The One Hundred and Six Comparisons - Propagation Efforts Entail Personal Contacts and Dialogues

The Law does not spread by itself. Because people propagate it, both the people and the Law are respectworthy.

(Gosho Zenshu, p856)

This letter is considered as one of the transfer documents that Nichiren Daishonin handed to his successor, Nikko Shonin, in January 1280 when the Daishonin was 59 years old.

The Daishonin taught in this passage that those who propagate Buddhism are the driving force of the kosen-rufu movement and that those who propagate the Mystic Law are of utmost nobility.

Buddhism is a great teaching that benefits all people. However, if there is no one to transmit its teachings correctly, it will not spread anywhere nor benefit anyone. If we all remain silent and not take any actions, our kosen-rufu movement will not advance – not even by one millimeter.

For this reason, all SGI members who are exerting themselves in propagation activities, working for the betterment of others are most respectworthy.

It was more than 50 years ago in October 1956 that SGI President Ikeda first set foot on the soils of Shimono-seki City in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Although Yamaguchi was the cradle in the creation of contemporary Japanese history, giving birth to many prime ministers, the Soka Gakkai membership was much backward when compared to other local areas of Japan.

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda was extremely concerned about this delayed development of the kosen-rufu movement in Yamaguchi and immediately dispatched the youthful President Ikeda to secure an important foothold in this area. This marked the beginning of the historic “Yamaguchi campaign”.

The Yamaguchi campaign unfolded over a three-month period with President Ikeda physically taking the lead there for only 22 days. Just within the short span of three months, the membership in Yamaguchi increased tenfold to more than 4,000 households.

During the campaign, President Ikeda demonstrated through his action, a role model on how to take leadership in our propagation movement. This was what he did – he met directly with members and spoke to them; personally visited with members and listened to their problems; personally reached out to members and encouraged them; met up with members and gave them guidance; met with members and chanted together with them and studied the Gosho. This was how President achieved this remarkable development in Yamaguchi in such a short span in time. This achievement in turn became an impetus for the entire Soka Gakkai to achieve a breakthrough in propagation efforts to realize the 750,000 member households, a goal set by President Toda, one year later.

Through the Yamaguchi campaign, President Ikeda taught us the importance of aligning our hearts with our mentor’s.

In addition, with regards to our propagation efforts, President Ikeda said the following in his guidance: “Assert the validity of Buddhism with courage and confidence. Don’t be overly concern or sensitive to the kind of response expressed by the person you are speaking to. The important thing here is to help establish a connection between his or her life and the Mystic Law.

“First and foremost, you must destroy the cowardice, the weakness within your own life. Only after doing so will you be able to conduct a dialogue of Buddhism with courage, composure and joy.

“As long as you speak with compassion, tenacity, courage and earnest resolve that ‘No matter what, I’m going to lead this person to happiness’, anyone will be deeply touched by your sincerity. There is no doubt about that.”


Mrs Sadako Nakamura a WD assistant zone leader in Shimono-seki City, is one who has been living out her life in the spirit of propagation.

Mrs Nakamura was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism in 1960 by a relative who took up faith during the Yamaguchi campaign. The first benefit she received was being able to go back to work as a nurse, thus stabilizing her livelihood.

However, shortly after starting work, her husband, Kazuma met with a traffic accident and was seriously injured. He was in a coma for a period of time due to brain contusion and his life was in danger. However, with the strong support and encouragement from fellow members, Mrs Nakamura chanted daimoku with the single-minded resolve that “I’m going to make sure that my husband recovers.” Subsequently, her husband’s condition began to improve gradually and he was discharged after three months. He did not suffer any side-effects and was given a clean bill of health by the doctor.

Through this experience, Mrs Nakamura deepened her coniction in the immense power of the Mystic Law and with a profound sense of gratitude; she threw her entire being into propagation activities. Her propagation efforts continue today and the total number of households she had converted single-handedly has surpassed 50. Mrs Nakamura regards this as her greatest pride and treasure in her life.

Together with her husband, Mrs Nakamura actively contributes her part for the betterment of her community. Her husband has been serving as the chairman of the residential committee for years and together with Mrs Nakamura, he also serves as a committee member in the town’s health promotion committee.

In the course of serving the people in her community, Mrs Nakamura often shares Buddhism with fellow residents. She even managed to convert a Men Division member who was deeply troubled over his bed-ridden mother through tenacious encouragement.

According to Mrs Nakamura, sharing Buddhism with others has become such a natural part of her life that she can speak to anyone, anywhere, whenever she hears how troubled that individual is.

