Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 24: The Organization for Kosen-rufu [24.3]

24.3 The Organization Exists for People’s Happiness

President Ikeda explains to young people the importance of the Soka Gakkai organization in supporting our Buddhist practice.

The Soka Gakkai is an organization working to realize the great objective of kosen-rufu—in other words, the grand and lofty goal of achieving happiness and peace for all humanity based on the principles and philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism. This goal cannot be accomplished through the efforts of one person alone. Its realization becomes possible only when individuals active in various spheres of society unite and organize themselves into a cohesive force toward that end.

Nichiren Daishonin designated six senior priests, and Shakyamuni had his ten major disciples. These, too, may be regarded as organizations. Both the Daishonin and Shakyamuni formed a network, or an organization, through which they endeavored to spread Buddhism while promoting the growth of their followers and supporting them in their Buddhist practice.

The Soka Gakkai didn’t appear first and then become filled with people. People began forming bonds with one another; their circle grew and gave rise organically to the Soka Gakkai organization. Therefore, the organization exists only and always for the sake of people; people don’t exist for the organization. Please never forget this point.

I also hope that, throughout your lives, you will remain the staunchest friends and allies of those suffering or in distress. I hope you will cherish the Soka Gakkai, an organization of and for the people—that you will respect it, support it, and work for its development. This is my heartfelt request to all of you.

Our organization exists to mobilize the spirit of human goodness—people’s desire to help and benefit others—and use it to create great value. You might say that the Soka Gakkai is a body or organism that took form and came to life specifically to bring together the basic goodness of people’s hearts, to further develop that goodness and strengthen it. Without the organization, there would be no cohesion or order to our efforts.

An organization dedicated to good enhances people’s capacity to work for good and promotes further growth and self-improvement. It does not hinder people’s progress or lead them astray. It supports people’s self-development, putting them on a sure course to happiness and personal growth. And it is for this purpose that our organization exists. In that respect, the organization is a means, while the end is for people to become happy.

The Soka Gakkai is a wondrous organization. There is without a doubt no other realm as pure, genuine, warm, and beautiful. Being young, you may be unaware of society’s harsh and ugly side, and so you may not fully appreciate just how amazing this organization really is. But let me assure you, there is none other like it.

It is a great citadel of the people that has been built through many decades of tenacious effort by our sincere members, including many of your own mothers and fathers, while they endured ridicule and insult from arrogant individuals.

There are those who criticize and attack our organization, but can they teach us another way to achieve absolute happiness? No, they cannot. The Soka Gakkai is a gathering that was formed by people who recognized this truth, who encouraged one another to become happy, and who united together to help those who were suffering. This is a solemn fact. It is truly noble.

The Soka Gakkai organization is a crystallization of genuine democracy, handmade by the people, for the people. It is the only body carrying out the widespread propagation of Nichiren Buddhism, which places the highest value on the dignity of the human being. It is the sun of hope for all humanity. That is why President Toda declared that the Soka Gakkai organization was more precious to him than his own life. I feel exactly the same way.


Though you may dislike organizations, is remaining alone really freedom? Can you guarantee that you won’t lose sight of yourself if you’re on your own? That’s hard to say. Genuine freedom does not mean living selfishly and doing just as you please; it is traveling the correct path in life.

The earth, for example, revolves around the sun. If it were to stray from its orbit even in the slightest, it would spell disaster. A spacecraft, if it follows the correct course, can traverse the vast cosmos and reach its destination. This is the meaning of true freedom.

Sports, too, have their own sets of rules. There are certain ways of doing things. Does freedom mean going around arbitrarily breaking these rules? I don’t think so. Genuine freedom is making full use of your strength and skill while following the rules of the game.

To live without a goal or purpose, doing whatever you please, whenever you please, makes for a reckless and self-destructive life. Organizations are made up of many different kinds of people, which provides the stimulus for personal growth. In many sports, too, it’s hard to assess your real ability if you train or practice only by yourself. You develop and grow through interacting with many others.

For instance, taros—potato-like vegetables popular in Japan and other places—are rough and dirty when harvested, but when placed in a basin of running water together and rolled against each other, the skin is peeled away, leaving them shiny clean and ready for cooking. It’s probably inappropriate to compare people to taros, but my point is that the only way for you to hone and polish your character is through your interactions with others.

Being on your own without having to see or think about others may seem comfortable and worry free, but you’ll find yourself stuck in a world that is terribly small and limited. By avoiding belonging to any group or organization, you deprive yourself of contact with many people, and in the end, you may well be left wondering about the meaning of your own existence.

A society without any organization whatsoever would be chaotic and disordered; there would be mob rule, with everyone just doing as they pleased, regardless of the consequences. It would be like a ship sailing out to sea without a compass—either it will lose its way or end up being wrecked.


The organization is a means, not an end; it is not perfect.

In the early years of my practice, I found it difficult to get used to the atmosphere of the Soka Gakkai organization. Back then, we lacked the element of culture, and I just couldn’t bring myself to like the organization. Sensing this, Mr. Toda said to me: “If that’s how you feel, then why don’t you create an organization that you truly like? Work hard and devote yourself earnestly to building the ideal organization through your own effort!”

It’s the same with school or your family. As a member of the organization that is school, you need to be committed to making it a better place. As a member of the organization that is your family, you need to have the spirit to create the best possible home environment. That only stands to reason, and Buddhism is based on reason. Taking personal responsibility for our lives with the spirit “I will be the driving force for change!” is the spirit of Nichiren Buddhism.

Our organization dedicated to kosen-rufu was created so that we could deepen our understanding of Nichiren Buddhism and also share its ideals and principles with others.

From Discussions on Youth, published in Japanese in March 1999.

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