Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 26: Leaders Who Guide Others to Happiness [26.4]

26.4 Winning People’s Trust through Compassion and Wisdom

President Ikeda says that value-creating leaders need to possess the compassion and wisdom to respond with thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and flexibility to the situations and feelings of each person.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Teaching another something is the same as oiling the wheels of a cart so that they turn even though it is heavy, or as floating a boat on water so that it moves ahead easily” (WND-1, 1086). These words contain an important lesson. If you keep pushing a heavy cart without oiling the wheels, it is bound to break. A similar principle applies when trying to teach someone something.

In giving guidance, leaders must continually ask themselves: “What can I say to lift this person’s spirits?” “What kind of encouragement can I offer, what can I do, to enable this person to advance joyfully?” Having this spirit of concern is crucial. There is no value in giving one-sided “guidance” that fails to take into account what the other person is thinking or feeling. If a leader rambles on endlessly when someone is hungry, or just tells someone to make greater effort when they’re not feeling well, their words won’t be appreciated, even by those ready and eager to do their best.

It is important to have the compassion to respond to others’ needs and situations, to give considered thought to how to best help them, and then to take appropriate action. Wisdom arises from compassion.

When speaking with a young man or student, for example, rather than getting into a complex discussion, it may sometimes be more inspiring to say something like “You must be hungry. Why don’t we go down to the corner and grab a bite to eat? I’ll treat you.” Or, when talking with a young woman who is discouraged because she is having little success in achieving her goal in an activity for kosen-rufu, you might say something like “Don’t worry, I’ll help you!” Encouraging people in this way can give them great peace of mind. After all, merely having the wish to contribute to kosen-rufu is in itself a wonderful thing.

We can’t just give one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter guidance. Buddhism encompasses all phenomena—the universe and everything in it. Therefore, we have to consider things from a broad and lofty perspective. We need to be flexible and use our wisdom to make everyone feel invigorated. To do so is a genuine expression of strong faith.

Leaders need to have unshakable confidence in the Mystic Law, warm sensitivity and thoughtfulness, and the ability to respond to the hearts of others with wisdom and flexibility. Without such qualities, they cannot hope to win the trust of many people or realize kosen-rufu. In contrast, the more leaders there are who possess such qualities, the more our movement for kosen-rufu will expand.

From a speech at a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, February 24, 1996.

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