The Japanese phrase kosen-rufu expresses a centrally important concept for members of the SGI. It is often used synonymously with world peace, and has been informally defined as “world peace through individual happiness.” More broadly, it could be understood as a vision of social peace brought about by the widespread acceptance of core values such as unfailing respect for the dignity of human life.
The phrase itself is of ancient origin and appears in the 23rd chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which states, “In the fifth five hundred years after my death, accomplish worldwide kosen-rufu and never allow its flow to cease.” Here, the phrase kosen-rufu is written with four Chinese characters that could be rendered, respectively, as “widely,” “declare,” “flow” and “promulgate,” and in its most literal sense it means the widespread flow and spreading—and application—of the teachings contained in the Lotus Sutra. Kosen-rufu implies an approach to Buddhist practice that is deeply engaged with the affairs of society and the world.
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