Daisaku Ikeda ~ Sensei in San Francisco's City Hall,
just after receiving the key to the city.
Taken by my friend Caley Guida
when he was waving to the two of us in March of 1993.
Here is some historical perspective about this important day, and an address from President Ikeda's from a few years back on May 3rd and still relevant today:
Now, the glorious anniversary of May 3 has arrived again. In my mind, I can picture the familiar faces of members around the world who have triumphed magnificently over all manner of hardship and adversity, and I can also hear the joyous voices of new members who are nurturing fresh faith in the Mystic Law and taking on the challenge of pioneering our movement in their countries.
"Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku" (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 385), declares the Daishonin. As these words indicate, each of you is most assuredly a Bodhisattva of the Earth. It is therefore crucial that you deeply realize this, your true and most fundamental identity, and, based on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo infused with a great vow, courageously engage in the work of kosen-rufu in harmonious unity with your fellow members.
I call out to you: Embark on fresh challenges with a totally rejuvenated spirit! Be lions, and triumph as lions! Together let's dedicate our lives to the great vow and grand vision of kosen-rufu!
To see the rest of this post click on "read more" below:
The SGI is always advancing with a vibrant and youthful life-force. The brilliance and majesty of this unstoppable and ever-victorious dynamism is the treasure of our organization, which President Toda called "Soka Gakkai Buddha."
The time is ripe. This moment and the place where you are right now is what matters. When committed disciples rise into action with a self-reliant spirit, the sure flame of Soka will burn and spread brightly from where they are, from that very moment. I hope all of you, our members everywhere, will stand up with a vigorous, youthful spirit.
The new, second act of kosen-rufu has begun. Nichiren urges us: "Strengthen your resolve more than ever" (WND-1, 615) and "Summon up the great power of faith more than ever" (WND-1, 1000). Taking his impassioned cry to heart, let us make our way together on the grand and infinite stage of kosen-rufu with spirited resolve and courageous faith.
My wife and I are praying with all our hearts for the good health, long life and happiness of each one of you.
SGI President Daisaku
and Kaneko Ikeda
May 3, 2008
Here is some history on the Significance of this important day, May 3rd. Included is the text of Josei Toda's inaugural speech:
Recalling the 1951 inauguration of Josei Toda as president of the Soka Gakkai: ‘True unity is the joint struggle of courageous individuals who share and put into action the stand-alone spirit,” writes SGI President Ikeda, under the pen name of Ho Goku. “In such unity lies the key to achieving the unprecedented undertaking of kosen-rufu.”
That day, an intrepid lion arose. On May 3, 1951, Josei Toda was inaugurated as the second Soka Gakkai president. A mighty roar for the propagation of Buddhism — for the sake of world peace and the happiness of all humanity — reverberated across the land: “I will give my life for the propagation of Buddhism! I vow to convert, through my own efforts, 750,000 households during my lifetime!”
President Toda's Inauguration address, May 3, 1951:
"If we wish to stand up at the present time with the same spirit as the Buddha and truly devote ourselves to working for the betterment of the world, our only course is to enable others to practice the Daishonin’s Buddhism. This is the best possible way to attain personal happiness, it is the most direct path to world peace, and it is the key to bringing prosperity to the nation. I therefore believe that propagating the Daishonin’s Buddhism is the highest form of Buddhist practice.
Since this act is dedicated to realizing happiness for all humanity and amounts to the Buddhist concept of salvation, it is in complete accord with the life-state of the Buddha. Those who engage in this practice must not forget that their actions constitute the greatest compassion. Introducing others to Buddhism is neither about religious debate nor about the mere growth of this school. It is about emulating the compassion of Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, and taking action in his place. I hope you will never forget this spirit, not even in your sleep!
Based on this spirit, I am determined to boldly carry out a great movement of propagation. The time is ripe. Next year will mark the seven-hundredth year since Nichiren Daishonin declared the establishment of his teaching. The Soka Gakkai is the only organization of its kind to have appeared in all that time. You should be proud of this fact.
I resolve to give my life for the cause of kosen-rufu. I vow to convert 750,000 households during my lifetime. If this goal is not achieved by the time I die, do not bother holding a funeral for me; just throw my ashes into the sea off Shinagawa! All right?"
President Ikeda continues:
I immediately rushed over to support and guard him in the bustle. I vowed to protect my mentor, who was indispensable to the kosen-rufu movement, under any circumstances. I can still vividly remember the weight of his body on my hands as I supported him that day...
Determined to carry on the work of this great mentor, I rose up resolutely as his disciple. Many other young people followed my example and did the same, one after another, giving proof to our mentor’s call. “Youth, just one of you stand!” he cried. “A second and a third will definitely follow!” Under the inspired leadership of Mr. Toda, the youth provided the impetus for achieving a membership of 750,000 households.
Unity is not just huddling together in a cozy flock or leaning on one another for support. True unity is the joint struggle of courageous individuals who share and put into action the stand-alone spirit. In such unity lies the key to achieving the unprecedented undertaking of kosen-rufu.
Mr. Toda’s dearest wish was for the appearance of young people to whom he could entrust the mission of kosen-rufu when he would no longer be here. He frequently sang “Song of Comrades,” and when he came to the lines “I do not begrudge my life / But where are the young flag bearers?” he would look at me with a piercing gaze. His look seemed to say: “I am counting on you after I am gone. Do you understand?”
The beautiful blue sky seemed to stretch on forever. Two years had passed since Mr. Toda’s death. On May 3, 1960, I was inaugurated as the third Soka Gakkai president. From that moment on, I charged ahead without stopping, braving raging winds and storms, embracing in my heart the Daishonin’s vow: “This I will state. Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assail me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law” (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2 [2nd ed.], p. 174). Nor did I ever forget the words of my mentor: “Kosen-rufu can be achieved without fail if there is just one young person willing to give his or her life to this cause.”