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    Daisaku Ikeda: A Biographical Sketch (continued)

    Encountering a Mentor

    Amid the postwar chaos and confusion Ikeda read voraciously, searching for answers in whatever scarce books on literature and philosophy he could get his hands on. It was at this juncture that he encountered Josei Toda (1900-58), the person who would come to have the most formative influence on his life. Toda, an educator and the cofounder of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist association, had opposed the policies of the wartime government and had suffered persecutions and a two-year imprisonment as a result.

    In 1947, Ikeda attended a small gathering of Soka Gakkai members where he heard Toda speak. Although Ikeda was generally suspicious of religious ideology, he writes, "The words of a person who had suffered imprisonment for his convictions carried a special weight. I felt intuitively that I could trust him."[Read Full text above.](1)

    Toda's willingness to stand up to the militarist state particularly impressed Ikeda. Having endured the abuse of the authorities and suffered the death of his own mentor, Toda was deeply passionate about the need to effect a transformation within Japanese society. "I decided," Ikeda recalls, "to follow him and to learn from him."(2)

    The Soka Gakkai

    Toda was, at this time, in the process of rebuilding the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist association, which he had founded together with his mentor and fellow educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944) in 1930 and which had been all but destroyed by the militarist government during World War II. [Brief history on the Soka Gakkai / ]. Toda was deeply convinced that the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism ( ), with its focus on the profound potential of the individual human being, would be the key to bringing about a social transformation within Japan.

    The years following his release from prison in 1945 until his death in 1958 were spent in a monumental effort to develop a movement of individuals empowered by this philosophy. Ikeda, who had devoted himself to supporting Toda and his vision, naturally came to play a central part in the development of the Soka Gakkai.

    Ikeda's association with Toda lasted only ten years. His mentorship by Toda, however, has become the defining experience of his life and, as he describes it, the source of everything he has done and become. Ikeda speaks and writes about his mentor continually. Almost all of his speeches and writings reference Toda’s ideas and influence. The theme of mentorship is one that Ikeda continues to explore and discuss. In his exchanges with notable individuals, he inevitably questions them about their mentors, and his writings and speeches about historical figures frequently examine this same theme. ---A.G.

    1) Ikeda, Daisaku. 2006. "Planting Seeds of Hope." Japan Times, June 8.
    2) Ikeda, Daisaku. 2001. Interview in “Daisaku Ikeda Up Close.” Videocassette. Tokyo: Owners Promotion, Inc.
    Last edited by PassTheDoobie; 01-24-2008, 12:39.


      Daisaku Ikeda: A Biographical Sketch (continued)

      Attending "Toda University"

      In 1948, Ikeda began working at Toda's publishing company. Here he began to develop his literary talents as the editor of a boys' magazine, while attending night classes at a college.

      As well as being a first-rate educator, Toda was a very creative and successful entrepreneur--talents which he combined to good effect. He had, before the war, run a very successful cram school and published a bestselling book on mathematics, as well as successfully managing a number of other businesses. At the end of 1949, however, he encountered a series of major setbacks resulting from postwar hyper-inflation that brought him to the brink of social and financial ruin. Determined to protect the Soka Gakkai from harm, he resigned his leadership.

      Unable to receive pay, his employees left him one after the other. Ikeda, however, remained, and took on the arduous task of negotiating with the firm's creditors.

      "For six months I did not receive any salary. My shoes were falling apart, I didn't have any proper clothes, and I was in poor health. But if it meant I could protect President Toda, I was willing to suffer in the worlds of even Hunger and Hell. I was determined not to have any regrets."(1)

      It was in the midst of this struggle against bankruptcy and failure that Toda outlined his vision of establishing a school and a university run according to the principles of the value-creation (soka) education philosophy of his own mentor, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944). Such an idea must have seemed fanciful in the extreme at the time, yet the utmost seriousness with which the 22-year-old Ikeda contemplated this vision is demonstrative of the profundity of his bond with Toda. Two decades later he brought this vision to reality, establishing the Soka Schools and Soka University.

      With Ikeda's help, Toda was eventually able to pay off his debts and resolve his financial affairs. To save his mentor from ruin required Ikeda's full, exhaustive efforts and meant that he had to give up his schooling. Toda pledged to give Ikeda a thorough, university-level education. These lessons--what Ikeda now refers to as "Toda University"--were carried out in the mornings before work and on weekends and continued until 1956, the year before Toda's death.

