Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Commemorating Josei Toda, the Soka Gakkai's Second President

On April 2nd, 1958, Josei Toda passed away from this world. He was a great lion of happiness for the world. Daisaku Ikeda's beloved mentor, and the man who arose from being imprisoned for his refusal to support the Japanese War effort in WWII to bring millions hope through through chanting the Mystic Law:

From (click on this link for more)

Josei Toda (1900-58) was the second president of the Soka Gakkai, one of Japan's most influential lay Buddhist movements.

Based on the teachings of the 13th-century Buddhist reformerNichiren (1222-82), Toda developed a methodology of personal transformation called "Human Revolution" that has become the foundation underlying the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a worldwide organization of engaged Buddhists promoting peace and personal empowerment throughout the world.
The early years of Toda's career were spent as a teacher. At the age of 19, he encountered his mentor, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944), also an educator. Makiguchi was developing an educational theory (value-creating pedagogy) that was in stark contrast to the methods in use in Japan at the time, placing priority on the happiness of the children and inspiring in them the will to study, rather than the educational orthodoxy that sought to produce obedient subjects of the state. Toda became his enthusiastic helper and supporter in this endeavor. It was Toda who actualized many of Makiguchi's ideas, founding a school where innovative educational theories were implemented in classroom situations. Toda helped Makiguchi publish his major work, The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy.
In 1928, Makiguchi embraced Nichiren Buddhism. Its emphasis on human dignity was also consistent with Toda's own beliefs, and he too subsequently took faith. The publication in 1930 of The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy is recognized as the foundation by Makiguchi and Toda of an organization called Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-Creating Education Society), whose original aim was to promote Makiguchi's value-creating educational theories. The organization steadily developed into a body promoting social and religious reform through the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, seeking to empower ordinary people to become self-reliant individuals.
Japan, however, had by this time embarked on a program of military expansion in Asia which culminated in its involvement in World War II. The militarist authorities viewed Soka Kyoiku Gakkai as a threat to their attempts to impose religious and thought control, and in 1943 Toda was detained along with Makiguchi and other leaders of the organization. Makiguchi died in prison while Toda was released shortly before the end of the war; both remained steadfast in their faith till the end. The experience of imprisonment was crucial in awakening Toda to his mission to encourage the widespread practice of Nichiren Buddhism in order to build the foundations for a peaceful society.
After emerging from prison, Toda set out to rebuild Soka Kyoiku Gakkai, which had been crushed during the war. The organization was now renamed Soka Gakkai (Society for the Creation of Value), a move that reflected a broad commitment to realizing global peace and the well-being of people of all walks of life and empowering individuals through Buddhist practice.
As second president, Toda developed the Soka Gakkai into one of Japan's most significant lay Buddhist associations, setting the stage for its growth into a dynamic worldwide grassroots movement. Toward the end of his life, he advocated a vision of global citizenship and, in 1957, issued a historic declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, entrusting the task of realizing his vision to young people.
Toda passed away on April 2, 1958. His major writings include the million-selling A Deductive Guide to Arithmetic and the novel Human Revolution. A man of unadorned and overflowing humanity, Toda embraced everyone he met with his passionate encouragement. His 58 years of life were dedicated to restoring and revitalizing the spirit of Buddhism in the present age. His convictions continue to inspire and inform the peace activism and social engagement of both the Soka Gakkai in Japan and the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) throughout the world.
Quotes from Josei Toda on Life:
1. "True greatness means that, even if you forget what you've done for others, you never forget what others have done for you. It means always doing your utmost to repay debts of gratitude. Such people radiate integrity, depth of character, bigheartedness and charm."
2. "You can either tell yourself, 'It's too hard, I don't think I'll be able to do it,' or 'Yes, I can do this. Let me at it!’ Only a fine line separates the two. But I'll tell you one thing: if you work like crazy, you'll come to display capabilities that you never knew you had--potentials that you always possessed, but never tapped."
3. "There are three standards for selecting a job: the three values of beauty, benefit and good. Everyone's ideal is to get a job they like (beauty), that is materially rewarding (benefit), and where you can contribute to society (good). The real world, however, is not as accommodating a place as you may think. Those who find a job that meets their ideal from the outset are doubtless few and far between. More often than not, people have to work at a job they never expected to have to do.

"Without running away from a disagreeable job, you should continue to work hard while praying to the Gohonzon. By continuing in this way, in the end you will definitely find yourself in a position that you like, that is profitable, and, moreover, that creates great good for society.

"Not only that, when you later look back on this period of struggle, you will see that none of your hard work was wasted, that your past efforts have all become precious assets. You will then understand that everything you have been through had meaning."

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