Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 24: The Organization for Kosen-rufu [24.7]

24.7 Kosen-rufu Starts from Discussion Meetings

President Ikeda stresses that the correct practice of Nichiren Buddhism is found in Soka Gakkai discussion meetings, which are characterized by dialogue, hope, and encouragement.

Jutta Unkart-Seifert, former undersecretary of Austria’s Federal Ministry of Education, the Arts and Sport, spent time speaking with small groups of Soka Gakkai members in various places throughout Japan. Her conclusion after those encounters was that the secret to the Soka Gakkai’s growth and development is the openness and equality that exist within our organization. I couldn’t agree more.

Soka Gakkai discussion meetings brim with dialogue, openness, equality, philosophy, and hope.

I always feel a rising excitement in my heart when the week for discussion meetings comes around each month. I envision the warm light glowing in the windows of meeting places throughout Japan. I hear the members’ happy voices singing Soka Gakkai songs and their joyous laughter. I imagine the topics that are being discussed and the determinations everyone is conveying. I wish that I could sit inconspicuously in the back of each room, wholeheartedly applauding and cheering on every speaker. I love discussion meetings!


The Daishonin instructs in one of his writings: “Those resolved to seek the way should gather and listen to the contents of this letter” (WND-1, 206). In other words, discussion meetings—where fellow members gather to study the Daishonin’s writings, support and encourage one another, and deepen their faith—embody the correct practice of Nichiren Buddhism.

A young man once told Mr. Makiguchi that he thought it would be better to hold large-scale lectures rather than discussion meetings. “No, it wouldn’t,” Mr. Makiguchi replied without hesitation. “Dialogue is the only way to communicate with another about life’s problems. At a lecture, listeners inevitably feel uninvolved. Even the Daishonin’s treatise ‘On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land’ was written in the form of a dialogue, you know.”

Mr. Makiguchi traveled great distances to speak with even a single individual. He would conduct a discussion meeting for just one person. And his conviction did not falter even when he was imprisoned by the wartime militarist authorities. He challenged his interrogators: “Is there any difference between that which ensues from failing to do something good and that which ensues from doing something bad?” He refuted their mistaken beliefs through his logical and reasonable arguments about correct and erroneous Buddhist teachings.

In his inaugural speech on becoming second Soka Gakkai president in 1951, Mr. Toda declared that kosen-rufu begins with one-to-one, face-to-face dialogue.1

In one of his writings, the Daishonin quotes the proverb: “One is the mother of ten thousand” (WND-1, 131). Aware of the importance of even one person, the founding Soka Gakkai presidents have acted with the resolve to share Nichiren Buddhism with every individual they encountered. This firm determination has led to the present development of our movement for kosen-rufu.

From an essay series “The Light of the Century of Humanity,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, January 20, 2006.

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

  • *1Translated from Japanese. Cf. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 3 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1983), p. 431.