      "Every day before work, he would teach me a curriculum of history, literature, philosophy, economics, science and organization theory. On Sundays, our one-on-one sessions started in the morning and continued all day. He was constantly questioning me--interrogating might be a better word--about my reading."(2)

      Toda's education was thorough, wide-ranging and rigorous. "The school of my youth was the private instruction I received from a master in 'the study of humanity,' Josei Toda. He gave me a thorough and complete grounding in an encyclopedic range of subjects, including politics, economics, law, Chinese classics, chemistry and physics. Mr. Toda often asked me, 'What book have you read today?' or 'What are you reading now?' and then would demand that I summarize the book's contents. He would really put me on the spot. Sometimes it was so tough that I felt deeply mortified..."(3) He says also, "Most of all, however, I learned from his example. The burning commitment to peace that remained unshaken throughout his imprisonment was something he carried with him his entire life. It was from this, and from the profound compassion that characterized each of his interactions, that I most learned. Ninety-eight percent of what I am today I learned from him." [Read full text / ] (4) ---A.G.

      1) Ikeda, Daisaku. 2003. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Volume 6, p.166. CA: World Tribune Press.
      2) Ikeda, Daisaku. 1996. "Columbia daigaku deno SGI kaicho no koen[SGI President Ikeda's Lecture at Columbia University]." Seikyo Shimbun, June 16, p. 3.
      3) Ikeda, Daisaku. 1999. "Zuihitsu 'Shin-ningenkakumei,' 117,'Toda daigaku' no meikogi [Thoughts on The New Human Revolution: 117, The Superlative Classes at 'Toda University']." Seikyo Shimbun, March 15, p. 3
      4) Ikeda, Daisaku. 1996. "Columbia daigaku deno SGI kaicho no koen [SGI President Ikeda's Lecture at Columbia University]." Seikyo Shimbun, June 16, p. 3.


        Daisaku Ikeda: A Biographical Sketch (continued)

        Learning Leadership

        As well as developing Ikeda's scholarship, Toda also began to place him in challenging leadership roles within the Soka Gakkai, testing and developing his leadership skills. In 1951, with his personal financial affairs in order, thanks largely to Ikeda's efforts, Toda was inaugurated as president of the Soka Gakkai. During the inauguration ceremony he declared his goal to build an organization of 750,000 households before his death, from what was then a mere 3,000 members. The announcement was accepted by the existing Soka Gakkai membership as rhetorical hyperbole. Ikeda, however, realized that Toda was absolutely serious. The years between 1951 and 1957, when the goal was accomplished, became a period of intense activity for the organization and, increasingly, Ikeda.

        One of the first instances in which Ikeda was able to demonstrate his leadership abilities occurred in 1952. Frustrated by the slow pace of the organization's growth, Toda appointed Ikeda in a position of responsibility in Tokyo's Kamata Chapter. Within the single month of February the chapter added a completely unprecedented 201 new households to its membership. This example invigorated the entire organization, triggering the momentum for the realization of Toda's goal of 750,000 member households.

        Ikeda's ability to organize and to inspire people was demonstrated on an even grander scale four years later during a now historic propagation campaign in Osaka in 1956. Under his leadership the organization in Osaka added 11,111 new households to its membership in the space of a single month.


        In 1952, Ikeda married Kaneko Shiraki, with whom he has had three sons.

        Before they married, he would occasionally walk her home after a Soka Gakkai meeting. Although polite and engaging, Kaneko recalls how Ikeda would quickly fall into deep philosophical musings as the two strolled along the riverbank toward her house, articulating his thoughts on world affairs and social injustices, or the nature of life and the universe, and elaborating visions of future human society. "He would discuss topics of such grand scale that I found it difficult keeping up with his thoughts,"(1) Kaneko would later confide. She also recalls him as a person deeply sensitive to any sort of social injustice, who would talk often about the kind of ideal, humanistic organization he would like to construct.

        After their marriage Kaneko became Daisaku's closest confidante. Later, after he took on the crushing pressures of the organization's presidency, her support became vital. ---A.G.

        1) Ikeda, Kaneko. 2005. Kaneko-sho (On Kaneko), p.60. Tokyo: Shufu no tomosha Press.


