Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 28: The Three Founding Presidents and the Path of Mentor and Disciple [28.3]

28.3 The Soka Gakkai’s Founding Spirit

Highlighting President Makiguchi’s great love for humanity and his fellow Soka Gakkai members, President Ikeda asserts that the strength and beautiful spirit of the Soka Gakkai can be traced to these very qualities of its founder.

The mentor-disciple spirit uniting Presidents Makiguchi and Toda is the eternal starting point of the Soka Gakkai.

We celebrate the anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding today with unprecedented growth. All of this began with Mr. Makiguchi standing up resolutely in the most tumultuous of times, followed by Mr. Toda, who rose into action with a passionate, lionlike spirit. As the third president, I, too, have taken action with the mentor-disciple spirit.

Today’s solid development and the enduring foundation we have built for the future are the product of the solemn path of mentor and disciple set forth by the first three presidents.

This path is the source of the Soka Gakkai spirit, the founding spirit of our organization. As Soka Gakkai members—genuine and courageous Bodhisattvas of the Earth1—I hope you will awaken to the real significance of what it means to practice the way of mentor and disciple throughout your life.

I never had the honor of meeting Mr. Makiguchi. Few of our members alive today have. Some of you may have an impression of him, from portraits and photographs, as an imposing or even intimidating figure. But everyone who actually knew Mr. Makiguchi fondly attests to his great warmth and compassion.

A famous episode that has been handed down relates how, one cold winter night, as a mother carrying a child on her back was preparing to return home after a discussion meeting, Mr. Makiguchi folded some newspapers and tucked them into the jacket in which the baby was wrapped, saying it would provide an extra layer against the cold. This anecdote presents a beautiful picture of his warm character.

Another person recalls Mr. Makiguchi’s thoughtful consideration for others. Once, at a discussion meeting, when the woman who had opened her home for the occasion went to the kitchen to put the kettle on, he said to her kindly: “Don’t worry about serving us tea. Please come and join in the discussion.”

His example demonstrates care for fellow members and genuine humanity. These qualities could be called the Soka Gakkai’s founding spirit and the heart of our organization. They are the source of the Soka Gakkai’s strength, and of its beautiful spirit—one so rare in this world today. These are qualities that we must never, ever lose.

From a speech at a gongyo meeting commemorating the 57th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding, Tokyo, November 18, 1987.

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

  • *1Bodhisattvas 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.