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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

Shin
ichi Yamamoto



The Bodhisattvas of the Earth
have emerged!
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,
resolutely transcending
the borders and limitations
of old, pas life.

Our lives renewed,
we begin a grand movement,
spreading the spirit of true friendship
throughout society.

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.

America!
This land of freedom
in which we live

In the early years of the twentieth century,
the founding president of our movement,
Tsunesaburo Makiguchi,
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
always enjoys
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 future
s songs.

Each day a vibrant, energetic dance.....
Each morning and evening
we delight in the limitless company
of nature
s 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!

We know
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
clamorous disputations
or charitable efforts
whose real purpose is fame.

We grieve
for those who are drifting into old age
ignorant of life
s 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
weary people
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
this pleasant path of courage and good will,
creating the harmonious unity of millions,
singing the songs you love
in a clear and resonant voice.
Today again set out
on this broad avenue of happiness,
occasionally pausing to take refreshment,
always savoring the joyous company
of true friends.
From this path can be seen
unmistakable vistas
of victory and flourishing.
From this path
have been driven
all confrontation, all conflict,
all evil and destruction.
For we know
that this is a way
embodying a law, a principle
eternal and universal.
We have bid farewell
to a shallow, cruel, purgatorial world.
We have declared the victory
of our lives,
our hearts resounding
with a brightly burning passion.
Awake! Arise!
That you also may know
lifes deep and genuine joy.
Turn away from a life of sadness,
from passive drifting,
from tragic weeping at death and loss.

Unbowed by stubborn, arrogant folly,
beating out the sustained rhythms
of unsurpassed joy in life?
walk this path toward the fruition of your
eternal and profoundly compassionate self.
We know the hollow whistled tunes
of pitiful lusting after fame.
We know the faded hues
of a weak and jealous life,
the malicious pillaging

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,

constantly lacerated

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.

Laughing off

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 of victory.

We know that this spirit?

never fearing,

never collapsing before hardship?

is itself the spirit of a Buddha.

All insult and abuse

rebound from my soul.

I have surmounted

innumerable trials.

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

povertys pain;

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.

Unfathomable mystery

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.

That bell

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.

Transcending

the rewards and punishments

of the world,

beyond apathy,

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.

America!

Where people leave behind
old authorities and conventions
as they seek to create
a new, ideal nation.
This great America!
Struggling for freedom
and for human rights.
As one poet noted:
The twentieth century
has been a century of humans
murdering their fellows,
a truly hellish century.
Before us lies
the ominous quaking
of lifes tortured pulse.
People whose eyes are filled with pain.
People with sad, abandoned eyes.
Eyes that gleam sharp and bestial
And yet we advance unhesitating
into the very midst of humanity.
We advance with proudly beating hearts,
among our fellow human beings.
Hot tears of compassion
borne secretly in our breasts,
we take no notice of the sad,
ignorant, barbarian songs.
Forging characters
of true strength and great depth,
our eyes burn with hope.
Our blood also burns
with the determination
to ease the pain
of the troubled and suffering.
Speaking at the University of Denver,
with which I have a strong bond,
the future president, John F. Kennedy,
uttered these words:
?It is said that civilization
is a race between education
and catastrophe.
It is you who will decide
which of these will win!?
Toward the civilization
of the twenty-first century;
for the sake of the young leaders and scholars;
for the sake of the
peace, prosperity and joy
that come from humanistic education!
Soka University of America
has been constructed
Gazing out upon the waves
of a monarch Pacific Ocean,
carrying the burden
of the hopes and expectations
of the centuries,
its construction has been matched
by innumerable voices
raised brightly in song,
by an unending array
of young people ascending
that vibrant hill in Orange County.
For the sake of
these free, young spirits,
I have determined to spend
the culminating years of my life
in this America I love,
together creating infinite memories,
sounding the reverberant trumpet of the dawn.
We advance with this cry:
We praise, salute and call for peace!
We praise and salute daily life!
And above all we praise, salute
and call forth happiness!

There is no paradise;
it does not exist.
Therefore walk forward
into this world of suffering!
And there you will see
the reality of the dream,
of this eternally bright,
eternally joyful and serene,
this eternally noble dream.

July 21, 2000

from World Tribune August 11, 2000 issue.