Following is an excerpt from SGI President Daisaku
Ikeda’s essay, “The Magnificent Ceremony on March 16″ (World
I have fulfilled my vow to my mentor.
I have fulfilled my vow to my fellow members.
I have fulfilled all the objectives I pledged to achieve.
that day, when we gathered at the foot of Mount Fuji, we entered a new
stage in the progress of kosen-rufu.
It was a cold day. The grand peak of Fuji looked down on us from
above, serenely witnessing the event.
The ceremony on March 16 was exhilarating. Mr. Toda announced that
he was passing the baton of kosen-rufu to the youth division.
On that day in 1958, some 6,000 young disciples
gathered with their mentor, Josei Toda, whose life was quietly ebbing
away. Everyone celebrated that landmark day with joy and
excitement. Brave young men and women dedicated to kosen-rufu had
assembled from all over Japan. They shook hands, patted each other
on the shoulder, and talked and laughed together. It was a joyful
vision of future triumph.
Four decades of indestructible achievement have passed since that day.
On March 1, Mr. Toda said to me: “The rest will
be up to you, Daisaku. I’m counting on you.” A few days
later, he made a suggestion: “Let’s conduct a ceremony that will
serve as a trial run — a dress rehearsal — for kosen-rufu, in
preparation for the future.” Mr. Toda knew that he would
never rise again, never again stand at the head of the march for
kosen-rufu, directing its advance.
Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Life is limited, and we must not
begrudge it. What we should aspire to, after all, is the
Buddha land” (The Major Writings of
Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 5, p. 132).
March 16 was a ceremony to eternally honor and pay tribute to the
selfless spirit of Mr. Toda, who had lived in complete accord with these
words of the Daishonin, and to pass that legacy on to the next
At the proud ceremony, Mr. Toda declared: “The
Soka Gakkai is the king of the religious world.” This
impassioned cry, this lion’s roar, is engraved forever in my being.
At that moment, I vowed in my heart to see to it that the Soka Gakkai
would indeed be king. “King of the religious world”
means king of the realms of thought and philosophy. The Chinese
character for king is written with three horizontal strokes, one above
the other, intersected by one vertical stroke. Here are the
“three” of the third month, March, and the “one” of
16. Where is the six? It is represented by the 6,000 Ganges rivers
who would follow in their wake. For us, the great ceremony on
March 16 showed clear proof that “the assembly at Eagle Peak has
not yet dispersed” (Gosho Zenshu, p.
April 2, 1958, 17 days after the ceremony on March 16, Mr. Toda’s noble
life came to an end. March 16 had been a farewell ceremony, the passing
of the baton.
Forty years have passed since then. In that time, the Soka Gakkai
has soared to become the king of thought, the king of human rights, the
king of peace.
The comrades who have struggled by my side over the
years are all living wonderful lives of triumph and good fortune.
I will always honor these noble friends, through all time.
Disciples are those who carry out the mentor’s
teachings. Disciples are those who fulfill their vows.
I have done these things, and that is my greatest pride.
Nichiren Daishonin writes, “If you want to understand what results
will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the
present” (MW-2 [2nd ed.],
172). A powerful determination and our actions
in the present moment determine the future. March 16 is the
eternal starting point of true cause, when all disciples stand up to be
counted. For me, each day is a day of fresh commitment, each
day is March 16.
Today, the rising sun tints the great mountain range
of the 21st century. Following the model of March 16, I
have passed the baton of the Soka Gakkai spirit completely to the youth.
Soon, yes, soon, their time for glory will be here.
March is the time when trees and shrubs begin to parade their fresh
greenery and their lovely new blossoms. Youth, whom I will always
love and trust, the 21st century is yours. Your time
has come. It has, inexorably, begun.