SGI President Ikeda's new poem
"Soar -- Into the Vast Skies of Freedom!
Into the New Century!"
The following poem was written by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda and dedicated to SGI-USA members.
Shinichi Yamamoto is a pen name President Ikeda often uses when writing poetry; he also uses it as the name of the primary character in the narrative of the Soka Gakkais history titled The New human Revolution, which is being serialized in the World Tribune. President Ikeda was awarded the title of World Poet Laureate by the World Poetry Society Intercontinental ? Dr. Krishna Srinivas, president?on Aug. 8, 1995.
Dedicated to my sublime fellow SGI members in America
The Bodhisattvas of the Earth
They have arisen!
They have started to stir, to move!
Here, on the American continent,
the winds of a new era
have begun to blow.
Raising ruby goblets,
we toast the further completion
of this wondrous new path
glittering with happiness and peace.
Lifting our voices
high in joyous song,
we watch the stars and stripes
stream and ripple above
our fifty American states,
illuminating the future.
These fifty states --
pioneering a new history,
resounding with the peal
of libertys bell,
here our cherished
Bodhisattvas of the Earth
have made their stand!
Gathering speed and momentum
they commence their struggle!
In this great land of America
-- the world in miniature --
new waves, a new movement,
has arisen and begun!
Wings unfurling, we take flight --
toward a vast new century,
toward a world of certain good.
Charged with new energy,
the wings of life itself
carry us confident and composed
into a majestic future.
Embraced by winds
pure and vigorous,
we fly into a new era,
the borders and limitations
of old, pas life.
Our lives renewed,
we begin a grand movement,
spreading the spirit of true friendship
We have awakened to the truth
that within this state of life
is to be found limitless strength, joy, reality
--our true selves--
brilliant with lasting and glorious light.
No wind or tempest,
will rend or break these wings.
For in the depths of my life
I have found the very philosophy,
the rich completeness
long sought by scholars and philosophers.
Whatever waves crash over me
I will know no fear!
Even if the lure of lethargy lies ahead,
my spirit, like the dawn,
will continue to shine radiantly.
I have risen up,
with a sun-filled soul.
I have no time to waste
on those decrepitly fixed
on power and fame.
My spirit propels me to a life
of fierce and ceaseless engagement
for the cause of justice!
I will plunge into the midst
of maddened, hellish flames.
I will build there
a path of order and right!
There are those attached to power
who walk toward destruction.
There are those who wander
through dark lives of vengeance.
But my heart progresses
toward the attainment
of clear, enduring value.
So also do the hearts of my comrades.
So many friends are parting with the past,
entering a new era;
they are moving from
old ways of living and being
into a new century of life!
Take steady steps on
this firm, indestructible earth.
Lift your eyes to an endless sky
glittering with stars!
Burning with cheerful resolve,
forge on, radiantly embracing all
with the boundless expanse of
your own inner sky.
We know what the times require.
We know peoples hopes and dreams.
So many have lost hope
in this world of ceaseless conflict,
of mutual abuse and contempt.
Yet we are filled
with vigorous resolve,
upholding the principle for living fully,
with unabated joy
in harmony with the cosmos.
We will never lose hope.
For we possess the pride of living to the fullest,
a crown adorned with precious jewels.
We also know the end of living;
we have confident faith
in the eternal path of life
beyond the horizon of death.
Fully active and engaged,
we seek to reach
those whose spirits wander in darkened night,
to teach them of the moment-by-moment struggle
to transform life in its very depths.
This land of freedom
in which we live
In the early years of the twentieth century,
the founding president of our movement,
saw in America
the land where future civilizations
would encouter and unite.
Josei Toda, our second president,
often recalled that it was America that brought
freedom of religion to post-war Japan,
opening the way
for peace movement based on this Buddhism to unfold.
Daisaku! he would say,
I want to go to the U.S.
to repay our debt of gratitude!
And thus, as their direct disciple,
I determined to take the first step
in my travels for peace
here in my beloved America.
And I am determined
to work with my American friends
to assure that the United States
trust, prosperity and security.
As we greet the night,
together let us offer
prayers of appreciation.
Together let us offer
vows of construction.
And let us, with clear voices,
sing the futures songs.
Each day a vibrant, energetic dance.....
Each morning and evening
we delight in the limitless company
of natures benevolent forces.
How noble are your prayers
as you encourage your friends:
The breezes of happiness
will blow through your life as well!
May the clouds disperse
and the blue skies shine!
How inspiring you are
as you appeal to your friends
with a beautiful, natural human sincerity;
Please know, in your suffering,
that for you, too, the times of wind and rain
will give way to clear and balmy days.
You without doubt will experience
days of harmony and victory!
there is no greater power
than that of a pure and noble spirit.
And we know
a path of mission
that infinitely transcends
a life without meaning
or charitable efforts
whose real purpose is fame.
for those who are drifting into old age
ignorant of lifes true meaning;
for those who are carried along by
days of pretense
never knowing true youthfulness,
the lushness of fresh green growth.
