Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 29: A Religion That Exists for People’s Happiness [29.4]

29.4 The Spirit of Working for the Happiness of the People

Explaining that the Soka Gakkai has grown and developed to its present extent because of its respect for people and commitment to working for their happiness, President Ikeda voices his hope that the youth will forever carry on this essential spirit.

The Soka Gakkai has always worked for the happiness of the people, and it continues to do so today. That’s why it has won the people’s trust. There is nothing more powerful.

Our success has been due to this commitment to people’s happiness. This is an unchanging principle, a lesson borne out by history that I hope you will always remember. It is the point I wish to communicate to you today.

Who deserves the highest respect? It is hardworking, ordinary people. Though they may lack wealth or education, among them are truly admirable individuals.

The three martyrs of Atsuhara1 live on as models of selfless devotion to kosen-rufu. They, too, were ordinary people, without any wealth or status.

Who in actuality is striving earnestly to share Nichiren Buddhism with others? Who is working wholeheartedly to spread our movement for kosen-rufu? It is our members, all ordinary people from different walks of life, with our women’s division members in the forefront.


Religions can be examined or compared in terms of their doctrines and principles. But history shows that religions deeply committed to people’s happiness are the ones that gain people’s genuine support and stand the test of time.

The Soka Gakkai has developed in accord with this principle. And now we are in the process of building the foundations for a new age of dynamic development in the 21st century.

The Law, or Buddhism itself, is eternal. Though the Daishonin proclaimed his teaching 700 years ago, it is only with the appearance of the Soka Gakkai that it has been put to use widely for the happiness of the people. The present state of worldwide kosen-rufu has been achieved entirely through our efforts, day after day, for the happiness of our fellow members.

I, too, have devoted myself to the members every day, from morning to night, for nearly five decades. The Gohonzon is aware of this. I say this not out of pride, but solely for the sake of future generations.

That is why the Soka Gakkai is now one of the leading organizations in Japan and the world. Please don’t ever think that this was easy.


There was a person who carefully observed from afar the Soka Gakkai’s commitment, and my own personal commitment, to working for the happiness of the people. I am referring to the late Premier Zhou Enlai of China. Premier Zhou said that the Soka Gakkai had a broad base of support among the people, which made it an organization worth paying attention to.

The premier’s own focus was also on the happiness of the people. Our shared commitment to the people forged a bond between us that became a golden bridge of friendship linking our two countries.

That’s why I declared to those gathered at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport as I was preparing to depart on my first visit to China [in 1974]: “I have come this far together with people who have been called the poor and the sick. It has not been through any worldly power or wealth.”

In addition to many well-wishers, representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Japan also came to see me off.

I want you all to be proud of the Soka Gakkai spirit.

Religion should exist precisely to help the poor and the sick, to aid those who are suffering the most. Don’t you agree?

I would like all of you, my young friends, to take to heart and brilliantly carry on my spirit, the spirit of working for the happiness of the people.

From a speech at a youth division meeting commemorating March 16, Kosen-rufu Day, Tokyo, March 13, 1998.

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

  • *1Three martyrs of Atsuhara: Three farmer disciples of Nichiren Daishonin—Jinshiro, Yagoro, and Yarokuro—who were arrested and beheaded during the Atsuhara Persecution, a series of threats and acts of violence against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji District, Suruga Province (present-day central Shizuoka Prefecture), starting in around 1275 and continuing until around 1283.