Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 28: The Three Founding Presidents and the Path of Mentor and Disciple [28.21]

28.21 Taking the Lead in Kosen-rufu throughout Eternity

In his first essay after turning 70 in January 1998—marking the start of several series to which he has to date contributed some 800 essays—President Ikeda reflects on his life’s journey and shares his goals for the future.

Just a month before my 30th birthday, I made the following entry in my diary [on December 4, 1957]: “My only life is to strive, advance, and live alongside my mentor. I know I owe my life to my mentor.” So sickly was I that my doctor told me I probably wouldn’t live to 30.

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, showed more concern for me than anyone. He continued to guide and encourage me with compassion and strictness. I spent my days and nights in an exacting, unceasing struggle to propagate Nichiren Buddhism. When ill health and exhaustion sapped my strength, Mr. Toda said to me: “You are waging a battle against the three obstacles and four devils.1 Take all your pain and suffering directly to the Gohonzon, and fight to overcome it all.”

He also told me: “Live your life and forge your faith in such a way that you can meet death with dignity and composure whenever it should come.” His voice—the voice of a strict yet loving father—pierced the very depths of my being.

On another occasion, Mr. Toda said to me: “I will give you my life! Live, in my stead, live long!”


My mentor breathed his life into me, and I triumphed over my fate, over being hounded by the devil of illness, and I would soon reach the age of 30. Exalted, I recorded in my diary how I had spent each decade of my life and what my goals were for the decades ahead.

To the age of 10: Growing up the son of humble seaweed harvesters.
To the age of 20: Self-awakening and struggling against illness.
To the age of 30: Studying and practicing Nichiren Buddhism, and making earnest efforts to defeat the devil of illness.
To the age of 40: Perfecting my study and practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings.
To the age of 50: Making a clear statement in society.
To the age of 60: Completing the foundation for the kosen-rufu movement in Japan.

But my diary says nothing about what happens after 60. I never thought I would live beyond that age.

Incidentally, it was in the autumn of my 57th year—a few months before I turned 58, the age at which Mr. Toda died—that I fell ill and was hospitalized.

If Mr. Toda were alive today, he would shortly turn 98. I am convinced that I have lived to see this 70th year because Mr. Toda shared a portion of his life force with me.

Victor Hugo began to write his great novel Ninety-Three when he was 70. At about the same age, Leo Tolstoy began to devote his energies to writing his masterpiece Resurrection. Soon after turning 70, founding Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi began publishing the journal Kachi sozo (Value Creation), opening the way for fresh discussion and debate toward spreading the greatness of the Daishonin’s teachings.

Now, I am applying myself earnestly to writing volume 8 of The New Human Revolution.2 The serialization of installments in the Seikyo Shimbun will resume shortly.

If I were to set down what I had accomplished from age 60 to the present, along with what I envisage for the decade ahead, it would read as follows:

To the age of 70: Establishing the principles of a new humanism.
To the age of 80: Completing the foundation for worldwide kosen-rufu.

From that point on, in accord with the Mystic Law and the undying, unaging nature of life expounded in Buddhism, I am determined to take the lead in kosen-rufu throughout eternity.

From an essay series “Thoughts on The New Human Revolution,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, January 4, 1998.

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.
  • *2President Ikeda completed his 30th and final volume of The New Human Revolution on August 6, 2018. The final installment was printed in the Seikyo Shimbun on September 8, 2018.