‘Never Be Defeated! Have Courage! Have Hope!’
The following is SGI President Ikeda’s message to those affected by the March
11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. The message originally
appeared in the March 16 edition of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily
I offer my sincerest condolences to those of you who have been affected by the
devastating earthquake and tsunamis that struck northeastern Japan five days ago
(March 11) and have left many people still missing and unaccounted for. I can
only imagine the fatigue and exhaustion you must be suffering. My wife and I,
along with the members throughout Japan and the world, are sending daimoku
[Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] to you with all our hearts, earnestly praying for your
health and well-being, and that all Buddhas and bodhisattvas—the positive forces
of the universe—will rigorously protect you. I wish to deeply thank those of you who are selflessly devoting yourselves to the rescue and relief efforts in the stricken areas. I also truly appreciate those of you who are supporting your communities as solid and reliable pillars during this difficult time.
Takuboku Ishikawa, a renowned, youthful poet who hailed from Tohoku, the northeastern region of Japan, declared: “Helping one person is a far greater achievement than becoming the ruler of a country.” I, therefore, express
my deepest respect and gratitude to all of you.
Nichiren Daishonin writes that even if we should meet with disasters and
calamities, they cannot destroy our hearts (see The Writings of Nichiren
Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 135). Nothing can destroy the treasures of the heart. Every
adversity is but a trial for us to overcome so that we can attain eternal happiness.
Nichiren Buddhism, our practice of faith in the Mystic Law, enables us to
transform all poison into medicine without fail. I am offering solemn prayers for all your loved ones—family members and friends—who have lost their lives. This disaster is truly heartbreaking.
Life, however, is eternal, and through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can
transcend life and death to connect with the lives of those who have passed away.
Your deceased loved ones and friends, who through you share a profound
connection with the Mystic Law, will definitely be enfolded in the embrace of the
heavenly deities, attain Buddhahood and be reborn quickly somewhere close to
you. This is an essential teaching of Nichiren Buddhism. During the Daishonin’s lifetime as well, what was known as the great earthquake of the Shoka era (August 1257) caused unprecedented damage.
Grieved by the pain and suffering of the people and amid great persecutions, the
Daishonin embarked on writing his treatise, “On Establishing the Correct
Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” thereby raising the banner of peace and justice for all humankind. He assures us: “When great evil occurs, great good
follows” (WND-1, 1119).
Today, March 16, is the day that my mentor, second Soka Gakkai president
Josei Toda, entrusted his youthful successors with carrying on the work of kosen-
rufu in order to eradicate misery from the face of the earth. Now, let us
triumphantly overcome this great disaster by further strengthening our vow for
kosen-rufu while wholeheartedly supporting and encouraging each other.
I am fervently praying and calling out to each of you: “Never be defeated! Have
courage! Have hope!”