Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 22: The Mission and Vow of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth [22.5]

22.5 “This Is My Vow, and I Will Never Forsake It!”

In his treatise “The Opening of the Eyes,” Nichiren Daishonin declares: “I will be the pillar of Japan. I will be the eyes of Japan. I will be the great ship of Japan. This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!” (WND-1, 280–81). Discussing this well-known passage, President Ikeda explains how noble it is to devote our lives to fulfilling our vow for kosen-rufu.

“I will be the pillar of Japan. I will be the eyes of Japan. I will be the great ship of Japan” (WND-1, 280–81). In this lofty vow, we find the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent.

We can surmise that this was the great vow Nichiren Daishonin had in his heart when he established his teaching [on April 28, 1253]. “The Opening of the Eyes” was written almost 20 years later [in 1272]. No matter what onslaughts of obstacles and devilish functions assailed him, nothing could shake his unwavering commitment. He suffered countless instances of slander and abuse. He was the target of malicious plots and intrigues. The authorities attempted to execute him and exiled him twice.

But not even the most furious attacks by the devil king of the sixth heaven1 could succeed in extinguishing the flame of kosen-rufu that blazed in his heart. On the contrary, they only caused that inner flame to burn even brighter. With the words “This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!” (WND-1, 281), he declares that he will never for all eternity break that vow.

People of strong faith who personally embrace and strive to fulfill this vow of the Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, bring forth the power of Buddhahood in their own lives. We of the Soka Gakkai have achieved resounding victory in all endeavors because we have carried out this vow with selfless dedication.

Making a vow is central to our efforts to spread the Mystic Law in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law. Without a powerful commitment to uphold and spread the correct teaching throughout our lives, we cannot turn back the raging currents of this polluted age; we cannot defeat devilish functions.

Our vow to work for kosen-rufu serves as a fundamental source of strength, giving us the courage to remain fearless in the face of any adversity and undaunted by any hardship. When we dedicate ourselves to this vow, then no matter what obstacles and devilish functions arise, our lives will shine with the serene, invincible spirit of champions. No matter what storms of karma assail us, our lives will glow with the indomitable spirit of the bravehearted.

As long as we never forsake our vow, no devilish function or karma will ever defeat us.

It goes without saying that when the Daishonin declares he will be the “pillar of Japan,” the “eyes of Japan,” and the “great ship of Japan,” he is not expressing a Japan-centered worldview. Rather, he is underscoring the fact that Japan at that time could be described as a country where the entire populace was committing slander of the Law, a situation emblematic of the Latter Day. In his view, if he could free from suffering the people and nation enduring the greatest hardships in this strife-filled saha world,2 then he could do the same for all humanity.

Japan in the Daishonin’s day was on the verge of ruin, having lost its spiritual moorings. Evil priests spreading the poison of slander of the Law filled the land, leaving the people adrift in a sea of suffering.

A house without pillars will collapse. Japan was a society without a sound spiritual foundation, teeming with negative influences, its people wandering along without purpose. In such a spiritual wasteland, Nichiren Daishonin stood up alone with the resolve: “I will become the spiritual pillar of this devastated country. I will become its eyes for distinguishing true from false amid the prevailing confusion in Buddhist thought. I will become the great ship for rescuing those who are adrift.”

It is the Soka Gakkai—and, indeed, only the Soka Gakkai—that has inherited this spirit of Nichiren Daishonin.

These words of Mr. Toda, spoken shortly before he became second Soka Gakkai president, are deeply engraved in my heart: “For me there is only kosen-rufu.” “I will stand up! No matter what anyone says, I will fear nothing! I’m not going to let anyone hold me back!” “I will stand up alone!”

In any time and place, efforts for kosen-rufu always begin with a stand-alone spirit. With this spirit, we can limitlessly activate the power of the Mystic Law.

From Lectures on “The Opening of the Eyes,” published in Japanese in June 2006.

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

  • *1Devil king of the sixth heaven: Also, devil king or heavenly devil. The king of devils, who dwells in the highest or the sixth heaven of the world of desire. He is also named Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others, the king who makes free use of the fruits of others’ efforts for his own pleasure. Served by innumerable minions, he obstructs Buddhist practice and delights in sapping the life force of other beings, the manifestation of the fundamental ignorance inherent in life. The devil king is a personification of the negative tendency to force others to one’s will at any cost.
  • *2Saha 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.