Zhuge Liang said this to Liu Bei immediately after their victory in the famous Battle of Red Cliffs. Liu Bei had asked Zhuge Liang, his advisor on military strategy, the secret to leading the nation to victory and prosperity.
Everything depends upon people.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty. To celebrate this landmark event, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in Hachioji, Tokyo, will be holding an exhibition titled Great Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Among the items that will be on display, I am told, there will be artifacts such as arrowheads and spears excavated from a site where the Battle of Red Cliffs was said to have occurred, exactly 1,800 years ago (in 208). I wish the exhibition a great success.
The three kingdoms were the ancient states of Wei, Wu, and Shu. The northern state of Wei was ruled by Cao Cao. Allied with the imperial house, it held the advantage of perceived legitimacy, and was the most powerful of the three. Wu was ruled by Sun Quan, and enjoyed the benefits of the rich farmland south of the Yangtze River. The third kingdom, Shu or the Shu Han, ruled by Liu Bei, was known for its domestic harmony, or the unity of its people, and had secure hold of the west.
While this balance of three powers—outlined in the Longzhong Plan—was in effect, Zhuge Liang emphasized the importance of fostering capable people as the basis for strengthening the state of the Shu Han. Referring to The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Mr. Toda used to say: “We mustn’t be petty and incompetent. A true hero cherishes capable people. Those who don’t value capable people cannot rise to heroic action. We must make the Soka Gakkai a bastion of capable people.”
At this point of reading, one cannot help but reflect on the events of 2012 in which capable SSA YMDs were persecuted using high handed means with very flimsy reasons given. A group of five senior YMD leaders and one MD member were stripped off their responsibilities and membership respectively. We wonder is SSA actually valuing capable people or merely quoting Sensei’s guidance to justify their plans for the year. Have SSA top leaders forgotten the words of Mr Toda?
Mr Toda said quite clearly that “those who don’t value capable people cannot rise to heroic action.” YMD chief said in a recent YMD leaders meeting that YMD had a successful year in 2012 achieving many victories. One cannot understand and feel if that was true. What victory did we achieve? Who rose to heroic action?
Is having only 60 out of 110 Chapters breakthrough one Gohonzon conferment a victory? It looks more like a defeat. What is the definition of victory nowadays? Is trying or making half-hearted effort without concrete results called victory? Perhaps there were too few victories of the YMDs in 2012 that prompted Mr Tay, in his final encouragement to even count bringing three children to a discussion meeting as a personal struggle and regards the person a hero. This person is none other than the YMD chief. One would think this is the highest form of self-deception, a sign of rot in the senior management of the organisation which had declined gradually but surely in the past few years, or maybe even longer.
President Ikeda continued, “Exactly 55 years ago, in the cold February of 1953, I followed up the February Campaign in Kamata Chapter of the previous year by taking the lead in a new struggle to develop capable individuals. Being 25 years old at the time, I fought with a vigorous spirit much like the younger members of our young men’s division today.”
It is clear that the large part of the YMD plans for this year is to imitate what Sensei did in 1953. We applaud the intent and spirit of wanting to do so. However, when we look closer, the precursor to Sensei’s vow to developing of capable people was a victorious and fiercely fought campaign in Kamata. What precursor did we have in 2012? Did we have a victorious campaign in 2012? It seemed to us, a case of trying to apply something without thorough thinking and planning. It just reflected poor leadership and the lack of seriousness. More than 2 weeks had passed since that meeting at MTA; there seems to be no movement and follow up actions since then. Is it a case of just trying to present a plan for the sake of presenting which seems to be the new norm in YMD?
All it seems at present is excessive focus on getting enough bodies into NDP. We understand that the deadline of submission of names of NDP participants was 31st Dec 2012. It makes one wonders who had decided on this deadline. This person clearly had little understanding of the ground. It is common sense that 31st Dec is a day whereby people enjoy half day off and are probably getting ready to welcome the New Year. The last thing they would want to do is to chase names for NDP. This is just another case of poor judgement and decision making by senior leadership of SSA.
To quote further, “I was in my second month as leader of the young men’s division First Corps, having been appointed to that position by Mr. Toda at the start of the year. In order to realize my mentor’s goal of attaining 750,000 member households, I launched an intense campaign to rally young people with whom we could together foster and develop new capable individuals. I made a steadfast vow: “Our mentor President Toda is praying and hoping for his disciples to surge forth in great numbers. I will present him with an impressive force of youthful disciples committed to truth and justice!”
“That year’s goal for developing capable people was very clear. Our First Corps would become a corps of 1,000 by the end of the year. When I became leader of the corps, members were centeredaround Sumida, Koto, and Edogawa wards (on the east side of Tokyo). There were six groups and about 300 members. Our goal was to increase our numbers more than threefold. I was sent there on assignment, away from my home area of Kamata (on the south side of Tokyo).
Obviously, it would not be an easy task. But if we were to attain Mr. Toda’s larger goal, it was crucial at that moment to accelerate the solidarity of the youth division. Just as Kamata Chapter had achieved a breakthrough for Kosen Rufu as a whole, if the youth division could show the way to create expansion in one locale, it was certain to have positive repercussions that would spread throughout the country.
Mr. Toda appointed me First Corps leader as an expression of his total confidence and faith in me, knowing that if he entrusted me with this critical task, I was certain to achieve it. In my mind, there was no challenge that couldn’t be achieved if it was assigned by such a superb mentor of KosenRufu. Moreover, we had the strategy of the Lotus Sutra.”
These few paragraphs showed that Sensei was dead serious in helping Mr Toda achieve the organisation goal of propagation of 750, 000 households. How did the present YMD chief encourage the YMDs? He mumbled, (quoted sensei) “KosenRufu is like an adventure”. Trying to be funny, he even joked that that adventure is like Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones?!
Is this analogy appropriate at all? Does it accurately reflect the struggle of Sensei? YMD chief also said that Kosen Rufu is like an adventure as we do not know the final outcome. Is this really true? Sensei is always very confident that victory will definitely be achieved, if we based on the strategy of the lotus sutra. Admittedly, YMD chief did mention the strategy of the lotus sutra, but he was not clear in his messages, as usual.
So in this New Year, nothing seems to have changed. Sigh.