          "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the Law of time without beginning. When we chant and practise that Law, the life-state of the Buddha of time without beginning shines brightly in our hearts. The Daishonin writes that to embrace 'the Mystic Law of time without beginning, of the oneness of eternity and a single life-moment,' is to inherit the supreme and unsurpassed Law (GZ, 867). For us who uphold the Mystic Law and dedicate our lives to kosen-rufu, every day is 'time without beginning'; every day is New Year's Day. Hence, we possess the power to constantly improve ourselves and elevate our lives with a vigour like that of the first day's sun as it rises majestically to bathe all in its bright, restorative light.

          SGI Newsletter No. 7455, DIVISIONAL EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE--PART 1 [OF 2], Starting the Year Off with Fresh Determination (At a divisional executive conference held at the SGI International Conference Hall in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, on Jan. 2nd, 2008) Translated Jan 17th, 2008


            "This passage refers to the great joy that one experiences when one understands for the first time that one's mind from the very beginning has been the Buddha. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys."

            (Ongi kuden - Gosho Zenshu, page 788, The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, page 211) Selection source: SGI President Ikeda's poem, Seikyo Shimbun, January 18th, 2008


              This is the first time I made it to this page. I see I must have some good karma to come across this. I have a lot of reading to catch up on, I love buddism. If anyone hasn't read anything by eckhart tolle you should, I have read the power of now and currently reading "a new earth". It seems to be buddism in more lay terms and works through more of the modern American paradigm. I definitely don't feel the internal pain or fight internally as much since my conscience pursuit of enlightenment. I have listen to one buddist reading on "the meaning of life: buddist perspectives on cause and effect". I can't wait to read more.

              Thank you



                Now is the time to chant!
                It is vital for our leaders to wholeheartedly chant daimoku
                that all of our fellow members advance victoriously and successfully
                and that everyone lives out their lives confidently and in high spirits.

                Daisaku Ikeda


                  Welcome truck!


                    How do people like us help change this world. I pray, now I will chant, and this is where I feel I lack the most is action. Until recently, for about a year, as I believe it to be a part of my enlightenment I've felt a sense of letting go of who or what I thought I was, I have found I want to act on my beliefs but don't know how to go about helping cause more change. Anyone else feel this urge to act but are not sure where to start? I feel there is change coming but also feel it being pulled on by both the darkness and light. I believe our sacred plant could possibly be an important part of change especially in the area of LAW, which could help shift the balance in the favor of the light...eternal peace. I hope I'm not being considered a thread high jacker, just have a passion for spirituality and herb, but for me as many the two are the same.


                      welcome Truck. hello everyone, I have found my way back to the site. I also am always looking for spirituality and herb and here I find encouragment and through my practice of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo I find peace. Thanks T for your encouraging words. I have some reading to catch up on.



                        i've read myoho's post and then georgia's
                        oh...ppl a big hug and a warm thought towards you!

                        i realized something after reading these posts...and i'm not gonna tell ya untill i work some more on this hehe(eeh why not ey?)

                        i realized i have another, most important mentor in my life, my gf, just don't tell her yet yeah, and again compassion makes me realize that, above all that happened and is happening among the two of us

                        but the things i wanna tell ya are here:

                        day by day, religion is becoming my life, and life is becomming a religion, it is a warm feeling letting it go and leap and land on a total different place. i always did that in the mazohistic way, letting my anger go and run free, enjoying every second of it! but
                        what if i enjoy the happines, the good feelings, good vibes, realy put my mind in to it not towards anger?

                        compassion is the right one, compassion makes you happy, compassion gets you laid, compassion gets you money, compassion gets you friends everywhere you go

                        i feel like a hippy flying on the clouds, i mean why shouldn't i use "religion" to awaken myself, to be able to search for the "right"-->
                        edit(by right i mean those questions that really give me something, not shit like : "why am i so sad?, why can't IIII be happy?")
                        -->questions and the following answears that come without a doubt, as every second is followed by the next second
                        things will always move, you have to move your ass-brain too!

                        i probably don't make any sense to 90% of you, but i'm really deeply greatefull to ALL of YOU that make the effort to post here and contribute to something that is as beautiful as a lotus flower, if you'r a somekind of nature lover like i am, you'll see the real beauty in every being, rock, vacuum, idon'tknowwhatmore

                        so are the Things that remember our lazy brains every day what that beauty this somewhat gray, flowerless world of urban cities

                        every way is a good way if it serves its perpous,
                        Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
                        is one of those paths that make me smile and cry
                        Growing every day of our lives


                          Originally posted by GeorgialouWho

                          ... if Toda had told Ikeda to just go chant about it and well that's your opinion; where the f*ck would we all be? We all have our role and as long as we are coming (from) a place of intergrity then keep pushing the envelope I say.

