Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 24: The Organization for Kosen-rufu [24.5]

24.5 Creating a United Network of People Dedicated to Good

Both the first and second Soka Gakkai presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, realized early on the importance of having an organization to advance kosen-rufu. Noting this, President Ikeda discusses the profound mission of the Soka Gakkai as a united network of people dedicated to good.

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi began practicing Nichiren Buddhism in 1928, when he was 57. Josei Toda, then a young man of 28, followed his lead and also began practicing that year—which, coincidentally, was the year I was born.

In his Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System of Value-Creating Education), Mr. Makiguchi writes:

“If I had not taken faith in the Lotus Sutra, then like many of my well-meaning friends and acquaintances, not wishing to offend or upset others, I would doubtless have pretended not to see wrongdoing, refrained from saying what I really thought, and clung to the belief that losing the affection and regard of others would be personally disadvantageous. . . . But if everyone continues to subscribe to this apparent wisdom, what will happen to our nation and our society?”1

Not making waves—avoiding confrontation and ignoring wrongdoing—when everyone adopts this attitude, behaving with self-serving expedience, what happens to society? It becomes dominated by corrupt people while good people are harassed and oppressed. As a Buddhist, this is unacceptable, Mr. Makiguchi maintained.

That’s why he stood up resolutely to fight for good, to struggle against evil. He initiated this challenge because the true teaching of Buddhism is that we must not stand by and ignore what is wrong and unjust.


Corrupt people readily join forces, Mr. Makiguchi warned. Because they are aware of their own failings and weaknesses, he said, they are uneasy on their own. They are quick to rally together and particularly tend to seek protection under the wings of the powerful. They also easily band together against a common foe.2

Mr. Makiguchi saw through this unchanging pattern by which corrupt people operate. His philosophy and insight are equally illuminating today. He was a truly extraordinary and unique individual.

But while the corrupt readily band together, the good do not. Why?

Mr. Makiguchi explains: “Because the good do not have such character flaws or weaknesses, they remain independent and do not readily form alliances to oppose corruption, which makes them an easy target for oppression.”3

Unlike the corrupt, the good are not weak or flawed, so they ordinarily remain self-reliant. As a result, Mr. Makiguchi says: “The more powerful the corrupt grow, the more they oppress the good—who, in contrast, remain isolated and collectively weak. As the former group multiplies, the latter is further diminished, making for a grim society.”4

Bad people join together and their influence becomes stronger and stronger. Good people remain disconnected and their power grows weaker and weaker. Society becomes brutal, dark, and threatening. Mr. Makiguchi’s words describe all too well the state of present-day Japan and the world.

To defeat this alliance of evil, a clearly defined, active force for good must be established. This is why Mr. Makiguchi founded the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-Creating Education Society; forerunner of the Soka Gakkai) as an alliance of people who champion the cause of good.

Abstract principles and theories are not enough; we have to build a solid and enduring organization dedicated to justice and good so that people will actually unite together as a force for good—it was with this conviction that Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda established our organization.

When my mentor, Mr. Toda, was released from prison and stood up alone amid the devastation of postwar Japan, the first thing he did was to embark on rebuilding the Soka Gakkai. He exerted himself tirelessly to that end. That was the starting point of all his efforts.

Mr. Toda often declared that the Soka Gakkai organization was more precious than his own life.

Already as a young man, I also had an awareness of how important organizations were. The postwar period was a time when labor unions and various other groups were very active in society.

Soon after the war’s end, before I began practicing Nichiren Buddhism, some of my friends and I would regularly gather to hold informal study sessions. On one occasion, we invited a university professor. He told us that while it was valuable to discuss ideas, from now on organizations would be the key to success. You can advocate the finest theories, he said, but those who form organizations will prevail. I have never forgotten his words.

It was a short time later that I encountered Mr. Toda and the organization of the Soka Gakkai. Mr. Toda was engaged in rebuilding the Soka Gakkai. I instinctively sensed that he was putting into practice what that professor had said, and that he was a remarkable person. With the keen eyes of youth, I discerned his greatness.

Today, the Soka Gakkai has become an unrivaled organization of the people. Inheriting Mr. Makiguchi’s founding vision, we have forged a broad and strong network of wisdom and good around the world, one which we hope to spread even more widely.

No matter how negative forces may band together to assail us, the Soka Gakkai will remain undaunted.

I hope you will recognize that the Soka Gakkai’s present development is due to the benefit gained from the selfless struggles that Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda waged at the risk of their lives against the devilish nature of authority.

From a speech at a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, November 12, 1994.

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

  • *1Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System of Value-Creating Education), in Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 6 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1983), pp. 68–69.
  • *2Cf. Ibid., pp. 67–68.
  • *3Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 8 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1984), p. 349.
  • *4Translated from Japanese. Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu, vol. 6 , p. 69.