The Berlin Wall
Awakening People's Buddha Nature
In October 1961, when I saw with my own eyes the Berlin Wall that had been built just two months earlier, I was outraged by the forces of evil that divide and separate people.
It was the same evil, the devilish nature, that my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, decried in his Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons as the fundamental threat to the right of all people to exist. He left this declaration as his foremost injunction to his successors [on September 8, 1957]. The ultimate power for defeating the devilish nature is nothing other than the Buddha nature inherent in all human beings.
I prayed deeply that in 30 years’ time the wall would no longer be standing and vowed to stir a whirlwind of dialogue to awaken people’s Buddha nature.
Nichiren Daishonin asserts that the Buddha nature that all living beings posses – all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the universe, as well as the gods of the sun, moon and morning star, and even the dwellers of the lowest depths of hell – “is called by the name Myoho-renge-kyo” (see “Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 131).
Nothing is as vast and powerful as the lives of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and teach others to do the same. Our movement for kosen-rufu is a grand endeavor – encompassing heaven, earth and all living things – to unlock and unite the Buddha nature, the innate positive power, of people who have been racked by despair and misery, divided by mistrust and conflict.
Our noble members, while challenging their own human revolution and bravely tackling the walls of karma that confront them, also pray for the happiness of all people and peace in the lands where they live. Breaking down barriers dividing hearts and minds, they have built a global network dedicated to realizing Nichiren Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”
The Berlin Wall, a symbol of division, was torn down 28 years after I stood before it. Today, 60 years after I took that first step from Berlin, dedicated global citizens of Soka in the now united Germany and throughout Europe are working together in solid unity, undaunted by the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and creating a shining network for peace and human harmony.
I am reminded of a conversation I had (in 2009) with Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet president who played a crucial role in ending the Cold War, and affirming together with him that it was time once more to tear down the walls of apathy and inertia with youthful courage.
No matter how huge and seemingly immovable the barriers may be, let’s continue confidently engaging in dialogue with far-reaching voices, like the roar of the “lion king, the monarch of all the creatures that run on the ground” (“The Sutra of True Requittal,” WND-1, 929). Let us serenely rise above all obstacles, “like the eagle, the king of all the creatures that fly in the sky” (WND-1, 929-30), to build a rainbow bridge to the triumph of human dignity.
There is no wall of fundamental ignorance the Mystic Law cannot demolish – with this conviction as champions of Soka, let’s keep speaking out for peace, our voices a powerful lion’s roar. ~ Daisaku Ikeda