The Lotus Sutra According To SGI
A Text of Oneness of Mentor and Disciple
Suda: I understand that Mr. Toda also exerted himself with great determination in protecting first Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi. He gave himself entirely to the publication of Mr. Makiguchi's Soka Kyoikugaku Taikei (System of Value-creating Education), from getting the manuscript into order to printing it.
Ikeda: Yes. That's why President Toda is listed in the book as both publisher and printer. The name "Soka" was originally born from a discussion that took place between President Makiguchi and Mr. Toda. As is well known, it was Mr. Toda who came up with it.
Suda: Yes. It seems this happened around 1929 when Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda were up talking one night until after midnight at Mr. Toda's house, seated around the brazier.
President Makiguchi said to Mr. Toda: "Never before has there been even one elementary school principal who has published a theory of education. There is a chance that I will be forced to resign my post as principal of the Shirogane Elementary School [in Tokyo]. And while this is not a problem for me personally, I want to prepare my theory of education for those to come while I am still active as school headmaster."
Mr. Toda replied: "Sensei, let's go ahead with it!"
"It will take money, Toda."
"I don't have very much, but I will gladly put in all I have-19,000 yen."
Mr. Toda then asked President Makiguchi, "What is the purpose of your theory on education?"
"It is to create value."
"Then let's call it 'Soka [value-creating] education.'"
The name was thus decided.
Ikeda: This is also the "soka" of Soka Gakkai. In today's confused world, this is a name that brings hope to humankind. The creation of value-of beauty, benefit and good-this is a name filled with profound philosophy and character. It also reflects the character of these two great predecessors.
The name had been decided, but from that point on, the journey was long. Just scraping together the necessary capital to finance the project was a great struggle.
Suda: President Toda came up with the idea of holding practice examinations for students in Tokyo. This was around the time that the term "entrance examination hell" came into use, referring to the grueling process of gaining admission to high school. It seems that the process was made even more rigorous by the fact that examinees had no way of gauging their ability or the degree of difficulty of the exams in advance. By returning corrected answers on the practice tests, Mr. Toda gave students a way of determining which schools they should apply for based on their ability.
The first time, he administered the test for a group of about five hundred in a single hall. But several years later, he had approximately three thousand students taking the test at five sites. Through these efforts, Mr. Toda came up with the funds to finance the publication of President Makiguchi's Soka Kyoikugaku Taikei.
Ikeda: Mr. Toda later wrote a mathematics textbook titled Suirishiki Shido Sanjutsu (A Deductive Guide to Arithmetic), which became a bestseller. Again, he used the royalties to help President Makiguchi. So they decided on the book's name and managed to pull together the necessary funds to publish it, but a lot more was required to see it through to completion.
That's because Mr. Makiguchi's busy schedule didn't allow him the time he needed to get the manuscript in order. He was always jotting down his thoughts on memo pads or on the back of scrap paper. While these notes contained the crystallization of his profound thought, he simply hadn't the time to organize them. So Mr. Toda offered to do it for him. President Makiguchi hesitated, not wanting to burden Mr. Toda with such a task. It would be quite an undertaking, as his notes were in a state of utter disarray. He probably also doubted whether it would even be possible for another person to make sense of them.
But Mr. Toda insisted, "If I can't even understand your theory, then who is the book going to be published for? Do you want leading scholars around the world to read it? If I read your notes and can understand them, then I am confident I will be able to compile them."
When he came upon overlapping information, Mr. Toda would cut the memos apart, regrouping them by topic. He reportedly had an eight tatami-mat room filled with such clippings, which he arranged in logical order and which became the basis for Mr. Makiguchi's book.
President Makiguchi's theory was extremely complex, and, Mr. Toda's diligence in seeing the project through to the end was a monumental endeavor. President Toda organized the first three volumes in this fashion, eventually publishing all four volumes himself.
Saito: From its inception, the Soka Kyoikugaku Taikei was the crystallization of the principle of the oneness of mentor and disciple. This is truly moving.
Ikeda: Whenever Mr. Toda, who tended to be lighthearted and candid, spoke about Mr. Makiguchi, he always became very serious. And he continued to talk about President Makiguchi to the very end of his life. His life overflowed with the solemn determination to protect his mentor. This is itself the spirit of "performing an unrivaled service for the Lotus Sutra.