Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 30: The Future Division—The Treasure of the Soka Gakkai [30.5]

30.5 The Seven Guidelines for the Future Division

In this selection, President Ikeda explains the significance of his decision to form groups for the organization’s younger members soon after he became third Soka Gakkai president. He also reaffirms the seven guidelines he established for the Future Division and shares the hopes he sought to express in the song he wrote for them, “Torchbearers of Justice.”

“We must foster fine young people who can work for the benefit of society, their country, and all humankind. That is the purpose of the Soka Gakkai,” said my mentor, Josei Toda. He constantly asserted that the fundamental purpose of the Soka Gakkai is to produce capable individuals who can contribute to peacebuilding and people’s happiness.

I feel exactly the same.

I have worked wholeheartedly to foster the youth, who will shape the future of humanity. I have also striven in earnest to nurture our Future Division members, with the spirit of calling forth an ever-growing stream of young Bodhisattvas of the Earth.1

In my travels around Japan and the world, I have tried whenever possible to meet with Future Division members, and have forged countless heart-to-heart bonds with them.

Without successors to carry the baton of the Soka Gakkai spirit, worldwide kosen-rufu will not develop, and the realization of happiness for all humanity and world peace will remain a dream.

I am happy to say that today, in this new era of worldwide kosen-rufu, graduates of the Future Division are making remarkable contributions all across the globe.

And our present Future Division members everywhere, who are growing strongly and vigorously, will be the ones who sound the momentous bell marking the start of the third series of Seven Bells2 in the second half of the 21st century.

The enduring foundation of the Soka Gakkai has been established.


Mr. Toda often said:

“The children of Soka Gakkai members are born possessing the eternally shining star of happiness and victory that is faith in the Mystic Law. Let’s all pray for the growth of our children! The Soka Gakkai exists to nurture young people.”

It was because I was firmly resolved to carry on this spirit of my mentor that I lost no time in establishing the high school, junior high school, and boys and girls divisions—which together comprise the Future Division—after my inauguration as the third Soka Gakkai president.

Some top Soka Gakkai leaders suggested that there were more important priorities, but I declared:

“If we don’t plant saplings, trees will not grow. If we wait to plant them when we need sturdy, tall trees, it will be too late. We mustn’t let the time for action slip by!”

The right time is not something one waits for; one creates it!

The time of planting saplings requires our greatest care and effort. In the early days of the high school division in Japan, as if providing sunlight, water, and nutrients to young saplings, I put my heart and soul into giving lectures to its members on such important writings of the Daishonin as “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” and “Letter from Sado.” I gave my all. We spoke, studied, and sang together. I have been closely involved in fostering Future Division members from the very start, right up to the present day.

I have found it deeply gratifying and reassuring that all of our members, taking my spirit as their own, treasure the Future Division members and are working tirelessly alongside me to nurture their growth.

Over the five decades since the Future Division’s founding, many members all around the world, at times amid truly challenging circumstances, have devoted themselves to fostering the Future Division members with the same prayer and commitment as I have. I will never forget their dedicated efforts. It is no exaggeration to say that the Soka Gakkai has achieved such remarkable growth precisely because we have engaged in nurturing the development of the Future Division members through diverse and creative activities.

Those who foster capable individuals are capable individuals themselves in the truest sense.

When we foster capable people today, we are also building a stage upon which new capable Bodhisattvas of the Earth can emerge in the future and be active.

The Daishonin writes: “The flower will return to the root and the essence of the plant will remain in the earth” (WND-1, 737). In accord with this principle, the benefit accumulated by courageous Bodhisattvas of the Earth who spread the Mystic Law also becomes the benefit and good fortune of those who fostered them. The rewards or positive results of nurturing the children of the Buddha are immeasurable and boundless.


Treasuring each person, working to eliminate misery from the world, and believing that everyone can become happy—this way of life and faith based on the Mystic Law are passed on through contact with dedicated Soka Gakkai members.

That’s why it’s important to raise our children in the “garden of the Soka Gakkai.” As part of that process, please share with your children how your family came to join the Soka Gakkai. Talk to them about the roots of your family’s Buddhist practice, about family members’ past efforts for kosen-rufu and significant turning points or events that inspired them in their practice. Hearing members at discussion meetings and other gatherings relate experiences of how they have turned their lives around through practicing Nichiren Buddhism can also be a major source of inspiration and encouragement.

Today, not only the Future Division leaders and supporting men’s and women’s leaders, but all our members are engaged in warmhearted efforts to help foster the Future Division. They are there to listen to these young members’ problems, offer advice, and pray earnestly together with them. Their sincere encouragement is the driving force for the growth of our Future Division members.

Raising our successors so that they surpass us, encouraging and supporting the younger generation even more than we were once encouraged and supported by those before us—this extremely noble spirit of inspiring others to reveal their highest potential lies at the heart of the Soka Gakkai tradition of fostering capable individuals.

At a Future Division meeting held at the Kansai Toda Memorial Auditorium on May 5, 1976, I announced the designation of May 5 as “Soka Gakkai Successors Day.”

Sincerely praying for the growth and development of our young members, and in the spirit of making a promise together with each of them that day, I announced six guidelines for the Future Division. Later [in May 2013], I added one more guideline to make a total of seven guidelines for the 21st century:

  1. Let’s take care of our health.
  2. Let’s read books.
  3. Let’s always use common sense.
  4. Let’s have patience.
  5. Let’s make lots of friends.
  6. Let’s accumulate good fortune.
  7. Let’s cherish our parents.

Future Division members are doing their best to live up to these guidelines. I am thrilled when I envisage the bright future before them as they continue to grow and exert themselves energetically, and the magnificent future that lies ahead for worldwide kosen-rufu.

The Future Division song “Torchbearers of Justice” was originally announced as a high school division song. Two days later, on August 3, 1978, high school division members from throughout Japan gathered at the Soka Gakkai Tachikawa Culture Center for a general meeting. I expressed my hope that they would all grow to be people who remain true to the commitment they forged in their youth, for as long as they live. I suggested that they join arm in arm and sing their new song together, and they did just that. Solidly united and their faces shining, they sang:

Now, determined to carry on the baton,
I confidently await the time . . .

I can still hear the resounding chorus of the high school division members that day, hearts united as one.

“I” in the lyrics means each and every one of us. Let’s all join together and work harder than ever to foster the young “torchbearers of justice,” so that our movement will flourish eternally into the future!

From a lecture series “The Buddhism of the Sun—Illuminating the World,” published in Japanese in the Daibyakurenge, August 2016.

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.
  • *2Seven Bells: The first series of Seven Bells are seven consecutive seven-year periods in the Soka Gakkai’s development from its founding in 1930 through 1979. On May 3, 1958, shortly after President Toda’s death (on April 2), President Ikeda, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, introduced this idea and announced targets for subsequent seven-year periods. On May 3, 1966, President Ikeda spoke of a new series of Seven Bells that he envisaged unfolding in the 21st century. The second series of Seven Bells, which began in 2001, will continue through 2050, with the third series beginning in 2051 and continuing through 2100. For more details on the Seven Bells, please see Conclusion 1 in this book.