Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 21: A Life Dedicated to Kosen-rufu [21.7]

21.7 Kosen-rufu Begins with One Person

Looking back on his first step for worldwide kosen-rufu in 1960, President Ikeda asserts that the essence of kosen-rufu lies in one person’s struggle to achieve human revolution and transform their karma.

For the sake of future generations, I would once again like to write of the original spirit underlying worldwide kosen-rufu.

October 2, 1960, was a bright and clear Sunday. Departing from Tokyo International Airport in Haneda, I flew to Hawaii. As I looked down from the airplane just after takeoff, I saw the sea off Omori [in Ota Ward], where I was born and raised, glittering below.

Hawaii was the place where the Pacific War between Japan and the United States broke out. I had decided to make Hawaii my first overseas destination, following my visit to Okinawa [in July 1960, which at the time was still under American occupation].

Our practice of Nichiren Buddhism enables us to transform our karma into our mission. Those who have suffered the most have the right to enjoy the greatest happiness.

Many of our members living in Hawaii and other parts of the United States at the time were war brides, women who had married US servicemen and come to live in the United States with them. Having gone to their new country with visions of happiness, they often found the cultural and linguistic barriers difficult and longed to return to Japan.

I encouraged them wholeheartedly, wanting to dispel the clouds of anguish from their hearts and awaken the Buddha nature within them.

In a letter from his place of exile on Sado Island, the Daishonin writes: “Wherever we dwell and practice the single vehicle [of the Lotus Sutra], that place will be the Capital of Eternally Tranquil Light” (WND-1, 313).

Everywhere I went during that first trip to the United States, I urged members to transform where they were into a Land of Eternally Tranquil Light,1 and I assured them that as long as they upheld faith in the Mystic Law, which enables us to change poison into medicine,2 they were certain to become happy. With tears shining in their eyes, many of them proclaimed: “I won’t be defeated!” “I’ll keep challenging myself!” I held discussion meetings wherever I went and engaged in frank heart-to-heart dialogues.

Promoting kosen-rufu isn’t merely about spreading Buddhist ideas and terminology. It means each of us rising to action wherever we are in the world and bravely striving to transform our karma through our practice of Nichiren Buddhism. It is awakening to our noble mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth3 and spreading understanding, trust, and joy around us.

Worldwide kosen-rufu can be realized only by encouraging and fostering people who have the courage to stand alone and act on their own initiative.

Our great Soka network, dedicated to realizing happiness for people everywhere, has now grown to encompass 192 countries and territories. I have the greatest admiration and gratitude for all our pioneer members who worked so hard to open the way forward in the face of immense challenges in the early days of our movement. I am also delighted that a steady stream of capable successors is emerging to create a bright and hopeful future.

From an essay series “Our Brilliant Path to Victory,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, November 12, 2010.

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

  • *1Land of Eternally Tranquil Light: Also, Land of Tranquil Light. The Buddha land, which is free from impermanence and impurity. In many sutras, the actual saha world in which human beings dwell is described as an impure land filled with delusions and sufferings, while the Buddha land is described as a pure land free from these and far removed from this saha world. In contrast, the Lotus Sutra reveals the saha world to be the Buddha land, or the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, and explains that the nature of a land is determined by the minds of its inhabitants.
  • *2Changing poison into medicine: The principle that earthly desires and suffering can be transformed into benefit and enlightenment by virtue of the power of the Mystic Law. This phrase is found in a passage from The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom, which mentions “a great physician who can change poison into medicine.”
  • *3Bodhisattvas 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.