ࡱ> 7 WbjbjUU 7|7|:Sl:5:5:58r5D5?66666666>??????$A C2$?66666$?p8669?p8p8p8666>p86>p8rp8>>6z6 g??B1:5,8">>O?0?>DN8"D>p8Preparing for the July / August 2002 Gosho Study On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, 23-24 Living Buddhism, July 2002, Pages 7-13 Possible supplemental resources: Study Points Selected by the SGI-USA Study Department Page 2 1. The spirit of Rissho Ankoku, establishing the correct teaching / the spirit of dialogue Page 9 2. Evaluation of the teachings Page 10 3. To associate with a friend in the orchid room / the importance of the organization Page 14 4. To become upright, as mugwort growing among hemp / the power of dialogue Page 18 5. Actualizing world peace / the century of the humanism San Francisco Research Group notes: Thanks to these contributors: Jim Johannsen Karen Henderson Chisato Arai And, thanks to the newly formed local proofreading group! As always, comments, disagreements, suggestions and help are welcome. E-mail Markive@TheLink.net Mark Willwerth, East Bay Region Study Dept. Leader for the members of the SF Research Group Abbreviations that may have been used in this packet: WND The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin MW The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin GZ Gosho Zenshu LS The Lotus Sutra: translated by Burton Watson LG Learning From the Gosho: The Eternal Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin Translation updates we may have made (indicated with an asterisk or [brackets]): Mentor for master, SGI-USA for NSA, Nichiren Daishonins Buddhism or SGI for Nichiren Shoshu, Bodhisattvas of the Earth for followers of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Object of Devotion for Object of Worship. WND references have been added for Gosho that were quoted in speeches printed prior to the WND being published. The Major Writings references have been included if possible. 1. The spirit of Rissho Ankoku, establishing the correct teaching / spirit of dialogue If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not? On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, WND, 24 Submitted to Hojo Tokiyori on July 16, 1260 from Kamakura From now on, with your kind instruction to guide me, I wish to continue dispelling the ignorance from my mind. I hope we may set about as quickly as possible taking measures to deal with these slanders against the Law and to bring peace to the world without delay, thus insuring that we may live in safety in this life and enjoy good fortune in the life to come. But it is not enough that I alone should accept and have faith in your words we must see to it that others as well are warned of their errors. On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, WND, 26 Submitted to Hojo Tokiyori on July 16, 1260 from Kamakura Again, one should preach only the Lotus Sutra even to those who slander the Law, so that they may establish a so-called poison-drum relationship with it. The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country, WND, 49 Written on February 10, 1262 from Ito on the Izu Peninsula recipient unknown Life lasts no longer than the time the exhaling of one breath awaits the drawing of another. At what time, what moment, should we ever allow ourselves to forget the compassionate vow of the Buddha, who declared, At all times I think to myself: [How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha]? Questions and Answers about Embracing the Lotus Sutra, WND, 62 Written in March of 1263 from Kamakura recipient unknown I pray that you will embrace the Mystic Law, which guarantees that people will enjoy peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences. This is the only glory that you need seek in your present lifetime, and is the action that will draw you toward Buddhahood in your next existence. Single-mindedly chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and urge others to do the same; that will remain as the only memory of your present life in this human world. Questions and Answers about Embracing the Lotus Sutra, WND, 64 Written in March of 1263 from Kamakura recipient unknown The Lotus Sutra is the teaching of shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines. True to the letter of this golden saying, in the end, every last one of the believers of the provisional teachings and schools will be defeated and join the retinue of the Dharma King. The time will come when all people will abandon the various kinds of vehicles and take up the single vehicle of Buddhahood, and the Mystic Law alone will flourish throughout the land. When the people all chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the wind will no longer buffet the branches, and the rain will no longer break the clods of soil. The world will become as it was in the ages of Fu Hsi and Shen Nung. In their present existence the people will be freed from misfortune and disasters and learn the art of living long. Realize that the time will come when the truth will be revealed that both the person and the Law are unaging and eternal. There cannot be the slightest doubt about the sutras promise of peace and security in their present existence. On Practicing the Buddhas Teachings, WND, 392 Written to all believers in May of 1273 from Ichinosawa on Sado Even a stranger, if you open up your heart to him, may be willing to lay down his life for you. On Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins, WND, 444 Written to Shijo Kingo in 1273 from Ichinosawa on Sado But these passages in the sutra concern events in the distant future, and so it is difficult to expect ordinary people like ourselves to have faith in them. It is thus difficult for ordinary people, who have no knowledge of the distant past or future, to have faith in this sutra. That being the case, even if we were to carry out its practice, what meaning could it have for us? In light of all this, it would seem that, when one who is able to show clearly visible proof in the present expounds the Lotus Sutra, there also will be persons who will believe. Letter to Horen, WND, 511-12 Written to Soya Kyoshin in April of 1275 from Minobu Slander can be either minor or serious, however, and sometimes we should overlook it rather than attack it. The True Word and Tendai schools slander the Lotus Sutra and should be severely rebuked. But without great wisdom it is hard to differentiate correctly between their doctrines and the teachings that Nichiren spreads. Therefore, at times we refrain from attacking them, just as I did in On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land. Whether or not we speak out, it will be difficult for those who have committed the grave offense of slander to avoid retribution. Our seeing, hearing, and making no attempt to stop slander that, if we spoke out, could be avoided, destroys our gifts of sight and hearing, and is utterly merciless. The Embankments of Faith, WND, 625 Written to Sennichi on September 3, 1275 In such an age of conflict, when the pure Law of the other sutras ceases to be effective, the wonderfully efficacious medicine of the Lotus Sutra will provide the cure for all these grave disasters. How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra, WND, 879 Written to Myoho in 1277 from Minobu The people of today in any event already turn their backs on the Lotus Sutra, and because of that error they will undoubtedly fall into hell. Therefore, one should by all means persist in preaching the Lotus Sutra and causing them to hear it. Those who put their faith in it will surely attain Buddhahood, while those who slander it will establish a poison-drum relationship with it and will likewise attain Buddhahood. How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra, WND, 882 Written to Myoho in 1277 from Minobu 3 The Path of Dialogue and Tolerance Similarly, Nichiren, who demonstrated a familial affection and tender concern for the common people, was uncompromising in his confrontations with corrupt and degenerate authority. Always unarmed in the chronically violent Japan of his time, he relied exclusively and unflinchingly on the power of persuasion and nonviolence. He was promised power if he renounced his faith and threatened with the beheading of his parents if he adhered to his beliefs. Nevertheless, he maintained the courage of his convictions. The following passage, written upon his exile to a distant island from which none was expected to return, typifies his leonine tone: Whatever obstacles I might encounter, so long as persons of wisdom do not prove my teachings to be false, I will never yield! [WND, 280] Nichiren took a course of action that could be expected only of someone dedicated to the salvation of the whole human race. He worked to clarify philosophical right from wrong and to remove the evils that torment people. His weapon of choice in that task was discussion, the sole weapon for the enlightened. When dialogue is pursued in the spirit or with the intention of influencing others, it is impossible to proceed without discussing the issues of right and wrong, good and evil. This is because, as Montaigne says, the ultimate purpose of dialogue is to search for the truth, and the mutual critique developed by the participants thereby represents the sublime manifestation of the human spirit. For the Sake of Peace, pp. 60-61 3 The Path of Dialogue and Tolerance True dialogue is only possible when both parties are committed to self-mastery. But there is another essential element without which dialogue becomes manipulative rhetoric: respectful compassion for the other no matter how culturally different they are from oneself or seemingly opposed to ones own interest. The Buddhist approach can, I believe, loosen the shackles of abstract concepts and language that can be so destructive. Thus freed, we can use language to the greatest effect and can engage in the kind of dialogue that creates the greatest and most lasting value. Dialogue must be pivotal in our endeavors, reaching out to all people everywhere as we week to forge a new global civilization. For the Sake of Peace, pp. 57 On taking Action The biggest challenge is to awaken people everywhere to the dangers of humanity as a whole and to each individual. But encouraging people to act and demanding change are not easy tasks and may have to be carried out person-to-person. Such activities may be disheartening at times and certainly demand perseverance. A strong will, together with hope driven by a powerful spirit are supremely important. Pg. 15 Choose Hope: Your role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age, David Krieger & Daisaku Ikeda Global Unity of Mankind, 36th General Meeting, December 16, 1973, Osaka, Japan In the