Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 29: A Religion That Exists for People’s Happiness [29.2]

29.2 The Soka Gakkai’s Spiritual Independence—A Fresh Start toward Worldwide Kosen-rufu

From the mid-1970s, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood—jealous of the success of the Soka Gakkai and President Ikeda in building a global network for kosen-rufu—plotted the lay organization’s destruction. It tried to drive a wedge between President Ikeda and the members and bring the Soka Gakkai directly under its control. In an attempt to resolve this situation, President Ikeda resigned as Soka Gakkai president in 1979. The developments leading up to and immediately after this event are known as the “first priesthood issue.”

The fundamental nature of the priesthood, however, remained unchanged, and in 1990, it hatched a plan known as Operation C (“C” meaning to “cut”), finally excommunicating the organization in November 1991. The developments leading up to and immediately after this announcement are known as the “second priesthood issue.”

On November 30, two days after the notice of excommunication was issued, a special Soka Gakkai leaders meeting to celebrate the organization’s spiritual independence was held with President Ikeda.

Hearing that a special celebration was happening today, I decided to attend!

November 28 [the date of the 1991 Notice of Excommunication from Nichiren Shoshu] is now a historic date.

November is the month of the Soka Gakkai’s founding and, as you all know, the number 28 is significant as the number of chapters in the Lotus Sutra. Quite unexpectedly, yet very appropriately, this date—November 28—has become the day of our spiritual independence.

In a letter dated November 28 [in 1269], Nichiren Daishonin writes:

“Since in any case my body will in the end be tossed aimlessly into the fields, I wish to give my life for the one Buddha vehicle of the Lotus Sutra, to follow in the footsteps of the boy Snow Mountains and the bodhisattva Medicine King, and, just as King Sen’yo and King Possessor of Virtue had their names remembered in later ages,1 to be spoken of and included in the Lotus and Nirvana sutras of the future” (WND-2, 336).

I am convinced, just as President Toda said, that the name Soka Gakkai Buddha is certain to be included in the Buddhist scriptures of future ages.

Through the selfless dedication of its members acting in exact accord with the Daishonin’s teachings, the Soka Gakkai has actualized the widespread propagation of the Mystic Law. No other organization has propagated the Mystic Law to this extent, sharing its greatness with people all around the world.

I would like to declare once again that the Soka Gakkai is the organization carrying out correct faith and practice in the true spirit of Nichiren Buddhism.


The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin is the Buddhism of the Sun; it is a world religion illuminating all humanity. Viewed from every aspect, the Soka Gakkai’s development, as an organization whose members uphold this great philosophy, should also be global and universal. It mustn’t be held back within a narrow, closed, feudalistic framework.


Based on perspectives articulated by scholars, the characteristics of a world religion can perhaps be summarized as follows:

  1. Administration conducted in an open, democratic fashion;
  2. Adherence to the fundamentals of faith while allowing free speech;
  3. Egalitarianism that promotes mutual respect and the participation of all believers;
  4. Emphasis on faith rather than ritual;
  5. Leadership that is open to all members, based on ability rather than birthright; and
  6. Universal doctrines that are propagated using methods appropriate to the times.

The Soka Gakkai has every one of these characteristics.

Buddhism teaches that all things are in a state of constant flux. It also tells us that as long as we have faith in the correct teaching, we can regard everything that happens as according fundamentally with the Buddha’s intent. It’s important to look at the present changes from a longer perspective, 20 or 30 years hence.

It’s truly regrettable that the Soka Gakkai’s efforts to maintain the harmonious unity of the priesthood and the laity have now failed to bear fruit. But, as many thoughtful individuals have pointed out, the priesthood, if it continues on its present course, is certain to decline with the passage of time and inevitably find itself embroiled in unending infighting. Some in the priesthood have also voiced concern about this. If it happens, it will have disastrous consequences.

Such conflict within the priesthood could quite easily have spilled over into the Soka Gakkai and led to our precious members being further exploited and experiencing even more suffering and pain—something that must be avoided at all costs.

I think it is deeply significant, therefore, that the priesthood should have notified us that it was disassociating itself from the Soka Gakkai before that point was reached. Later, we are sure to see that we have had a lucky escape.

We of the Soka Gakkai have faith and unity. Please be confident that all is unfolding just as Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, would have wanted, and move forward with complete peace of mind. The Daishonin is protecting us.


Mr. Toda once said: “The Soka Gakkai must remain directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin through his writings.” Mr. Toda always saw right to the heart of things. He was a great visionary.

We believe in Nichiren Daishonin, not in some intermediary, as our foundation. We must be clear on this point. We will continue to work tirelessly to fulfill the great vow for “kosen-rufu through the compassionate propagation of the great Law”2 in exact accord with the intent of the Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day.


In “On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” the Daishonin writes: “If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity” (WND-1, 736).

We must remember that kosen-rufu advances due to the boundless compassion of the Daishonin. It is our supreme honor to shoulder that noble undertaking.

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin says: “Now when Nichiren chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, he is enabling all living beings to attain Buddhahood in the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law” (OTT, 41).

Anyone who strives in accord with the Daishonin’s teachings can attain Buddhahood.

The Daishonin says “in the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law” (OTT, 41) and “for ten thousand years and more” (WND-1, 736). Let us set forth on a magnificent, hope-filled new start in our efforts for kosen-rufu, aiming toward the future, ten thousand years hence.

From a speech at the Soka Renaissance Victory Leaders Meeting, Tokyo, November 30, 1991.

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

  • *1Bodhisattva Medicine King is described in the Lotus Sutra preached by Shakyamuni, and the other figures appear in the Nirvana Sutra. The Daishonin states that he wishes that, in like manner, his name will be included in the Lotus and Nirvana sutras preached by a Buddha of the future.
  • *2One of the inscriptions in the margin of the Soka Gakkai Joju Gohonzon, enshrined in the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, reads: “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law.”