Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Conclusion: Toward the Future [6]

6 Forever Connected by Our Great Vow for Kosen-rufu

The Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu was opened in November 2013. President Ikeda touched on this landmark event in his messages to the November 8 gongyo meeting commemorating its completion and the November 18 Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting celebrating the organization’s founding.

Visitors to this magnificent edifice [the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu] are greeted by eight pillars that line both its southern and northern sides.

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin states:

“In [the ‘Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy’ chapter of the Lotus Sutra], Shakyamuni Buddha revealed the foremost point he wished to convey to us. The Buddha preached the Lotus Sutra over a period of eight years, and eight characters sum up the message that he has left behind for living beings in this later age, the Latter Day of the Law. [This eight-character passage reads:] ‘You should rise and greet them from afar, showing them the same respect you would a Buddha’” [cf. LSOC28, 365]. (OTT, 192)

He further clarifies the message of these eight characters as “one should without fail show the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra the kind of respect one would show to a Buddha” (OTT, 193).

The eight pillars on the north and south sides of this building, therefore, symbolize this eight-character passage that expresses the heart of the Lotus Sutra, which is also the Soka Gakkai spirit of treasuring each member as if they were a Buddha. I share this with you today for the sake of future generations.


During his life-threatening exile on Sado Island, the Daishonin declared: “I will make a great vow” (WND-1, 280). He pledged to be the pillar, the eyes, the great ship that would save all people from suffering, praying single-mindedly for the realization of kosen-rufu. The “great vow” he made is none other than the great vow for the propagation of the Lotus Sutra—that is, the great vow for kosen-rufu.

Seven centuries after the Daishonin first proclaimed his teaching, the Soka Gakkai appeared in modern times—at the very height of this age of conflict that is the Latter Day of the Law—taking upon itself the mission to accomplish the great vow for kosen-rufu in exact accord with Nichiren Daishonin’s spirit. It is truly the organization carrying out the Buddha’s intent.

The heart of the great vow for kosen-rufu and the life state of Buddhahood are one and the same. Therefore, when we dedicate our lives to this vow, we can bring forth the supreme nobility, strength, and greatness of our lives. When we remain true to this vow, the limitless courage, wisdom, and compassion of the Buddha flow forth from within us. When we wholeheartedly strive to realize this vow, the “poison” of even the most difficult challenge can be transformed into “medicine,” and karma transformed into mission.

This is the spirit of our infinitely worthy members. This is the hallmark of our invincible humanistic network of Soka.

The Joju Gohonzon enshrined in the altar here is the “banner of propagation of the Lotus Sutra” (WND-1, 831) upheld by the Soka Gakkai, which is dedicated to this great vow. It bears the inscription “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law.”1

As President Toda’s true disciple, I protected this Gohonzon in the Mentor-Disciple Hall of the former Soka Gakkai Headquarters building, and went out into the world to make the “fulfillment of the great vow for kosen-rufu through the compassionate propagation of the great Law” a reality.

President Makiguchi, who resisted wartime militarism and died in prison for his beliefs, had vowed to realize the Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.” Making his vow my own, I began and developed a diverse global network of people committed to the values of peace, culture, and education.

I chanted constantly before this Gohonzon, praying for the happiness, health, and longevity of all our members and for them to successfully carry out their human revolution and attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. And, looking toward the distant future of our movement, I continued my efforts to create a solid and unending flow of capable successors and took decisive leadership to thoroughly ensure the eternal perpetuation of the Law.

And now this time has come, and we are able to see the long-awaited completion of this towering citadel of mentor and disciple.

This is truly a golden place of assembly like that described in the Lotus Sutra, as Bodhisattvas of the Earth2 from around the world joyously gather to chant before the Soka Gakkai Kosen-rufu Gohonzon enshrined here—causing the life state of Buddhahood that is one with the great vow from time without beginning to shine forth brightly like the morning sun—and make a fresh departure with brand-new energy and commitment.

Stones collected from all 47 prefectures of Japan and from 192 countries and territories around the world have been placed in the base of the altar.

Our prayers encompass our local communities and the entire world.

This hall is a place where world citizens of the Mystic Law gather together in rich diversity to “chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim” (WND-1, 217), just as the Daishonin describes in “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life.” It is a jeweled tower of unparalleled human harmony where members warmly support and encourage one another as they pledge anew to keep exerting themselves bravely and vigorously for the happiness and security of the people, the flourishing of society, the realization of world peace, and the transformation of the destiny of all humankind.

I, therefore, propose that, from this day forward, this hall be called the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, and that we joyfully initiate a fresh dynamic advance, spreading hope and justice, toward a new era of worldwide kosen-rufu. What do you say?

