus Sutra should do so with the awareness that they will meet persecution without fail’ (GZ, 742). As believers who embrace the Lotus Sutra, we must consider the present incident as the natural consequence of our practice.
“What we now face can hardly be called persecution compared with that which befell Nichiren Daishonin,” Shin’ichi continued sternly. “Since we are but imperfect, ordinary people, however, we are bound to be more or less influenced by it. The most pressing question is how quickly we can cope with it and how effectively we can fight against it.
“No matter what the problem, we must always seek the solution in our faith, which is as indestructible as a diamond. There is a letter the Daishonin wrote Shijo Kingo when the latter was having difficulties in his association with his colleagues. In it he said, ‘Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other. “All others who bear you enmity or malice will likewise be wiped out.” These golden words will never prove false. The heart of strategy and swordsmanship derives from the Mystic Law… A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered’ (WND, 1001).
“As long as we maintain a steadfast faith, we will be able to crush all of our enemies, no matter how fierce they may be. Therefore, we must ponder all the more deeply what attitude we should take toward our faith. First and foremost, we must not, under any circumstances, behave in a cowardly way. If we are even slightly frightened, it means that we are being overpowered by devilish forces. So our first task is to cast away fear, if there is any.”
Shin’ichi’s face was earnestness itself, flushed and furious as if he were challenging that invisible devilish nature that lurked in a corner of the top leaders’ hearts.
“In many places in the Gosho, the Daishonin warns that a common mortal must meet various obstacles on his road to Buddhahood,” he resumed. “He says, for instance, ‘At such a time, the three obstacles and four devils will invariably appear, and the wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat’ (WND, 637). I want you to stop and ponder whether you are counted among the wise or the foolish, for on this depends whether or not you are true disciples of Nichiren Daishonin.
“During the Atsuhara Persecution, the Daishonin, in ‘On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,’ taught his beloved disciples how to bear with it. In this letter he recalled a number of persecutions he had suffered and gave strict but warm-hearted guidance. A passage goes, ‘Each of you should summon up the courage of a lion and never succumb to threats from anyone. The lion fears no other beast, nor do its cubs. Slanderers are like barking foxes, but Nichiren’s followers are like roaring lions’ (WND, 997).
“If we are the Daishonin’s followers, then there is no denying that we are also roaring lions. This is the awareness we should always bear in mind. Now is the time for each of us to summon up the courage of a lion, which we have gained through our faith, and never succumb to threats from anyone. The lion is considered king because it fears no other beast. Nor do its cubs. We are to the Daishonin what the cubs are to the lion. Only when we stand undaunted by any persecution, criticism or slander can we proudly say that we are truly his disciples.
“Nichiren Daishonin remained unflinching as a lion throughout his life, a life full of unimaginable difficulties. More recently, neither Mr. Makiguchi nor Mr. Toda would yield even a bit to the terrible persecution during the war. To them we owe what we are today and the fact that we are able to carry out this brilliant struggle in Kansai. None of us look as powerful as the king of beasts, but we are nonetheless roaring lions and should behave as such. We must reaffirm the essence of faith and calmly advance the movement of kosen-rufu in a dignified manner. Upon our shoulders rests the happiness or unhappiness of the forty-five thousand Gakkai households in Osaka. Now is the time for us to exert ourselves and crush this evil with the sword of faith!”
* * * * * * * * *
Steep Path, p. 1438
From later in the same speech.
“Many more obstacles will lie ahead on the road to kosen-rufu. The Daishonin surmounted one enormous difficulty after another with the conviction that we should consider hardships to be comforts. We, who dedicate ourselves to our mission, must have a faith strong enough to overcome any and all suffering. As long as we maintain the correct faith, there can be no obstacle beyond our power to surmount. The Daishonin states, ‘Our present tribulations are like moxibustion; at the time, it is painful, but because it has beneficial aftereffects, the pain is not really pain’ (WND, 998). We may feel frustrated by severe trials when they come our way, but ours is the faith that can change any poison into medicine. As the Daishonin teaches, ‘When great evil occurs, great good follows’ (WND, 1119). There can be no error in what he says.
* * * * * * * * *
Steep Path pp 1483-1484
Having achieved an unprecedented propagation result of 11,111 households and a seemingly impossible victory in the Kansai election campaign, Shin’ichi returns to Tokyo and to his mentor Josei Toda. Although Kansai had a tremendous victory, the Tokyo candidiates were defeated. Both mentor and disciple reflect upon the campaign and the future of the Soka Gakkai’s kosen-rufu movement.
