Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 23: Valuing Each Individual [23.7]

23.7 Empathy Is the Essence of the Soka Gakkai Spirit

President Ikeda cites a passage from a warmly encouraging letter Nichiren Daishonin sent to his disciple Toki Jonin, whose wife, the lay nun Toki, was ill. He then discusses the noble spirit of empathy exemplified in such actions as treasuring those who are striving hard behind the scenes and showing care and concern for those who are suffering.

In a letter Nichiren Daishonin wrote to Toki Jonin during the bitter cold of winter on Mount Minobu, he states:

I am as concerned about the illness of your wife, the lay nun Toki, as though it were I myself who is ailing, and day and night I pray to the heavenly gods that she will recover. She has supported the votary of the Lotus Sutra just as she has supplied oil to the lamps, or piled earth around the roots of the trees. I am beseeching the gods of the sun and moon that they will guard her life even at the cost of their own!

If there are other matters I have forgotten to mention here, I will send word of them by way of [your son] Iyo-bo. Rest assured that I will do all I can (WND-2, 666).

The Daishonin always showed great care and concern for those working hard out of the limelight. Learning of the lay nun Toki’s illness, he says he feels her suffering as his own, and is praying for her speedy recovery. This perfectly exemplifies the boundless compassion of the Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.

I keenly feel that his spirit offers us an example of how we should live as practitioners of his teachings. Ultimately, what matters is not worldly power or outward appearances. Rather, it is our efforts to treasure as we would ourselves those who are suffering and those who are making sincere efforts for kosen-rufu. We must never forget that to encourage and care for others in this way is the essence of genuine humanity.

The Soka Gakkai has achieved remarkable development and growth because its members have never lost this spirit and have continued to work wholeheartedly for the happiness of others. This is both the pride and the strength of the Soka Gakkai.

From a speech at a nationwide women’s division leaders meeting, Tokyo, November 29, 1989.

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