Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 26: Leaders Who Guide Others to Happiness [26.1]

26.1 A Leadership Revolution

The purpose of the Soka Gakkai and kosen-rufu is to enable everyone to lead lives of joy and fulfillment. Through President Ikeda’s peerless leadership and commitment to helping people actualize happy lives, the Soka Gakkai has overcome all obstacles to usher in the dawn of worldwide kosen-rufu.

This chapter focuses on President Ikeda’s leadership philosophy, which serves as an eternal guideline for all Soka Gakkai leaders.

In the first excerpt, President Ikeda introduces the leadership ideals of his predecessors, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda. He then explains that Soka Gakkai leaders are people who always respect, encourage, and work for the happiness of others. Such people embody a revolution in leadership, he says.

In your respective communities and societies, you are volunteering your time and energy to chant and work for the members’ happiness, to support and encourage them with heartfelt care and concern. Your actions are those of great bodhisattvas; your spirit, that of noble Buddhas.

Nichiren Daishonin cites the following words: “The truer the teaching, the lower the stage [of those it can bring to enlightenment]”1 (WND-1, 785–86). In other words, the more correct a Buddhist teaching, the greater the number of people it will lead to happiness. If we apply this principle to the leaders who spearhead efforts to spread the teaching, we can take it to mean that the deeper their faith, the more they will respect their fellow practitioners and the harder they will work to help even more people become happy.

In the light of the law of cause and effect, through the good fortune we accumulate by treasuring and caring for many people, we will be able to attain a state of life in which we are protected and supported by many others in this and future existences. Our Buddhist practice today is the cause for becoming great leaders in lifetime after lifetime.

In his Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System of Value-Creating Education), founding Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi called for a leadership revolution. He insisted that we must bring to an end an age where those in positions of authority use people as a means for perpetuating their own power. And he stressed the need to produce a steady stream of new leaders who will dedicate their lives to contributing to people’s happiness.

Leaders must not place themselves above others. And they most certainly should never look down on people, thinking themselves somehow special. Only when one resolves to work together with others, respecting them and being willing to humbly learn from everyone, is one on the way to becoming a great leader. These were some of the key points of the leadership revolution envisaged by Mr. Makiguchi.

Are you taking action for members’ happiness and for kosen-rufu, or are you using the organization and its members for selfish purposes? There will be a huge difference in outcome depending on your inner attitude, which no one else can see.

My mentor, Mr. Toda, once said:

“Those of you gathered here today are Soka Gakkai leaders. I am sure all of you are not only striving for your own happiness but are determined that everyone you are guiding becomes happy as well.

“Becoming happy yourself is no great challenge; it’s quite simple. But the essence of Nichiren Buddhism lies in helping others become happy, too. Only when you sincerely chant to the Gohonzon, strengthen your faith, and have a spirit of selfless dedication to your Buddhist practice can you truly guide and lead others.”2

I hope that, as leaders of our movement, you will strive with a passionate vow to help others become happy and win in their lives.

It’s especially important that you as leaders praise and encourage your fellow members. Never lose your temper and scold or berate people.

Those who praise their fellow members will build lives of boundless good fortune as indestructible as the Himalayas, king of all mountain ranges.

The Daishonin also writes: “The more one praises the blessings of the Lotus Sutra, the more one’s own blessings will increase. Bear in mind that the twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra contain only a few passages elucidating the truth, but a great many words of praise” (WND-1, 673).

Let’s start by offering words of praise. All of us are human and bound to experience ups and downs in our moods and emotions from time to time. But as leaders, let’s always make a point of starting off by warmly greeting everyone and expressing our appreciation for their efforts. Doing so lifts not only others’ hearts but also our own, spreading joy and increasing benefit for everyone.

From a speech at an SGI general meeting, USA, June 23, 1996.

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

  • *1From Miao-lo’s Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight.”
  • *2Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 4 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1984), p. 378.