{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252\deff0\deflang1033\deflangfe1033{\fonttbl{\f0\froman\fprq2\fcharset0 Times New Roman;}{\f1\fswiss\fprq2\fcharset0 Century Gothic;}{\f2\fswiss\fprq2\fcharset0 Arial Rounded MT Bold;}{\f3\fswiss\fprq2\fcharset0 Arial;}{\f4\fscript\fprq2\fcharset0 Lucida Handwriting;}{\f5\fnil\fprq2\fcharset0 Chaucer;}{\f6\fnil\fcharset0 EBZZZZ+MSTT31c39000;}{\f7\froman\fcharset0 Times-Roman;}{\f8\froman\fcharset0 Times-Bold;}} {\stylesheet{ Normal;}{\s1 heading 1;}{\s2 heading 2;}{\s3 heading 3;}{\s4 heading 4;}{\s5 heading 5;}} \viewkind4\uc1\pard\qj\tx504\expndtw-2\f0\fs22 Preparing for the January / February 2003 Gosho Study\expndtw0\fs16\par \expndtw-2\par \pard\keepn\s3\qc\tx504\i\f1\fs58 Reply to the Lay Nun Nichigon\par \pard\qj\tx504\i0\f0\fs16\par \pard\keepn\s2\qc\tx504\tx2160\expndtw0\f2\fs30 The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Pg. 1079\par \pard\qc\tx504\expndtw-2\b\f3\fs20\par \i\f0\fs30\tab\tab Living Buddhism\i0 , January 2003, Pages 10-15\par \pard\qj\tx504\b0\fs18\par \expndtw0\fs24\tab\tab\ul Possible supplemental resources\ulnone :\fs20\par \expndtw-2\fs18\par \par \pard\keepn\s4\li288\qj\tx1620\tx3060\expndtw0\f2\fs28 Page 2\tab About Study #19\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx900\tx1350\expndtw-2\b\f0\fs16\par \pard\keepn\s5\li288\qj\tx720\tx1530\tx1800\tx3060\expndtw0\f3\fs22\tab\tab Study Points Selected by the SGI-USA Study Department\par \pard\li288\qj\tx1800\tx3060\b0\f2\fs28\par \pard\li288\qj\tx1620\tx3060 Page 4\tab 1. Self-reliant faith vs dependent faith\par \par \par Page 8\tab 2. Polishing one\rquote s life through faith\par \par \par Page 12\tab 3. The power of faith and the power of practice\par \par \par Page 18\tab 4. Chanting Daimoku based on a pledge or vow\par \par \pard\qj\tx504\tx2241\fs16\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qj\tx504\f3\fs22 San Francisco Research Group notes: \par \f0\fs16\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \tx504\tx1980\tx5670\tx7920\b\fs24\tab Thanks to these contributors\b0 : \fs16\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qc\tx504\tx1980\tx3690\tx4590\tx5850\tx6750\fs24 Jim Johannsen\tab Lee Morgan\tab Karen McDougald\tab\fs16\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qc\tx504\tx1980\tx5670\tx7920\fs8\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qc\tx504\tx1980\tx3240\tx6300\tx6750\tx7920\fs24 And, thanks to the local proofreading group!\fs20\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qj\tx504\tx1980\tx3960\tx5850\tx7920\fs16\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qc\tx504\fs22 As always, comments, disagreements, suggestions and help are welcome. E-mail Markive@TheLink.net\par \b\f4 Mark Willwerth\b0\f0 , East Bay Region Study Dept. Leader for the members of the SF \i\f5 Research Group\f0\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx2160\tx2241\i0\f2\fs20\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qj\tx504\tx1710\expndtw-2\f0\fs22\tab Abbreviations that may have been used in this packet:\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qj\tx504\tx2340\tab WND\tab The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qj\tx504\tx900\tx2340\tab MW\tab The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin\tab\tab GZ\tab Gosho Zenshu\par \tab LS\tab\tab The Lotus Sutra: translated by Burton Watson\tab\tab\par \tab LG\tab\tab Learning From the Gosho: The Eternal Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin\par \pard\qj\tx504\fs20\par \pard\box\brdrs\brdrw20\brsp20 \qj\tx504\fs22 Translation updates we may have made (indicated with an asterisk or [brackets]): Mentor for master, SGI-USA for NSA, Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s 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.\par \pard\qj\tx504\expndtw0\fs20\par \pard\brdrt\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrl\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \brdrb\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrr\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \qj\tx504\b\f3\fs24 About Study #19\par \pard\qj\tx504\b0\f0\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul November 27\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Faith is the ultimate essence of intellect. Through the practice of correct faith, the intellect comes to shine. Intellect without correct faith lacks a firm anchor in the soil of life and eventually becomes disordered. This prompted the first Soka Gakkai president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, to remark that many modern thinkers were suffering from what he termed \ldblquote higher psychosis.\rdblquote Faith without intellect, meanwhile, leads to blind faith and fanaticism. Faith or intellect alone - one without the other - is unhealthy. \par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 361\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul Where Buddhist Study Comes Into Play - Thoughts on The New Human Revolution:\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone\fs26\tab Inazo Nitobe, early purveyor of Western thought to Japan and under-secretary general of the League of Nations, once said, \ldblquote Philosophy makes the world go round.