What is “Soka Buddha”?

There are two ways of using the word ”Buddha”:

  1. - to refer to a person (who attained enlightenment),

  2. - to refer to a state : the Buddha State - a life-state of enlightenment.


Buddhahood is not an exclusive property of one person, because a state, which is valid for one person is also valid for other individuals and for a group of people having the same life-orientation.

                                SGI as a gathering of Bodhsiattva-Buddhas

In his writing ”The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra” Nichiren urges his disciples to form their network or organisation to spread his teachings: My disciples, form your [groups] and follow me”.  Based on the principle of the Mutual Possession of the Ten Worlds, Nichiren regarded his followers as being  basically Bodhisattvas-Buddhas: The Buddha, who is the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo of the Life Span Chapter….he is to be found in the disciples and lay believers of Nichiren”.

P.Toda introduced the concept of “Soka Buddha” referring to the Community of Soka as ‘one integral and collective life force’ carrying out the Buddha’s work.

From this perspective, “Soka Buddha” refers to the compassionate wisdom and courage of ‘The Community of Bodhisattvas revealing their Buddhahood’.

The focus here is not on any particular person or individual - but on the activities of the “State of Buddhahood” expressed in the common integral efforts of all SGI members, aimed at KosenRufu.

                     Can an organisation represent a certain state of life

                                                 in the Ten Worlds?

Organisations, which reveal the World of Bodhisattva can be traced to Shakyamuni Buddha’s time.  With Shakyamuni’s leadership, his followers formed the samgha or “Society of Buddhist Practitioners”. Various organisations or sects were later established, each based on particular teachings of Buddhism, collectively manifesting in this way the  ‘World of Bodhisattva’.

The teaching of the Three Realms explains that the Ten Worlds of life exist in the life of the three domains of the: Individual, Living Beings and the Environment.  The “environment” of the ‘World of Learning’ - is represented in the field of learning in universities or schools.  The ‘World of Realisation’ can also be seen as manifested in the scientific community’s research and findings, as well as in other cultural institutions.

This also means that the world of Bodhisattva and Buddha can be manifest in the lives of ‘society of people and in their environment’ as well.   A Buddhist culture centre where activities are held and Gohonzon is enshrined - manifests the environment of the world of ‘Bodhisattva - Buddha’ .

The Three Properties of Buddhahood in SGI activities

Mahayana Buddhism refers to the three “Buddha bodies” (or three enlightened aspects) - expressing the Three Virtues of Wisdom, Compassion and Action.

These virtues are also performed collectively by the SGI, which offeris the stage for :

  1. - the wisdom of the Buddha in its study on the Lotus Sutra and discussion meetings,

  2. - the virtue of compassion in the vast network of caring and supporting members, and

  3. - taking action such as in exchanges and dialogues, training courses or in involvement in society.

Unity in Diversity: “Different in Bodies, One in Purpose”

As long as the fundamental spirit of striving for kosen-rufu demonstrated by the first three presidents pulses vitally in our organisation, and all our members are united in the spirit of 'many in body, one in mind,' the Soka Gakkai will forever possess the great life force of the Buddha who seeks to lead all people to enlightenment.

“Endowed with this power of the Buddha, the Soka Gakkai towers as a community of practitioners solidly united in purpose, a great and indestructible bastion of the shared commitment of mentor and disciple that will defeat even the fiercest onslaughts of the 'three obstacles and four devils.'

“President Toda predicted that in the Buddhist scriptures of the future, the Soka Gakkai’s name would be recorded as 'Soka Gakkai Buddha.'

(SGI Newsletter No. 9583, The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, Part 3)

“Mr. Toda used to say that the Soka Gakkai is an organisation functioning in accord with the Buddha’s intent, and even called it ‘Soka Gakkai Buddha.’ By taking kosen-rufu as our personal mission and uniting with our fellow members, we become a part of ‘Soka Gakkai Buddha’ and open the way to realising indestructible happiness.”

(SGI Newsletter No. 9717, The New Human Revolution––Vol. 27: Chap. 3, Fierce Struggle 30, translation released 3rd Oct. 2017)


         Author: Safwan Darshams

Frequently Asked Question