Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 27: The Mentor-Disciple Relationship Is the Heart of the Soka Gakkai [27.8]

27.8 The Disciples Are Key

Speaking to youth, President Ikeda explains that the way of mentor and disciple is the path of Buddhism and the path of the Soka Gakkai, and that it ultimately depends on the efforts of the disciples.

Even in the midst of persecution, founding Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a great lion king of faith who gave his life for his beliefs, often declared that a steady stream of young people was certain to follow in his footsteps.

Mr. Toda succeeded Mr. Makiguchi, and I carried on from Mr. Toda. Now, I have you, millions of young successors. I am confident that you will carry on after me. Please continue to resolutely follow this path of lions, the path of mentor and disciple, while forging ever stronger and deeper bonds of unity.

The mentor-disciple relationship is the essence of Nichiren Buddhism and the heart of the Soka Gakkai spirit.

In his well-known writing “Flowering and Bearing Grain,” the Daishonin says: “If a teacher has a good disciple, both will gain the fruit of Buddhahood, but if a teacher fosters a bad disciple, both will fall into hell. If teacher and disciple are of different minds, they will never accomplish anything” (WND-1, 909). In other words, the mentor-disciple relationship ultimately hinges on the commitment and actions of the disciple.


As third Soka Gakkai president, I accomplished all the goals and visions of Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda. Taking on the brunt of all persecution, I fought to the end, and I triumphed. This is my greatest pride. Now, I must entrust the future to you. It is your turn, members of the youth division!

From a speech at a nationwide youth division leaders meeting, Tokyo, January 17, 1998.

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