\rdblquote He also said, \ldblquote Ideals that arise in the purity and innocence of one\rquote s youth, when one is free of worldly ambition, untainted by desires for fame or wealth, are truly noble.\rdblquote\par \tab Nitobe\rquote s friendship with founding president, Mr. Makiguchi, is well known. And, if the above words are any guide, the convictions of these two resonated. \par \tab Ideals forged in our youth sparkle like diamonds, lighting our hearts and our minds. On Sept. 6, the second-level study exam for the youth division was held throughout Japan. Many youth spent the summer studying hard for this exam.\par \tab The highest philosophy, that which fosters people of the highest humanity, is Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism. The power and passion of youth who possess this priceless philosophy will shape the new century.\par \tab Why is study of the Daishonin\rquote s teachings so important for young people? There are many arguments, but I think the answer can be summed up in the following \ul three points\ulnone :\par \b\tab First\b0 , Buddhist study deepens faith. I will never forget Mr. Toda once saying, with deep regret, that the reason the majority of his fellow members abandoned their faith when pressured by the military authorities during World War II was that they hadn\rquote t gained a solid grounding in the Daishonin\rquote s teachings.\par \tab\ldblquote Without study,\rdblquote he declared, \ldblquote the members didn\rquote t really understand faith. They became frightened and were defeated by persecution. It was very unfortunate. I\rquote m determined that mistake will not be repeated.\rdblquote\par \tab Study is a torch that illuminates the path of faith. Even the most subtle, complex onslaughts of negative forces become clear when illuminated in the bright light of Buddhism. Study builds a solid framework for our faith and spurs our human revolution. That is why Mr. Toda made study of the Daishonin\rquote s teachings the focus of his efforts to rebuild the Soka Gakkai after the war, as is evidenced in his in-depth lecture series on the Lotus Sutra.\par \b\tab Second\b0 , study gives impetus to the advance of kosen-rufu. The Daishonin\rquote s writings set forth the validity of the Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism and the method of refuting the erroneous and revealing the true in propagation. They teach us in comprehensive detail the commitment required by those who seek to widely spread the Mystic Law, the qualities necessary of Buddhist leaders and the key to fostering capable successors.\par \tab To study the Daishonin\rquote s writings is to come into contact with his spirit. It is to receive supreme encouragement and guidance directly from the original Buddha on faith and the propagation of Buddhism. Only when we take action in accord with the Daishonin\rquote s writings can we say that we have grasped the teachings of the Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism.\par \tab Study without practice is meaningless. A thorough knowledge of Buddhist principles provides us with a source of infinite courage and aids us in realizing our highest human potential.\par \b\tab Third\b0 , study is the key to establishing a new humanistic philosophy. Today, we face many extremely serious problems: the threat of nuclear war, ethnic conflict, environmental problems and the collapse of educational systems. People are searching for peace and happiness, but the situation grows ever darker and more confused with each passing day. This is coming from the lack of a philosophy that expounds the true nature of life and its functions.\par \tab And this is where Buddhism comes in. Only by returning to such principles as the ultimate dignity of life, compassion, the oneness of body and mind, and the indivisibility of life and its environment can we begin to open the way toward a new humanism.\par \tab Mr. Toda\rquote s Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons was an expression of these compassionate principles of Buddhism that seek to protect humanity from harm. Unless the youth division members, our future leaders, gain a solid grounding in Buddhist philosophy, there will be no bright future for the human race.\par \tab Ours is a supreme philosophy dedicated to bringing happiness to all the world\rquote s people. It was Mr. Toda\rquote s firm belief that youth who championed the Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism would become world leaders in various realms of human activity.\par \tab The earnest devotion that Mr. Toda brought to his lectures on Buddhism always reminded me of the diligence and intensity of a master swordsman.\par \tab Once, Mr. Toda went to Osaka to deliver a lecture to the members there, but he was in such poor physical health that he instructed the Study Department leader to be prepared to give the lecture instead.\par \tab But when evening came, Mr. Toda got out of bed and declared: \ldblquote I\rquote m going to give the lecture myself after all. The \lquote Life Span\rquote chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, \lquote This, the Buddha\rquote s work, I have never for a moment neglected\rquote (LS16, 226). A Buddha works continuously to save all suffering beings, never taking a moment\rquote s rest. I\rquote ve come all this way to give a lecture, and I can\rquote t very well turn it over to someone else now. It\rquote s my wish to give this lecture, even if I should die doing it!