More effectively than
countless doctoral theses,
you are sharing with others
the profound and subtle
teachings of Buddhism.
You are indeed the most remarkable
people of knowledge and learning!
Beyond the politicians
and their eloquent discussions
of political programs;
beyond the sociologists
proud of their in-depth investigations,
their grasp of world events
and their statistics......
Your wisdom and your actions
resonate precisely in the depths
of the lives of those you address.
You bring to so many
the joy and strength to live on.
As philosophers and people of action,
you brilliantly inspire millions
in a dynamically expanding
process of dialogue.
And all around
the broad and flowered
lawns we tread,
are the earnest words and acts
of a sincere humanism.
Our conversations and exchanges
give rise to joy.
New doors swing open
like the masterful turn
of a graceful dancer.
I have embraced the source
of energy and power
to ponder deeply
the significance of my own life and death,
to review the days that have passed
while living fully in the future.
From now on I will no longer
be pushed and tossed by the fickle winds,
for I can now look into the precious depths of my own life.
I will no longer be defeated
by the most powerful forces of fate.
For I now possess the secret means
by which to confront and triumph
over the demonic tyranny of misfortune.
Ahead of us
the Buddhist deities
gather for a festive
banquet of welcome,
awaiting our arrival.
Today, once more,
accumulate the treasure of experience,
transcend and triumph
in lifes gales and storms.
Direct your steps
on this grand and golden path,
which others, inspired by your example,
will also yearn to tread.
Walk again today
Unbowed by stubborn, arrogant folly,
of ones own being.
The questions for each and all of us?
How will we spend our final hour?
How will we pass our last days?
What could be the meaning
of a life squandered in pursuit
of superficial recognition and praise?
Mere emptiness and vanity,
a shred of winter wind.
So many people
trapped in feverish torment,
their most strenuous exertions
coming to naught,
by a suffocating absurdity.
Shallow and empty hearts
are swallowed into darkness
Forgetful that none are assured
of even tomorrows life,
unaware that twilight comes to all,
mindless that they walk a path
of imprisoned confinement,
still they desire their golden goods,
and frantically crave their fame.
For us, this proud and brightly lit way
We advance with confident smiles.
Embracing the law of cause and effect
?this governing principle infinitely extending?
we enjoy eternal protection.
Off in the distance,
there may be those who criticize us
with wan, foolish, sarcastic smiles.
Concealing the pain of their own hearts,
they watch with longing and envy?
our lives, shining with commitment and courage.
Bowed with secret despair,
their grieving hearts
continue their bitter steps.
Those whose only desire is fame.
We whose names are utterly unknown!
Yet who, in the dawning of eternity,
will perform the songs and melodies
of life that has been lived true and with joy?
They are people of hapless misery;
ours is a life of boundless fortune.
They have destroyed their own future;
we have full confidence
in a future that continues eternally.
the corrupt and degenerate,
we know that a life free from
all doubt and regret awaits us.
The malicious acts
directed against us
?ludicrous invented incidents
petty empty criticism?
only bring suffering
upon their authors.
In our spirits and our souls
we have developed and distilled
the inner strength to win
however intense the challenge.
In our lives is engraved
a massive badge ofvictory.
We know that this spirit?
never collapsing before hardship?
is itself the spirit of a Buddha.
All insult and abuse
rebound from my soul.
I have surmounted
And now about me wave
countless banners of glory.
Misery has no claim or territory
within my heart!
We treasure human society.
We respect the ways of the world.
Because Buddhism comes to life
only in the midst of social realities.
No one can survive in isolation.
Our lives are grounded in
empathy and solidarity
with others, with people
and with society as a whole.
The sutras provide
this penetrating insight:
All secular phenomena
are manifestations of the Buddhas law.
From the perspective of faith,
for people who live
with lofty and utter conviction,
to be swayed by appearances
is foolishness and error.
I do not choose
or discriminate among them
whoever they may be?
this wise and clever friend;
this person wracked by
the person plagued
by the deepest sleeplessness;
this person isolated
in the remote regions of being different
I share life with them all,
live in profound meaning,
live as a good friend to each.
of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth
Charged with the solemn
early morning task of prayer,
you have emerged,
you are pushing up
the shoots and buds of new growth
here in America.
Your voices, resounding to the heavens,
are earnest, devoted and sincere.
is not an evening bell,
but the bell of dawn.
Your face is brightly lit
by the light of the Mystic Law.
Your gaze is focused on the Buddha.
As you fuse with this magnificent
state of being,
there arises within you
a life vibrantly filled
with the ultimate joy
of the universe
?your Buddha nature?
eternal, unceasing and boundless.
the rewards and punishments
of the world,
beyond calumny and abuse
Advancing step by step,
the bodhisattvas heart,
the bodhisattvas life,
feels not the slightest pain or tremor
however fierce the raging rains
of insult and slur.
Those who libel us,
flaming with envy,
are unconscious of the
dark shadows enveloping
their ashen, aging spirits.
Where people leave behind
July 21, 2000
from World Tribune August 11, 2000 issue.