In the summer of 2007, Mrs Nakamura’s resolve was further enhanced when she learnt how hard President and Mrs Ikeda have been working ceaselessly despite the scorching summer heat to encourage fellow members through the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily paper.

She told herself, “The only thing I can do for my mentor is to propagate this wonderful teaching of Buddhism. My victories in propagation efforts will certainly be the source of greatest joy for President and Mrs Ikeda.” Since then, she listed out the names of all her unconverted friends and initiated a personal daimoku campaign to chant at least three hours of daimoku everyday.

Mrs Nakamura then shared the Daishonin’s teachings with the wife of her former patient whom she had been keeping in contact over the past 30 years. She was deeply touched by Mrs Nakamura’s unchanging sincerity and warmth and finally decided to take up faith that year.

Over the last three years, Mrs Nakamura successfully converted 10 of her friends and brought back six friends who had gone astray back to the correct path of faith.

President Ikeda said, “The SGI is a noble body of believers who are thriving in propagation activities. The flowers of fulfillment and happiness blossoms in one’s life in proportion to one’s efforts in engaging in sincere and courageous dialogues on Buddhism.”

Today, Mrs Nakamura is already 79 years old. She continues to enjoy excellent health and drives around everyday to do her kosen-rufu activities. She is enjoying life to the fullest now. She is also a correspondent student of the Soka University Faculty of Education and continues in her effort to pursue lifelong learning.

Mrs Nakamura’s greatest joy is to be able to contribute her home as a venue for kosen-rufu activities in her community and to receive fellow members in high spirits everyday.

Cherishing great pride as disciples of the essential phase of kosen-rufu, let us double and triple our efforts to share the great teachings of Buddhism with as many people as possible.

Key points of the Gosho passage:
1. The Mystic Law or the Gohonzon is truly great. But no matter how great it is, it cannot spread by itself. Therefore, if we do not introduce Nichiren Buddhism to others, the great power of the Gohonzon cannot help people overcome their suffering or become happy. If we know people who are suffering, but we choose to remain silent, then it is as good as if we are stopping that person from becoming happy.

2. If we do not take actions to propagate Nichiren Buddhism, kosen-rufu (peace and happiness for all people) will not advance.

3. That is why Nichiren Daishonin said that the people who propagate the Law are most respectworthy. Because they help others overcome sufferings and gain happiness, people who propagate Nichiren Buddhism are able to receive great benefits in their own lives. This is in accord with the principle that every good cause creates a good effect.

Translated and adapted from an article written by Kumiko Furukawa, Women Division Study Chief for Yamaguchi Prefecture, published on the December 2007 issue of The Daibyakurange, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra - Adversity is the Greatest Chance to Transform One's Karma

Devadatta was the foremost good friend to the Thus Come One Shakyamuni. In this age as well, it is not one’s allies but one’s powerful enemies who assist one’s progress.

(Passage from “The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra”, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p770)

This letter was written in March 1276 from Mount Minobu when Nichiren Daishonin was 55 years old and addressed to the lay nun Konichi, a widow who lived in Awa (present day Chiba Prefecture).

Also known as sage Konichi, she was converted together with her husband to the Daishonin’s teachings through her son, who had become a disciple of the Daishonin earlier.

Although she lost both her husband and son one after another sometime after her conversion, she overcame her deep sorrows through the constant and wholehearted encouragement from Nichiren Daishonin, and remained a sincere believer to the end of her life.

This letter gives an autobiographical account covering the events if an important period in Nichiren Daishonin’s life spanning over nine years (1268 to 1276) – from the time shortly before the Tatsunokuchi Persecution through his two-and-a-half-year exile on Sado Island and to his eventual retirement to Mount Minobu. In the course of his struggles over this period of nine years, the Daishonin overcame major consecutive persecutions and waged a fierce battle against the three powerful enemies, thereby fulfilling the predictions in the Lotus Sutra concerning its votary and establishing him as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, in both word and deed.

The above passage is the portion where the Daishonin stated that Devadatta, who persecuted Shakyamuni Buddha time and again, was the foremost good friend to Shakyamuni as it was he who proved the genuine greatness of Shakyamuni. If we look at our secular world today, we would find that in most cases, it is one’s enemy rather than one’s ally who would help one grow and develop as an individual. Thus, the Daishonin taught that powerful enemies who pose as great obstacles ultimately are one’s good friends.

