Sharp observation by the late Mr Koe, SGM first General Director

The speech is given on March 3, 2001, States’ Representatives Meeting. This is all ‘Thus I Heard’, recorded in our old notes. We find a lot of lessons we can draw from it and we have also committed a lot of errors that was told here over 16 years ago. Hope it is not too late for SGM, our ECC and all of us who love and wish to protect SGM, to learn.

The world is a global village and we will continue to develop and expand in the 21st century. Scientific breakthroughs and technical advancement, especially in information and communication technologies, have taken the whole world into an era where national and territorial boundaries are disintegrating and racial, social, cultural and religious differences continue to be broken down.

On the spiritual front, many religions especially the more liberal ones, while maintaining their fundamental beliefs and teachings, are making efforts to absorb new thoughts to keep up with the rapid change. In order to adapt to the evolving social and cultural scenario, these religious streams even go as far as discarding traditional thoughts and outdated manners of conducting their activities, and adjust themselves to new and innovative ways of doing things.

Many religions these days are actively seeking ways and solutions through their respective teachings and conduct activities to help resolve the common problems and crisis that humanity is facing today, such as global peace and security, environmental degradation, the imbalance of materialism and spiritualism etc. On the local front, there are the daily social menaces such as moral degradation, aging, inertia, negligence, indifference etc.

Conscientious religious leaders who feel a sense of responsibility towards humanity and society are taking actions to help address and resolve these issues. Their actions and contributions would perhaps develop and expand and become a trend for all religions as new ways to solidify their respective base of support in the future.

In fact, the mainstream religions such as Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity and many others bearing religious banners are active in a wide spectrum of arenas and their forces are expanding.

Although, on the surface, it may seem that the activities, which these people carry out, might not measure up to ours in terms of depth and scope (number of participants). But their developments are, nonetheless, cannot be denied. Their seemingly intangible growth is quietly and steadily expanding. These are trends that we should not ignore or regard lightly. We should not become conceited just because we had participated in some large-scale performances or feel satisfied and contented with the accomplishment of our goal to have kaikans in every state. This state of “drunkenness” where one has lost his sensibility and judgement is a dangerous state to be in.

We must clearly perceive the nature of the time and the ever-changing reality.

For us, kosen-rufu activities, the Soka Gakkai’s noble ideals for peace and President Ikeda’s philosophical thoughts are the core and our cultural foundation upon which we forge our revolutions in thoughts and characters, and develop our sense of belonging and mission. These are the cornerstones upon which the Soka Gakkai realizes world peace as well as deciding factors that will determine victory or defeat in its kosen-rufu endeavors.

There is no doubt that the contributions we made in society have been recognized by many quarters. Kaikans in all the states are now almost completed. The value creation philosophy upholds by SGM, furthermore, is acknowledged and recognized by an increasing number of learned people in society. We have, however, reached a juncture where we face an uphill battle to break through. If the situation persists, our kosen-rufu movement will definitely reach a deadlock.

Many religious organizations, societies and associations that share and cherish same ideals as ours, are adapting and revolutionize themselves with the changing of times. These can be reflected in their broad-mindedness, progressiveness and their abilities to absorb new and innovative ideas; motivated by their excellent leadership.

If our leaders continue to stagnate in self-indulgence and self-praise, and persist in old­ fashioned ways and shutting themselves in conservatism and superstitious thinking, the time will definitely come when we will find ourselves left behind and unable to catch up. We will then not only unable to breakthrough in our personal lives, but the entire kosen-­rufu movement will, as a result, suffer as well.

The impacts of globalization will gradually but surely bring the entire humanity and social networks into a global whole where divisions and boundaries are no longer relevant. Competitions among religions will undoubtedly increase. We must, therefore, be vigilant and prepare ourselves so as to better respond to these changes before the currents of time hit us hard.

