Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 20: Encouragement for Youth [20.5]

20.5 Always Look to the Future

President Ikeda stresses the importance of living with a strong, positive, forward-looking spirit in one’s youth, a time for building the foundations of one’s life.

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: “Let where you are going, not where you come from, henceforth be your honour! Your will and your foot that desires to step out beyond you—let them be your new honour!”1

His message is that everything starts from now! Always look to the future! Buddhism also teaches the spirit of focusing on the present and the future.

A meaningful life—and, in particular, a meaningful youth—is built not by focusing on the past, but on how you live from now on. That positive, forward-looking attitude is the key to greatness and victory.

To continually apply yourself to the task of going beyond where you are today—that spirit of self-improvement is the very heart of youth.

President Toda urged young people to “strive constantly to improve themselves, to become more dignified and cultured, and to establish a better, greater self.”2 Develop yourself! This was his message to the youth. He also often encouraged them to read books and ponder things deeply.

You are the future leaders of society and kosen-rufu. That’s why you need to think more deeply and strive more vigorously than those around you. Please take the initiative in working and studying hard.

When you adopt that attitude, your eyes will sparkle and you’ll enjoy a sense of fulfillment. If, on the other hand, you try to avoid hard work, you will lose your youthful freshness and vitality.

I continue to challenge myself, taking action and engaging in dialogue, with the spirit to put a week’s worth, a month’s worth, of effort into each day. I do it all for you, my fellow members, and for kosen-rufu. I never forget this guiding purpose.

Living without working to improve oneself leads to stagnation and, ultimately, self-defeat.

There are those who fail to work on their own growth and development, using only their wits and wiles to get by. But the closing chapter of their lives is often empty and sad. They end up regretting the choices they made. They wish they could go back to their youth and do things differently.

There is a time for everything. If you have every material comfort and the freedom to do anything you please from the time of your youth, you are actually rather unfortunate. It’s important that you forge inner strength and develop yourself in your youth. With such a foundation, it’s only natural that once you reach a certain age your life will blossom, and you’ll enjoy both spiritual and material rewards. This is the correct path in life.

From a speech at a Chugoku Region youth peace general meeting, Tokyo, May 7, 1995.

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

  • *1Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One, translated by
    R. J. Hollingdale (London: Penguin Books, 1969), p. 220.
  • *2Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 1 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1992), p. 158.