                          (right arm raised high with clentched fist)

                          Right on, Sister! Right on!


                            Originally posted by scegy

                            compassion is the right one, compassion makes you happy, compassion gets you laid, compassion gets you money, compassion gets you friends everywhere you go
                            I think this pretty much sums it up. And what is the greatest compassion? It is sharing the truth of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with another.


                              Georgia I can't wait to hug you my sister! We're two but not two!

                              Originally posted by PassTheDoobie
                              I think this pretty much sums it up. And what is the greatest compassion? It is sharing the truth of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with another.
                              My friends, I made it a victory, two new introductions today (i explain after I catch up), I had lunch yesterday with the Zone MD leader and he realized my words are not theory and I'm trying my best to practice correctly he called me out of the blue just before 12 and said "Hey lets have lunch" after we realized recently he works in the next building.

                              You know Georgia just said nobody liked Daisaku and he changed the organization because Sensei Toda showed him through his life he could and must do it, wow thats pretty heavy and the day before yesterday after I wrote that longwinded email full of mixed emotions and a strong message protecting my former christian shakubukus, I validated in my heart that I was doing the right thing but not before writing to Thomas for guidance and also as I did that my Region YMD leader called me and we spoke for an hour and I told him about Ted Osaki, Tony Matsuoka, and Tom & Babba. How they are right there with the three Presidents in every gongyo, he understood me clearly he told me his mother that passed away last month was his mentor too and so is President Ikeda, I don't want to distinguish people vertically when it comes to my faith, compassion is essentially a universal aspect and even re-living my past whereby I grew up seeing foolish people get conned out of their money, homes, families and lives for the sake of religion then the priest runs away to the next town and sets up shop there and the people just move on to the next con artist and keep the cycle going made me very distrustful (serious karma I'm working through one daimoku at a time my friends).

                              Truthfully those wounds are still fresh for me and that is never going to be a part of Buddhism because mechanically we function together cohesively and if thats not happen a leader like me will come around and rouse you up and together we'll work harder on kosen-rufu. I made a breakthrough yesterday before a toso by telling a friend who's wife is expecting a baby any day now and he's about to put himself on anxiety meds but HE's NOT CHANTING, I say "hey man we gotta chant more together but your not even showing up ever for any activities and only are gunhoe about meetings in your house, your wife has been dealing with a alot of shit from you lately (in front of his wife), she didn't ever say anything I just know you after two years and my brother you have to chant and start coming with me to visit other members and together we'll get through this by really practicing Buddhism and chanting everyday consistently." He had nothing to say until today, hehehe, he calls "Hey man I was thinking about what you said and on sundays I get so depressed because I know I have to goto this job I hate on mondays but I think if I went with you to visit someone and chant it would something different for me, idunno maybe give me something to look forward to..." I say "Awesome, but you said something to look forward too, YOUR HAVING YOUR FIRST SON! HAHAHA YOUR GONNA BE ALRIGHT, just make good on your promise and trust me we'll get through this together." He told me "Thanks" he usually doesnt say that!

                              What I'm getting at is, sure I had to deal with some karma for not wording an email as compassionately as I should have and actually I could have been more concise in the sense that I have one Gohonzon and nothing but Gohonzon and that's Nichiren Daishonin. But I did paraphrase Georgia and PTD extensively including the posts PTD put up with the great Sensei Toda quote and then an awesome speech about Soka U. I ended up getting closer much much closer with the people I wrote that email too, they will be at my meeting on sunday, I'm hoping 20 people show up including this guy I just met at the Gym tonight.

                              A friend told me last month "there is a young guy at our gym and he's interested in buddhism you should talk to him". I never saw the guy and was asking for him when I go and haven't asked for him for bit but today the soda machine ate my quaters and I asked a trainer if he could help me. He tried and then I suggested "Maybe I can kick it, but I dont want to break it so just let me kick it where the money is so it falls through. Well I kicked it and nothing happened so I said "forget it" He says "I'll tell the manager he'll take care of you tomorrow" and I said "Wow that's nice, dude I'm MyohoDisco whats your name" Getting ready to ask him if he knows about Buddhism and he says "My name is Amby." What the heck! I was thrilled so happy I told him "hey I been looking for young people like me interested in Buddhism and my friend told me about you.. " he says "yeah yeah, I know them they haven't been coming and I have your number I've been meaning to call you its been a tough month i was engaged, had to move.." well we talked for about 15 minutes and exchanged numbers and he's coming to my study meeting wooohooo!

