Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 21: A Life Dedicated to Kosen-rufu [21.5]

21.5 Kosen-rufu Is an Unending Flow

President Ikeda explains that kosen-rufu is not the end point of a process; it is the process itself. The mission of the Soka Gakkai, he says, is to contribute to people’s happiness, the welfare of society, and world peace by helping revitalize the human spirit and to promote respect for the dignity of life based on the principles of Nichiren Buddhism.

In “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” Nichiren Daishonin writes:

“There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo1 in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women. Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth,2 they could not chant the daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]. At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well. Does this not signify ‘emerging from the earth’? At the time when the Law has spread far and wide [kosen-rufu], the entire Japanese nation will chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, as surely as an arrow aimed at the earth cannot miss the target” (WND-1, 385).

And Nikko Shonin [Nichiren Daishonin’s direct disciple and successor] urges in his “Twenty-Six Admonitions”: “Until kosen-rufu is achieved, propagate the Law to the full extent of your ability without begrudging your life” (GZ, 1618 [GZ, new ed., 2196]).

Countless passages in the Daishonin’s writings call for the realization of kosen-rufu. If we consider ourselves disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, then we must devote ourselves with a selfless and energetic spirit to spreading the Mystic Law and achieving kosen-rufu. We must never forget that the Soka Gakkai’s fundamental aim is to widely propagate Nichiren Buddhism, the Buddhism of the Three Great Secret Laws.3 We must take to heart the above admonition of Nikko Shonin as an eternal and unchanging cornerstone of the Soka Gakkai spirit.

Here, I want to clarify that kosen-rufu doesn’t necessarily refer to a particular fixed goal.

The Daishonin writes: “If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity” (WND-1, 736). He is indicating that the flow of kosen-rufu—of widespread propagation—goes on endlessly, never ceasing. Kosen-rufu is not the end point of the flow; it is the flow itself, the vibrant coursing of this living Buddhism throughout society and the world.

Our activities for kosen-rufu are aimed at spreading the Daishonin’s Buddhism of the Three Great Secret Laws in today’s world and nourishing everyone with its refreshing wellspring of life. They are to enable each individual to realize indestructible happiness in life and, as a consequence, to build an ideal society of peace and prosperity.

In other words, our activities for kosen-rufu, our efforts to transmit the Mystic Law, constitute a most fundamental struggle to revitalize human beings and firmly establish within society a spirit of respect for the dignity of life.

In “On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings,” Nichiren Daishonin writes:

“The Lotus Sutra is the teaching of shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines.4 True to the letter of this golden saying, in the end, every last one of the believers of the provisional teachings and schools [of Buddhism] will be defeated and join the retinue of the Dharma King [the Buddha]. The time will come when all people will abandon the various kinds of vehicles [the provisional pre-Lotus Sutra teachings] and take up the single vehicle of Buddhahood [the Lotus Sutra], and the Mystic Law alone will flourish throughout the land. When the people all chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the wind will no longer buffet the branches, and the rain will no longer break the clods of soil. The world will become as it was in the ages of [the legendary rulers] Fu Hsi and Shen Nung. In their present existence the people will be freed from misfortune and disasters and learn the art of living long. Realize that the time will come when the truth will be revealed that both the person and the Law are unaging and eternal. There cannot be the slightest doubt about the sutra’s promise of ‘peace and security in their present existence’” [LSOC5, 136] (WND-1, 392).

It is also important to recognize that actualizing the peace of the land, that is, building an ideal society, isn’t limited to the flourishing of the single country of Japan. In “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” the Daishonin writes:

“Now if all the four kinds of Buddhists [monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen] within the four seas and the ten thousand lands would only cease giving alms to wicked priests and instead all come over to the side of the good, then how could any more troubles rise to plague us, or disasters come to confront us?” (WND-1, 23)


“You must quickly reform the tenets that you hold in your heart and embrace the one true vehicle, the single good doctrine [of the Lotus Sutra]. If you do so, then the threefold world5 [where we dwell] will become the Buddha land, and how could a Buddha land ever decline? The regions in the ten directions will all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever suffer harm?” (WND-1, 25)

And in “On the Receiving of the Three Great Secret Laws,” he refers to “the people of the three countries . . . and all the inhabitants of Jambudvipa” (WND-2, 987).

The “three countries” are India, China, and Japan, while “Jambudvipa” means the entire world. The “threefold world” refers to the six paths,6 the saha world,7 or the entire world. The “four seas and the ten thousand lands,” too, indicates the whole planet.


I would like to stress the importance of making the coming 21st century a century of life, and that humanity must take the initiative to create the conditions for such a new age.

A century of life, simply put, refers to an age, a society, a civilization based on respect for the dignity of life. Respect for the dignity of life means that people’s lives, their dignity, and their personal happiness must never on any account be exploited or sacrificed as a means to some end. I am speaking of a society and civilization grounded on a firm commitment that all endeavors serve to support people’s lives, their dignity, and their happiness, and that these must never be used as means to any other purpose or goal.

Without tenacious efforts today to make respect for the dignity of life the guiding principle for creating tomorrow’s world, the 21st century is in grave danger of becoming a century of destruction. The activities of the Soka Gakkai constitute a great movement of ordinary people uniting in the struggle to make peace and culture flourish so that we can bring about this century of life.

From Lecture on “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” published in Japanese in July 1977.

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

  • *1Myoho-renge-kyo is written with five Chinese characters, while Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is written with seven (nam, or namu, being comprised of two characters). The Daishonin often uses Myoho-renge-kyo synonymously with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in his writings.
  • *2Bodhisattvas of the Earth: An innumerable host of bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the earth and to whom Shakyamuni Buddha entrusts the propagation of the Mystic Law, or the essence of the Lotus Sutra, in the Latter Day of the Law.
  • *3The Three Great Secret Laws are core principles of Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings. They are the object of devotion of the essential teaching (the Gohonzon), the daimoku of the essential teaching (Nam-myoho-renge-kyo), and the sanctuary of the essential teaching (where the Gohonzon is enshrined). They are called secret because they are implicit in the text of the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.
  • *4This is T’ien-t’ai’s statement from The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra.
  • *5Threefold world: The world of unenlightened beings who transmigrate within the six paths (from hell through the realm of heavenly beings). The threefold world consists of, in ascending order, the world of desire, the world of form, and the world of formlessness. In a general sense, it refers to the saha world in which we dwell.
  • *6Six paths: This refers to the lower six of the Ten Worlds—the worlds of life states or hell, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human beings, and heavenly beings.
  • *7Saha 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.