Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 21: A Life Dedicated to Kosen-rufu [21.4]

21.4 Working to Realize a Peaceful and Prosperous Society Is the Hallmark of a Living Religion

Lamenting the people’s endless suffering as a result of natural disasters, famines, and epidemics in his day, Nichiren Daishonin presented his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land” to the country’s ruler. In it, he declared that the only way to alleviate that suffering was to embrace a solid philosophy of respect for the dignity of life. President Ikeda explains that the spirit of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land” is the heart of Nichiren Buddhism and a central pillar of the Soka Gakkai.

Nichiren Daishonin’s lifetime teachings are said to begin and end with his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.”

This writing pulses with the Daishonin’s profound compassion and fervent wish to realize the happiness of the people and the peace of society based on the correct teaching of Buddhism.

In perfect accord with the spirit of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land,” we of the Soka Gakkai have advanced kosen-rufu while overcoming every storm of persecution. I have absolute confidence that the Daishonin is applauding our efforts.

As he states in this treatise: “If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not?” (WND-1, 24). If we desire personal happiness, he is saying, we must first pray for the security and prosperity of society and for world peace.

As long as war and natural disasters afflict the land, people cannot attain personal happiness. It is not just a matter of striving for one’s own happiness. True happiness can be attained only by praying for a peaceful and prosperous society for all and working to make it a reality.

In addition, by living this way, we can break free from the small shell of our lesser selves and achieve truly worthwhile and fulfilling lives.

Mr. Toda said to youth division members: “Think about how to change society and what you need to do to build an ideal society! I want you to base all your actions on that larger perspective.”

I’d like you, the youth, to lead the way in building an ideal society. I hope you will actively engage in society and do your utmost to help others and contribute to your community. This is the heart of Nichiren Buddhism.

People are the foundation of societies and nations, and people’s actions are shaped by ideas, philosophies, and religions.

The state of a society depends in large part on the guiding principles and goals that direct people’s lives. That’s why it is vital for each person to have a solid life philosophy. Our movement for kosen-rufu is, therefore, a struggle to realize the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

In another writing, the Daishonin declares: “In the final analysis, unless we succeed in demonstrating that this teaching [of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] is supreme, these disasters will continue unabated” (WND-1, 1114).

Buddhism focuses on winning. True peace and prosperity can be realized only when what is right and just prevails and the correct principles flourish.

Life is a struggle. We can attain a victorious result only by praying earnestly, striving hard, and following through in our actions. Let’s be people who can win in all spheres through committed effort and sincere dialogue.

The Daishonin suffered harsh persecution because he remonstrated with the ruler. Why did he write “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land” even though he knew he would be persecuted as a result? In “The Rationale for Writing ‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,’” he clarifies his motivation: “I say all this solely for the sake of the nation, for the sake of the Law, for the sake of others, not for my own sake” (WND-1, 164).

Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, was prepared to boldly proclaim the truth, for the sake of Buddhism, for peace, and for the people.

Mr. Toda said: “Even when he was about to be beheaded, even when freezing in the bitter cold of snowbound Sado, didn’t the Daishonin declare himself to be the pillar, eyes, and great ship of Japan and fight on selflessly for people’s happiness? Let us return to our inherent strong selves and fight with everything we have!”

The Soka Gakkai has spread throughout the world a network of peace, education, and culture based on Nichiren Buddhism. While striving to realize happiness for all through the philosophy of human revolution, it has promoted dialogue among civilizations on a global scale, motivated by the desire to build a society of coexistence and harmony.

The Daishonin writes: “A person of wisdom is not one who practices Buddhism apart from worldly affairs but, rather, one who thoroughly understands the principles by which the world is governed” (WND-1, 1121).

We are committed to making a positive contribution to the world by demonstrating the wisdom of Buddhism within society. That is the way to make Buddhism shine as a truly living religion.

Leaders and thinkers around the globe praise our movement for its contributions to humanity. Practicing in accord with the Daishonin’s teachings and inheriting his spirit, we of the Soka Gakkai today are the “pillar of peace” for the world, the “eyes of education” for the youth, and the “great ship of culture” for humankind.

With this profound pride and conviction in our hearts, let’s continue to forge ahead boldly.

From a speech at an SGI Day commemorative conference, Tokyo, January 26, 2010.

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