It follows then that the reformation of mind sets of our leaders, particularly Headquarter and Chapter leaders, are of paramount importance. This reformation of mindset includes revolutionizing thoughts, transforming ways of thinking and developing broadmindedness. These are the deciding factors that will determine victory or failure in our future kosen-rufu endeavors. Furthermore, if we carry out this revolution and transformation of the old mindsets for the sake of kosen-rufu and build it upon the Soka Gakkai’s noble ideals for peace and President Ikeda’s philosophy, we can definitely face the upcoming challenges and thereby secure even greater victories in the 21st century.

Having said that, there are still many leaders who find it difficult to expand beyond their self-imposed mental limitations and these are expressed in attitudes and behaviours such as inflexible, conservative, superstitious, stubborn, narrow-minded etc. They are, furthermore, unable to put kosen-rufu first and foremost in their lives, and are lack of seeking spirit, complacent, dogmatic, deluded, weak-willed, cowardly, gossipy, arrogant, haughty, authoritative etc. When these attitudes and behaviors are expressed in daily life and in kosen-rufu activities, they generate a lot of negative repercussions and create many problems. All these in tum affect the advancement of kosen-rufu movement.

Religious doctrines and beliefs provide a framework for human actions. But because of historical factors, human developments, cultural dynamics and social change, it is necessary for us to move with times and expand beyond the traditional and conventional methods of practicing religion. We should not get stuck in the old traditional culture of worship but make the connections between beliefs and the realization of kosen-rufu and world peace, and accordingly translate these ideals in society by taking and expanding our actions. Taking on this broader mission also means taking on much more intense challenges and competition. In order to take the lead, however, leaders must initiate thought reformations beginning with themselves first and foremost. In short, to change the old negative culture, leaders themselves must first of all, break out of their own mental limitations.

In terms of our organizational activities, this means that we have to move beyond the traditional mode and the old days of the 80s and 90s. In this connection, leaders must, therefore, re-invigorate themselves through absorbing new and innovative ideas and knowledge of the new culture so as to keep up with the currents of time. If we were to take the lead and stand at the vanguard of times, we have to emerge with a new image charged with fresh creativity and novel visions for the new century.

If leaders fail to undertake self-reformations, particularly revolutionizing their thoughts and old mindsets, the organization would inevitably lose people of fine calibre and with the loss of capable people, the organization would eventually become stiff and rigid. Kosen-rufu activities would in the end become mere formalities and would, as a result, unable to move with times and lagged behind with its self-imposed limitations. After another 5 or 10 years, it will naturally lose its ability to compete, and the end result is bitter failure and defeat.

It is, therefore, important that leaders should exercise courage in breaking through old ­fashioned and out-dated modes of thinking, and boldly take on the challenge to develop broad-mindedness by absorbing new and innovative ideas and concepts. They should also work to acquire wisdom to perceive the nature of times and the rapidly changing reality. Our outlook on life, cosmology, aspirations and goals should be based on a great and broad system of thoughts. With that as a solid foundation in our personal lives and connecting it with the noble mission of kosen-rufu, let us throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the world stage of kosen-rufu.

SGM’s most difficult and prodigious undertaking from now on is establishing a novel age of spiritual discovery. This is the greatest challenge for SGM at the dawn of the 21st century but one that SGM must take on in order to move into another phase of kosen-rufu in the new era.

We have a profound mission to be born in this day and age. Leaders must awaken to their noble mission and take appropriate action. They should not think that kosen-rufu undertaking has nothing to do with them, or feel disconnected. Everyone is a protagonist and play equal role in constructing this new age. I am convinced that in another 10 years or so, we will see positive and tangible effects of our endeavors. And 20 and 50 years down the road, the novel age of spiritual discovery will definitely emerge when there is a general upgrade and a greater manifestation of human positive qualities and affirmative attributes in society such as compassion, humanity, spirituality, hope, trust and confidence. In this novel age, science and technology will be reversed to their rightful role, that is, serving the interests of humanity. In addition, all spheres of human endeavors such as education, knowledge, literature and arts will be based on humanistic values to contribute to social good, and thereby enhance human survival and happiness.

Now, everyone of us have to face the transitional challenges of kosen-rufu movement brought about by changes in the new century.

In this important time of transition, the more people who are able to adapt and take on the new challenges the more likely we can succeed in our kosen-rufu endeavors. Those who take heart and plunge into these transitional challenges in this time of rapid change, will also in relation to the difficulties, deepen their happiness and greatness as individuals!