“I’m sure that, as time passes, the Soka Gakkai will gradually proceed in the direction I’ve just described. Don’t you think so, Shin? At any rate, the vital task is to build the human being. You’ll see, Shin, our movement for the human revolution will spread all over the globe.”
Before Toda realized it, he was delineating his concept about the future of kosen-rufu. The vision formed of itself while he was talking with Shin’ichi. Shin’ichi narrowed his eyes, as if gazing on the vista which extended far into the future.
“The Soka Gakkai will spread into all fields of society, it will provide a powerful source for empowering people,” said Shin’ichi. “Then and there humankind will emerge in a new era, a bright future, spreading before its eyes. That’s a truly awesome concept…but it won’t come into reality until far into the future, will it?”
“It shouldn’t take a hundred years. Of course, such an era is unlikely to commence during my lifetime, but it will in yours. The trend will probably become conspicuous toward the end of your life.”
Toda at that moment was a prophet, his mind encompassing the infinity of space and time. His expression was at once stern and sublime. Gazing upon the president’s face, Shin’ichi felt as if he had returned to that limitless expanse of the world above the sea of clouds. To him, all of Toda’s remarks sounded like an unwritten testament the president was bequeathing to him. Shin’ichi strained both his mind and body.
“I understand, sir,” he said. “We exerted ourselves in the campaign in support of our candidates. We did so out of our fervent desire to nurture truly revolutionary statesmen—people of superb insight and integrity. Now we have taken the first step toward that goal…”
“But ordinary people will regard our move as political ambition. Irrespective of the age, the common mentality remains unchanged.
“The Soka Gakkai will undoubtedly become the crown of the religious world. As such, it will be able to send truly capable people into all spheres of society. That is our mission. A great human revolution in each one of such people will contribute immensely toward society in the century to come. Viewed from a long-range perspective, a government according to the will of the people in each age. If we are swayed by such transient things and fail to illuminate the people themselves, we will never succeed in transforming our trouble-ridden world into a land of eternal enlightenment.
“For the present moment the people will only take an erroneous view of what we do. That’s quite all right. I don’t mind if our movement is misunderstood by others. The time will come when all the world will stare at us with their eyes wide open. Only then will they be able to understand kosen-rufu and praise it.”
Shin’ichi felt as if his question was being illuminated in the light of a glorious future. He realized that he had been limited in his thinking by his concern over the more immediate future.
“I’m convinced now, sir,” he said. “For the time being it will be necessary for us to conduct campaigns like the latest one. We need only to advance steadily, always aiming at our ultimate objective. Am I right?”
“The answer is a qualified yes. The new phase of our movement has provided us with many lessons—almost too many. So let’s not hasten to jump to conclusions. There are just too many matters we must consider. For one thing, we must take public reaction into account. You, too, give it a good thought, Shin. Things will get troublesome. There’ll be some clamor around us…”
* * * * * * * * *
Steep Path p. 1494
Japanese society, shocked by the Soka Gakkai’s victory in the election campaign begin persecuting the Gakkai through the media and other government parties. President Toda predicted that this would all happen in response to the organization’s efforts for kosen-rufu. Pres. Toda gives guidance at the annual summer training course about the importance of the prime point of the organization’s activities, the discussion meeting.
“It is stupid to spend each day of our life seeking praise from other people. We need only to live in a way that deserves praise from the Gohonzon. Then, too, we should remain unperturbed, no matter how fiercely other people may revile or reproach us. We should only try not to incur the wrath of the Gohonzon. This is the way Nichiren Daishonin’s disciples should live; this is our essential spirit.”
Toda wanted the members to acquire the spirit of the Soka Gakkai that had been inherited from its early days. This aim, he was certain, could be fulfilled by earnestly holding unit discussion meetings, no matter how small, in every nook and cranny of the organization. He wanted them to realize that the true path to human revolution and kosen-rufu lay in Buddhist practice conducted in inconspicuous places. He wanted to warn them against believing that only brilliant activities would lead to kosen-rufu. He wanted each member to rise and further strengthen his or her faith. It was for these reasons that he had spoken with unusual force and passion to the leaders assembled that evening.