first chapter of the Rissho Ankoku Ron (On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land) of Nichiren Daishonin there is a short passage that has startling pertinence to conditions today: When a nation becomes disordered, it is the spirits that first show signs of rampancy. Because the spirits become rampant, all the people of the nation become disordered (WND, 8). I think this passage shows how necessary it is in times of trouble to turn an attentive ear to the teachings of a great philosophy with a venerable history. In the Ongi Kuden, another of Nichiren Daishonins writings, evil spirits are explained as those things that rob humanity of life, the beings who deprive us of fortune. They are, in other words, those forces within humanity that destroy life itself and deprive us of happiness. In more modern terms, they represent the demonic nature of life. The state man is in when he is completely under the control of his own ego is best expressed as demonic in this sense. When the demonic nature of a human life runs rampant, that life represents the condition described as evil spirits in turmoil. The word land in the title refers, of course, to land in the usual sense, but it also means something very close to the word society. Whenever the total unity that ought to exist between man and his natural environment is upset, at the root of the trouble it is possible to see the operation of the human ego or, more fundamentally, the operation of the demonic nature of life. As a result of this upset, all people are driven into turmoil; and the entire land is pushed toward destruction. Turmoil of the evil spirits is becoming increasingly violent in present society; and, unless the people have an understanding of these spirits and their place in the basic nature of life, the misery of the land cannot be alleviated. A Lasting Peace, pg. 81-82 11 Our Concern for Kosen-rufu Enables Us To Become Buddhas Of these four powers, fearlessness means to expound the Law bravely and without fear. It indicates the Buddhas unshakable self-confidence in expounding the Law. The Buddha is fearless in his preaching in four ways. The first is in declaring that he is enlightened to the supreme truth; that is, he has great confidence in the Mystic Law. The second is in proclaiming that he has permanently extinguished all illusion; that is, he definitely will not be defeated by worries or sufferings. The third is in teaching people about delusions and hindrances that can obstruct the way to enlightenment; in other words, he encourages others to defeat the three obstacles and four devils. The fourth is in teaching people the definite path to attaining Buddhahood; that is, he vociferously proclaims that he has found the path to happiness. Fearlessness means that when talking about these things, he does not have any fear. In short, fearlessness means courage arising from great confidence. Lectures on the Expedient Means & Life Span Chapters, Vol. 1, pg. 114 11 Our Concern for Kosen-rufu Enables Us To Become Buddhas [The Daishonin] indicates that such actions exemplify the spirit indicated in this passage from Emerging from the Earth chapter of the Lotus Sutra: They [the Bodhisattvas of the Earth] are clever at difficult questions and answers, / their minds know no fear (LS15, 223). This passage explains that the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are skilled at discussing difficult doctrine, and that they have not the slightest fear of their opponents in debate. The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are clever at questions and answers, and they bravely stand up to even the most powerful of enemies. If you have fear, then you cannot say anything that will strike a chord in another persons heart. Nor will any wisdom well forth in your life. Lectures on the Expedient Means & Life Span Chapters, Vol. 1, pg. 115 7 Teachers of the Law Live Among the People Allow me to share another anecdote. Once there was a Brahman who was upset that his wife had become Shakyamunis follower. Since his wife praised the Buddha so highly, he went to try to defeat him in debate. But instead of refuting Shakyamuni, the Brahman was so impressed by his preaching that he converted to Buddhism himself. His fellow Brahmans thought this scandalous. They stormed into the Jetavana Monastery and there heaped curses and abuse on Shakyamuni. What do you suppose Shakyamuni did in response? Shakyamuni asked one of the Brahmans, If a relative or friend came to your house, would you welcome him as a guest? Thats right, the Brahman replied. I sometimes entertain guests. If the person does not accept the food that is provided for him, then to whom does it belong? Shakyamuni continued. It naturally belongs to me, the head of the household. In the same way, Shakyamuni said, if I do not accept the abuses that you hurl at me, then will not these return to you and become your own? The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. II, pp. 201-2 Mahayana Buddhism and Twenty-first-Century Civilization, 9/24/1993, Harvard University, Boston Since its inception, the philosophy of Buddhism has been associated with peace and pacifism. That emphasis derives principally from the consistent rejection of violence combined with stress on dialogue and discussion as the best means of resolving conflict. Descriptions of the life of Shakyamuni provide a good illustration. His life was completely untrammeled by dogma, and his interactions with his fellows stressed the importance of dialogue. The sutra, recounting the travels that culminated his Buddhist practice, begins with an episode in which the aged Shakyamuni uses the power of language to avert an invasion. According to the sutra, Shakyamuni, then eighty years old, did not directly admonish the minister of Magadha, a large country bent on conquering the neighboring state of Vajji. Instead, he spoke persuasively about the principles by which nations prosper and decline. His discourse dissuaded the minister from implementing the planned attack. The final chapter of the same sutra concludes with a moving description of Shakyamuni on his deathbed. As he lay dying, lie repeatedly urged his disciples to raise any uncertainties that they might have about the Buddhist Law (Dharma) or its practice, so that they would not find themselves regretting unasked questions after his passing. Up until his last moment, Shakyamuni actively sought out dialogue, and the drama of his final voyage from beginning to end is illuminated by the light of language, skillfully wielded by one who was truly a master of words. Why was Shakyamuni able to employ language with such freedom and to such effect? What made him such a peerless master of dialogue? I believe that his fluency was due to the expansiveness of his enlightened state, utterly free of all dogma, prejudice and attachment. The following quote is illustrative: I perceived a single, invisible arrow piercing the hearts of the people. The arrow symbolizes a prejudicial mindset, an unreasoning emphasis on individual differences. India at that time was going through transition and upheaval, and the horrors of conflict and war were an ever-present reality. To Shakyamunis penetrating gaze, it was clear that the underlying cause of the conflict was attachment to distinctions, to ethnic, national and other differences. In the early years of this century, Josiah Royce (one of many important philosophers Harvard University has given the world) declared that: Reform, in such matters, must come, if at all, from within The public as a whole is whatever the processes that occur, for good or evil, in individual minds, may determine. As Royce points out, the invisible arrow of evil is not to be found in the existence of races and classes external to ourselves but is embedded in our hearts. The conquest of our own prejudicial thinking, our own attachment to difference, is the necessary precondition for open dialogue. Such discussion, in turn, is essential for the establishment of peace and universal respect for human rights. It was his complete absence of prejudice that enabled Shakyamuni to expound the Law with such freedom, adapting his style of teaching to the character and capacity of the person to whom he was speaking. Whether he was mediating a communal dispute over water rights, converting a violent criminal, or admonishing someone who objected to the practice of begging, Shakyamuni attempted first to make others aware of the arrow of their inner evil. The power of his extraordinary character brought these words to the lips of one contemporaneous sovereign: Those whom we, with weapons, cannot force to surrender, you subdue unarmed. My Dear Friends in America, pp. 335-36 Opening Up a Brilliant New Century with the Buddhism of the Sun, December 19, 1987, Tokyo, Japan During one of our dialogues, Rector Logunov once remarked, My world has expanded; my humanity has been greatly awakened. He went on to comment about current problems facing society, saying, The whole world is now seeking and yearning for the kind of awakening of humanity that you are always speaking of and practicing. The more individuals isolate themselves, the wider the vicious circle of divisiveness and confrontation grows and the more often it repeats itself; this is the reality of the world today. How, then, can this be redirected into a trend toward dialogue and harmony? This is the most fundamental question facing our modern age. In order to break this deadlock, even though progress may be nearly invisible, steady one-to-one dialogue and mutual awakening are of crucial importance. For this reason, I have continued my dialogues with many world leaders, and over the years have been proposing summit meetings between the United States and the Soviet Union for the sake of peace. Buddhism in Action, Vol. VII, Pg. 43 Banner of Peace Procession of Wisdom and Justice, President Ikedas May 3rd poem The essence of humanity is found in efforts to create and give rise to value. Consequently, our fundamental endeavor to uphold and advance along the great path of humanism that is kosen-rufu serves the highest good. No matter how people may debate peace, pursue peace, build innumerable organizations for peace, without a fundamental revolution in human life itself, the terrible risk will always remain that, in an instant, entire peoples may be thrust into hellish suffering, with the dreadful frenzied force of atoms ripping apart. It is the purpose and place of real philosophy, of religion that is of and for humanity, to lead people, with dignity to sustained and lasting peace. World Tribune, May 17, 2002, p. 6 Religion Exists for the People, 8th HQ Leaders Meeting, August1, 