The Daishonin writes: “This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!” (WND-1, 281). Taking to heart the spirit embodied in this new hall, let us promise one another, as fellow members of the Soka family, to always keep our vow for kosen-rufu burning brightly in our hearts. Let us be determined to overcome all obstacles and lead lives of indestructible victory and complete fulfillment as we make our way together in harmonious unity and high spirits!

From a message sent to a gongyo meeting commemorating the completion of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, Tokyo, November 8, 2013.


The essential teaching (the latter 14 chapters) of the Lotus Sutra reveals that the life of the Buddha is eternal and imperishable from time without beginning (cf. LSOC16, 267–68). The sutra’s “Life Span” chapter, which is the heart of the essential teaching, concludes with these lines:

At all times I think to myself:
How can I cause living beings
to gain entry into the unsurpassed way
and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha?3 (LSOC16, 273)

In other words, the Buddha is constantly thinking about how to guide all living beings to the supreme path and enable them to quickly attain enlightenment.

The life state of Buddhahood is characterized by one’s mind and one’s life being filled with a fervent wish for people’s happiness and an unwavering commitment to keep striving in this suffering-filled saha world4 to help everyone attain Buddhahood. Because the Buddha is eternally dedicated to this vow, the life of the Buddha is eternal. Nichiren Daishonin refers to this constant thought that occupies the Buddha’s mind as “the compassionate vow of the Buddha” (WND-1, 62), without which the eternal Buddha cannot exist.

In the midst of the Atsuhara Persecution,5 the Daishonin wrote to his youthful follower Nanjo Tokimitsu: “My wish is that all my disciples make a great vow.” He further assured Tokimitsu that if he strove to realize the vow for kosen-rufu until the last moment of his life, he would be able to attain the vast and expansive life state of Buddhahood, eternal and indestructible—his life merging with the life of the universe like “a drop of dew rejoining the ocean, or a speck of dust returning to the earth” (WND-1, 1003).

We of the Soka Gakkai, connected by the bonds of mentor and disciple, are a gathering of Bodhisattvas of the Earth.6 Like Presidents Makiguchi and Toda before us, we have made a great vow to realize kosen-rufu through the compassionate propagation of the Mystic Law, in complete accord with the Daishonin’s wish. We have exerted ourselves tirelessly to fulfill this vow, while battling the onslaughts of the three powerful enemies7 in this corrupt and degenerate age of the Latter Day of the Law.

Our steadfast members have resolutely triumphed over slander and abuse, overcome the storms of their personal karma, and transformed the four sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death into the boundless joy of a life imbued with the four noble virtues of eternity, happiness, true self, and purity.

Based on the Buddhist principle of the oneness of life and death, I am firmly convinced that all the members of our Soka family who have passed away in the course of our struggle for kosen-rufu are also present at today’s assembly in the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu.

We have the Gohonzon, the path of mentor and disciple, and our fellow members—all of which are dedicated to the realization of the great vow for kosen-rufu. And we are forever connected as mentor and disciple by this great vow.

Solidly united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind,” sharing both joys and sufferings together, let us continue on this fulfilling and victorious journey of life in high spirits, harmony, and good cheer.

Donning “the armor of perseverance” (LSOC13, 233), speaking out with courage, and wisely uniting the hearts of people all around the world, let us build on this Earth a realm of peace and happiness embodying the Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

From a message sent to a gongyo meeting commemorating Soka Gakkai Foundation Day, Tokyo, November 18, 2013.

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

  • *1In addition to the words “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law,” this Gohonzon also bears the inscription “To Be Permanently Enshrined in the Soka Gakkai” (Jpn. Soka Gakkai Joju). As a result, it is commonly called the Soka Gakkai Joju Gohonzon. It is now enshrined in the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. It is also referred to as the Soka Gakkai Kosen-rufu Gohonzon.
  • *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.
  • *3In gongyo,the passage reads: “Mai ji sa ze nen. I ga ryo shujo. Toku nyu mu-jodo. Soku joju busshin.”
  • *4Saha world: This world, which is full of suffering. Often translated as the world of endurance. In Sanskrit, saha means the earth; it derives from a root meaning “to bear” or “to endure.” For this reason, in the Chinese versions of Buddhist scriptures, saha is rendered as endurance. In this context, the saha world indicates a world in which people must endure suffering.
  • *5Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji District, Suruga Province (present-day central Shizuoka Prefecture), starting in around 1275 and continuing until around 1283. In 1279, 20 farmer disciples were arrested on false charges. They were interrogated by Hei no Saemon-no-jo, the deputy chief of the Office of Military and Police Affairs, who demanded that they renounce their faith. However, not one of them yielded. Hei no Saemon-no-jo eventually had three of them executed.
  • *6Bodhisattvas 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.
  • *7Three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described in the concluding verse section of the “Encouraging Devotion” (13th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Miao-lo of China summarizes them as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests, and arrogant false sages.