July 04, 1997
By Craig Green & Jeff Farr
In 1979, as the priesthood’s true, political agenda was becoming clearer and clearer, an episode happened with SGI President Ikeda that put everything into perspective for the Soka Gakkai leaders. To this day, leaders who were there share their experience as a reminder to us all.
May 3, 1979: President Ikeda had been forced by the priests to resign but was set to attend the Soka Gakkai Day meeting at Soka University — the 19th anniversary of his presidency. With the priests present, members felt intimidated to even clap after President Ikeda’s speech. Leaving the gymnasium, though, some women spontaneously called to him. President Ikeda turned to the Soka Gakkai leaders with him and asked, ‘Who will take care of them?’ He then stated: ‘The Soka Gakkai exists to make such people, the genuine common people, happy. For that purpose, Buddhism, too, exists. Don’t you think so? You have to remember this point.’
In this short statement we can see the difference between the SGI and the priesthood: The SGI exists to make the people happy. The priesthood has been using people. The Soka Gakkai leaders present made a new determination that day. If kosen-rufu was just a game to the priests, if the members were just pawns and Nichiren Daishonin?s teachings just something to manipulate, the Soka Gakkai was going to stand up to these priests.
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