2001, Sugamo, Tokyo, Japan Establishing a peaceful and prosperous society based on the correct teaching of Buddhism (Jpn rissho ankoku) was the Daishonins cherished dream and one that was shared by President Makiguchi. We have devoted ourselves energetically to constructing a peaceful global society, thereby steadily transforming this great ideal into reality, one step at a time. What other organization in the world is working as actively and widely for peace? It is an achievement of the people that will shine eternally in the annals of history. I declare that the achievements of the people, of the SGI, will endure for all time. World Tribune, August 31, 2001, p. 5 Dialogue on the Lotus Sutra, #42, Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One' chp.21, pp. 22-37 The prayers of those who are exerting themselves to accomplish the propagation of the Mystic Law cannot fail to be answered. The Daishonin says in his writing entitled True Aspect of All Phenomena, If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth, (WND, 385). To be of the same mind as Nichiren, means to cherish the same determination for kosen-rufu. When we work for kosen-rufu and stand up with the resolve to demonstrate the victory of faith, our lives overflow with benefit beyond belief. We receive benefit because we work for kosen-rufu, which is the wish of the Buddha. Living Buddhism, October 1999, p. 29 June 26 This spirit of engaging others in dialogue on equal terms is the essence of Buddhism. Ordering people about in a high-handed, arrogant manner, shouting at them to do one's bidding is truly deplorable behavior. Such a world has no relation to Buddhism. Through dialogue Shakyamuni opened hearts that were closed, softened hearts that had grown hard and melted hearts that were frozen. For Today and Tomorrow, pg. 194 Dialogue on the Lotus Sutra, # 41, Supernatural Powers on the Thus Come One (21st) chapter The Lotus Sutra is Shakyamunis will and testament. It embodies the teaching he most wanted to leave to posterity. Shakyamunis most ardent prayer was for all people to become happy. He says, Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, let him cultivate a boundless heart towards all people. He is basically imploring us: Strive to help all living beings become happy, just as a mother will put her life on the line to protect her only child! This is what it means to stand up for kosen-rufu. Living Buddhism, September 1999, p. 26 Chapter 4 Rissho Ankoku The message of Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, is that each of us should accomplish a personal human revolution based on the principle of humanism and thus become key players in realizing social prosperity and world peace. The New Human Revolution, vol. 4, pp. 241-42 President Ikedas Lecture on The True Entity of Life Kumarajiva accomplished the task of translating Buddhist text from Sanskrit into Chinese by engaging a great number of people in dialogue. One would think he had devoted decades to these difficult translations, confined to his study with nothing but dictionaries around him, but that was not the way he worked, he worked with the people, acutely sensing their innermost feelings as he carried on discussions about Buddhism with them. His translation of the Lotus Sutra was the fruit of this broad and sensitive approach. I am convinced this is why Kumarajiva was able to produce such a smooth and still accurate rendition of the sutras original meaning. No matter how important or valuable the teaching of Buddhism may be, if they cannot be correctly understood, they will never become part of the lives of the people. Philosophys true value can only shine through communication between people and in their daily experience. [Kumarajiva] devoted himself to dialogue with the people, always remaining among them. Selected Lectures on the Gosho, pp. 14-15 Chapter 4 Rissho Ankoku Nichiren strove to spread the True Law by examining the validity of each teaching through debate and dialogue among the different Buddhist schools. The New Human Revolution, vol. 4, p. 235 Forging Outstanding Character, 15th HQ Leaders Meeting, March 3, 2002, Hachioji, Japan [President Makiguchi explained to a young teacher] that he arrived at his faith in Nichiren Buddhism by constantly seeking ever higher principles, moving from inconsequential, immediate benefits to greater benefits, from minor laws to great laws, from the leaves and branches to the root, from the partial to the whole. Having finally come upon the supreme law of life, it is only natural to want to teach and propagate it to others. If he failed to do so, he would be guilty of stinginess and lack of compassion. World Tribune, April 19, 2002, p. 6 Dialogue Transforms Society and Opens the Future Dialogue is beyond mere verbal exchange. Rather, it is how our character and spirit communicate with others. By conversing on a profound level, people can awaken to a more valuable way of life and find inspiration to seek even higher value. This, I believe, is the significance of dialogue. Dialogue is the sole weapon for realizing peace this is the fundamental spirit of Buddhism. World Tribune, May 24, 1996, p. 15 2. Evaluation of the teachings The Five Guides for Propagation With regard to the first item, the teaching consists of all the sutras, rules of monastic discipline, and treatises expounded by the Thus Come One Shakyamuni, comprising 5,048 volumes contained in 480 scroll cases. The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country, WND, 48 Written on February 10, 1262 from Ito on the Izu Peninsula recipient unknown [Note: The fivefold comparison is a subset of this first point. An article on it can be found in the September 2001 issue of Living Buddhism on pages 15-17.] Second is the matter of capacity. One who attempts to propagate the teachings of Buddhism must understand the capacity and basic nature of the persons one is addressing. The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country, WND, 48 Written on February 10, 1262 from Ito on the Izu Peninsula recipient unknown Third is the consideration of time. Anyone who hopes to spread the Buddhist teachings must make certain to understand the time. The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country, WND, 49 Written on February 10, 1262 from Ito on the Izu Peninsula recipient unknown Fourth is the consideration of the country. One must never fail to take into account the kind of country in which one is spreading the Buddhist teachings. The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country, WND, 50 Written on February 10, 1262 from Ito on the Izu Peninsula recipient unknown Fifth is the sequence of propagation. In a country where the Buddhist teachings have never been introduced, there of course will be none who are familiar with Buddhism. But in a country where Buddhism has already been introduced, there will be those who believe in the Buddhist teachings. Therefore, one must first learn what kind of Buddhist doctrines have already spread in a particular country before attempting to propagate Buddhism there. The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country, WND, 50 Written on February 10, 1262 from Ito on the Izu Peninsula recipient unknown Chapter 1 Sunrise My biggest fear, continued Shinichi, is that leaders might fall into the trap of thinking that the way things are done in Japan is absolute and that members in other parts of the world must do exactly the same. This would be like forcing people in other countries to wear traditional Japanese clothing. If leaders come to believe that such ways are what constitute correct faith, they will then be turning Buddhism into something extremely narrow and rigid. Should this happen, then instead of Buddhism, well have Japanism. After all, the Daishonins Buddhism exists not only for the Japanese; it is a religion for all people the world over. Since the day Josei Toda had entrusted him with the mission of worldwide kosen-rufu, Shinichi had considered the various problems he was likely to face overseas and had weighed each one carefully. Naturally, he had delved thoroughly into the question of how to deal with the differences in custom and tradition that existed between Japan and other areas of the world. Already painted vividly in his heart was a grand and elaborate vision of the future of global kosen-rufu. Yet not one person was aware of this. The New Human Revolution, Vol. 1, pg. 33 3 To associate with a friend in the orchid room / importance of the organization To call a person a good friend means that that person is neither ones teacher nor ones disciple. The Opening of the Eyes (1), WND, 248 Written to Shijo Kingo in February of 1272 from Tsukahara on Sado When a tree has been transplanted, though fierce winds may blow, it will not topple if it has a firm stake to hold it up. But even a tree that has grown up in place may fall over if its roots are weak. Even a feeble person will not stumble if those supporting him are strong, but a person of considerable strength, when alone, may fall down on an uneven path Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain, WND, 598 Written to Nishiyama on June 22, 1275 from Minobu Therefore, the best way to attain Buddhahood is to encounter a good friend. How far can our own wisdom take us? If we have even enough wisdom to distinguish hot from cold, we should seek out a good friend. Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain, WND, 598 Written to Nishiyama on June 22, 1275 from Minobu Therefore, you should take every care to ward off slanderers of the Law in the same way that you would never wish a courtesan even to come near your home. This is the meaning of Thrust aside evil friends and associate with good companions. The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon, WND, 832 Written to Nichinyo on August 23, 1277 from Minobu On courage The courage of one person transmits itself to others until there are ten thousand courageous people moving triumphantly forward. Pg. 8 Choose Hope: Your role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age, David Krieger & Daisaku Ikeda 5: Friendship and Perspectives on Life During Youth (1) The best friends are those with whom you can advance together toward a shared goal. And one can surely have no more wonderful friends than those we find in our fellow SGI members who embrace the same beliefs and the same lofty purpose and ideals as we do. As SGI members, we are all friends devoting our lives to kosen-rufu, that is, the eternal happiness of all humankind. Nothing is more beautiful than friendships developed among people challenging themselves and encouraging one another as they work toward the realization of a common goal. Such relationships are even more beautiful than those between parent and child, husband and wife, and lovers. This kind of profound friendship is the highest mark, and the very flame, of humanity. Discussions on Youth, Vol. 1, pg. 91 On younger generations Pg. 21 There are always younger generations to learn from the words and actions of those who precede them. I also put great faith in young people. Inevitably the future is in their hands, and it is up to them to choose what the future will be. Empowering young people to realize their potential for creating a just world is a goal worth fighting for regardless of criticism and obstacles. Achieving it is the duty of citizens of earth. Choose Hope: Your role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age, David Krieger & Daisaku Ikeda 5: Friendship and Perspectives on Life During Youth (1) People of conviction, who stand alone, who pursue their chosen path not only are such people good and trustworthy friends themselves, but they can make genuine friends of others. The bamboo groves of autumn are gorgeous. Each bamboo tree stands independently, growing straight and tall toward the sky. Yet in the ground, out of sight, their roots are interconnected. In the same way, true friendship is not a relationship of dependence, but of independence. It is the enduring bond that connects self-reliant individuals, comrades who share the same commitment, on a spiritual dimension. Friendship is also determined by the way we live our lives. Discussions on Youth, Vol. 1, pp. 93-94 5: Friendship and Perspectives on Life During Youth (1) The important thing is that you never forget the true meaning of friendship and make it the basis for your interactions with others. In the Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin talks about a friend in the orchid room (WND, 23). This expression means that just as orchids in a room impart their exquisite fragrance to all who enter, we should strive to be the kind of friend who has a positive and uplifting effect on others. All you have to do is become like the orchid. In the East, the orchid is symbolic of a person of lofty character. Therefore, please develop your character so that it exudes a beautiful orchid-like fragrance. Discussions on Youth, Vol. 1, Pg. 99 6: Friendship and Perspectives on Life During Youth (2) Takemura: Expanding ties of friendship is the way toward peace, isnt it? Ikeda: Yes, just as an exquisite tapestry is woven from many varied threads, if countless beautiful friendships are woven across the world, forming bridges that span the oceans to connect all countries, they will lead to the creation of a happy and peaceful world. Treasuring friendship is deeply meaningful in that it embodies the spirit of humanism and peace. It is the first step toward realizing an ideal society where people can live together in harmony. Discussions on Youth, Vol. 1, Pg. 107 If in the process of entrusting this sutra to others I were to employ these supernatural powers for immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of asamkhya kalpas to describe the benefits of the sutra, I could never finish doing so. LS21, 274 21: Why Do We Have an Organization? The Soka Gakkai is an organization working to realize the great objective of kosen-rufu of achieving peace and happiness for all humanity based on the principles and philosophy of Nichiren Daishonins Buddhism. Such an objective cannot be accomplished through the efforts of one person alone. It becomes possible only when people in various spheres of society come together, organize themselves into a cohesive force, and work to achieve that goal. Discussions on Youth, Vol. 2, Pg. 218 21: Why Do We Have an Organization? The organization of the Soka Gakkai emerged naturally from that spirit the spirit to somehow encourage another person, to want to see others become happy. The Soka Gakkai didnt appear first and then become filled with people. People began forging bonds with one another, and then those ties of friendship spread, naturally giving birth to the Soka Gakkai organization. For that reason, we must be aware that the organization exists for people. People dont exist for the organization. Please never forget this point. Discussions on Youth, Vol. 2, Pg. 221 21: Why Do We Have an Organization? Because those young people were united in their desire to do anything they could to help, they could make a powerful contribution. Our organization exists to mobilize such human goodness, peoples desire to help and benefit others, and use it to create great value. You might say the Soka Gakkai is a body or organism that took form and came to life specifically to bring together the basic goodness of peoples hearts, to further develop that goodness and strengthen it. Without the organization, there would be no cohesion or order to our efforts. An organization dedicated to good enhances peoples capacity to work for good and promotes unlimited growth and self-improvement. It does not hinder peoples progress or lead them astray. It supports peoples self-development, putting them on a sure course to happiness and personal growth. And it is for this purpose that our organization exists. In that respect, the organization is a means. The end, meanwhile, is for people to become happy. Discussions on Youth, Vol. 2, pp. 222-23 8 The Heart of the True Aspect of All Phenomena: The Endless Challenge To Transform Reality Ikeda: In his rationale for having written the thesis On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, Nichiren Daishonin states: I say all this solely for the sake of the nation, for the sake of the Law, for the sake of others, not for my own sake (WND, 164). However fiercely the Daishonin was persecuted, the flame in his heart for the salvation of others could not be extinguished. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the first president of the Soka Gakkai, inheriting this spirit and deeply committed to the realization of a peaceful society through the wide dissemination of the True Law, died a martyrs death in prison. With this same spirit, Mr. Toda rose up alone from the barren wasteland of defeat after World War II. In the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin says: The essence of the Lotus Sutra is that earthly desires are in themselves enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are in themselves nirvana; and The doctrine that a single moment of life contains three thousand realms removes suffering and imparts pleasure (GZ, 773). The sole purpose of Buddhism, the sole purpose of the SGI, is to save people from suffering. The SGI is doing its utmost to bring happiness to humanity. It has no other reason for existing. How praiseworthy are the lives of those who strive toward that goal with the SGI! How noble! The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 1, pp. 189-190 7 The Revelation of the Single Buddha Vehicle: Opening the Door to the Oneness of Mentor & Disciple Ikeda: In the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin says: The children are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and the father is Shakyamuni (GZ, 803). Those disciples who cherish the same vow, the same sense of responsibility, as their mentor in other words, those disciples who stand up united as one with their mentor are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The Daishonin writes, If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth (WND, 385). There is special significance to the Daishonins phrase of the same mind. The SGI, whose members have made the Daishonins vow their own, working tirelessly to promote kosen-rufu, is an organization of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth carrying out the mission they pledged themselves to in the infinite past. It is a gathering of disciples indivisibly united with the Daishonin. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 1, pp. 158-159 7 Teachers of the Law Live Among the People In On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, Nichiren Daishonin calls the host who engages the guest in dialogue a friend in the orchid room (WND, 23). When someone spends time in a room filled with orchids, the fragrance of the flowers naturally permeates clothing. Similarly, dialogue should be conducted in such a way that the other person is imbued with the fragrance of compassion. Propagation does not mean trying to force something on someone, nor is it for the sake of the organization. Propagation is an act of venerating the Buddha nature in the lives of others. Therefore, our efforts in shakubuku should be motivated by a spirit of the greatest respect for the other person. President Toda said, The basis for doing shakubuku is a feeling of sympathy for others sufferings. Compassion, in other words, is fundamental. You dont propagate Buddhism with a confrontational spirit of trying to refute someones ideas and win the person over to your own side. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. II, pp. 196-97 Chapter 1 Westward Transmission Human beings cannot see their past or future lives. An understanding of the causal law of life operating across the three existences past, present and future however, offers clear direction as to how we should live in this present existence. The direction we take will determine our future lives. Shinichi Yamamoto spoke with great passion: We have been born as human beings in this life. Moreover, we know the fundamental law of the universe and are working for kosen-rufu as Soka Gakkai members. This is truly extraordinary. For instance, it is said that wherever we step in the forest, there are anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of tiny living organisms such as dust mites under our feet. So if we were to add up the number of all living things on this planet right down to microscopic bacteria we would arrive at a truly mind-boggling figure. Yet among this great diversity of life, we have been born as human beings and can practice Nichiren Daishonins Buddhism. The odds of achieving this would have to be far more difficult than winning first prize in a lottery untold times. It is undeniably because of our immense fortune and profound mission that we have been fortunate enough to encounter an unrivaled opportunity to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. The New Human Revolution, Vol. 3, Pg. 57 The Soka Gakkai: Good Influence for Correct Faith, March 1, 1988, Shizuoka, Japan Ignorance leads to darkness, while learning leads to light. This is what the first president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, often remarked. Along with Gosho studies, an interest in the principles underlying all