During the time when President Toda became second president, Soka Gakkai membership was hovering around 3000 in Japan. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda recalls that on that day, President Toda announced his goal of achieving a membership of 750,000 households during his lifetime. He comments, "This was a soaring pledge to accomplish kosen-rufu (world peace through the spread of Nichiren Buddhism). The goal he announced was truly staggering. But I was overjoyed. Courage surged through me. My mentor, incomparable leader of kosen-rufu, had finally resolved to stand at the helm as president." Mr. Toda's passionate efforts to realize this vision inspired hundreds of thousands of people throughout Japan to join Soka Gakkai over the next few years and eventually laid the path for Nichiren Buddhism to propagate around the world.
An excerpt from NHR:
On May 3, 1960, Daisaku Ikeda, at age 32, became the third president of the Soka Gakkai. As he stood on the stage at Nihon University, he gazed up at a portrait of Jose Toda and pledged: "Sensei, following in your footsteps, I now begin my great lifelong struggle for the Law. Transcending life and death, I will march forth boldly on a journey of world kosen-rufu in which I will spread Nichiren Buddhism to the farthest reaches of the [planet]. Please wait and see" (The Human Revolution, p. 1970)
Under President Ikeda's leadership, the movement began an era of innovation and expansion, becoming actively engaged in cultural and educational endeavors worldwide. Ikeda has continued to dedicate himself to fulfilling Mr. Toda's dreams by developing initiatives in the areas of peace, culture and education. He has described May 3 as "a day to embark afresh on our struggle for world peace and the happiness of humanity."
We do not merely commemorate May 3 as the inaugurations of President Toda and President Ikeda, it epitomizes the profound vow they shared as mentor and disciple. It marks the moment when the disciple pledges to take full responsibility to accomplish kosen-rufu, the will of the mentor, regardless of what obstacles may stand in the way. The disciples in Singapore, too, should be undaunted to confront any obstacles that may arise from the advancement of Kosen-rufu.
From the recent spate of issues surrounding TBSC, it sank our heart again to discover the lack of transparency on the part of the Management Committee. The function or basic responsibility of the Management Committee is to ascertain that the TBSC reconstruction project is in good hand of the Building Committee. In the case of the application of revised plot ratio which was still at the processing stage, many frontline leaders felt that there was no necessity in the hasty closure of TBSC.
The original plot ratio of the land where TBSC was erected stands at 1.0. It means that Gross Floor Area of the building must not exceed the Site Area(Land size). For the sake of maximizing the Gross Floor Area to facilitate the M & D Heritage Centre into the new building, the Committee applied for a revision of plot ratio from the initial 1.0 to 1.4. As stated in URA website, for the development of place of worship at the fringe of landed housing estate and within low-density housing area with surrounding residential gross plot ratio not exceeding 1.4, the MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE PLOT RATIO is 1.0. This is applicable to the plot of land that sits TBSC. Henceforth, to appeal for the revision of plot ratio from 1.0 to 1.4 is an uphill task and probably unattainable. However, prior to the approval of their application, the top leaders proceeded to announce the new building plan, in the form of artist impression, to the general masses, giving them delusive hope of a 4-storey building.
Reverting to the perspective of the untimely closure of TBSC since Feb 2012, it brought tremendous inconveniences to the members especially the elderly. This was because major activities such as daily chanting, Sunday morning gongyo and Sensei's video were held in this centre. In addition, the sales office was located in TBSC too. Aside from these inconveniences inflicted on the members, the paper depreciation of TBSC stands at approximately $42,000 per year, based on the tenure of 60 years lease. In the case that the construction could only commence in Aug 2012, 6 months after its closure, the paper depreciation will be around $21,000.
It is apparent that the reason for the delay in construction was entirely due to the plot ratio which was still in the pending process. Nevertheless, the Management Committee concocted an excuse that the delay was caused by last minute change to refine for the betterment of the building. To make matter worse, General Director Mr. Tay instructed the attendees of AGM to use this concocted excuse as a standard answer to explain to the members. It is the lack of transparency of the top leaders who play multiple roles in various committees, that cause confusion to our members. This leaves several of our members harboring numerous doubts that keep lingering in their minds.
In the event that the application fails to push through and the plot ratio remains at 1.0, will the committees cease the plan to rebuild and consider Addition & Alteration for TBSC since the maximization of the building space is unattainable?
If the maximization of the building space becomes impossible, will the M & D Heritage Centre be foregone?
Will the new building named Soka Peace Centre lose its significance if the M & D Heritage Centre is abandoned?
If the revision of plot ratio from 1.0 to 1.4 is still in the pending process, why did the Building Committee propose an untimely closure of TBSC?
Why did the Management Committee accede to the request on the untimely closure of TBSC?
Didn't the Management Committee fail to study the consequence of the hasty closure which will lead to the inconveniences inflicted on the members and the paper depreciation of $42,000 per year?
The competency and integrity of Management Committee is indeed questionable! It is our wish that the committee will make a clean breast of this issue and refrain from further misleading the members. The funds that will be discharged for the re-development of TBSC are precious contribution from our dearest members and have to be administered meticulously. Henceforth, it is at this appropriate moment that the top decision makers confess to the blunders they have created and apologize for their misdeeds. We believe our members are forgiving. After all, it is human to err.
I would like to borrow a reader's quote to end this editorial.
"I sincerely wish that everyone could forgive the decision makers if they confess to the big blunder they created. First and foremost, it is critical to be transparent, candid, and admit to your error. Don't try to blame it on others. After all, it is human to err. You have to respond quickly before people make judgments about your incompetence or inexpertise. By demonstrating that you have changed as a result of your mistake, you reassure everyone that you can be trusted with equally important tasks or decisions in the future."