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Poetry​

Daisaku Ikeda is also a prolific poet and World Poet Laureate, whose poetry has been recognised as expressing the highest humanistic values and a wellspring of inspiration.

1988

During his first visit to Malaysia in February 1988, he dedicated the longer poem “Youthful Country with a Shining Future” to Malaysia. In this poem, he expresses his admiration for Malaysia’s harmonious diversity and multi-culturalism, while expressing his hope for Malaysia’s eternal prosperity.

Photo taken by Daisaku Ikeda (Kuala Lumpur, 1988)

During his first visit to Malaysia in February 1988, he dedicated the longer poem “Youthful Country with a Shining Future” to Malaysia. In this poem, he expresses his admiration for Malaysia’s harmonious diversity and multi-culturalism, while expressing his hope for Malaysia’s eternal prosperity.

Youthful Country with a Shining Future

To My Dear Friends in Malaysia

Malaysia, oh Malaysia!
Country of unbounded future,
Youthful land
Brimming with the spirit of construction.

The sun with his rays
Of courage, righteousness and hope
Rises again today
Over the rich verdancy of the proud capital
Kuala Lumpur
With its tall ranks of skyscrapers.
The air so pure and refreshing
Under the piercing rays of the sun
Land of endless summer
Each new day filled
With energy and vitality.

The multi-hued flowers
Enhance the scarlet splendour
Of the bunga raya
Noble princess of flowers
Exchanging gentle floral smiles.

The southern sun
Instantly embraces
The thick green forests
Harbouring unknown vital depths
The swaying groves of rubber trees
Bringing fertility to the entire land
The palm trees rising straight and proud
On shores lapped by silver waves.

Asia was long called the region
Of chaos and stagnation
But here in Malaysia one finds
The will, the passion and energy
Of nation-building
The stir of Asia rising.

Looking back on its history
in centuries past
One finds different peoples
And civilisations crossing paths
in Malaysia.

With enterprising spirits
Youths set out on the oceanic vastness
Their boats laden with people
and civilisation.
A bridge transmitting the culture of Asia
to the southern islands,
Malaysia was a maritime crossroads
Linking East Asia, India and Europe.

Alas, this same strategic placement also
Made her target for the conquests of
the great powers.

In the fifteenth century
The ancient capital of Malacca
With its fine natural harbour
Was bustling with the ships of
East-West trade,
Reaching heights of prosperity.

Then the tentacles of a powerful nation
Seeking control of oriental trade
Reached out for this city
And in the sixteenth century it fell.

Changing hands again and again
The nation’s fate evolved.

Foreign control extended to
The entire peninsula
Monopolies of tin and rubber
Based on the chains of monoculture
Later this same colonial economy
Would give rise
To a multi-racial nation.

Freed finally from colonial history
Malaysia took her fledgling steps
Down the path of independence
Thirty years ago in 1957.

A nation in the bloom of youth!
You kick the springboard with strength
As you leap towards the new century.

A bundant resources –
You boast the world’s top production of tin
As well as rubber, petroleum, palm oil –

Rich culture –
The swirling mix of cultures
East and West, Chinese and Thai
Indian and the Arabic,
Even distant Europe
Were gathered to you by the
Maritime trade routes.

Diversity of peoples, resources and culture –
Diversity means unlimited possibilities
Foretells a great future of unfolding plenty.

The sinuous twisting of the
Dense, layered forest –
Here nature’s mysterious power
Brings forth the vegetative life in
hundreds, thousands of species
Uncountable trees and flowers
Each in its own way

Choosing its place,
its time,
Manifesting its unique self
Exchanging greetings
Together thriving and luxuriant.

Many diverse species
Co-existing, vying
Together form a Wondrous organic entity.
The “harmony of diversity”
This guideline of yours
Is the source of creative energy
Whether in nature or in human society.

Imagine a seven-coloured child’s top
– red, blue, yellow, green … even purple –
Spinning faster and faster
These colours blend and merge
Approaching one single yet
Infinitely beautiful tone.

The colours of this spinning top
Are the diversity of nature and society
And the final single tint
Is the mystic beauty of
Harmonised diversity.

And the top’s rapid spin –
This, my dear Malaysian friends
Is your spirit of construction
Your resolve to win
Your untiring, devoted effort
Continuous from yesterday to today
From today towards tomorrow.

And now, throughout Kuala Lumpur
The growling engines of cranes
The song of hammers building
Reverberate and echo.
So young and full of vigorous energy

Is this rapidly transforming metropolis!
It is this that reminds me of a top
Emitting its sharp whine
Yet standing firm and unmoving.

