Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 24: The Organization for Kosen-rufu [24.4]

24.4 Expanding Our Life State

President Ikeda underscores the importance of polishing our lives through the mutual support and inspiration that come from engaging with many people.

How can we expand our life state? By expanding our human relationships.

Those who dislike being involved in the organization, who gradually close themselves off from others and prefer to be alone because they think that allows them more freedom, usually end up having difficulties of one sort or another.

Human relationships and interactions are important. We need to connect and associate with others, both within and outside the organization. Doing so expands and enriches our lives.

The great Indian thinker Rabindranath Tagore declared: “He [the human being] misses himself when isolated; he finds his own larger and truer self in his wide human relationship.”1

By isolating ourselves, we lose ourselves; it is within the broad range of human relationships that we discover our greater selves—Tagore’s insight is in tune with the Buddhist view and the ideals of the Soka Gakkai.

Genuine leaders don’t just speak in front of members at meetings or see their role only in terms of their organizational position. Rather, they are focused on their growth as human beings and on how, as human beings, they can help and support as many others as possible. Sincerely interacting with many people is what makes a true leader.

Withdrawing from human interaction leads to isolation, selfishness, narrow-mindedness, and self-absorption. Rejecting participation in the organization and interaction with others is a form of coldness, a lack of compassion, and a missed opportunity to improve ourselves in an atmosphere of mutual support and inspiration.

The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “It is a great folly to hope that [others] will harmonize with us. . . . For it is in conflict with natures opposed to [their] own that [human beings] must collect [their] strength to fight [their] way through; and thus all our different sides are brought out and developed, so that we soon feel ourselves a match for every foe.”2

We mustn’t avoid those who don’t seem to listen to us or who think differently from us. Part of our practice is learning to work harmoniously with such individuals and gain their understanding and support. This is how our movement as a whole advances and how we grow as individuals. We must strive to be able to engage with anyone without trepidation.

I have spoken with leaders of society around the world. The ability and strength to do so can be gained by actively forging relationships with others.

Those who strive to talk with even one more person are victors. Our victory is determined by how much energy we put into caring for and supporting others. Only by working together harmoniously with all kinds of people and inspiring them to move with us toward kosen-rufu, or world peace, can we ourselves be victorious.

From a speech at a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, July 9, 1997.

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

  • *1Rabindranath Tagore, “The Religion of Man,” in The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore, edited by Sisir Kumar Das, vol. 3 (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1966), p. 88.
  • *2Johann Peter Eckermann, Conversations of Goethe with Johann Peter Eckermann, translated by John Oxenford and edited by J. K. Moorhead (New York: Da Capo Press, 1998), p. 59.