SGI Significant Dates
The Establishment of Nichiren Buddhism
Soka Gakkai Day
Celebrating the History of Soka Gakkai's Antinuclear Movement
SGI World Peace Day
Inscription of the Dai-Gohonzon
Soka Gakkai Founding Day
January 26 - SGI Day
During World War II, Guam was a site of fierce fighting between the American and Japanese military forces which resulted in a great number of civilian casualties. For this reason, President Ikeda resolved to make Guam into a beacon for global peace. On January 26, 1975, President Ikeda together with 158 representatives from 51 countries and territories participated in the historical First World Peace Conference held at the Guam International Trade Center Building. It was at this conference that Soka Gakkai International (SGI) was founded as an international body which included member organizations over the entire world. It was a starting point towards creating a century of life and peace.
During the conference, President Ikeda was appointed as the President of the newly formed SGI at the request of all present. President Ikeda then called out to those gathered to dedicate their lives to sowing the seeds of the Mystic Law for the sake of Peace throughout the entire world. And on this day from 1983 onwards, President Ikeda has been writing peace proposals relating to Buddhist concepts and the challenges that world society faces in the quest to realise peace and human security.
This significant day serves as a reminder for the momentous advancement of kosen-rufu and to what it means to rise up as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. President Ikeda explains that the process of kosen-rufu is to realize lasting peace for all humanity. To achieve kosen-rufu, it is necessary to instill in people’s hearts a spirit of compassion for all living beings in accord with the Buddhist principle of the sanctity of life, which is to recognize that all life inherently possesses the supremely noble and unsurpassed life-state of Buddhahood.
Those who practice Daishonin’s teachings must strive in earnest to make his prediction a reality. Therefore, protagonists of this endeavor must be keenly aware of their lofty mission. In contrast, having an attitude of a passive bystander is as good as not practicing Nichiren Buddhism. Such a passive life is joyless and dull, pervaded by the darkness of an empty heart.
As a disciple of second Soka Gakkai President Toda and a practitioner of Nichiren Daishonin, President Ikeda continues to strive to fulfill every wishes of his mentor and make Daishonin’s teaching a reality. During the conference, President Ikeda wrote his nationality as “The World” which indicates his dedication for worldwide kosen-rufu and President Toda’s ideal of global citizenship. In addition, the formation of SGI is also a wish of his mentor coming true.
Gazing out at the Japan Sea as the sun set, Toda had said to Shin’ichi: “I will build a solid foundation for kosen-rufu in Japan, but you will pave the way for kosen-rufu throughout the world.” Shin’ichi had engraved those words in his heart as if they were a final injunction.
[NHR Vol. 21, SGI]
Apart from fulfilling his mentor’s wish and ideologies, the founding of SGI is also an impassioned effort made by President Ikeda to make Daishonin’s teaching a reality. This is his conviction as a practitioner.
I was deeply convinced that, just as he [Nichiren Daishonin] predicts in this passage, the light of peace and happiness of the Buddhism of the sun would come to shine on people throughout Asia. And it was with this firm conviction that I set about opening the great path of the westward transmission of Buddhism.
[Our Brilliant Path to Victory, January 2011]
There are now SGI members in 192 countries and territories celebrating this day, January 26, the founding of SGI. Indeed, the founding of SGI, an umbrella organization, has catered for the growing membership around the world. Each of the local organization develops its activities in accordance with the culture and characteristics of that society, based on an understanding of the links between individual happiness and the peace and development of all humanity. And every individual are striving joyously in their Buddhist practice, contributing to their communities as good citizens, and leading valuable and productive lives.