Leaders who are still lingering at the cross-road, losing their sense of direction, wandering and hesitating between advance and retreat are like boats drifting in the vast ocean, tossing and turning in the surging currents that would eventually be engulfed by towering waves. Likewise, if SGM and kosen-rufu were to be led by these leaders, then they will suffer similar fate like these aimless boats that would ultimately be overwhelmed by the currents of times.

Fish that are used to living in shallow waters will find it tough living in the deep sea. Unfortunately, the possibility of getting caught by their predators in the shallow waters is comparatively higher if they were to be in the deep sea. This is the definite rhythmic law of the universe.

I sincerely hope that leaders throughout the country will increase their responsiveness, alertness and adaptability in this new age of rapid change. Reminding themselves daily to manifest courage and life force to carry out human revolution. particularly thought refom1ation so that once again we will “create history moment by moment” in the new century. As we embark on the glorious journey of realizing a novel age of spiritual discovery, let us keep engraving memorable new chapters in the history of kosen-rufu!

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4 thoughts on “Sharp observation by the late Mr Koe, SGM first General Director

  1. Breaking through Bureaucracy
    Generally , a leader who has grown arrogant refuses to listen to accurate reports. He stops making use of constructive opinions and putting them into practice.
    That is when bureaucratisation sets in. I fear that such bureaucratisation could also occur in the SGI, now that we have grown so large. I am alone always battling against this terrible spectre of corruption that strikes organizations.
    A leader who ridicules a member’s opinion is no a leader. An ordinary member is far superior to such a leader.

    from Flow 82 (Speech given by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda at the 65th Headquarters leaders meeting, held at the Soka International Friendship Hall in Sendagaya, Tokyo on April 20 1993.

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    1. Dear Yorkshire,
      Seems like you really study a lot of Sensei guidance. Thank you very much for your sharing. Do contribute more if you have more encouraging guidance. I notice Sensei never compromise or turn the other cheek when it comes to fighting evil. He always use himself as an example of the correct spirit when facing evil. This guidance and the previous one are no exception. Sensei is urging all of us, his disciples, to not back down, to speak up and fight for justice. Cowardice is the mother of cruelty. If we do not have the courage to speak up against wrongs, then, more and more of our leaders and members will suffer. But if we all speak up, evil will certainly subside.

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  2. ‘A Fish Rots From Head First’
    To rot from the head first – when a society, an organisation, or a company rots, it starts from the head, in other words, from the top. That is why i am so hard on our leaders. Leaders must practice the strictest self discipline. They must not start to rot, whatever happens.

    The founders of religions or religious sects appear in response to the needs of the age and expound their respective teachings without seeking the slightest reward for themselves. But later, when their teachings have spread and the spirit of the founder is lost, the religion is taken over by religious professionals who make their living and earn money by practising the profession of religion.

    These religious professionals exploit the fact that the people often lack the ability to correctly evaluate religion. And, when the times change and the religion which the preach is no longer needed, they refuse to change in response to a new age, when more advanced religion is needed, or to even recognise that change.

    But worse than that, unlike the founder who sought to save people, they seek to save themselves at other’s EXPENSE, and from that EGOISTIC perspective, they invent all sorts of clever plots to oppose religions that are superior to theirs.’

    –from Flow 82 (Speech given by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda at the 65th Headquarters leaders meeting, held at the Soka International Friendship Hall in Sendagaya, Tokyo on April 20 1993.

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    1. Thank you Yorkshire Knight. A very instructive guidance. I also read in a Sensei dialogue with Bryan Wilson on the problem with organisation. One, the religious professionals, make themselves into intermediary between God and man, thus giving themselves authority over the general membership. This is where the corruption begins. Also, the common believers outsourced their thinking and leave all the intellectual heavy lifting to the professionals. They just come and pray and contribute money. It is a mutual dependence relationship. Which eventually cause the original spirit of the religion lost. The original and most important role of a religion is to liberate the individual, not shackle him to some dependent and weak person.

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