Offerings in the Snow - The Growth of the Future Division will Determine the SGI's Future

It is said that Ueno, your deceased father, was a man of feeling. Since you are his son, perhaps you have inherited the outstanding qualities of his character. Blue dye is bluer than indigo itself, and ice is colder than water. How wonderful. How wonderful.

(Passage from “Offerings in the Snow”, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Volume 2, p809)

Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at Minobu on the third day of the first month in 1279 to Nanjo Tokimitsu. It was a letter f appreciation in which the Daishonin thanked Tokimitsu for the New Year’s offerings and praised his lofty seeking spirit.

During that time, Japan was in the midst of a great plague raging nationwide, which took many lives. Moreover, a famine followed shortly due to abnormal climate and the people in Japan were living in extremely harsh conditions.

Living deep in the mountains of Minobu where heavy snow had piled up and cut off the mountain path, the Daishonin himself was hard pressed to survive. There were no visitors, his clothing was thin and food scarce.

It was amidst such circumstances that Tokimitsu’s offerings reached the Daishonin. The Daishonin described the offerings as “the full moon” and expressed his immense joy saying, “My mind has brightened and the darkness of life and death will lift, I am sure.” (WND-2, p809) The Daishonin then lavished the highest praise on Tokimitsu for his sincere commitment to faith and in protecting the Daishonin.

The portion that we are studying is where the Daishonin expressed his delight in witnessing Tokimitsu inheriting his deceased father’s profound commitment in faith and achieving magnificent growth as a disciple of Nichiren Daishonin. The Daishonin used the phrase, “Blue dye is bluer than indigo itself, and ice is colder than water” to describe this.

This phrase has its origin in China. Here, the “blue dye” and “ice” represented Tokimitsu while “indigo” and “water” represented his father.

The Daishonin had dedicated his entire being in cultivating genuine disciples to ensure that the flow of the Law will never perish. Therefore, the individual development of successors of faith was of key importance in this endeavour. Tokimitsu’s growth thus served as a beacon of hope for the future.

In the Gosho, “On Repaying Debts of Gratitude”, the Daishonin wrote, “If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity.” (WND, P736) As the Daishonin taught here, our movement of kosen-rufu is a momentous struggle that spans over “ten thousand years and more in the Latter Day of the Law, for all eternity”. For this reason, capable people of faith become a crucial factor in ensuring the eternal posterity of the Law.

Immediately upon his inauguration as third president of the Soka Gakkai, SGI President Ikeda established the senior and junior high divisions. The spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple is found in the struggle to foster true successors of faith. Herein lies the Gakkai spirit.

President Ikeda said in his guidance, “The growth of the future division will determine the SGI’s future… The only way to build a sound foundation for a peaceful future is to raise each young successor into a person with the capability of a thousand.”

Only when the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple is passed on from one generation to the next – from parent to child, from child to grandchild – can our kosen-rufu (peace and happiness for all people) movement continue to flourish eternally into the future.


Mrs Etsuko Suzuki is a women division zone leader in the city of Higashi Osaka who has been practicing faith for the past 50 years.

Mrs Suzuki learnt the spirit of faith from her parents. She engraved the ever-victorious Kansai spirit through witnessing the earnest struggles waged by her parents, especially her mother.

Her parents took up faith when they were suffering in the depths of illness and poverty. Thereafter, her parents poured their heart and mind in their practice of faith, earnestly participating in all struggles, including the renowned Osaka Campaign in 1956 and the Osaka Rally in 1957, which became the prime point of ever-victorious Kansai. Aligning their hearts with the youthful President Ikeda, they braved through harsh verbal abuse and criticism from conservative villagers with a burning determination that “we must never ever be defeated!” As a result of their selfless dedication in carrying out propagation activities, they have to date, successfully introduced a total of 102 families to the Daishonin’s Buddhism.

They have also been contributing their home as a venue for kosen-rufu activities for the past 50 years and her mother has been delivering the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily organ paper over the past 30 years. All these years, one of her mother’s single-minded prayers was to foster her seven children who can contribute to the remarkable movement of peace led by President Ikeda. Her prayer has been realized as all seven children are striving in the forefront of kosen-rufu today.

Having been brought up by parents brimming with the Kansai spirit, Mrs Suzuki had the opportunity to meet President Ikeda in person when she was 18 years old. On that occasion, President Ikeda warmly encouraged her, reminding her to “always do your utmost best” and Mrs Suzuki in turn pledged to strive together with her mentor throughout her life. After fulfilling her responsibilities without any regrets as an YWD zone leader, she got married.

However, one day in the 15th year of her marriage, her husband was killed in a traffic accident. She was in a state of shock. Then, she recalled the scene when she met her mentor. At that moment, she resolved, “Now is the time to transform my karma into mission by striving together with my children. This is what mother had taught me all the while – to uphold undefeated faith.” With this, she courageously stood up to take on the challenge.

She devoted herself for the happiness of her members and friends, without resting for a single day. This time, it was Mrs Suzuki’s children who witnessed the earnest struggle of their mother. Her daughter studied at Soka University after graduating from Soka High School. Upon her graduation last spring, she became a headquarters staff in Kansai and was appointed an YWD chapter leader. She has recently successfully converted her friend to the Daishonin’s Buddhism.

As for her son, although there was a time during his secondary school days when he refused to attend school, she managed to overcome this ordeal through her unrelenting prayers. Last year, he passed the Soka Gakkai Buddhist study examination for the entrance level and this spring, he was accepted to study in a university.

Mrs Suzuki has victoriously established a harmonious family of faith and today, their favourite past time is to share with others their aspirations for kosen-rufu.

As we embark on the second act of worldwide kosen-rufu, let us cherish and foster every successor of kosen-rufu in our homes and districts and build a castle of capable successors of faith who will connect the lifeline of the Mystic Law into the eternal future, together with our mentor in life.

Translated and adapted from an article written by Sachiko Yamamoto, Women Division Study Chief for Osaka Prefecture, published in the February 2006 issue of The Daibyakurange, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.