Oh Malaysia, land of youth!
Malaysia, land of the future!
It is youth who will shoulder
Its unbounded future,
More than anything
Their vigorous growth
Contains the promise
Of a prosperous tomorrow.

Youth, a “penniless bounty”
Are the earth in which is hidden
Unknowable potential
Brilliant jewels of ability
Inexhaustible mines of golden creation
Immeasurable sources of power.

It takes a hundred years to raise people,
Indeed, my young friends,
A great tree does not become so overnight.

Extend your roots
Deep into the unseen soil
Ceaselessly absorbing nutrients

Growing and learning without pause
Without giving up;
The long years of untiring effort
Will finally shape you into a great tree
Soaring into the sky
Stately and unmoving.

My young friends,
Advance with the sun in your heart
Move forward with pride and dignity,
Young trees only grow into great ones
When bathed in showers of sunlight.

The sun does not shine, though,
On those who resent their surroundings,
Are caught up in the past
Or hide themselves in shades of sorrow.

Stride each day
Down this broad and royal way
Smiling radiantly
Conversing with the sun.

The hardships of youth
Are the nutrients of future growth.
No great tree will grow Without adversity,
For hardships are another name
For training,
They are precious
“treasures of the heart”
Making possible your future flights.
My young friends be altruistic,
Courageously taking on hardships
Sharing friends’ pains and sorrows
Serving people and society.

My dear Malaysian friends,
Our faith finds its expression
in daily life;
It does not mean chasing after phantoms
Away from the realities of life,
Nor does it mean having to fit yourself
Into a special mould
Different from other people.
The brilliant light revealed
Naturally from within
In the home, the community
The workplace,
Being genuinely admired, trusted
Contributing to the peace and welfare
Of society –
This is the true meaning of faith
This is the path of
“Faith equals daily life.”

For this reason also
You should develop yourselves
Perfecting your character
For the role you will play
In the twenty-first century
The “rainbow century.”

A man of character is a man of compassion.
Maintain, as the Daishonin says,
“A smiling countenance at all times.”
Because real compassion does not depend
On the other person, but
Just as the sun sheds his light
Equally on all, the compassion person,
With a broad and open mind
On unshakeable life-condition,
Can love, comfort and embrace
Any person.

A good character is an expression of good sense.
My mentor used to say,
“Be sincere and never use violent language,
Use reason in leading people.”
The world of faith is the world of willing consent.
People are not convinced
By the force of authority, nor by rank.
The unparalleled persuasiveness
Of Buddhism made manifest in your life
In sensible words and conduct
Has a power that will leave No man unconvinced.

Character is the product of perseverance.
When I met with last fall in friendly talks with
Vice-Chancellor Royal Prof Ungku Aziz of
University of Malaya
He shared with me his desire that the young sapling
Of Malaysian culture grow into a great tree.
He also spoke of the importance
Of patience and of never giving up
Of carrying through to the very end.
His sagacity reminded me

That a deep understanding
Of the world’s ways
Leads to Buddhism.
Never tiring, never fearing,
Persevering through all,
Looking always for the light
The true path of man
Is also the true path of faith.

Ah, this mystic relationship!
My dear friends
You emerge in this land
Of beautiful nature
Embracing in the depths of your lives
The mission
To accomplish its great development.

On Penang, island of fantasy
On Ipoh, land of tin
On Kuantan, home of the giant sea turtle
In the state of Sabah, at the foot of Gunung Kinabalu
I find your smiling faces.

My friends,
True to your pledge
You have striven whole-heartedly
For the happiness of people
For the peace of society
For the sake of the country you love.

You gather joyfully
In the treasure castle
Of a new culture
Proclaim your departure
Towards the second phase.

Filled with emotion
I send my praise, my felicitations
As you are about to embark
May happiness, glory and victory
Crown the future of
My courageous friends!

The mountains of the new century
Are stained in the radiant hues of dawn;
Flowers tremble in the gentle breeze
The roar of a silver waterfall
Echoes through the trees
Announcing your departure.

Dear friends,
With baskets laden
With the fruit of happiness,
A cheerful song of hope upon your lips,
Let us commence our proud journey.

As the beautiful bird of peace
Traverses the boundless sky,
Unfold great wings of hope
And soar towards the future
Of the new century.

Like brightly coloured butterflies
Dancing gracefully through the air
Let us also dance in the floral pastures
Of lives of good fortune,
Creating an indestructible paradise
Of peace here in Malaysia.

Across the blue ocean plains
Resounds the crash of joyful waves
Playing a prelude to
Malaysia embarking.

Youthful country with a shining future, Malaysia!
Land festooned with green
Paradise of culture
Beautiful Malaysia –
May eternal prosperity be yours.

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