SGI President Ikeda once said in his guidance, “Because we encounter unexpected trials and tribulations in life, we can grow as individual human beings. Only when one emerge victorious against a powerful enemy can one develop inner strength. No matter what adversities happen in our lives, lets challenge them all with inner strength, telling ourselves, ‘Yes! This is my chance to transform my karma!’ As long as we confront obstacles in life positively, we have much to gain from this experience and establish a life of greater value creation.”

Just as President Ikeda said, no matter what happens in life, let us regard them all as our foremost good friend (positive influence) and courageously challenge and overcome them all. Only by doing so can we enjoy a life of genuine happiness and victory.


Mrs Fukiko Nakagoshi, a WD assistant zone leader in Kochi Prefecture, is one who has been dedicating her entire life for the happiness of others. Her sincerity has moved many and has earned her the trust of the people in her community.

Her husband, who ran a business in the timber industry, was converted to Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism first. Mrs Nakagoshi was converted after him in 1966.

As the couple lived in a conservative village, they were criticized and verbally abused about their practice of faith. However, they continued to persevere in their practice amidst such harsh circumstances. During the initial stages of their practice, her husband’s business was not doing well. On top of this, he had to shoulder a huge amount of debt by acting as a guarantor to a friend who failed to pay off a loan. Their livelihood was at stake as their financial situation worsened with the passage of time.

Amidst such circumstances, Mrs Nakagoshi told herself, “I must never run away from this problem. I’ll be a loser if I do so. I must continue living with pride as a member of the Soka Gakkai. I must win the trust of the people in my community through overcoming this difficulty.” Based on this resolve, she chanted daimoku earnestly and strove even more vigorously with the sincere prayer to transform her family karma and to contribute to the widespread propagation of the Daishonin’s Buddhism in her community.

As a Women Division chapter leader, she devoted her entire being in promoting propagation activities and the subscription of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai daily organ paper. At the same time, she actively contributed whenever she could to non-Gakkai activities organized by the town councils in her community. Her husband would rush down to help solve any problems for anyone they knew; regardless of whether they were Soka Gakkai members. In the meantime, the couple continued to offer sincere prayers.

Their contributions to the community were eventually recognized and they were both selected to become health promotion committee members in their town council.

Mrs Nakagoshi served as chairperson of the Women’s Association over a period of eight years, and actively contributed with her chapter members as volunteers to bring great cheer and vigour to the community. As the community’s trust in Mrs Nakagoshi grew, the number of people subscribing to the Seikyo Shimbun increased.

She regarded each and everyone in her community as her foremost good friend, whether they were friendly or hostile to her.

In recent years, more than 100 friends would travel all the way from distant mountains and valleys to attend the Women Division General Meeting organized by her district. It has become an annual affair and the general meeting never failed to serve as a platform to enhance understanding towards the SGI and to establish ties of goodwill and friendship.

In July 2006, Mrs Nakagoshi celebrated her 40th anniversary of her conversion by renovating her home to be used for SGI activities. With well-established facilities and a large area for meeting purposes, video screening of President Ikeda’s guidance at the monthly SGI headquarter leaders meeting began at her home through Internet distribution from September 2006 onwards.

Many friends who came for the screening were deeply impressed. Mrs Nakagoshi was overwhelmed by emotions, recollecting how she had struggled through the most difficult pioneering days.

For many years, the couple had been struggling to pay back the huge amount of debt and finally, in 2003, they managed to clear the debt completely. All her children are actively striving in the organization.

Her eldest son is working in a newspaper company, her younger son is a secondary school teacher while her eldest daughter is running a beauty salon. Mrs Nakagoshi has certainly welcomed the “spring” in her life by regarding everything that happened in her life as her foremost good friends.

Key points of the Gosho passage:
1. Buddhism defines good friends as good influences that assist us in strengthening our faith and bringing forth our state of Buddhahood. Ironically, when we ask ourselves what it is that help us the most in deepening our faith, we find that it is bad circumstances and people. Because they give us so much troubles and worries, they actually motivate us to chant lots of daimoku and help us in our human revolution. That is why the Daishonin stated that Devadatta was Shakyamuni’s good friend and he referred to powerful enemies as our good friends.

2. Conversely, when circumstances become too good or comfortable, they can make us lazy and complacent and cause us to relax in our practice and weaken our faith.

3. We can make anything, even our sufferings and enemies, into our good friends provided we have strong faith to win over them. So no matter what happens in life, lets us regard them as our foremost good friends and courageously challenge and overcome them by telling ourselves, “I will deepen my faith even more”.

Translated and adapted from an article written by Kumiko Kondo, Women Division Study Chief for Kochi Prefecture, published in the March 2007 issue of The Daibyakurange, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.