the affairs of the world will become a source of brilliance enhancing your own capabilities. Another name for the Buddha is the supreme leader of the world Those of you who embrace Buddhism should become capable individuals who can take on important roles in society. In this context, Mr. Makiguchi gave the following guidance which begins with the above-mentioned quote: It is important that we adopt a humble and serious attitude and attempt to draw forth the infinite wisdom that is stored in the treasure house of our environment. Buddhism teaches the correct path for seeking the ultimate reality. The fundamental Law that pervades all life humanity, nature and the universe and causes all things to reveal themselves in the most creative way is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the life of the Buddha. The sutra says, The wisdom of all Buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. When we harmonize our life-activities with the fundamental rhythm of this vast and powerful cosmic life, we will be able to experience the unlimited dynamism of our own life force; that is to say, we will be able to manifest deep, unbounded wisdom. This is known as the principle of the fusion of objective reality and subjective wisdom. Nothing of significance is to be gained simply by thinking of the Law of the universe in abstract terms. For this reason, Nichiren Daishonin established a practical method for all people to grasp this Law. He embodied fundamental life, or the entity of all phenomena, in the form of the Gohonzon of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Consequently, when we have faith in the Gohonzon as our object of devotion*, we will be able to fuse with the life of the great universe. The Daishonin states: When the reality is an infinitely broad and deep riverbed, the water of wisdom will flow ceaselessly. Enlightenment is the fusion of wisdom and reality. We must understand that faith is the very wellspring of wisdom, which allows us to perfectly and brilliantly manifest our true selves. Just as Mr. Makiguchi asserted, as long as you are persisting in your practice admirably, you will naturally gain the wisdom to open up your life and society. You will also be able to create happiness everywhere around you, and embellish your entire life. Every one of you is practicing this incredible Buddhism and pushing forward in faith so as to reshape your life and revitalize all living beings. Be convinced that even in todays world you will definitely be able to display a life of true self, happiness, purity and eternity, in which all desires are fulfilled. Buddhism in Action, Vol. VII, pp. 205-7 4 To become upright, as mugwort growing among hemp / the power of dialogue On good vs. evil The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, serve as a tragic example of this, an ultimate manifestation of evil that shows us the vilest depths to which human nature can sink. While it is impossible not to be outraged at the senseless loss of so many lives, in the end, the evil over which we must triumph is the impulse toward hatred and destruction that resides in us all. Unless we can perceive our fellow human beings and feel their sufferings as our own, we will never be free of conflict and war. In other words, a transformation within in our own lives is important. Pg. 33-34 Choose Hope: Your role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age, David Krieger & Daisaku Ikeda Chapter 4 Light of Compassion To take a stance in distinguishing between good and evil and to show generosity toward others these two things are in no way incompatible and are essentially part of the same whole. Lets suppose, for example, that someone eats poisonous mushrooms and is rushed to a doctor. Irrespective of who the patient may be, the doctor naturally exhausts all possible means to save the person and also offer sincere words of encouragement. This, we might say, is an example of generosity toward others. It is also likely, however, that the doctor will warn the patient not to eat harmful mushrooms in the future. I am sure there is no doctor who would stand by indifferently while the patient declares, But poisonous mushrooms are delicious, I want to eat them again. This corresponds to taking a strict stance toward the Law. In both these instances, the doctor is motivated by compassion and commitment to removing the patients suffering. This is also the behavior of a Buddhist. For that reason, there is no contradiction between the spirit of shakubuku that of refuting the erroneous and revealing the true and true friendship. The spirit of compassion is fundamental to both. Consequently, it is the Buddhist ideal that, the more we exert ourselves in faith, the greater the generosity with which we can embrace our friends and deepen our friendships. Because shakubuku is an endeavor to touch the others lives through dialogue, trust and friendship are essential. The New Human Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 204-5 11 Our Concern for Kosen-rufu Enables Us To Become Buddhas Highly articulate and eloquent people are treasures of kosen-rufu. Eloquence does not mean verbosity; it is the power to win others wholehearted understanding. Sometimes even a single word from a person of strong faith is enough to win the wholehearted understanding of someone whom not even a great scholar could reach. This is the power of wisdom, the power of character, the power of faith. Amid a storm of calumny, all of you have been persistently carrying out dialogue of justice, unafraid of the winds of arrogant criticism. Without doubt you qualify as people of fearlessness, as people who are clever in difficult questions and answers. Lectures on the Expedient Means & Life Span Chapters, Vol. 1, pp. 115-16 11 Our Concern for Kosen-rufu Enables Us To Become Buddhas What are genuine soft and gentle words? This is not determined by how harsh or kind the words sound. Rather, it depends on whether they are laden with value, and whether there is compassion in the heart of their speaker. In society today, truthful words are few. We are deluged by words of self-interest and calculation, words intended to cause injury, and words of playful caprice. These days we simply dont hear words of truth that issue from the depths of one persons heart and penetrate the heart of another. True words perfectly coincide with the actions of the speaker. Words spoken out of personal conviction, words on the basis of which we have lived our lives are certainly true words. True words are living words that issue from a lively and exuberant heart. Nikko Shonin admonished against indulging in idleness and chatter (GZ, 1617). Similarly, President Toda likened words not based on faith to smoke. In conclusion, soft and gentle words means words spoken in good faith. Such words are sincere; they are earnest; and they have propriety. Moreover, words that clearly convey what you want to say are soft and gentle. With abundant self-confidence, let us conduct dignified dialogue, never losing our inner latitude, poise and humor. Such dialogue is the true weapon of a Buddhist. Confusion of language portends confusion in society. In an age lacking truthful words, our movement, which is based on dialogue, is becoming a great light of hope for the world. Lectures on the Expedient Means & Life Span Chapters, Vol. 1, pp. 121-22 2 Belief and Understanding: The Dynamic Relationship of Faith and Wisdom Through believing in and devoting ourselves to the Mystic Law, the Mystic Law becomes manifest in our lives, and our lives will accord with the Law. The proof of vibrant life force that we attain through faith in the Mystic Law represents the wisdom that functions in accordance with changing circumstances, or the understanding of belief and understanding. The Daishonin also says: Belief represents the value or price we attach to a jewel or treasure, and understanding represents the jewel itself. It is through belief that we can purchase the wisdom of the Buddhas of past, present and future (GZ, 725). In that regard, belief and understanding are far from opposites, nor is belief something static that is enlisted in support of understanding. In fact, they are essentially one. If we try to separate them, we can only describe them as partners in a dynamic cycle in which belief leads to understanding and understanding further strengthens belief. Through this unending cycle, we can continuously cultivate and improve ourselves. This is the fundamental meaning of belief and understanding. It is interesting that the Sanskrit adhimukti can also be translated as will or intent. Buddhahood is not a static state. The true state of the Buddhas life is one of endlessly seeking self-improvement, in which wisdom deepens compassion and compassion deepens wisdom. It is a process of boundlessly and continuously striving for perfection. The two wheels of that will to perfection, which carry it along on its eternal journey, are faith and understanding. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. II, Pg. 58 A Humanistic Organization Is the Very Foundation of Religion, December 12, 1987, Tokyo, Japan Ours is an age in which nobody takes a step unless they are convinced to the very bottom of their heart. When a person is absolutely certain about something, there is a very real chance that he will display unimaginable power. Thus thoroughgoing planning meetings have taken on increasing significance; and one-to-one dialogue is also considered to have unlimited merit. Recently many large organizations, which used to be quite prosperous, have begun to suffer from conditions of stagnation and stalemate, but the Soka Gakkai goes on attracting many people, including youth, and developing. One reason for this may be said to be our emphasis on dialogue and conversation. This manner of conducting ourselves will remain a matter of fundamental principle with us into the future as well. Buddhism in Action, Vol. VII, Pg. 17 5: Friendship and Perspectives on Life During Youth (1) Associating with self-destructive people, however, can certainly have harmful consequences, dragging you down with them. You must have the courage not to succumb to the lures of such negative influences. Sometimes your friends can have a stronger influence over you than your parents or anyone else. So if you make good friends friends who are interested in improving and developing themselves you will move in a positive direction as well. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), the American industrialist and philanthropist, modestly attributed his success to having gathered around him people who were far more talented and capable than he. Ultimately, the only way to make good friends is for you to become good friends yourselves. Good people gather around other good people. Discussions on Youth, Vol. 1, pp. 89-90 Chapter 4, Religion as Transformation, Universal Life-resonance, Ikeda: At its deep levels, the latent energy of life extends to families, ethnic groups and all humanity; thence still further to merge with other forms of life, including non-human forms. At the level visible to human eyes, boundaries exist between these forms. Deep down, however, life is integrated and boundary-less. Karma may be good, bad or neutral. A life manifesting predominantly bad karma is at fates mercy. The influence of its energy brings misfortune to others and can lead to environmental destruction and even to the annihilation of the human race. It is of the utmost importance to transform bad karma into good karma at the individual level. The transformation of the karma of one individual evokes a similar transformation in other individuals. This process can expand to make possible similar transformations in entire societies, in all humankind and even in the natural environment. This is the meaning of the Soka Gakkai human revolution movement. Transforming bad karma into good karma cannot be done on the level of the Eighth Consciousness alone. Universal life, which subsumes the Eighth Consciousness, is the Ninth Consciousness (the amala vijnana), or the Buddha nature, which, as you say, must be strengthened as much as possible. Once attained, the Buddha state of life purifies and reforms the Eighth Consciousness (Karma Storehouse) and orients all karma toward ultimate good. This is the quintessential meaning of Buddhism. The individual who perseveres along the path of the human revolution attains a realm of eternally indestructible happiness beyond the life-death cycle. Such a person guides others innate energy in promising directions and helps them bring forth deeper compassion and wisdom. A tide culminating in the reformation of humanity and our planet is the ultimate goal of the human revolution. Galtung: Your explanation is clearer than any I have ever heard before. But there are two main points I should like to clarify still further. Inevitably we manifest both positive and negative energy. How should we deal with negative energy? Ikeda: On all dimensions, losing to negative force spells unhappiness; it brings loss of life-power, destruction, decline and schism. It results in illness, economic hardships and struggle. War is a concentration of all these sufferings. Life in the four states that Buddhist philosophy calls the Four Evil Paths is dominated by less-than-human tendencies. These states represent negative energy. In contrast to them, the Four Noble Worlds Buddhahood, Bodhisattvahood, realization and learning are conditions in which life generates positive energy. These states spell happiness and fulfillment for human beings and produce the three values advocated by Soka Gakkai philosophy: beauty, gain and goodness. In a sense, human life and, in particular, work for peace represent struggles between positive and negative energy. Some minus aspects are violence, destruction, schism and hostility; among the positive aspects are nonviolence, creativity, union and harmony. As you have pointed out, throughout human history the triumph of the positive has required each individual to conquer his or her own negative aspects and convert them to positive aspects. Though it might seem circuitous, this is actually the shortest, most direct way to the goal, the attainment of which is the reason for the existence of Buddhism and the human revolution. Galtung: To facilitate the interconnections and mingling of good life-energy we must remove as many barriers and boundaries as possible. Of course, boundaries make for long cuts not shortcuts. Good life-resonance is possible only when the boundary lines between national states and other organizations have been shortened and when unity and solidarity have been achieved. As an example, I might cite your own successful exchanges of ideas and positive energy with Mikhail S. Gorbachev. Boundaries had to be eliminated and space crossed before those exchanges could take place. For one thing, either you had to be free to go to Moscow, or he had to be free to come to Tokyo. I believe that Buddhism agrees with the need to eliminate boundaries. Ikeda: Yes indeed. This is why I travel widely, trying to bring different parts of the world together. A major Buddhist tenet teaches what are called the Three Realms of Existence (the realm of the five components, the realm of living beings and the realm of the environment). Each realm embodies boundaries of difference: personal differences, national differences and environmental differences. People all over the world differ radically in terms of their antecedents, endowments, cultures and traditions. Nonetheless, encounters occur in which it is possible to experience profound sympathetic resonances that cross all these boundaries of difference. Comrades and friends advancing toward a common goal draw together naturally and are soon walking side by side. Galtung: You speak of life-resonance. In physics there is such a thing as the phenomenon of resonance. If two tuning forks of the same pitch are placed side by side and one of them is struck, the other will naturally vibrate in resonance. Ikeda: The same kind of resonance can easily occur between two people whose rhythms are similar. For example, two people who live according to the universal Bodhisattva rhythm overcome boundaries and differences to resonate together. The Buddhist faith may be described as a discipline for putting oneself in agreement establishing life-resonance with the universal Buddha nature. It is generally accepted that, just as scoundrels flock together, so outstanding people associate with other outstanding people. Though starting points differ, a common goal and great faith enable those who work for the lofty aim of world peace to communicate among themselves. This has helped me make many friends all over the world. A person with powerful life-energy exerts a great influence for orienting companions in a common direction. People of strong faith initiate flows of energy as surely as pressure differential causes air currents flow from areas of high to areas of low atmospheric pressure. To facilitate encounters making these things possible, we must abbreviate social boundary lines and lower social barriers. Choose Peace: Johan Galtung & Daisaku Ikeda, pp. 73-75: 5 Actualizing world peace / the century of humanism If Nichirens compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity, for it has the beneficial power to open the blind eyes of every living being in the country of Japan, and it blocks off the road that leads to the hell of incessant suffering. On Repaying Debts of Gratitude, WND 736 Written July 21,1276 from Minobu to Joken-bo and Gijo-bo If one uses the Lotus Sutra to pray for the welfare of the land, it will prove to be a great pure Law that will secure and protect the nation, insuring joy and prosperity to everyone from the ruler on down to the common people. How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra, WND, 879 Written to Myoho in 1277 from Minobu Loyalty to All Humanity Ikeda: As globalization proceeds, we enter an age in which everybodys actions strongly influence everybody else. When we realize this, we can then alter our mindset and strive to build a global society of mutual coexistence and mutual prosperity. This will be done by going beyond devotion to the interests of the nation-state and devoting ourselves to the interests of all humanity. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The key to the solution is, in your terms, the imagination to care for others. It is the empathizing heart or what Buddhists refer to when they talk about mercy. Krieger: At no other time has that imagination been in greater demand than today. Most troubling to me about the state of the world is a currently pervasive sense of complacency and indifference among the well-to-do. This represents the diametric opposite of empathy and compassion. We have tremendous potential to make the world a more decent place. Global news networks using modern technologies inform us about what is happening all over the planet. In spite of this information, however, many people remain in a state of complacency. The modern equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns is people watching television sitcoms as suffering continues and global threats to human dignity mount. Ikeda: It is necessary for each individual to look reality in the face, speak out and initiate action in his or her immediate surroundings. The worst thing we can do is to resign ourselves to believing we are helpless. Instead, all of us must come together and revise our outlook. As the German philosopher Karl Jaspers said: We can enjoy the happiness of existence in the interim granted to us. But it is a last respite. Either we avert the deadly peril or prepare for the catastrophe.... Today we stand poised on the razors edge. We have to choose: to plunge into the abyss of mans lostness, and the consequent extinction of all earthly life, or to take the leap to the authentic man and his boundless opportunities through self-transformation. Pg. 14 Choose Hope: Your role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age, David Krieger & Daisaku Ikeda On the three Cs In such an age, I suggest a philosophy focused on the three Cs: compassion, courage and commitment. A life founded on this philosophy would be one of service not accumulation. It would oppose violence and discover value in others. Compassion in its deepest form what we call Buddhist mercy is the fountainhead of courage and commitment. Indeed, the three Cs are the mainstays of our movement compassion for our suffering friends, courage to confront evil and commitment to stimulate each individual to act. Pg. 105 Choose Hope: Your role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age, David Krieger & Daisaku Ikeda Determination Even one daimoku can penetrate the entire universe. How much greater than is daimokus capacity to move anything when it is chanted with sincerity and determination! Daimoku chanted with the profound conviction that my life is the entity of the Mystic Law or with the resolve that I will dedicate my life to spreading the Mystic Law as an emissary of the Buddha cannot fail to draw a response from the Gohonzon. Such daimoku cannot fail to permeate the universe. Faith Into Action, pg. 108 Buddhism Is Dialogue, 48th HQ Leaders Meeting, July 18, 2000, Hachioji, Japan Pray that instead of devils or negative, destructive forces