When finally we reached Tokyo , our Leaders had asked us to maintain a dairy .I guess they had wanted us to keep a dairy of our journey in faith , mine was more like a travel log .Never the less it did capture my feels and the momentous experiences of those unforgettable days . Here then are snatches of the old diary:
17/18 Nov, 1994
A very warm and joyful welcome awaited us as we landed in Tokyo. Mrs Asano and many other members where there to greet us .We were also overwhelmed by the care and thoughtfulness of SGI .There were tons of eatables carefully selected with great attention to detail .Any thing that we wanted was available, be it knives for cutting fruits, spoons and folks, milk / fluids etc etc .It really was an over whelming display of caring. I made a mental note that when we have to take car of others we must be equally thoughtful and generous. Also very moving was to see Mrs Ouchi ( Mr. Ouchi’s mother ) at the hotel to receive us .She too had brought many eatables and also some delicious creamy puffs.
On the 18th morning after completing the exchange formalities, we went to the Josie Toda International Centre for lunch. We also had a surprise awaiting us, as Sensei had sent as all books and gifts .We all picked lots to see which book was for each of us .I was very happy to receive a copy of Treasured Moments .This was just the start of the overwhelming show of concern and affection Sensei showered on us all through the visit.
We then went to the Seikyo Shimbhun office to purchase English books .I was able to get Gosho volumes 3 to 7, 1 to 2 being out of stock .I also purchased the book Buddhism in Action, Vol 7; 3 sets of prayer beads & liturgy books and accessories for the Budsudan (bell water jar and incense holder) .I placed an order for the English translation of the Lotus Sutra by Burton Watson … some thing I was determined to get for Neelam. We were told we could purchase Fukusa’s and other such items from Fukuoka .I was keen on taking back as many items as possible for the Block & Group members.
The afternoon ceremony was solemn, touching and a greats how of affection by Sensei.We performed Gongyo, lead by Dr Kawada at the Josei Toda International Centre. Dr Kawada then conferred on each of us the Omomori Gohonzon .Dr Kawada then told us that Sensei was extremely glad the Indian Delegation could make it. Sensei had prepared Seikihan and sweet bean cakes which he placed before the Gohonzon and chanted for the master disciple spirit to be imbibed in the Indian members. On several occasions over the next few days we were to hear that Sensei considered the visit of the Indian delegation to Japan on 18th Nov as mystic and that each member who was present had a mission to perform .Dr Kawada then gave us the all important news that Sensei would join us for dinner that night .We were all excited beyond words .To meet Sensei that evening, to be his guests and perhaps even to speak to him was going to be an event of infinite magnitude.
The First meeting with Sensei:
I had not met Sensei before .At the ’92 Cultural Festival in Delhi I was just a spectator and very very new in faith. Since then our Leaders always told us to form a connection with Sensei. I could not really understand what his meant .What did it mean to form a bond with Sensei??
On 18 th Nov evening Sensei walked into the Restaurant to spontaneous thunderous applause from all of us .After offering guidance, he walked up to us standing just a couple of feet away, bowed and with folded arms .He had such an extraordinary look of concern and compassion on his face that I have not seen on any other individual .His looks said, I deeply respect you.. You have a mission to perform.
Every thing I was to see and experience over the next few days brought home to me the scale and grandeur of Sensei’s vision. What ever efforts we were making now was small and in significant and not governed by a spirit of EXCELLANCE in every thing we do.
Sensei spoke a few words of encouragement and also recalled that Nickering Daishonin had remonstrated to Bodhisattva Hachiman that he would take Buddhism to the West. He indicated that Nicherin Daishonin had meant that Buddhism would return to India. Sensei said that our presence in Japan on 18th Nov ( the 50th anniversary of Makiguchi Sensei’s death in prison and also the 64th anniversary of the founding of SGI ) signified that the Daishonin’s prophesy had come true .
19th Nov, ‘94
Makiguchi Memorial Hall
On the next day we visited the Makiguchi Memorial Hall, Soka University and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum.
The Makiguchi Memorial Hall was the most outstanding monument I had ever seen .We were told that Sensei once mentioned that this memorial was a tribute to the fighters for kosen-rufu and people who were not fighters for kosen – rufu had no business to visit this monument .
Words cannot express the grandeur and majesty of this monument .The spotless cleanliness and the meticulous care with which each and every article in the building was selected was clearly evident. Nothing but the best was used .The monument was truly a symbol of victory for all those fighters for kosen – rufu who worked tirelessly to ensure the rapid growth of SGI. It was a befitting tribute to Makiguchi Sensei who under persecution died in prison in a small cell.
We were taken to a magnificent kaikan… a huge hall with an exceptionally mystic Budsudan .We performed Hoben Jigage and chanted daimoku at this hallowed place.
The visit to the Soka University was another display of Sensei’s grand vision and the scale at which he operates .The Ikeda Auditorium was simply outstanding and must again rate as one of the best auditoriums in the world .Sensei’s passion for excellence was once again on display.
We were given a very warm and moving welcome by a group of students who form part of the India Club at the Soka University .We had lunch hosted by the India Club members at the Soka University Restaurant.
At the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum we were given a VIP welcome by the Director of the Museum and his staff, before we walked around the Ashoka – Gandhi – Nehru exhibition. The exhibition clearly brought out the humanism, compassion and high moral values of these three historic greats. One could not help feel moved as one walked through the exhibition.