                              So is a dude I was calling leaving messages for thats going to college in my area and is from Japan (but American, parents in military) and his mom wrote an email to get him connected with youth he's a fortune baby chanting all his life and I was forwarded the email last week or two weeks ago and the dude finally called after I wrote him a text message today with my address and offered a ride to the meeting he called and said "I've been practicing independantly and its about time I got hooked up again, I'm in my senior year.." The young man is coming over to my meeting and now I'll have more youth division whereas I had NONE! YES YES YES!

                              Another dude that lives in my area was given an ultimatum by his parents to put away his Gohonzon or move out had to put it away and a chapter leader called me to tell me that and I called the dude and told him about the meeting because he's been out of touch and also offered to hold his Gohonzon for safe keeping said he'd come to the meeting. I emailed my area leader and told him the situation and will talk with him in person about it tomorrow. But its Buddhism left and right!

                              I was so busy this week I finally got a couple hours of rest tonight and feel awesome. I saw a little bit of the republican debate and in comparison to 2000 and 2004 I didn't loathe or wish any harm upon any, in fact Huckabee had me laughing and so did McCain and Ron Paul just had me interested and I really wanted to hear more from this man, now thats a republican no wonder so many dudes on ICMAG support him, the man has common sense!

                              Speaking of common sense, Thank you PTD for sharing these awesome posts, it took a bit to catch up tonight, but I devour every word with pleasure on this thread and I'm always thirsty for more!

                              Welcome to the new members, Truck just said
                              Until recently, for about a year, as I believe it to be a part of my enlightenment I've felt a sense of letting go of who or what I thought I was, I have found I want to act on my beliefs but don't know how to go about helping cause more change. Anyone else feel this urge to act but are not sure where to start?
                              Dude thats where I was when Babba was telling me how good chanting made him feel and then I kinda like the idea that I was taking some sort of action for a 'greater' good, little did I know that greater part was the tip of the ice berg, wooooosh before you know it chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! opened up my nasal passages and eardrums (i have bad allergies), my sex life got better, I felt more confident at work and also started working on telling other people about what I was learning from Buddhism and really advanced alot. I went to college once and dropped out very quickly after a year and 2 months of chanting I ran to college because it was my only option just like the reason I keep chanting is because this right here leads to joy unmatched in my experience and the experiences are getting better and better and better.

                              I'm almost done with a grow and the shit's frosty folks, like I never seen not even in pictures, I know its from chanting daimoku and doing the right thing with them, thats the reason. This year I planned on 40 shakubuku again and I said tonight to my gf, lets do 4000 together right here where we live! Hahaha, I was very serious and feel really really good. I'm enjoying this goodness right now very much, I haven't been smelling the rose much the last 5 years things still get foggy from time to time but I'm learning to slow on the bend as I keep climbing the mentor step by step with my mentor(s) with me guiding my path showing me shit I didn't realize was there along the way!

                              Come one come call to the Chanting Growers Thread! In Mappo we got it all and right here we got my Bodhisattva brothers and sisters chanting away making it happen each and every day! Thanks again Scegy PTD and GeorgialouTOTHEWHO!

                              "I explained the teachings of the Lotus Sutra to you before. Matters of minor importance arise from good, but when it comes to a matter of great importance, great disaster without fail changes into great fortune."

                              WND Page 824
                              Page 823 A Warning against Begrudging One's Fief
                              Written to Shijo Kingo in July of 1277 from Minobu


                                There are a myriad ways to find clarity or to refresh one's spirit when under stress. The early 20th century naturalist John Muir suggests observing or experiencing nature. He writes: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy" (Our National Parks, p. 56). Muir's outlook echoes Nichiren Daishonin's passage above* where he states that we can find within ourselves the same power, the same strength found in nature.

                                *"The function of fire is to burn and give light. The function of water is to wash away filth. The winds blow away dust and breathe life into plants, animals and human beings. The earth produces the grasses and trees, and heaven provides nourishing moisture. The five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo are also like that." "The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life," The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 218.
                                From The Writings for Discussion Meetings, "Never Ceasing to Help Others", World Tribune, January 18, 2008, page 7

                                Nam Myoho Renge Kyo


                                So be it, Will it so....