The Light of Dawn emerges from the Valley;
Its brilliance lights up the sky;
The sound of Harmonica stirs the heart;
May it perform the Buddha’s Work
On New Year day the following year, the Dawn Harmonica Group was invited to perform in Taichung. However, there were four members who could not afford the instrument. Upon hearing this, Mr Zhu used his year-end bonus to buy the musical instruments for them. His act of generosity was forever fondly remembered by the youths.
By 1970, several cultural groups were formed, including Angel Fife and Drum Band, Women Division Choir and Pacific Youth Choir. Through the training in these cultural groups, the youthful successors emerged in increasing numbers.
Mr Zhu Wanli had experience in running the newspaper in his younger days and he understood deeply the power of the media. As such, he decided to use the written word as a weapon to good effect to make a breakthrough in the kosen-rufu movement in Taiwan. In May 1986, Zheng Yin Publication was founded. On the name ‘Zheng Yin’, Mr Zhu explained that Buddhism teaches the Law of Cause and Effect. In order to reap good effect or harvest, we need to sow good seeds or plant good causes. The publication’s mission is to provide readers with intellectual nutrients and a correct understanding of religion, so as to guide society on a correct path. He recruited several youths who were talented in translation, especially those who had returned home after studying in Japan. Besides publishing, they translated many of President Ikeda’s works into Chinese. In Oct 1988, the newsletter Fu Yun started its first issue. In 1992, Fu Yun and Zheng Yin Publication merged to become Zheng Yin Cultural Affairs Private Limited. The company brings to its readers the latest development of kosen-rufu movement around the world. In 1990, in an effort to provide readers with more graphic based materials, He Le Quarterly started circulation. In 1994, He Le became a monthly publication. In October the following year, He Le Press was founded. This was the predecessor of Taiwan Soka Press as it is known now. In 2002, Soka Children was started to provide study material for the younger readers. Today, Zheng Yin Cultural Affairs Private Limited has become the pillar of publishing SGI materials in Chinese. It is evident that Mr Zhu Wanli was instrumental in bringing the philosophy of Nichiren Daishonin and Soka Humanism to the Chinese community.
In May 1993 when Mr Zhu was 70 years old, he started the translation of the Gosho at the encouragement of President Ikeda. In March 1994, Mr Lin Zhao succeeded Mr Zhu as the general director and Mr Zhu became honorary general director so that he could concentrate fully in the mammoth task of Gosho translation. After more than 4 years, he completed the translation of the Chinese version of “The Complete Works of Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Writings”. It has 1600 pages and comes in 12 volumes. In the year 2000, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of Soka Gakkai in November 18, the sale of the Chinese version of “The Complete Works of Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Writings” was officially launched. This signified a giant step towards achieving the great goal of Westward Transmission of Buddhism.
In order to recognise the pioneering efforts of Mr Zhu Wanli in spearheading Taiwan kosen-rufu movement as well as the heroic contribution of his translation of the Gosho, President Ikeda conferred upon Mr Zhu Wanli the Soka Gakkai Highest Honorary Award on 18 November 2009. In 2015, the then SGI Vice General Director Mr Hasegawa visited Taiwan. On behalf of President Ikeda, he brought gifts to Mr Zhu in recognition of his lifelong contribution to kosen-rufu in Taiwan.
Fast forward to March 2016, when President Ikeda received the news of the passing of Mr Zhu Wanli, he immediately stopped what he was doing to chant to the Gohonzon for the early repose of Mr Zhu. This act of President Ikeda only goes to show the great respect he has for Mr Zhu as a genuine disciple.
