Without Nichiren, the true Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, this wonderful philosophy of life would not have existed in the first place.
Without the tireless efforts and leadership of Mr Toda, Soka Gakkai would not have been reconstructed in the difficult years after the war. Mr Ikeda would not have become the disciple and the person he is today.
In 1988, Sensei composed the poem called “A Blue Deeper than Indigo Itself” which is one of my favourites. I quote:
“ Nichiren Daishonin stood up seven hundred years ago.
Has the time turned ripe?
Or did we make and bring about the time?
We have laid the foundation for Kosen Rufu in the Latter Day of the Law.”
In another section, he wrote about Mr Toda’s wish
“There is nothing more that I want.
All I hope for is capable people whom I can trust.”
This year, as the Lunar New Year fell on the 10th of Feb, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Sensei’s first visit here, the planning committee of SSA came up with an interesting idea to gather all the 25 years olds to attend the commemorative meeting on 1 Feb. I just wondered if this is really the best way to commemorate this significant event. Shouldn’t a true disciple commemorate significant events by achieving a victory first?How carefully selected are these 25 year olds? Did they bring about the time for Kosen Rufu in their own respective areas? Are they the capable people whom we can trust? Or are we simply gathering as many 25 year olds as possible to make up the numbers just to look impressive? Are we planning to get 30 years old to attend the next commemorative event in 2018? The fact that this idea was approved goes to show superficial understanding by the senior leadership of this event. What vows did the 25 year olds make? What victory did they score? Is this oneness of mentor and disciple spirit in action?
In another part of the poem, Sensei wrote
“My Mentor was then fifty-eight;
I, his disciple, was thirty.
Perhaps because he bequeathed to me his life,
For his sake, this year
I reached the milestone of sixty years of age.
You, young friends!
That you carry on in my footsteps
With the same heart as his.
Always push on.
Now is the time;
We should not go back even a s step.
Sing the bright and brave song of youth
Proudly and hopefully,
Continuing to challenge your daily efforts courageously;
In your pursuit of study and training.
With a golden unity that will never break down,
Give yourselves to accomplishing this,
Our sacred undertaking,
Bringing in a new day in the history of mankind.”
In the second phase of Kosen Rufu, it is no longer about showing how great Sensei is, but rather how great the disciples are in fulfilling Sensei’s dreams and goals. Did we carry on in Sensei’s footsteps since 1988? Expelling senior youth leaders in 2011 without sincere dialogue certainly would not count as one of them. It seems that along the way, we have forgotten these words and lost our way. How then can we dare claim that we are a model of world Kosen Rufu?
In the same meeting, WD chief recounted how she wrote to Sensei to invite him to come to Singapore back then. She shared that Sensei was great because he fulfilled his promise by coming to Singapore eventually. This seems to give people an impression that you can equate the greatness of a person by just looking at the promises that the person can fulfil. To me, fulfilling promises is a basic human quality. On the other hand, in a recent guidance Sensei talked about “Leaders who base their lives on the Daishonin’s teachings are truly great leaders.”
This, sadly, is what SSA top leaders have been doing all these 25 years: Understanding Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and Sensei’s guidance in their subjective terms and partial perspectives instead of the wholesome perspective of Sensei.
What I fear is that with such superficial understanding of the top leaders, the membership will be misled and do not know the true essence of the Daishonin’s Buddhism and Spirit of the three Presidents.
Let’s be genuine disciples of Sensei who understand and practise the essence of the Daishonin’s Buddhism.