Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 26: Leaders Who Guide Others to Happiness [26.10]

26.10 One Person of Passionate Commitment Is Stronger Than a Force of Untold Numbers

President Ikeda expresses his firm belief that what opened the way to worldwide kosen-rufu were his prayers and efforts based on a vow to protect his mentor and fellow members by taking on the brunt of all persecution.

In August 53 years ago [in 1947], I became a disciple of Josei Toda. Soon after joining the Soka Gakkai, I read the Daishonin’s writing “On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings.” There is one passage that says:

“Once you become a disciple or lay supporter of the votary [practitioner] who practices the true Lotus Sutra in accord with the Buddha’s teachings, you are bound to face the three types of enemies [arrogant lay people, arrogant priests, and arrogant false sages].1 Therefore, from the very day you listen to [and take faith in] this sutra, you should be fully prepared to face the great persecutions of the three types of enemies that are certain to be more horrible now after the Buddha’s passing” (WND-1, 391).

As a disciple who took Mr. Toda’s spirit as my own, I made the following vow: “Let me alone bear the brunt of any persecutions. Allow me to protect my mentor and all the members of the Soka Gakkai.”

Over the last 53 years, I have constantly prayed and striven to fulfill that vow. It is my greatest personal pride that, while fighting fiercely against the three types of enemies predicted by the Lotus Sutra and the Daishonin’s writings, I have been able to open the way for worldwide kosen-rufu, extending our movement to 163 countries and territories [192 as of 2023], without a single person losing their life to persecution.

When the Daishonin was about to be executed at Tatsunokuchi,2 he exclaimed: “What greater joy could there be?” (WND-1, 767). And when he was exiled to Sado,3 he declared: “Because I view things this way, I feel immeasurable delight even though I am now an exile” (WND-1, 386).

In life and in the struggle for kosen-rufu, all our sufferings and earthly desires are fuel for our enlightenment. The tougher the challenges we face, the greater the joy and benefit and the higher the life condition we will ultimately savor.

It’s important for leaders to resolve to work harder than anyone. They should also keep striving and live their lives cheerfully and confidently, determined to enjoy themselves more than anyone. People with such resolve are invincible; no one can match them. One person of passionate commitment is stronger than a force of untold numbers.

The outcome of a struggle is decided by the leaders’ determination, by their sense of responsibility.

The members in the early days of the Soka Gakkai rose up with a spirit of absolute determination to triumph and achieve kosen-rufu in their communities. If you have that determination, capable people will appear and join you in realizing that goal. Your resolve will also be communicated to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the universe, who will respond to your dedication. In other words, resolute prayer is the key. And just as the fields burst into flower when spring comes, all of your efforts, too, will blossom without fail when the right time comes.

From a speech at a Japan-Italy representatives conference, Gunma, August 11, 2000.

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

  • *1Three types of enemies: Also, three powerful enemies. Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described in the concluding verse section of the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Miao-lo of China summarizes them as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests, and arrogant false sages.
  • *2Tatsunokuchi Persecution: The failed attempt, instigated by powerful government figures, to behead the Daishonin under the cover of darkness on the beach at Tatsunokuchi, on the outskirts of Kamakura, on September 12, 1271.
  • *3Sado Exile: The Daishonin’s exile to Sado Island off the western coast of Japan from October 1271—immediately following the Tatsunokuchi Persecution on September 12, 1271—through March 1274.