infiltrating your being, Brahma (Jpn Bonten), Shakra (Jpn Taishaku) and the gods of the Sun and the Moon the positive, protective forces of the universe will enter your life! Pray that they will enter the lives of all members in your region and the entire membership of the SGI, as well. If you do this, your strength will multiply a hundredfold, a thousandfold. With such prayer, with such faith, you will realize a fundamental transformation in the very depths of your life. This is the secret to achieving your human revolution. World Tribune, September 8, 2000, Pg. 5 16 A Grand Epic of the Eternity of Life Nichiren Daishonin describes conditions during the Latter Day of the Law, saying: Those who espouse Hinayana reject Mahayana, and those who espouse provisional teachings attack the true teaching, until the country is overrun with slanderers of the Law [WND, 400]. While the Daishonin is referring specifically to confusion regarding the Hinayana and Mahayana teachings and the provisional and true teachings, his words perfectly describe the spiritual confusion of the present age. Being strongly attached to bankrupt systems of values, people prefer what is base and shrink from what is lofty. They are fond of the trivial and inauthentic and detest the genuine. The Latter Day of the Law is an age when people are receptive to shallow thought and shallow ways of living, and they disparage a way of life that is profound. In a society with such topsy-turvy values, SGI members have persisted in their efforts to explain the correct way of life to those who have lost their sense of direction and gone adrift. Just as the sutra indicates where it says, Each one of these bodhisattvas was the leader of his own great assembly (LS15, 213), as leaders of the people you are shedding light on many others. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II. It also marks the fiftieth year since Josei Toda, the second Soka Gakkai president, stood up alone amid the devastation and took the first step to reconstruct the Soka Gakkai. The history of members spiritual struggle is engraved in countless places throughout the country. In Okinawa, the only place in Japan where a land war was fought; in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first cities in the history of the world to experience the horrors of nuclear warfare in all parts of the country, the seeds of peace have been planted and great trees of happiness and prosperity have grown up. In areas facing the greatest of challenges in rural villages that, amid rapid economic development, have suffered from an exodus to urban areas; in mountainous regions that have been devastated by the closure of coal mines; on remote islands; and in big cities where peoples hearts have withered and dried up you have followed the Daishonins encouragement to grit your teeth and never slacken in your faith [WND, 498]. Because societys values are upside down, you have had to endure storms of untoward criticism and calumny. And you have won! Your cheerful, smiling faces have greatly changed Japan. And the same smiles are spreading to all parts of the world. President Toda declared: I perceive that we have appeared in this world charged with the great responsibility to propagate the seven-character Lotus Sutra during the Latter Day of the Law. If our status is assessed in terms of this role, then we are certainly Bodhisattvas of the Earth. All of you are proving in reality our mentors declaration, which is like a lions roar. How highly the original Buddha and all Buddhas must be praising and applauding the great achievements of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth of the twentieth century! Yet, the world is still rife with tragedy and suffering. In Japan and elsewhere, the degree of turmoil is only intensifying. The long march of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth continues for peace and for peoples happiness. Toward that end, I hope you will advance in even better health and even more cheerfully, and that you will lead long lives. The world and the twenty-first century eagerly await your smiling faces. Lectures on the Expedient Means and Life Span Chapters, Vol. 2, pp.18-20 Create the New Century with Fresh Vitality, January 9, 1988, Soka Culture Center, Tokyo, Japan It is my greatest joy to talk with young people like yourselves. Nothing brings me greater happiness. I believe that dialogues between us are of particular significance now, because the time has come for me to speak frankly with you about everything that it is important for you to know, and to entrust to you the future of kosen-rufu. There is no alternative other than to entrust the future of kosen-rufu and the Soka Gakkai to you young successors. The vitality of youth is the force that will open up the new century, the wonderful new era. This is a law of nature. In this sense, I feel that nothing is more meaningful than the life-to-life dialogue I am conducting with you in the noble world of faith. Your future is boundless, bursting with limitless potential. By sharing with you some of the guidance from my mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, I mean to congratulate you on your bright, promising future. Mr. Toda would often encourage his youthful followers, saying: It is only natural that you should meet with obstacles in the course of your life. When you encounter a severe difficulty, you may despairingly feel that it is the end of everything; you may want to give up. There may also be times when, due to your extreme suffering, you find yourself in an abyss of despair. However, you should never succumb to such difficulties. You must win by all means. When you do, you will later be able to look back with a feeling of satisfaction on your days of desperate struggle. Just after the Second World War, Japanese people couldnt find anything to be hopeful for about the future. But if we look at what happened after five years, after ten years, its like a dream. From this one instance we can imagine ten thousand: it will also be the same in our own lives. My own experience has shown Mr. Todas guidance to be true. Life is not easy for anyone. One may be exposed to violent storms or tossed about by a high tide of obstacles. This is especially so for us, who are striving to accomplish the unprecedented task of kosen-rufu. Although our lives are glorious, it is also to be expected that we will meet with greater difficulties and have to undertake more painful struggles than those who merely seek to lead an ordinary life. However, you should never be swept off course no matter what the hardship, nor should you retreat in the face of any crisis. We embrace the Mystic Law, the driving force for victory in life. When you sincerely dedicate yourself to faith and practice, you can change every suffering into joy and hope, crowning your life and your entire existence with glory. There are no greater happiness and honor than this. Therefore, no matter what difficulties may beset you at present, you should continue to advance proudly, always taking action and always cherishing fresh hope for the future. Please be convinced that as long as you embrace the Mystic Law, the time will come when you will feel deep gratitude that you have persevered and been able to surmount even the worst of circumstances. Buddhism in Action, Vol. VII, pp. 62-3 The World of Nichiren Daishonins Writings #4 Ikeda: Here, the Daishonin is teaching the fundamental level at which the principle of establishing the correct teaching takes place. That is, it occurs on the level of the heart. In other words, without a transformation of the inner life of the individual, the correct teaching cannot be established. The Daishonin says that when we win over the fundamental evil of slander of the Law and transform the beliefs that we hold in our hearts, then the threefold world the actual world in which we live becomes a pure Buddha land, an indestructible treasure realm. He also says that the teaching in which we should believe is the single good doctrine. Doctrine means a true teaching and refers namely to the Lotus Sutra. Single good means fundamental good. The Lotus Sutra teaches that all people can manifest the Buddha nature, and that it is the duty of those who uphold the sutra to take action to enable others to attain Buddhahood as well. This is the wisdom and way of life of the Buddha. This philosophy and practice of the Buddha is precisely what is meant by fundamental good. In the same vein, the Daishonins teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws is none other than the practice of fundamental good for the Latter Day of the Law. At any rate, those who embrace this philosophy and dedicate their lives to putting it into practice are equal to the Buddha in their spirit and way of life. Their dwelling, wherever it may be, is a Buddha land. From this we see that the Law of Buddhism is the fundamental underpinning of peoples lives. The essence of establishing the correct teaching lies in believing in the fundamental good that is the Lotus Sutra and in each individual establishing peace in his or her heart. Only when a society that functions in accord with the fundamental good is firmly secured will a truly peaceful society be actualized. This does not mean, however, that every person in a given society must be united by faith in the Lotus Sutra. What matters is that the spirit of the great philosophy of peace expounded in the Lotus Sutra, with its teaching that all people are Buddhas, be given full play in society as a whole. On a societal level, establishing the correct teaching means establishing the concepts of human dignity and the sanctity of life as principles that support and move society. Saito: In his writings, the Daishonin frequently states that Buddhism functions as an underlying principle that supports society. For example, he says: Because Buddhism has gradually been turned upside down, the secular world also has been plunged into corruption and chaos. Buddhism is like the body, and society like the shadow. When the body bends, so does the shadow (WND, 1039). Ikeda: Buddhism is the body; it is the basis of everything. When Buddhism is in disarray or its teachings are lost, society falls into a state of confusion. Unless there is a philosophy in place that supports society on a fundamental level, the world will lose its foundation. As a result, society will descend into the path of Animality ruled by the law of the jungle, into the path of Anger bound by ceaseless conflict, and into the path of Hunger swirling with discontent. Ultimately, it will plunge into the realm of the endless suffering of Hell. That is why establishing the correct teaching is of utmost importance. Once that is in place, the peace of the land will be realized without fail. Living Buddhism, July 2002, pg. 22 7 Teachers of the Law Live Among the People The Thus Come Ones room is the state of ones mind that shows great pity and compassion toward all living beings. The Thus Come Ones robe is the mind that is gentle and forbearing. The Thus Come Ones seat is the emptiness of all phenomena. (LS10, 166) Shakyamuni uses the images of robe, seat and room to clarify the Buddhas spirit in expounding the Lotus Sutra. And he urges people to broadly expound the teaching, saying in effect, If you base yourselves on this spirit, then, even if you encounter difficulties, you can lead people to enlightenment unerringly just as the Buddha does. An attitude of compassion does not mean looking down on someone from a position of superiority. It is not a vertical but a horizontal relationship. It is a feeling of sympathy toward others as human beings. And it is based on respect. Thats why it is called the room of compassion. We invite a friend into a compassionate life space and warmly embrace them; we sit down in the same room and discuss life as equals. We discuss things and learn from one another as human beings, and together we strive to improve our lives. Creating such a warm and welcoming space for dialogue and exchange is itself shakubuku. