Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 30: The Future Division—The Treasure of the Soka Gakkai [30.10]

30.10 The Growth of Future Division Members Holds the Key to Victory

President Ikeda reflects on how he poured his energy into fostering the Future Division members during a period when the Soka Gakkai was facing harsh criticism, always keeping his sights set firmly on the future.

Looking back at the history of Buddhism, Nichiren Daishonin notes: “Even when . . . [Buddhist] priests set out from Japan to take some sutras [back] to China, no one was found there who could embrace these sutras and teach [or transmit] them to others. It was as though there were only wooden or stone statues garbed in priests’ robes and carrying begging bowls” (WND-1, 401).

The only way to perpetuate the correct teachings and principles of Buddhism into the future is to continually foster those who will embrace, practice, and pass them on to others.

In 1966, I held a series of lectures for high school division members on the Daishonin’s writings. I gave my absolute all to the task, and together we studied the following passages from “Letter from Sado”:

“Only by defeating a powerful enemy can one prove one’s real strength. When an evil ruler in consort with priests of erroneous teachings tries to destroy the correct teaching and do away with a man of wisdom, those with the heart of a lion king are sure to attain Buddhahood. (WND-1, 302)”

“Iron, when heated in the flames and pounded, becomes a fine sword. Worthies and sages are tested by abuse. (WND-1, 303)”

It has been, and always will be, the tradition of Soka mentors and disciples to engrave these golden words in their hearts. It has been so ever since the time of Soka Gakkai founding president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who laid down his life for his beliefs.


I was determined that our movement would come into its own in the 21st century.

In 1970, shortly after our May 3 Soka Gakkai Headquarters general meeting, held amid criticism resulting from the so-called Freedom of Speech Incident,1 I gave a press conference at which several journalists asked deliberately provocative and disparaging questions about the Soka Gakkai’s future.

I replied:

“Please wait and see how the Soka Gakkai develops in the 21st century! We’ll have a steady stream of outstanding individuals who are making great contributions to society. That will be the proof of my victory!”

The growth of our Future Division and youth division members would guarantee the Soka Gakkai’s successful development. Firm in that belief, I withstood every attack and opened the great path for truth and justice.


There are now [in 2008] some 35,000 noble Bodhisattvas of the Earth2 striving for kosen-rufu in India, the birthplace of Buddhism. Some 40 percent of them are youth division members, and of those, an impressive 30 percent belong to the Future Division. [As of February 2023, the membership of Bharat (India) Soka Gakkai exceeds 275,000, over half of which are members of the youth division and Future Division.] One can always find Future Division members, brimming with the mentor-disciple spirit, actively taking part in discussion meetings by performing skits and contributing in other ways. I have heard that many older members, moved by the inspiring examples of these young people, are applying themselves to Buddhist study with ever greater joy and enthusiasm.

Teaching the “courage of a lion king” (WND-1, 997) to our precious lion cubs of the Future Division is the way to ensure the ongoing development of kosen-rufu.


Behold! The time has now come when my youthful disciples are vibrantly active on the grand stage of the 21st century. I have won! The Soka Gakkai, too, has triumphed and will continue to do so forever, thanks to the lionlike spirit of courageous young disciples.

From an essay series “The Light of the Century of Humanity,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, February 17, 2008.

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

  • *1This refers to the Freedom of Speech Incident, the name given to a controversy that arose in 1970 when the Soka Gakkai defended itself against libelous claims. For further details, see the “Fierce Winds” chapter of The New Human Revolution, vol. 14.
  • *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.