Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 24: The Organization for Kosen-rufu [24.9]

24.9 What Is “Soka Gakkai Buddha”?

Explaining the meaning of “Soka Gakkai Buddha,” a concept articulated by Josei Toda, President Ikeda stresses the lofty mission of the Soka Gakkai, the harmonious community of practitioners directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin and striving to actualize kosen-rufu.

The Daishonin declares: “If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity” (WND-1, 736). He calls on his disciples to spread throughout the world the eternal Mystic Law, which opens the way to enlightenment for all people into the infinite future of the Latter Day of the Law. Our great organization, the Soka Gakkai, appeared in this modern age, which is plagued by war and suffering, with a vow to fulfill this noble mission in accord with the Buddha’s intent.

Mr. Toda once described this as an immense source of pride and honor for the Soka Gakkai, and shared with me his conviction that in the Buddhist scriptures of future times our organization was sure to be recorded as “Soka Gakkai Buddha.” A thrill ran through me when he pronounced those words.

A Buddha named Awesome Sound King appears in “The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. But this Buddha is not a single individual. After the first Awesome Sound King Buddha passed into extinction, he was followed by another Awesome Sound King Buddha, and “this process continued until twenty thousand million Buddhas had appeared one after the other, all bearing the same name” (LSOC20, 308).

In other words, according to the Lotus Sutra, “twenty thousand million Buddhas” all named Awesome Sound King strove continuously to lead living beings to enlightenment over an incredibly long period of time. Mr. Toda’s brilliant interpretation was that this series of Buddhas of the same name could be seen as an organization or harmonious community of practitioners bearing the name Awesome Sound King Buddha.

An individual’s life span is limited. However, when the fundamental spirit of striving for kosen-rufu is passed on from mentor to disciples through successive generations in an organized body of practitioners, that organization will exhibit the eternal life force of a Buddha working continuously to guide all living beings to enlightenment.

The Soka Gakkai shines with the great light of compassion, dispelling the darkness of people’s suffering and imparting hope and courage. It speaks out with a lion’s roar for truth and justice, intrepidly vanquishing falsehood and injustice. It has unshakable conviction in the power of faith to transform karma and create happiness for oneself and others. It is a harmonious gathering based on the spirit of “many in body, one in mind,” an indestructible citadel of mentor and disciple capable of surmounting any onslaught of the three obstacles and four devils.1

There can be no doubt that the “heritage of faith for attaining Buddhahood” (cf. WND-1, 217) pulses in the lives of the mentors and disciples of Soka, flowing powerfully without interruption for all eternity.

That is why Mr. Toda declared that should the words of a Buddha of future times be recorded in scriptures like those of the past, it would be quite natural to find the Soka Gakkai—the harmonious community of practitioners directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin and striving to actualize kosen-rufu—appearing in its pages with the name Soka Gakkai Buddha. Such is the noble mission and unparalleled greatness of the Soka Gakkai.

In a letter to one of his disciples, the Daishonin writes to the effect: “Should you die, you must declare to Brahma and Shakra [the two main guardian deities of Buddhism] that you are a disciple of the priest Nichiren, the foremost votary [practitioner] of the Lotus Sutra in Japan” (cf. WND-1, 82).

As proud modern-day disciples of Nichiren Daishonin and as proud members of the Soka Gakkai united in the spirit of oneness of mentor and disciple, let us continue to strive for kosen-rufu to the very end of our lives, and indeed throughout all eternity. Let us take the lead with pride and confidence!

From an essay series “The Light of the Century of Humanity,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, May 10, 2006.

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

  • *1Three obstacles and four devils: Various obstacles and hindrances to the practice of Buddhism. The three obstacles are (1) the obstacle of earthly desires, (2) the obstacle of karma, and (3) the obstacle of retribution. The four devils are (1) the hindrance of the five components, (2) the hindrance of earthly desires, (3) the hindrance of death, and (4) the hindrance of the devil king.