Ikeda's estrangement from the official world of the Soka
Gakkai became less over the years. He was determined not to let the
high-handed decisions of the priesthood stand in the way of the
people's triumph. And it became increasingly obvious that the priests
cared only about their own status.
1990, the situation deteriorated into official excommunication by NST.
time, SGI was determined not to succumb to pressure.
that SGI learned from April 24th and its aftermath were nothing that
was not already throughout the Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin. President
Ikeda wrote about this in his essay "The True Purpose of Religion":
"The Daishonin asserts with absolute certainty: 'Great events do not have small omens. When great evil occurs, great good will follow. Since the worst slander already prevails throughout the country, the supreme True Law will spread without fail.' (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 5, p. 161)
"I decided that, no matter what others might say, I would triumph by holding fast to my convictions. And so I began my struggle, all alone, cherishing an even grander vision for our movement than I had before. Mr. Toda often used to say to me, 'The lion seeks no companion.'
firmly believed that, though I was alone, true companions would one day
naturally join me again, without my saying a word. We would unite in
the oneness of mentor and disciple to strive, to soar, to advance, to
triumph together, without limit. I was waiting for the new companions
of a new era to appear."
period of his "exile" wore on, President Ikeda continued to establish
warm bonds with members, however he could. Those human connections are
not the result of one's leadership position (or lack of one), nor are
they a result
of any inequality of position -- those precious bonds are the result of
one human being caring and encouraging another, heart to heart.
of a new era" that President Ikeda sought are the Youth Division
members, whose pure, uncorrupted faith allows them to always advance,
no matter what. President Ikeda's spirit was to always put the members
first. His concern was not about his position in the organization or
about status, but only about establishing true bonds of friendship with
others, no matter what. This is the lesson that we cherish today.