Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 15: “Faith for Overcoming Obstacles” [15.15]

15.15 The Soka Gakkai’s “Casting Off the Transient and Revealing the True”

At the start of 2008, having just turned 80, President Ikeda called on members to awaken to their fundamental mission and overcome all hardships in order to “cast off the transient and reveal the true” in their own lives. This, he stressed, was vital for the Soka Gakkai as a whole to “cast off the transient and reveal the true.”

In May 1951, after surmounting his business troubles and becoming second president, Josei Toda proclaimed: “The Soka Gakkai has ‘cast off the transient and revealed the true’!”1 This, he explained, was because Soka Gakkai members as a whole had gained a deep awareness of their identity as Bodhisattvas of the Earth2 and stood up to take part in the struggle for kosen-rufu.3

While imprisoned, Mr. Toda realized that he was a Bodhisattva of the Earth. At first, it was his personal awakening. But, later, disciples who shared this sense of mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth rose to take action alongside him.

The “casting off the transient and revealing the true” of the disciples is central to the “casting off the transient and revealing the true” of the Soka Gakkai.

Mr. Toda emphasized: “Come to understand your life’s mission by actually putting the Daishonin’s teachings into practice! Understanding your mission intellectually and understanding it through real experience are two different things entirely.”

Just one disciple who strives with the same heart as the mentor can galvanize everyone. I fought furiously as that one true disciple. I supported my mentor, broadened the great struggle for kosen-rufu, and opened the path to victory. I led the way to achieving Mr. Toda’s cherished membership goal of 750,000 households during his lifetime. I actualized his grand vision for promoting peace, culture, and education, and I spread our movement’s great philosophy and ideals throughout the world. The disciple who “cast off the transient and revealed the true,” just as his mentor instructed, built today’s flourishing Soka Gakkai.

“He’s someone who always achieves what he says he will”—this was Mr. Toda’s evaluation of me, and I regard it as a source of pride and honor.

For what reason have we been born? Why are we alive? When we deeply recognize our fundamental mission in life, we can bring forth immeasurably great power.

Thoughtful individuals around the world have been taking note of our efforts to empower people, especially the youth. Former UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury is one of them. He has praised our organization for bringing out the best in each individual through our conviction that all people possess the capacity to overcome even the greatest difficulties.4

I want to proclaim that the time has come once again for the Soka Gakkai to “cast off the transient and reveal the true.”

I say to you, my friends: “Take up fresh challenges as if you’ve been completely reborn!” “Be lions! Be lions, and win victory upon victory!” “Let us live out our lives together for the great and noble cause of kosen-rufu!”

From an essay series “The Light of the Century of Humanity,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, January 9, 2008.

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.

  • *1Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 3 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1991), p. 119.
  • *2Bodhisattvas of the Earth: An innumerable host of bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the earth and to whom Shakyamuni Buddha entrusts the propagation of the Mystic Law, or the essence of the Lotus Sutra, in the Latter Day of the Law.
  • *3Cf. Toda, Toda Josei zenshu, vol. 3, pp. 119–20.
  • *4From a message featured in the Seikyo Shimbun, January 4, 2008.