Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 31: The Great Path to World Peace [31.3]

31.3 Creating a World without War

In the following excerpt from The New Human Revolution, the novel’s protagonist Shin’ichi Yamamoto (whose character represents President Ikeda) highlights the negative tendency of humankind to hate and hurt one another, even though all people desire happiness and peace, and clearly explains the solution. The scene takes place in October 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

“I understand that members have been directing questions to you [leaders] about the situation in Cuba, asking: ‘What is going to happen?’ or ‘Which side does the Soka Gakkai support, the United States or the Soviet Union?’ This is only natural. The basis of our response to this grave issue is our powerful prayer that war cannot and must not be allowed to break out.

“Our world today is divided into the two opposing camps of East and West. But the Soka Gakkai leans neither toward the political right nor left, nor does it side with either the United States or the Soviet Union. We see humanity as one global human family. Our position is to lead all the world’s people in the direction of peace.

“The present confrontation has only underscored our conviction that the great philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism is an absolute necessity for our age. The people of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba all cherish a desire for peace. They all want to enjoy their lives. Ordinary people and thoughtful leaders the world over have begun to seriously ponder what can be done to eliminate war, how to solve the problem at its root, and what philosophy is needed to achieve that.

“Yet despite this desire for peace, nations succumb to mutual distrust and regard one another with hatred and hostility. This is the reality of our world. How, under such circumstances, can we eliminate all possibility of nuclear war? Our Buddhist philosophy holds the only true solution.

“Nichiren Buddhism teaches that all living beings are Buddhas. It reveals that all people possess the Buddha nature, that self and others are inherently endowed with the life state of Buddhahood. The life philosophy of Buddhism is a magnificent body of thought that affirms the dignity and preciousness of human life. When this teaching spreads around the world, it surely will act as the most powerful force for preventing war.

“In addition, anyone who exerts themselves in this Buddhist practice will cause the life state of Buddhahood to well up within them. With this, they can vanquish the evil impulses to destroy and slaughter that may exist within their lives. The disaster of nuclear war arises solely from fundamental ignorance,1 the most basic delusion inherent in life. Many negative and evil states of mind arise from that ignorance, including distrust, hate, jealousy, the desire to dominate others, and the impulse to kill.

“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has the power to sever this fundamental ignorance and allow the light of true wisdom—that is, fundamental enlightenment or the inherent Buddha nature—to illuminate our lives and thus transform hate into compassion, destruction into creation, and distrust into trust. We also call this human revolution.

“The preamble of the UNESCO Constitution opens with the famous declaration ‘That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.’ This is an extremely important observation. How, then, do we build defenses of peace that are truly lasting?

“Nichiren Buddhism makes such construction possible, and this is what the Soka Gakkai has been doing in actuality. By sharing this great life philosophy with others through one-to-one dialogue, haven’t we been constructing strong and unassailable defenses of peace in the heart of one individual after another? The road to our goal of kosen-rufu may seem incredibly long, but it is the most direct path to building lasting world peace.

“By passing the great Buddhist message of compassion and peace from one friend to the next, let’s absolutely ensure that nuclear war never happens. That is our mission.”

From The New Human Revolution, vol. 7, “The Flower of Culture” chapter.

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

  • *1Fundamental ignorance: The most deeply rooted illusion inherent in life, said to give rise to all other illusions. The inability to see or recognize the truth, particularly, the true nature of one’s life.