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2, pp. 196 [Living Buddhism, 02-97, pp. 29-30] 2 Belief and Understanding: The Dynamic Relationship of Faith and Wisdom Ikeda: The reason the Lotus Sutra emphasizes faith or belief so strongly is that the goal of the sutra is to eliminate the fundamental ignorance of life, what Buddhism calls fundamental darkness, and to cause all beings to awaken to their fundamental enlightenment, the wisdom originally inherent in the lives of each. This fundamental enlightenment can also be described as the Buddha nature or the world of Buddhahood. But this fundamental enlightenment exists at a level so deep within our being that the intellect or reason, which operates more on lifes surface, is unable to reveal it in its entirety. Only when we open our entire being, including our intellectual faculties, to the Mystic Law does the Buddha nature, the world of Buddhahood, manifest in our lives. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2, pg. 57 2 Belief and Understanding: The Dynamic Relationship of Faith and Wisdom Ikeda: The belief taught in the Lotus Sutra provides no easy answers, no escape route from the difficulties of human life. In fact, it rejects such easy answers; instead it implores us to take up the two tools for exploring life, belief and understanding, and use them to continually challenge and work to perfect ourselves. And it also provides us the energy to do just that. What is called for now is a new unification of belief and reason encompassing all aspects of the human being and society, including the perspective achieved by modern science. This is the great challenge that modern civilization faces. It is an attempt to restore the wholeness of human society, which has been rent asunder by reason without belief and irrational fanaticism. It might be construed as the story of the wandering son modern rationality returning to his parental home life itself. This unification of belief and understanding will be the key to getting modern society back on course from its spiritual drift and helping humankind attain the summit of lifes true promise. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2, pg. 59 3 The Buddhas Compassionate Wisdom Fosters Individuality Ikeda: The Buddhas compassion is perfectly equal and impartial. The Buddha views all beings as his own children and strives to elevate them to attain his same enlightened state of life. Its not that there are no differences among people. Rather, its that the Buddha, while fully recognizing peoples differences, does not discriminate among them. The Buddha respects peoples individuality and desires that they may freely manifest their unique qualities. He is neither partial nor adverse toward people on account of their individual proclivities. The Buddha loves, rejoices at and tries to bring out each persons uniqueness; this is his compassion and his wisdom. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2, pg. 71 3 The Buddhas Compassionate Wisdom Fosters Individuality Ikeda: The important point is that the Buddhas preaching begins from a recognition of human diversity. The Buddha asks the question: How can I enable each person to attain Buddhahood, notwithstanding differences in circumstance, temperament and capacity? The Lotus Sutra, without departing in the least from the reality of the individual, clarifies the path to Buddhahood for all. The humanism of the Lotus Sutra comes down to the tenet of treasuring the individual. This is the Buddhas spirit. The Lotus Sutras fundamental objective of universal enlightenment begins with treasuring the individual and can be realized only through steadfast adherence to this point. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2, pg. 71-2 3 The Buddhas Compassionate Wisdom Fosters Individuality Ikeda: The wisdom to understand the universal as well as the individual aspects of all phenomena that is to say, wisdom manifesting as compassion is the wisdom of the Buddha who has attained thorough mastery of his own life. In Kiyoshi Mikis Jinseiron Noto (Thoughts on Life), a book I read avidly in my youth, there is the line, Understanding yourself eventually leads to understanding others. To the extent that we contemplate ourselves and elevate our state of life, we can deepen our understanding of others. Someone with a high state of life is capable of recognizing and treasuring peoples individuality. A person of wisdom tries to invigorate and bring out the best in others. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2, pg. 80 3 The Buddhas Compassionate Wisdom Fosters Individuality Ikeda: Those who appear to have wisdom but who lack compassion cannot invigorate others. On the contrary, they develop a cruel and cunning wisdom and do others harm. Theirs is not genuine wisdom. Life embodies the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds and of the principle that a single moment of life possesses three thousand realms; that is, the entire universe. A Buddha, who perceives the true entity of his own life, naturally manifests the spirit to treasure the lives of all beings as highly as his own or as he would his own children. The spirit to make the entire world, the entire universe, peaceful and tranquil wells forth in his life. This is the Buddhas compassion; and the Buddhas compassion is inseparable from his wisdom. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2, pg. 80 3 The Buddhas Compassionate Wisdom Fosters Individuality Ikeda: A movement or organization will not long survive if it is held together only by decrees or rules. And it will fare still worse if the attempt is made to move people by force. Only if we respect one anothers individuality, share one anothers joys and sorrows, and mutually inspire one another with courage and hope can we unite in solidarity. It is such a spirit of harmony and sense of inspiration that makes a true popular movement possible. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2, pg. 83 1999 Peace Proposal submitted to the United Nations on January 26. pp. 18-43 At the heart of the SGI movement is the effort to develop a new cosmology and to address the identity crises head on. This cosmology provides answers to fundamental questions inherent in our very humanity. Moreover, it provides a framework accessible to all for resolving the identity crises and transforming our fin-de-sie-cle chaos into a world where all human beings can find meaning for their existence. Living Buddhism, May 1999, p. 24 & July 1999 p. 22 A Perspective on the Rissho Ankoku Ron pp. 43-8 It would be no exaggeration to say that though up until now the human race has cultivated the external world, it has allowed the barbarian within to rampage unchecked. Though systems of ethics and morality have been developed to control human emotions and desires, they have proven powerless against the forces that reside in the subconscious depths of the human heart. The only way to truly and fully overcome the great difficulties that humanity faces is to root out the many impurities and defilements that arise from those depths, and to activate within the hearts and minds of us all a pure and strong compassion and wisdom. There can be, in other words, no external peace without internal peace, and in fact external peace only becomes possible when internal peace is firmly established. Seikyo Times, November 1993, p. 44 A Foundation for Peoples Lives 3-3-02, Hachioji, Japan Buddhism teaches that all people are inherently Buddhas. I believe that this Buddhist view of humanity embodies a fundamental principle for world peace. You are a Buddha and I am a Buddha. Thats why, we must not fight each other. If leaders around the globe truly, understood this, there would be no more war. I am firmly convinced that if all the presidents, prime ministers and other pivotal leaders throughout the world would share this principle and respect one another, honor one another and meet each other halfway, we would put an end to war and move toward peace and happiness for all humanity. This spirit of mutual respect is the essence of Buddhist humanism. It is the profound teaching of Shakyamuni and the Daishonin. It is the light of hope that can transform the cycle of war and violence. The significance of your efforts to widely communicate the Buddhist teachings is immense indeed. World Tribune, April 5, 2002, p. 3 12 Good and Evil Ikeda: I agree entirely both that man has created his present crisis and that he holds the key to its solution. The way to transform moral sense into moral action is not to abandon the ego but, always regarding it in the proper light, to put it to active use at some times and to suppress it at others. As a concrete method, simply teaching control as a kind of knowledge and attempting to propagate it in this way are meaningless. A total reformation of the individual from below the depths of consciousness is essential. Of course, this reformation cannot be imposed from without. Instead, the individual, in striving to better his own personality, must consciously strive to effect his own reformation. At the least, a philosophy propounding the need for such a reformation must give its followers strength sufficient to the task. It is this kind of reformation that I mean by the human revolution. 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