The Flowering of Creative Life Force, speech excerpt, Soka University, Apr. 18, 1974
This is an excerpt from a speech delivered on April 18, 1974, at the fourth entrance ceremony, held at Soka University's Central Gymnasium.
Open the Door of Your Life
You are all destined to achieve great things in the world of the twenty-first century and here I would like to speak to you for a few moments simply as a friend.
Last year when I spoke to the members of the entering class, I asked them to strive to be creative individuals. Following up on that, today I would like to discuss what I refer to as "creative life"--the creative impulse and capacities that are inherent in life itself.
I don't intend to enter into a difficult philosophical disquisition or try to offer universally applicable definitions. Rather, very simply, I would urge you, as you travel along the long and precious road of life, never to become gloomy travelers who are shadowed by a sense of failure or defeat. To this end, and in the hope your futures will be filled with honor and glory, I would like to share with you something from my own experience.
The times when I have most intensely felt and experienced the inner reality of creation have been those times when I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into a task, when I have carried through with that task to the very end. At such times, I experience a dramatically expanded sense of self. I can almost hear the joyous yell of victory issuing from the depths of my being.
This sense of fulfillment and joy is the crystallization of all the effort--each drop of sweat, each tear expended to reach that moment. Life's inherent creativity, its dynamic vitality, is brought to the surface only through the strenuous exertions of a life of consistent action.
Such a way of life will meet with storms and heavy rains, times of seeming defeat. But the creative essence of life is never crushed or vanquished by such things. It is sustained by knowledge of the brilliant rainbow whose bright arch will eventually stretch across the inner expanse of your being.
Indulgence and indolence produce nothing creative. Complaints and evasions reflect a cowardly spirit; they corrupt and undermine life's natural creative thrust. When life is denuded of the will to struggle creatively, it sinks into a state of hellish destructiveness directed at all that lives.
Never for an instant forget the effort to renew your life, to build yourself anew. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway of life itself. This is not an easy task. Indeed, it may be the most severely challenging struggle there is. For opening the door to your own life is in the end more difficult than opening the door to all the mysteries of the universe.
But to do so is to vindicate your existence as human beings. Even more, it is the mode of existence that is authentically attuned to the innermost truths of life itself; it makes us worthy of the gift of life.
There is no way of life more desolate or more pitiful than one of ignorance of the fundamental joy that issues from the struggle to generate and regenerate one's own life from within. To be human is much more than the mere biological facts of standing erect and exercising reason and intelligence. The full and genuine meaning of our humanity is found in tapping the creative fonts of life itself.
The struggle to create new life from within is a truly wonderful thing. There is found the brilliant wisdom that guides and directs the workings of reason; the light of insight that penetrates the farthest reaches of the universe; the undaunted will to see justice done that meets and challenges all the assaults of evil; the spirit of unbounded care that embraces all who suffer. When these are fused with that energy of compassion that pours forth from the deepest sources of cosmic life, an ecstatic rhythm arises to color the lives of all people.
As you meet various trials and difficulties, thus polishing all the many facets of the jewel which is life, you will learn to walk that supreme pathway of humanity. Of this, I am confident, and I am confident too that those who embrace life's native creativity now stand and will continue to stand in the vanguard of history. Bringing the creativity of life to its fullest flowering is the work of human revolution. Carrying out this kind of human revolution is your mission now as it will be throughout your lives.
The 19th century French poet and writer Charles Péguy (1873-1914) said, "The crisis of education is not a crisis of education, but a crisis of life." The crisis we face today strikes at the very roots of education and learning. And yet it is in education and learning that we will find the doorway to the future. And that is why I put so much faith in Soka University.