Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 23: Valuing Each Individual [23.1]

23.1 The Aim of Kosen-rufu Is the Happiness of Each Person

“Valuing each individual”—this simple guiding principle that President Ikeda has repeatedly stressed is where kosen-rufu begins and ends. It encompasses the life-affirming philosophy that each individual’s life is more precious than all the treasures of the universe. It shines with the peace philosophy that sees all people as Buddhas. It contains the key to unity grounded in the belief that each person is irreplaceable and possesses unique potential. It also pulses with the compassion and courage not to abandon anyone who is suffering.

This chapter features guidance on the theme of valuing each person presented on various occasions by President Ikeda, who has opened the way for kosen-rufu by consistently doing just that.

Valuing each person is the starting point of the Soka Gakkai. This is also the fundamental spirit of Nichiren Buddhism, which teaches that all people are irreplaceably precious and that everyone in the world innately possesses the noble Buddha nature.

Authoritarian leaders, on the other hand, ignore or denigrate the supreme value of the individual, seeing people only as faceless masses. This is because as far as such individuals are concerned, people are just a means to an end; they are objects, like weapons to be launched or resources to be spent. Power-hungry individuals cleverly manipulate people to feed their own greed and ambition, seeking to gain total control over the whole.

The Soka Gakkai’s approach is the exact opposite. This is because the purpose of kosen-rufu is the happiness of each individual. We believe in the infinite potential of every human being, strive to help each person awaken to and reveal that potential, and work to expand the circle of those who share this commitment. This has been the history of our people’s movement to this day.

The individual comes first, and then the whole. Everything starts with the individual, and with individuals strongly uniting. Losing sight of this essential point will bring terrible consequences. Anyone who sees the Soka Gakkai and its members as nothing but a tool for advancing some personal or organizational agenda, just like the authoritarian leaders I have described, is wicked to the core.

Everything comes down to the individual. I’d like to reconfirm with you today our basic principle of valuing each person. Let us focus even more attention on each person, doing our utmost to encourage them and foster their precious potential. When each person develops inner strength and wisdom, they can bring forth double, triple, ten times their present capabilities.

From a speech at a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, January 6, 2006.

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