Sixty years ago on October 2, 1960, SGI President Ikeda embarked on his journey for worldwide kosen-rufu. Since then, Nichiren Buddhism and the ideals of the Soka Gakkai have spread to people in 192 countries and territories.
The time has come for Soka youth to inherit their mentor’s spirit and expand the waves of worldwide kosen-rufu. Thus, on September 27, the World Youth General Meeting (WYGM) was held, with Soka Gakkai youth division members from around the world participating in an online assembly of mentor-and-disciple streamed globally. The main venue was the Soka Culture Centre in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. Some 20,000 SGM members of all divisions participated in the WYGM.
The meeting started off with the “Sunrise Stage” featuring cultural performances by Soka Gakkai youth around the world, including countries such as Taiwan, New Zealand, Brazil and Korea. South Asia youth also performed “Invincible Forever” in which SGM youth contributed.
Participants also viewed videos of President Ikeda’s endeavours for worldwide kosen-rufu. From making his mentor’s dream as his vow, to how he treasured each and every person he met, and spreading Nichiren Buddhism to so many places and people, these videos have truly shown the true spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple that all members, especially the youth, should inherit.
Also, a calligraphy of the character for “vow” (Jpn chikai) was presented to the youth. According to Soka Gakkai senior vice-president Hiromasa Ikeda, this calligraphy was inscribed by President Ikeda 35years ago in October 1985, in Japan’s Chubu region.
Upon his return to Tokyo after visiting several regions in that year, President Ikeda, who was 57 years old at that time, fell ill and was hospitalised. Reflecting on the fact that his mentor Josei Toda passed away at 58, President Ikeda made a fresh determination to live out his life to the fullest for the sake of his mentor and worldwide kosen-rufu. This situation was described in The New Human Revolution, Vol. 30, “Vow” chapter. This calligraphy, which represents the vow President Ikeda made to his mentor, has also powerfully inspired youths around the globe, in which they were also determined to dedicate their lives to kosen-rufu in their respective areas.
Next, Soka Gakkai youth division leader Akiyasu Shiga urged the youth to inherit their mentor’s spirit and strive to realise the mentor’s dream. Towards May 3, 2030 (2030 is the centennial year of the Soka Gakkai’s founding), the Soka Gakkai will strive to achieve “a decade for building a new youthful Soka Gakkai that will triumphantly open the way to the organisation’s 100th anniversary!” Shiga also hopes that each and every one will “stand up with the same spirit as Shin’ichi Yamamoto and strive to spread Nichiren Buddhism in their societies, and positively transform their environment as part of their efforts to rid the world of misery and suffering.” As the first step towards 2030, he urged the youths to set their sights on the year 2023, the fifth anniversary of the completion of The New Human Revolution and the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, and strive to develop kosen-rufu movements in their respective areas.
In addition, 4,000 youths around the globe – including SGM youths – gathered online to present the new global Soka youth song entitled “Eternal Journey with Sensei (The Song of Our Vow).” As the lyrics state, “With our shared pledge / we disciples will soar to victory now,” this new song depicts the vow of Soka youths to strive to achieve their mentor’s vow.
Lastly, Soka Gakkai senior vice-president Hiromasa Ikeda read President Ikeda’s congratulatory message for the meeting. President Ikeda mentioned that, “Each of you young Bodhisattvas of the Earth came into this world to be victorious. You were born to surmount every hardship.” President Ikeda also said that “no matter how dark the times become…you who are dedicated to fulfilling your vow will never be defeated.”
President Ikeda has entrusted the spirit of “faith for absolute victory,” a lion-hearted conviction that one will definitely win in the end, to the hope-filled Soka Gakkai youth. Towards 2030, let us all make the mentor’s vow as ours and strive to achieve victories through overcoming challenges in our life. Forward, we advance, we arise!