Establishment of Nichiren Buddhism Celebrated Worldwide
April 28, 2007 marks the 754th anniversary of the establishment of Nichiren Buddhism (April 28, 1253). Today, SGI members in 190 countries and territories around the world practice Nichiren Buddhism.
On April 27, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda participated in a commemorative service to mark the anniversary at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall in Hachioji City. He, together with Soka Gakkai representatives, paid deep tribute to Nichiren for his lifetime dedication to people's happiness.
Born on February 16, 1222, as the son of poor fisher folk in a small fishing village in Awa Province (southern part of present-day Chiba), Nichiren (named Zennichi-maro--"Splendid Sun" by his parents) was sent to study at Seicho-ji, a local temple that had developed into a prestigious institution for the study of the Lotus Sutra. From there Nichiren embarked on a life-long journey to clarify the teachings of Buddhism that had become obscured by the emergence of competitive sects that vied for power and influence. His pursuit ultimately led him to the Lotus Sutra, which Nichiren discerned as containing the heart of Buddhism. On April 28, 1253, Nichiren first invoked "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" and established a Buddhist teaching based on the Lotus Sutra as the correct and direct path for enlightenment, or Buddhahood, for all humanity. Thereafter, Nichiren spent over two decades elucidating the correct practice of Buddhism and remonstrating with the military regime that suppressed the masses, based on his revolutionary stance that the state exists for the sake of the people. His was a noble, spiritual struggle to free people of their fundamental darkness--the inability to see or recognize the true nature of one's life--and to help them discover the limitless potential inherent within. Nichiren dedicated his life to opening a great path of happiness for humanity.
The Soka Gakkai and SGI members throughout the world, inspired by the example of the first three Soka Gakkai presidents, continue to succeed Nichiren's legacy and have made efforts to contribute to society through the concept of "human revolution," an inner-directed reformation that leads to positive changes in one's immediate environment and society.
[Adapted from an article in the April 28, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]