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Daisaku Ikeda Speaks on Leadership Revolution

Examining the characteristics of genuine leadership during the Soka Gakkai's February 2010 leaders meeting, Daisaku Ikeda, SGI president, remarked, "We are living in a time of tumultuous change. The fate of every nation and organization depends upon the wisdom of its leaders."

The meeting took place at the Soka International Friendship Hall in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo on February 6, 2010, and was held in conjunction with a nationwide youth leaders meeting. SGI representatives from eight countries and territories were among those present.

The hallmark of genuine leaders is that they work harder than others and impart courage to everyone, Mr. Ikeda declared, saying that the most important thing now for the Soka Gakkai movement is a leadership revolution. "Fresh development and a bright future for our movement hinge on our leaders themselves continuing to grow, breaking through their limitations, and applying themselves with a completely new attitude and commitment." Leaders should guard against growing careless or arrogantly complacent, Mr. Ikeda continued. The objective of the SGI is to bring about a positive change in society, "a new era," and hence its leaders should first and foremost be serious about developing their own lives, developing strength and wisdom.

Quoting the stern injunction of his mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, who believed leaders in any sphere should always "show utmost respect for the people," and "truly work for their happiness and well-being," Mr. Ikeda asked the organization's leaders to sincerely treasure everyone and believe in their potential, and to "please do your best to help every single member actualize a life-state of unsurpassed happiness." The mark of a true leader is to pay attention to the little things, he said. Further, amidst the great diversity of the SGI's membership, the organization's leaders should exercise wisdom to ensure that everyone can freely display their talent and capabilities.

"Because we have the youth division, my mind is at ease," Mr. Ikeda remarked. He said the future is determined by the presence of youth and how capable they are. "This is also true for businesses and nations, as well as in all spheres of human endeavor . . . Everything depends on the youth. This is a cardinal rule."

Dedication to Good

Describing the importance for youth to have a commitment to noble ideals, he commented, "the robust life-force of youth dedicated to the highest good can transform people's hearts and change society . . . Unless we develop inner strength and richness, we can end up leading lives that, while they may appear free and easy on the surface, are actually the very opposite." Life's true glory, he said, shines in the dedication to the welfare of society and the world and to the cause of peace. "Without a solid central pillar of a greater purpose such as the happiness and solidarity of the human family, we will end up alone, leading an aimless life without any profound meaning or direction."

On the importance of cultivating oneself spiritually, the SGI leader remarked, "What is the dividing line between success and failure in life, between joy and suffering? This is extremely complex and difficult to answer." Clarifying this, he asserted that the purpose of Buddhist faith and practice is "to achieve happiness and victory in our lives," and that Nichiren Buddhism enables individuals to develop "a serene life-state of inner abundance pervaded by the noble virtues of eternity, happiness, true self, and purity."

The SGI is an organization that teaches a path for accumulating good fortune, helping others and working for peace. This, he said, is why its numbers continue to grow steadily around the world. "A sound spiritual philosophy provides people with the ultimate power to win in life's struggle."

The SGI president also reported that he was embarking on a dialogue via correspondence with jazz giants Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter of the USA. He described jazz as a music that "pulses with freedom" and that it is a distillation of the history of the United States.

Drawing his remarks to a close, Mr. Ikeda expressed his gratitude for the participants' attendance and asked them to live out their lives triumphantly, with hope and optimism.

[Adapted from articles in the February 7, 15 and 16, 2010, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]