May 3, 1979, was the anniversary of the day that Daisaku Ikeda became president of the Soka Gakkai. In 1979, the traditionally joyous May 3rd meeting was also designed to be an opportunity to reflect on the completion of the "seven bells" -- a way of looking at the grand progress of community of believers over the past years.
Instead, the May 3rd meeting became the occasion when and President Ikeda's resignation was announced and Hiroshi Hojo became the fourth president of the Soka Gakkai. President Ikeda was named honorary president.
The atmosphere was dark and depressed, totally different from any previous Soka Gakkai meeting. Seated on the stage were rows of priests on one side, Soka Gakkai leaders on the other. No one looked happy to be there.
Daisaku Ikeda was not allowed to sit in the meeting. He was introduced and he was called in to speak. He simply apologized for the disputes with the priests, and said that he will continue to fight no matter what. His words were greeted with scant applause, because the audience had been instructed to be silent.
Mr. Ikeda was to leave immediately and was to avoid contact with members. Fortunately, as he was leaving, he encountered some women with children who were outside the auditorium. Not knowing what had been said in the meeting, they greeted him eagerly. At this point, Daisaku Ikeda realized that his bonds with the members would never break.
Daisaku Ikeda's concern was for the members. Such an event had been very difficult for him, and also for them. How could they receive the encouragement they needed to continue to fight for kosen rufu? He resolved to continue his mission no matter what.