Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 18: Buddhism Is a Teaching of Dialogue [18.2]

18.2 Engaging in Humanistic Dialogue

On his first visit to the Soka Young Women’s Center (which opened in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, in May 2006), President Ikeda offered five eternal guidelines for the young women’s division. In discussing the fourth guideline, “Engage in dialogue to foster friendship and humanistic ideals,” he urged members to confidently talk with others about Buddhism.

Dialogue is extremely important in the realm of Nichiren Buddhism.

The Daishonin writes: “This saha world1 is a land in which one gains the way through the faculty of hearing” (WND-2, 87). Enabling people to hear about the Mystic Law and form a connection with Buddhism is carrying out the incredibly noble work of the Buddha. Your dialogues are the best possible way to expand our network of happiness and good.

The Daishonin clearly states: “[Having] heard the Lotus Sutra, which leads to Buddhahood, with this as the seed, one will invariably become a Buddha” (WND-1, 882); and “One should by all means persist in preaching the Lotus Sutra and causing [others] to hear it” (WND-1, 882). We must not spare our voices in sharing with many others the supreme teaching [of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]. Through such efforts, we help connect them to the Mystic Law, a cause for their eternal happiness. And we create a personal chronicle that brims with everlasting good fortune. As the Daishonin says: “Single-mindedly chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and urge others to do the same; that will remain as the only memory of your present life in this human world” (WND-1, 64).

In particular, we mustn’t be afraid to speak to others about what we know to be right. The Daishonin instructs: “You must act and speak without the least servility” (WND-1, 824). The confidence to share the true greatness of the Mystic Law is the spirit of propagation in Nichiren Buddhism, the Soka Gakkai spirit, and the spirit of kosen-rufu. Our members’ proud conviction made our organization what it is today.

Discussing the essence of dialogue, Mr. Toda said: “Sincerely sharing the truth with others and expressing what’s in our hearts—these are the principles that gave birth to the Soka Gakkai and are the driving force of its development.” He also said: “Important is humanistic dialogue that fosters genuine heart-to-heart communication, friendship, and understanding of different cultures.”

In addition, he taught me: “Just launching into an abstract discussion of difficult Buddhist principles doesn’t necessarily contribute to people’s understanding of Buddhism. Sometimes it’s better to take a more creative and flexible approach and spread the profound teachings of Nichiren Daishonin by expanding the scope of our discussion to literature, music, and art.”

Cherishing my mentor’s instructions, I have done my utmost to reach out to people in dialogue and transcend all barriers. Together with my wife, Kaneko, I have opened paths of dialogue and built bridges of friendship in countries and regions across the globe. This is a precious legacy that I bequeath to all of you. As philosophers of Soka, please engage in dialogue freely, joyfully, to your heart’s content.

From a speech at a commemorative young women’s division gathering, Tokyo, June 4, 2009.

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

  • *1Saha world: This world, which is full of suffering. Often translated as the world of endurance. In Sanskrit, saha means the earth; it derives from a root meaning “to bear” or “to endure.” For this reason, in the Chinese versions of Buddhist scriptures, saha is rendered as endurance. In this context, the saha world indicates a world in which people must endure suffering.