Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 30: The Future Division—The Treasure of the Soka Gakkai [30.6]

30.6 Life Itself Is a Treasure

In this selection, President Ikeda stresses that valuing life is the heart of true humanistic education and the most essential point we should pass on to Future Division members.

One of the most respected figures in Okinawan history is the great philosopher-statesman Saion, who, in the 18th century, laid the foundations for the golden age of the Ryukyu Kingdom (present-day Okinawa). A person of remarkable insight into the human condition, Saion told the following story of an elderly man encouraging a young boy:

One day, a young Okinawan boy said proudly to an old man: “I have a sword that has been handed down in my family for generations. I polish it every single day without fail!”

The old man asked: “Do you have any treasure other than this sword?”

“No, I don’t.”

“That sword is just a small treasure,” the old man said quietly. “You actually have the most wonderful treasure of all: It is you, yourself.”1

The old man was trying to suggest that the boy should polish the treasure that is his own life with the same diligence. The boy was deeply moved by the old man’s words and grateful for this important lesson.

This story also resonates with the teachings of Buddhism. The most fundamental point to which we must always return is ourselves. It is life itself. This is what I want to stress.

To live with dignity as human beings and reveal the full shining potential of our humanity—nothing can surpass this. Only in this way can we realize genuine human happiness, peace, and coexistence with the natural world. This should be the purpose of all scientific and technological progress as well.

As we stand on the threshold of the 21st century, we must reaffirm this basic truth—we must return to the most essential point, the human being.

Life itself is a treasure. This philosophy is cherished by the Okinawan people. This respect for life is also the foundation of humanistic education.

Because life is precious, taking human life is absolutely wrong, waging war is absolutely wrong. This is a simple yet cardinal principle. It is vital that we solemnly pass this on to the next generation, the generation that will shape the 21st century.

Other than this, we should do our best to support and foster the Future Division members with a warm, broad-minded spirit so that they can develop their potential as freely and fully as possible.

From a speech at a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, July 18, 2000.

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

  • *1Translated from Japanese. Cf. Saion zenshu (The Collected Writings of Saion), edited by Hideaki Sakihama (Tokyo: Hompo Shoseki, 1984), p. 27.