Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 31: The Great Path to World Peace [31.23]

31.23 Inner Transformation Is the Key

Speaking in Hiroshima, site of the world’s first atomic bombing, President Ikeda outlines the essential way to build lasting peace. Based on the Buddhist principle that social turmoil is caused by the impurities in the people’s lives, he explains that the Soka Gakkai’s activities are aimed at helping individuals purify and transform their lives.

President Toda keenly perceived that nuclear weapons are fundamentally different from conventional weapons in that they pose a threat to the very existence of humanity.


Today, the abolition of nuclear weapons is one of the most important goals of peace movements around the world, which is completely understandable given what we now know. But Mr. Toda accurately discerned the nature of the problem from the earliest days of the nuclear arms race and issued a call for nuclear weapons to be banned, making his insight all the more prescient and astute.

We all have the right to live, the right to attain happiness. That right to live is inviolable. Moreover, no one has the right to rob us of our spiritual freedom.

As long as the people remain weak and subservient to authority, the devilish nature of power will thrive and seek to exploit them. The only way for the people to secure true peace and happiness is to stand up with a strong sense of indignation and fight against such abuses of power, against the devilish impulses inherent in life. My mentor’s demand for the abolition of nuclear weapons was a challenge and a rebuke to this hidden devilish nature.

The purpose of our Buddhist practice is to enable people to courageously uphold their principles and advance on the great path to happiness, undeterred by harassment or persecution from those in power; it is to protect human dignity and achieve lasting peace and spiritual freedom for all people. Taking to heart Mr. Toda’s instructions, which were backed by his outstanding character, judgment, and conviction, let us spread our great movement for peace and the solidarity of the people throughout the world and into the coming century.

What triggers war and other serious threats to human survival? What are their causes? Nichiren Daishonin cites a Buddhist treatise: “Because anger increases in intensity, strife of arms occurs. Because greed increases in intensity, famine arises. Because foolishness increases in intensity, pestilence breaks out. And because these three calamities occur, earthly desires grow more powerful and false views increasingly flourish”1 (OTT, 33).

In other words, at the most fundamental level, the social turmoil of war, famine, and pestilence arises from defilements within our lives, from the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness. Based on this, we must face the prospect that Japan and the rest of the world will always be prone to such tragedies.

Since becoming the third Soka Gakkai president, two things have constantly remained in my prayers: that there will be no earthquakes and that we will have good harvests. This has been motivated by my genuine desire for the safety and security of our members, the noble children of the Buddha; it is still my earnest prayer.

Enduring peace cannot be achieved solely through political and economic measures. The impurities of the three poisons, which could be considered a sickness inherent within life, must be eliminated. In other words, the sure way to lasting peace is the purification and transformation of individual human lives. That is the teaching of Buddhism and the heart of our Buddhist practice. I am firmly convinced that it is the best prescription for fundamentally healing the spiritual ills of humanity and society.

From a speech at a Hiroshima Prefecture commemorative gongyo meeting, Hiroshima, October 15, 1989.

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

  • *1T’ien-t’ai’s Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra.