Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 28: The Three Founding Presidents and the Path of Mentor and Disciple [28.27]

28.27 The Eternal Story of Soka Mentors and Disciples

President Ikeda voices confidence that the story of Soka mentors and disciples will continue to illuminate the 21st century with the light of hope.

At age 19,
I stood up
in the realm of Soka
to work for kosen-rufu
in oneness with my mentor.

To this day, I am constantly engaged in dialogue with my mentor. In my mind, I stand before him as the youth I was. Kosen-rufu was our shared aspiration, our great dream and adventure as mentor and disciple.

Envisioning his fearless countenance, I report to him on my victories and affirm my determination to accomplish even more. Knowing I am acting to realize his ideals, my courage is multiplied a hundredfold, and strength wells forth limitlessly within me. I am filled with boundless gratitude for being allowed to lead such an unsurpassed life.

The Mystic Law is unaging and eternal, as is my vow to my mentor—and that is why, no matter how many decades go by, I remain forever youthful.

Mr. Toda often used to say to the youth who along with him were disciples of Mr. Makiguchi: “Knowing President Makiguchi will someday become your life’s supreme honor.”

He also regarded experiencing four persecutions with Mr. Makiguchi as a source of unequaled pride. [The three persecutions prior to their imprisonment refer to Mr. Makiguchi as school principal being unjustly transferred by the educational authorities to a succession of elementary schools, including Nishimachi, Mikasa, and Shirokane. Mr. Toda, then a schoolteacher, accompanied him each time.] He often spoke passionately of vindicating his mentor, who had died in prison. With tears in his eyes, he declared that he would make the world recognize Mr. Makiguchi’s greatness.

Not only had he had the fortune of encountering his mentor, but he was able to support and strive alongside him at the time of the bitterest adversity, and later work to make his greatness known to the entire world. There is no higher honor for a disciple than this.

Adversity is the touchstone of truth. When Mr. Toda’s businesses collapsed, some ungrateful disciples vilely denounced and abandoned him. Others pretended to remain his disciples, but badmouthed him behind his back.

Calmly surveying their base behavior, I remained steadfast in following the luminous path of the oneness of mentor and disciple that I had chosen.

One day with a bright smile, Mr. Toda said to me: “Daisaku, you are my foremost disciple. I am blessed to have such a fine disciple.” And that smile has remained forever etched in my heart.

The German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: “A capable master draws good students, and their activities in turn branch out indefinitely.”1

Limitlessly expanding and building on the outstanding achievements of their mentor is the proud struggle of disciples.

In works of history and literature from all times and places, we find a rich variety of stories. They include inspiring tales of heroes overcoming obstacles or saving others through their kindness or bravery.

The Lotus Sutra can be described as a magnificent story of the victory of mentor and disciple. The essential teaching (latter 14 chapters) of the sutra, in particular, tells the story of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth2 who, as Shakyamuni’s disciples from the remote past, vow to widely propagate the Law in the evil age after the Buddha’s passing. Further, we can read it in light of Nichiren Buddhism, based on the message implicit in the sutra’s text. Then it becomes the story of the disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, who embodies the role of Bodhisattva Superior Practices [leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth] and the fundamental teacher. These disciples who emerge from the earth carry on his intent and take action to realize worldwide kosen-rufu.

By spreading the movement for kosen-rufu to 192 countries and territories, surmounting all kinds of hardships and obstacles along the way, we of the Soka Gakkai, the organization that has inherited the Buddha’s intent, have made this story of the victory of mentor and disciple a reality.

The two Ikegami brothers, Munenaka and Munenaga, maintained steadfast faith in the Mystic Law, even when the elder brother was disowned by their father. They ultimately converted their father to their faith in an act of the highest filial devotion. Praising them for this, the Daishonin writes: “Could there ever be a more wonderful story than your own [one that will be recounted by future generations]?” (cf. WND-1, 499).

As Mr. Toda’s disciple, I have been able to leave for posterity a timeless, inspiring story of kosen-rufu and an eternal, imperishable epic of mentor and disciple. There is no end to this story. As long as you, my disciples, continue to create your own individual stories of victory and achievement, our triumphant shared drama of mentor and disciple will shine on with ever-increasing brilliance throughout the world and into the future.

The story of Soka mentors and disciples is a source of hope and integrity that will illuminate our world in the 21st century and light the way to a brighter tomorrow for humanity.

From the preface to Shitei no hikari (The Light of Mentor and Disciple), published in Japanese in January 2009.

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

  • *1Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Winckelmann and His Age,” in Goethe’s Collected Works, edited by John Gearey and translated by Ellen von Nardroff and Ernest H. von Nardroff, vol. 3 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994), p. 114.
  • *2Bodhisattvas 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.