May 10, 2002
SGI Vice Women’s Leader Yumiko Hachiya
SGI Vice Women’s Leader Yumiko Hachiya recently traveled to 10 cities in the United States. The following are some of the points she made to encourage SGI-USA members in faith.
I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism since 1951. One day just before I joined the Soka Gakkai, my teacher at school gave us an assignment to research the impact of Buddhism on society. So I visited a neighborhood temple to seek some answers from a priest. This temple was affiliated with one of the more than 260 Nichiren sects of the day.
The priest was out, but his wife said that there was a young man who always visited to discuss religion, and she gave me the man’s address. So I visited this youth, who welcomed me and helped with my homework. He told me that there was a discussion meeting going on in the other room and invited me to join. Six or seven young students were in the room sitting in a circle, discussing how Buddhism could impact society. In the center, there was a young man whose head was drooping down and he looked downcast.
This was around six years after the end of World War II, and Japan was still in a devastated condition. I watched as these young men proceeded to share the greatness of faith in Buddhism. They explained to the young man that with the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, we could end war forever, that with the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo we are able to change our karma and the destiny of nations. They also explained that through this great Law all our prayers would be fulfilled.
Watching the meeting from behind as they talked to the youth sitting in the center, I thought to myself, “Why doesn’t he just join?” At the time, that guest was suffering from tuberculosis. As it turns out, that youth was Einosuke Akiya, the current Soka Gakkai president.
Excited with what I heard at that meeting, I soon told my father about this practice, who joined the Soka Gakkai with me. I also told all of my classmates about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nobody listened. They thought I was strange. Nonetheless, I had absolute conviction that Nichiren Buddhism would spread throughout the world.Without the Soka Gakkai presidents, we would not have encountered the Gohonzon.
The first time I visited the Head Temple Taiseki-ji was in January 1952. It was in a very miserable state. Priests did not share Buddhism with the people, so no one visited the temple. The Dai-Gohonzon was enshrined in a small storehouse. The altar reached the ceiling.
Without the first three Soka Gakkai presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda, the Dai-Gohonzon would have remained in this small storehouse without anyone’s knowledge, forever. Without them, none of us would have been able to encounter the Gohonzon and Nichiren Buddhism.
President Toda used to give regular lectures in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Around 3,000 members would gather from all over the nation. During one lecture, President Toda suddenly said, “Yes, I see shabby-looking Buddhas!” Everyone looked back, thinking that priests wearing shabby robes must be entering the hall. However, no one was there. We then realized that he was talking about us. In those days, Soka Gakkai members were either poor or sick. But it was President Toda’s perception that we were all Buddhas, no matter how shabby our appearance.
The good fortune we accumulate through faith is unlimited
Members would take trains to Ikebukuro Station from all over Japan to attend the lectures. President Toda once said: “I can imagine that when you took your money out to buy your ticket, you wondered whether you should actually do it. You wondered whether you shouldn’t buy bread or rice instead. You finally made a decision and said in a small voice, ‘Ikebukuro Station, please.’
“However, you cannot accumulate great fortune like that. Rather, why not spit on your money three times and clap on it three times and exclaim: ‘Please return to me by increasing 100 times, 1,000 times. Ikebukuro Station, please.’
“It is a struggle to accumulate good fortune, but once you do, it will keep coming without bounds. Even if you shut the door on it saying, ‘Please, I don’t need any more fortune,’ it will open the door and force itself in anyway.”
I attended the March 16 ceremony back in 1958. [On this day, now known as Kosen-rufu Day, President Toda symbolically passed the responsibility for the kosen-rufu movement to Daisaku Ikeda and the other youth.] It was only a couple of days before that I heard about this gathering. We were told to bring our chopsticks and bowl. We took a bus overnight and arrived at Taiseki-ji in the morning. President Toda had pork soup prepared, thinking about the youth who would be gathering that morning in the cold. And when we ate the pork soup, our bodies truly warmed up. When President Toda spoke, we all shed tears. We didn’t know why. Later we found out it was to be our last encounter with President Toda. He passed away less than one month later.
We were unaware that this gathering would become such a magnificent part of history. It is the same with our present activities. When you look back later after many years, you will be proud of the efforts you made. It will become a brilliant history that will shine in the annals of kosen-rufu.
Those who embrace the Mystic Law will definitely experience great protection
When Buddhism speaks of “devilish functions,” what does that really mean? These represent whatever tries to prevent us from advancing in our Buddhist practice. In a sense, they are frightened when we expand the Buddha’s forces, because the realm they want to control will then be changed into a pure land. In our case right now, this function is being manifested in the current high priest of Nichiren Shoshu.
Nichiren Daishonin states: “Although I, Nichiren, am not a man of wisdom, the devil king of the sixth heaven has attempted to take possession of my body. But I have for some time been taking such great care that he now no longer comes near me. Therefore, because the power of the heavenly devil is ineffectual against me, he instead possesses the ruler and his high officials, or foolish priests such as Ryokan, and causes them to hate me” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 310).
Even the Daishonin had to struggle with the fundamental darkness inherent in life. However, because he was so vigilant in recognizing this function in his own life, he was never influenced. High Priest Nikken Abe, on the other hand, because he actually has no faith, gave into the inherent egoistic desire to control others.
In another letter the Daishonin explains: “A woman who takes this efficacious medicine will be surrounded and protected by these four great bodhisattvas at all times. When she rises to her feet, so too will the bodhisattvas, and when she walks along the road, they will also do the same. She and they are inseparable as a body and its shadow, as fish and water, as a voice and its echo, or as the moon and its light. Should these four great bodhisattvas desert the woman who chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they would incur the wrath of Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the emanation Buddhas of the ten directions” (WND, 415).
It says “women” here, but men are also included. Those who embrace the Mystic Law will definitely be protected by the bodhisattvas. If they should desert us, they will be scolded. Let’s advance with absolute conviction that we will always be protected.