On 27 March 2016, a solemn memorial service was held in Taoyuan Cultural Centre for Mr Zhu Wanli. President Ikeda specifically sent Mr Hasegawa, the Soka Gakkai General Director on this occasion to send his condolences. Below is a summary of the eulogy by President Ikeda at the memorial service read by Mr Hasegawa:
“I can still remember vividly the moving encounter with Mr Zhu Wanli at Songshan Airport in 1963. With great courage and unwavering conviction of faith, Mr Zhu has steadfastly upheld the principle of ‘Winter never fails to turn to spring’, in the face of challenging circumstances. He warmly protected and encouraged every single member in the long winter years. Such heroic acts will forever be etched in my heart. For over 30 years, Mr Zhu poured his life into the mammoth task of translating the Complete Works of Nichiren Daishonin Gosho Writings, accurately conveying the Buddhist philosophy of the sanctity of life to Taiwan and Asia and even the world. I am certain that he will be praised by the original Buddha Nichiren Daishonin himself!”
Mr Hasegawa ended President Ikeda’s eulogy by declaring that Mr Zhu Wanli is the true hero of Asia kosen-rufu and he has won.
In this memorial service, President Ikeda especially conferred “Soka Gakkai Award – Daisaku Ikeda Award” to Mr Zhu Wanli for his lifelong contribution and dedication to the struggle for kosen-rufu. The contents of the award are as follows:
You are proud to be the direct disciple of Ikeda and advanced along the path of mentor and disciple. You have dedicated your life for kosen-rufu and made enormous contribution to the happiness of the people and long lasting peace. This is a great actual proof of the victory of mentor and disciple.
Mr Hasegawa also relayed a short message which President Ikeda conveyed to him just before he left for Taiwan to the family of Mr Zhu: “I remember the great merits and legacies of Honorary General Director Mr Zhu and I have been praying daily to the Gohonzon for his early repose. Please send my warmest regards to the family and the members of Taiwan on my behalf.”
In his eulogy, TSA General Director Mr Lin Zhao quoted the foreword by President Ikeda in the translated work of the Complete Writings of Nichiren Daishonin:
“Japan owed its debt of gratitude to China for the spread of Buddhism from China to Japan. And the Chinese language is a vital conduit of communication. With the launch of the translated work of the Complete Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, we hope to repay our debts of gratitude to China.”
Mr Lin Zhao continued, “The last wish of Nichiren Daishonin is Westward Transmission of Buddhism. Mr Zhu practised the Daishonin Buddhism and translated the Gosho into Chinese in order to fulfil the wish to transmit Buddhism from Japan back to China and India.”
Mr Lin Zhao also recalled the parting words from Mr Zhu at the end of his visit to his house when he was 17 years old. Shaking and holding his hands, Mr Zhu said, “For over a hundred years, East Asia has been mired in wars and conflict and the common people have been suffering. Let’s work together, with the youths as the vanguard, to spread the seeds of Buddhism and peace on the barren land of Asia, shall we? This is what Nichiren Daishonin means when he talked about Westward Transmission of Buddhism.”
Mr Zhu Wanli used to sing the song titled “The Whole River Red”. Mr Lin Zhao revealed that Mr Zhu Wanli, who was born in China, fervently wished that Nichiren Buddhism can take root in China in which Buddhism has declined. The lyrics of the two lines of the song read as follows:
At the age of thirty, my deeds are nothing but dust, my journey has taken me over eight thousand li.
So do not sit by idly, for young men will grow old in regret.
He urged the members and the youth division at the memorial service not to forget the great wish of Mr Zhu Wanli and carry on the “eight thousand li (里) journey” of kosen-rufu pioneered by Mr Zhu.
Without a doubt, the speed and progress of Taiwan kosen-rufu achievement was for all to see, even though President Ikeda could not visit Taiwan even once. It proves a very important point: It is the vow of the disciple who responds to the mentor that counts, and not the physical proximity of the mentor nor the number of times the mentor has visited a country. Today, the successors nurtured by Mr Zhu over the years are actively contributing in various fields in society and TSA has earned the trust of the Taiwan society. These are the testimonies of the victories of Mr Zhu and he will be remembered and highly revered as the pioneer of world-wide kosen-rufu.