Feb. 15, 2002
The Justice Chronicle, provided by Soka Gakkai International-USA, is a free monthly e-mail in support of the Soka Spirit movement. Soka Spirit is the SGI’s educational effort to create value and deepen our understanding of Nichiren Buddhism through increased awareness of issues surrounding the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood and the spiritual foundation of the SGI movement.
This is an excerpt from a series of informal discussions between SGI President Ikeda and various SGI members in 1994. It originally appeared in the Nov. 21 1994, World Tribune.
WE LEAD OTHERS TO HAPPINESS WITH OUR VOICES
There is a saying that Speech is silver, silence is golden. But when you are engaged in a struggle, the opposite is true. Then, speaking out is golden and silence is defeat.
It is vital that we speak out, that we boldly declare what is true and what is false. Unfounded criticisms must be rebutted and the record set straight. The other day (Oct. 10, 1994), I met with Vice Chancellor Kedar B. Mathema of Nepal’s Tribhuvain University. I heard that he shared an anecdote about Mahatma Gandhi with some Soka University staff member:
One day, an English person asked Gandhi why Indians ate with their hands. Isn’t that dirty? the person asked. Gandhi inquired in return what the English ate with. The person replied that they ate with knives and forks.
Well, now, countered Gandhi, one never knows if one’s knife and fork have been properly washed, or how dirty they may be. One always knows, however, how clean one’s own hands are.
Gandhi was also known for wearing a single length of homespun cloth. An English governor, outfitted in rather elaborate attire, told Gandhi he was half-naked. That’s quite all right, replied Gandhi. You’re wearing enough for the two of us.
What marvelous wit! Our brain exists so that we may use it. And we have a tongue so that we may speak out. I urge the youth division members to study Nichiren Daishonin’s cutting refutation in his Questions and Answers for Quick Victory in Refuting Erroneous Teachings (Gosho Zenshu, p. 161).
One’s voice does the Buddha’s work (Gosho Zenshu, p. 708). Unless we speak out, we can’t accomplish the Buddha’s work of leading people to happiness or carry out our mission as bodhisattvas. With our voices, we lead others to happiness. With our voices, we crush evil and destroy negative influences.
Nor can we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of making a lot of noise and lording it over others in our immediate sphere of influence but being silent and cowed when it comes to speaking up in public.
Three in a series.
This series contains excerpts of speeches SGI President Ikeda made in the United States which relate to Soka Spirit and are contained in the book My Dear Friends in America.
RESIST MUCH, OBEY LITTLE
Walt Whitman, the great American poet whose name is synonymous with democracy, wrote these lines to his country: Resist much, obey little, / Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved (from To the States in Leaves of Grass). Believers who blindly follow religious authority end up becoming spiritual slaves and risk having their personal freedom and dignity trampled upon.
Buddhism is win or lose. I hope all of you will join me in advancing the kosen-rufu movement even more vigorously than before, in accordance with Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings.
Please have no doubt in your mind that the Daishonin and the Dai-Gohonzon are aware that we are the ones who are working earnestly for, and are on the most correct course toward, kosen-rufu. In contrast, the Daishonin’s harsh admonishment is bound to await those who would become enemies of the True Law and the people.
The present situation [with the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood] represents an opportunity to deepen our faith and accumulate good fortune, a chance to experience on a more profound level the greatness of the Daishonin’s Buddhism. I hope you will continue to advance cheerfully and confidently based on this conviction.
I would like each of you to enjoy a life of victory and great benefit, to remain steadfast in the face of obstacles so that we can achieve an era of true democracy. (pp. 120-21)
Four in a series.
SOKA SPIRIT IN THE PUBLICATIONS
This section highlights articles published in the World Tribune and Living Buddhism related to the Soka Spirit movement.
Feb. 15 World Tribune page 10: In his article Faith and Freedom Need Each Other, from his series Buddhism in a New Light: Soka Spirit Dialogue for the District SGI-USA Vice Study Department Leader Shin Yatomi discusses the value of and relationships between faith, freedom and dialogue.