Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 28: The Three Founding Presidents and the Path of Mentor and Disciple [28.26]

28.26 Carrying the Founding Spirit into the Future

At a meeting commemorating the 58th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding, President Ikeda explains that within the context of the ten thousand years or more of the Latter Day of the Law, the Soka Gakkai is still in its founding phase. He urges members to carry on the founding spirit of the first three presidents and continue building the foundation for kosen-rufu.

The Soka Gakkai has confronted numerous hardships and overcome each one. This is the proof and honor of genuine disciples of Nichiren Daishonin.

Our founding president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, used to say: “Unless you have the courage to be an enemy of those who are evil, you cannot be a friend to the good.”1 Unless we have the courage to combat injustice, we contribute to it.

He also said that while devilish functions will not bother to assail those who embrace the Mystic Law only for their own benefit, the three obstacles and four devils2 will inevitably descend with full force on those who oppose and struggle against great evil. Indeed, he said, the appearance of such obstacles earns us the name ‘practitioners’ [as opposed to mere ‘believers’].3

Such was Mr. Makiguchi’s conviction and commitment based on the Daishonin’s teachings. And true to his words, he battled with unwavering resolve against persecution by Japan’s militarist government that had allied itself with State Shinto.

On November 18, 1944, exactly 14 years after the Soka Gakkai’s founding, Mr. Makiguchi died in a bitterly cold prison because of his beliefs. He was 73 years old. At that time, the noble founding spirit he exemplified became a proud and immortal legacy.

Second president Josei Toda alone carried on this spirit of his mentor. And as the third president, I charged ahead as Mr. Toda’s disciple, following in his footsteps. I strove tirelessly, with complete dedication, on the unsurpassed path of mentor and disciple. Therefore, I have no regrets and am not afraid of anything.

This legacy of persevering undefeated amid hardship that has been forged by the first three presidents pulses with the imperishable Soka Gakkai spirit.

Compared to Mr. Makiguchi’s age when he died, I am still young [at 60]. I am determined to work 10 or 20 times harder for kosen-rufu than I have until now.

I especially hope that you, the youth division members, will strive with all your passion and power. This is to your own benefit, and it is the natural mission of youth. I look to you to carry on and spread the founding spirit of the first three presidents into the vast, uncharted future, and develop an amazing vision for kosen-rufu.


Our great journey of kosen-rufu will continue through the ten thousand years or more of the Latter Day of the Law and on into the infinite future. In that grand context, today we are still in the founding phase of our movement.

The Latin root of the English word foundation is fundus, meaning “bottom” or “base.”

We can’t develop a strong foundation or basis without experiencing all kinds of hardships and difficulties. All of the issues and problems arising today will serve to fortify our foundation so that it will endure forever. I am certain that it all accords with the Buddha’s intent. In Buddhism, nothing is without meaning. Only by confronting, surmounting, and triumphing over each obstacle with courageous faith can we build a firm foundation for our magnificent goal of worldwide kosen-rufu. With that strong conviction, please overcome every hardship with a joyful spirit and advance cheerfully with a bright smile.


Mr. Toda always said that our aim is to enable all people to attain the life state of Buddhahood—that is, to reveal their highest human potential. Doing so, he said, will also establish the foundation for world peace and bring true happiness to our planet.

There are many movements around the world with many different goals. But none has a goal as noble, or principles and practice for its realization as sound, as our movement for kosen-rufu.

Mr. Toda also said that we are comrades from time without beginning sharing a beautiful unity of purpose, who have emerged together from that wonderful eternal realm into this troubled saha world.4

The aim of our movement for kosen-rufu is the happiness of all humanity in the Latter Day of the Law. We have been born in different places around the world—in the UK, France, Germany, the US, and Brazil—to carry out that mission.

You are all dealing with personal challenges, I am sure. But you have voluntarily chosen to be born into these circumstances. You are all courageous Bodhisattvas of the Earth,5 who in accord with your own vow and mission have risen to action to create peace and happiness wherever you live. Never forget your noble role and the significance of being born in this world.

Let us work together to protect our joyful, pure, and harmonious community of faith and expand the realm of happiness of the Mystic Law in today’s world rife with suffering.

From a gongyo meeting commemorating the 58th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding, November 18, 1988, Tokyo.

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

  • *1Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 6 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1983), p. 71.
  • *2Three 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.
  • *3Cf. Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu, vol. 10, pp. 152–53.
  • *4Saha world: This world, which is full of suffering. Often translated as the world of endurance. In Sanskrit, saha means the earth; it derives from a root meaning “to bear” or “to endure.” For this reason, in the Chinese versions of Buddhist scriptures, saha is rendered as endurance. In this context, the saha world indicates a world in which people must endure suffering.
  • *5Bodhisattvas of the Earth: An innumerable host of bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the earth and to whom Shakyamuni Buddha entrusts the propagation of the Mystic Law, or the essence of the Lotus Sutra, in the Latter Day of the Law.