Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 20: Encouragement for Youth [20.8]

20.8 To Young Women’s Division Members

On entering a new century, President Ikeda offers important guidance for young women’s division members with the wish that each one of them without exception will become genuinely happy.

In a letter to a female disciple [the lay nun Ueno], Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside oneself; both lie only within one’s own heart. Awakened to this, one is called a Buddha; deluded about it, one is called an ordinary person” (WND-1. 456).

Happiness and hell are within you, inside your own hearts and minds.

Being a celebrity doesn’t guarantee happiness. Neither does popularity. Honors and accolades are not true happiness, nor is wealth.

True happiness lies in tapping the inner source of eternal, indestructible, absolute happiness that is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—shining in the depths of your being that is still a work in progress—as you strive to cultivate your own life. This is the essence of Buddhism.

The aim of our faith is for us to win in life. Buddhism is a set of principles to enable us to do so.

To gloriously triumph in life, we need to strive just as always in our daily lives, carrying out our everyday responsibilities, and forge ahead with ever greater strength on the road of kosen-rufu.

When you do that, your life will shine with an endlessly noble spirit. The countless Buddhas of the ten directions and three existences will protect all of you—inspiring, unsung emissaries of the Buddha—as foremost champions of the world.

Don’t allow yourself to be swept away by illusions. You cannot become happy by following people who are ignorant of the principles for genuine happiness. The absolutely correct way is to follow the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, a true champion of humanity who left us the great pathway to happiness.

Never forget that a wonderful luminous realm of eternal victory awaits those who embrace this teaching.

The course of your life is determined by whose lead you follow. Do you follow calculating politicians, vain pretenders, or greedy schemers? Do not be deceived. Your decisive choice must be to follow Nichiren Daishonin, the entity of the universe itself.

No matter what kind of father, mother, or siblings you may have, if you attain Buddhahood, you can lead all of them to enlightenment as well. The heart of Soka lies in building a happy, strong self.

Many labor under the delusion that marriage equals happiness. Remaining single by no means excludes you from enjoying happiness. The important thing is to build an unshakable self, set on a foundation of correct faith. This is the way to true happiness.

Birds who don’t fly lose the ability to do so. They lose the use of their wings and can’t soar into the skies of happiness. An Olympic athlete who doesn’t run or doesn’t train cannot win. Lazy people who don’t strive, don’t act, don’t advance, end up losing in life.

Striving and progressing for some purpose or goal—this is the essence of happiness. If, from your youth, you strive tirelessly for the sake of others, for Buddhism, what an amazing person you will become! While carrying out your human revolution, you will build a truly expansive state of life.

As you may know, my wife, Kaneko, attended the inaugural meeting of the young women’s division as a group leader [in 1951], and with Tokyo as her main stage of activity from her youth, has dedicated herself wholeheartedly to kosen-rufu.

Proud to be a Tokyo young women’s division member [like all of you], she braved the cold winter winds during the historic February Campaign1 of Kamata Chapter [in 1952] to engage actively in sharing the Daishonin’s Buddhism with friends and encouraging members.

Her parent’s home was also a center for Soka Gakkai activities, so she invited her superiors at work to discussion meetings, helped make gatherings bright and enjoyable, and smilingly greeted the members who gathered there day and night. As a young women’s division member, she would happily and kindly read picture books with the children of women’s division members during meetings.

Though no one was watching or praising her, she carried out the vow she made to President Makiguchi and worked to support President Toda. She assisted her mother, the chapter women’s division leader, encouraged her father, the district men’s division leader, and continued to strive for kosen-rufu with dedication, sincerity, and perseverance.

That exhilarating time as a young women’s division member, my wife recalls, was the most memorable period of her life, when she built the foundation for her life and her Buddhist faith and practice.

Your fellow members around the world are all earnestly walking the path to absolute happiness. The Mystic Law, the great underlying principle of the universe! There is no other path to peace in the 21st century.

Let’s advance along that path together! Social standing, wealth, position, and family background have nothing to do with happiness. And thinking you would be happy if things just went the way you wanted, or if you could just do this or that, is not really Buddhism.

“It is the heart that is important” (WND-1, 1000), declares the Daishonin. The heart is faith, and faith is an essential requirement for happiness.

The key is to become happy right here and now, in your present situation and circumstances, just as you are.

My young friends, be pioneers of life! Be great victors of happiness! Don’t lose yourself in idle, empty, mundane pleasures and amusements! Take your place at the head of the march to fundamental happiness!

All of the heavenly deities as well as the Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the universe, radiant and dancing with joy, will protect your vibrant lives, shower you with the highest praises, and guide you on your journey to happiness.

From a message to a Tokyo young women’s division chapter leaders meeting, February 9, 2001.

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

  • *1February Campaign: In February 1952, President Ikeda, then an adviser to Tokyo’s Kamata Chapter, initiated a dynamic propagation campaign. Together with the Kamata members, he broke through the previous monthly record of some 100 new member households by introducing Nichiren Buddhism to 201 new member households.