Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 20: Encouragement for Youth [20.20]

20.20 Cherish High Ideals

Through the guidance of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, President Ikeda calls on young people to strive with all their might to realize high ideals.

Naturally, there are many different ways to live your youth, and there is no need to suggest a single approach for everyone. But whatever path you choose, what will play a decisive role in the direction your life takes into the future is whether you live the days of your youth to the fullest or let them slip by without making any real effort.

President Toda often gave us guidance to the effect: “If you’re going to do something big, it’s important that you have the determination to achieve it in your 20s and 30s. If you wait until you’re in your forties, and then suddenly decide to embark on some great venture, it becomes that much more difficult to succeed.”

He also advised: “Young people should cherish dreams that seem almost too big to accomplish. Inevitably in life, we’re only able to achieve a fraction of what we’d like to. So if your dreams are too small to begin with, you’ll end up not being able to accomplish anything. What good, then, will you have created with your life?”

Striving to realize a high ideal in your twenties and thirties is the key to enjoying unsurpassed satisfaction and fulfillment in this seemingly long yet short existence.

You’re only young once. How unfortunate it would be to reach your forties and fifties and be filled with sadness and regret. A life of discontent—a life unfulfilled and half-realized like a sputtering, smoldering fire that never leaps into bright flames—is also a terrible waste.

That’s why you should burn your brightest and strive your hardest in your youth when you are at the height of your powers and your health. It is all for your own benefit.

Mr. Toda taught that young people should cherish high ideals and advance with bright, burning energy. The higher the summit you aim for, the greater the satisfaction you will savor when you reach the peak. This is a way of life filled with passion and growth, brimming with the limitless power of faith in the Mystic Law.

Kosen-rufu is the supreme summit for humankind, the most meaningful and noble ideal. It is also the most realistic ideal, and one that is most urgently needed by society and the times. Dedicate your youth and your life, fully and without reservation, to the great ideal of kosen-rufu. Such a life accords with the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and embodies the essence of the unchanging Soka Gakkai spirit.

From a speech at a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, January 20, 1988.

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