In a guidance given in February 13, 1990 (California) to the SGI-USA members, President Ikeda’s outlined five fundamental points for the continuous development of kosen-rufu in the US. Deviation or forgetting any of these points can easily derail the movement. We felt that the points raised were very relevant to us today, and good for us to study them together. Here it is.
First point – foundation
In the first place, please advance steadily with the awareness that you are now building a foundation for the next thousand years of the kosen-rufu movement in the United States. Anything that is accomplished quickly and easily will not long endure. Now is the time to concentrate on the construction of a solid foundation. I hope you will complete this work slowly but surely, filled with hope and joy.
Laying the groundwork may sound tedious and lack the brilliance that attracts people’s attention. However, such painstaking work is indispensable and extremely important. Once the foundation is solidified, you can construct anything on it.
Please remember that the task of building the foundation of the castle of the Law, which will endure for a thousand years, is in the hands of the current generation of the SGI-USA members. For my part, I will spare no effort in supporting you in any way I can.
Malaysia’s kosen-rufu history is around fifty years. We are very much in the pioneering stage, with a lot of teething problems and things to learn. Some lessons will be especially tough and others painful. Nevertheless, we must be patient.
Second point – capable people
The second point that I want to make is that capable people are the greatest treasure. Without capable people, neither the eternal establishment of the Law nor world peace can be achieved. First of all, you must find capable people. Just as a miner searches for gold ore in ordinary rocks, you have to look for members who possess great potential and then work to develop their ability with your heart and soul.
Prayer is most fundamental in raising capable people. You should pray earnestly to the Gohonzon that the person you have found will become an able person important to the SGI-USA. Then, with this prayer, you take the utmost care to help that person develop. Among the members in Japan, there have been some who, on account of sloppiness in financial matters and other aspects of their daily lives, forsook their faith and left the pure and harmonious world of the Soka Gakkai. I have never allowed, however, anyone whom I decided to raise to fall out of the ranks.
Once I have found capable people, even among older individuals who were disciples of the first and second Soka Gakkai presidents, I have done my best to thoroughly protect and develop them. The capable people I have raised are now active as pillars of our movement in all areas of society. You should sincerely respect capable people and raise them with the determination to make them more outstanding and capable that you are yourself. Looking down on one’s juniors or exploiting them for personal gain is an offense comparable to that of slandering the Law. Please remember that one who raises capable people is great. Such a person is truly capable and important.
It is difficult to find capable people, and even more to foster one. It takes many years, even decades. But to terminate, it takes a moment. Just an announcement. The organisation cannot afford to get rid of people if they don’t agree with some issues or raise questions.
Third point – joyful meetings and dialogue
The third point concerns holding joyful meetings and conducting dialogue that is imbued with joy and wisdom. By making these your mottoes and living up to them, the SGI-USA can become an exemplary organization for kosen-rufu. The raison d’etre of the world of faith is to help people become happy. In essence, ours is a gathering of supreme freedom and joy.
No one has the right to reprimand and cause suffering for others, nor is anyone obliged to let him or herself be reproved and made to feel bad. For example, whether someone succeeds in helping others take faith in the teachings of Buddhism, the simple fact that he or she practices is in itself most praiseworthy.
If you can feel heartfelt joy in expounding the Law and sharing it with others, your blessings will increase still further Joyfully engaging in propagation and other activities – this is the spirit of Buddhism. Again, no matter what difficulties you may have, when you go to a meeting and see friends, you feel relief and a sense of joy, and your heart fills with hope. It is my sincere hope that you hold wonderful meetings of this kind – happy gatherings where friends warmly pat each other on the back, encourage one another and share their joys and sorrows.
My wish is that the SGI-USA will become an organization overflowing with smiles, friendship and humanity. I hope that all of you, without a single exception, will lead lives of the greatest fulfillment and joy.
Intellect will play a very important role in the coming age. By intellect I mean refined wisdom, clear reasoning, profound philosophy and broad-ranging knowledge. We are entering and age when the people will develop their intelligence and wisdom, infusing society with their new outlook. This is the course that [SGI organization in] Japan and many other countries today are following. I ask that the SGI-USA also make efforts along these lines.
President Ikeda put the point of ‘intellect’ as a subpoint to joyful meetings and dialogue. It is important to develop intellect in our age to stay relevant and for the continued development of Soka Gakkai. It goes without saying that without ‘intellect’, we are no better than a herd of sheeps, obedient and pleasant.
Fourth point – Respect
Fourth, you must respect those who are fighting for world peace, irrespective of their race or nationality. There are many differences, for instance, between the cultures, climates and social systems of Japan and the United States. Therefore, it is only natural there might be differences in how kosen-rufu is advanced in the two countries.
Fundamentally speaking, however, infinite variety derives from the one Law, and the true entity of life – as described by the one hundred worlds and one thousand factors, as well as ‘three thousand realms in a single moment of life’ – is the same in all societies. From this view, it is important that we respect anyone who is struggling on the forefront of our movement.
This attitude will become a great driving force behind the spread of the Mystic Law. President Toda once said, ‘If you fail to respect those who are fighting for kosen-rufu, you will be unable to develop correct faith, and there will be no development in the organization that you are leading.’ In this sense, I ask that you receive guidance on what is important for advancing kosen-rufu.
There has been no development in SGM for more than 20 years now. Perhaps, this is the reason. Our leaders do not have genuine appreciation and utmost respect for those who fight for kosen-rufu. In other words, we do not have ‘correct faith’.
Fifth point – care for health
Fifth, I would like you to forge ahead, always taking good care of your health. All of you are extremely precious children of the Buddha who are dedicated to the cause of propagating Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Nothing would be more regrettable than for you to impair your health.
Therefore, I ask that you maintain a rhythm in your daily life and get ample rest. Things that you volunteer to undertake on your own initiative aside, there is no need to overexert yourself at the expense of your health on account of organizational pressures.
President Toda once said, ‘I don’t ask the leaders if they have been chanting a lot of daimoku, or how many people they converted. Instead, I ask them about their work, if they are making profits in their business, if they are healthy or are they going through difficulties.’
These are the very pillars that form the core philosophy and values which enable it to grow and expand. Though they may seem invisible to the eye, we must be keenly aware and always keep it in mind.