\rdblquote\par \tab From my mentor\rquote s example, his willingness to risk his health and his life to deliver a study lecture, I learned how gravely serious is the work of transmitting the Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism.\par \tab In my youth, I studied the Daishonin\rquote s writings diligently. I studied so hard that I ended up memorizing many of the major writings. This study has become the foundation of my life today.\par \tab Study exams are the best encouragement there can be to study Buddhism. To the examinees I said: \ldblquote Do your best! May you make this summer one of hard work and growth - one you will remember fondly for years to come - as you strive to become winners in faith and unrivaled experts on the humanistic teachings of Buddhism.\rdblquote \par \b\tab World Tribune\b0 , September 25, 1998, Pages 1, 4\par \fs24\par \par \par \par \pard\brdrt\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrl\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \brdrb\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrr\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \qj\tx504\b\v 2003a\v0 1\tab Self-reliant faith vs dependent faith\par \pard\qj\tx504\b0\par I placed the written petition, dated the eighth day of the eleventh month in the third year of Koan (1280), in which you expressed your prayer, along with your offerings of one thousand coins and an unlined robe made of thread spun from bark fiber, before the Lotus Sutra, and I spoke to the gods of the sun and moon about it.\par \tab\b Reply to the Lay Nun Nichigon,\b0 WND, 1079\par \tab Written to Nichigon on November 29, 1280 from Minobu\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i Daily Wisdom - \i0 November 29\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Whether or not your prayer is answered will depend upon your faith; [if it is not] I will in no way be to blame. When water is clear, the moon is reflected. When the wind blows, the trees shake. Our minds are like the water. Faith that is weak is like muddy water, while faith that is brave is like clear water. Understand that the trees are like principles, and the wind that shakes them is like the recitation of the sutra. \par \tab\b Reply to the Lay Nun Nichigon,\b0 WND, 1079\par \tab Written to Nichigon on November 29, 1280 from Minobu\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i Daily Wisdom - \i0 April 12\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone I have found that even those who appear to believe just as the sutra teaches may not actually have strong faith at all, as you are already well aware\'85. The fact that her prayers have gone unanswered is like a strong bow with a weak bowstring, or a fine sword in the hands of a coward. It is in no sense the fault of the Lotus Sutra.\par \tab\b The Royal Palace\b0 , WND, 489\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo on April 12, 1275 from Minobu\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i Daily Wisdom - \i0 January 20\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Strengthen your resolve more than ever. Ice is made of water, but it is colder than water. Blue dye comes from indigo, but when something is repeatedly dyed in it, the color is better than that of the indigo plant. The Lotus Sutra remains the same, but if you repeatedly strengthen your resolve, your color will be better than that of others, and you will receive more blessings than they do.\par \tab\b The Supremacy of the Law,\b0 WND, 615\par \tab Written to Nichimyo on August 4, 1275 from Minobu\par \par To illustrate, in kindling a fire, three things are needed: a good piece of steel, a good flint, and good tinder. The same is true of prayer. Three things are required - a good teacher, a good believer, and a good teaching - before prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land.\par \pard\li504\qj\tx504\b How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra,\b0 WND, 880\par \pard\qj\tx504\tab Written to Myoho in 1277 from Minobu\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i Daily Wisdom - \i0 July 22\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone A good believer is one who does not depend upon persons of eminence or despise persons of humble station; who does not rely on the backing of superiors or look down on inferiors; who, not relying upon the opinions of others, upholds the Lotus Sutra among all the sutras. Such a person the Buddha has called the best of all people.\par \pard\li504\qj\tx504\b How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra,\b0 WND, 880\par \pard\qj\tx504\tab Written to Myoho in 1277 from Minobu\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i Daily Wisdom - \i0 March 24\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone I feel great pity for you and the others, but there is little I can do to help. Nevertheless, I pray day and night to the Lotus Sutra. Spare no effort in offering up prayers with firm faith. It is not that my resolve [to save you] is weak. Rather, it depends on the strength of each person\rquote s faith.\par \tab\b The Story of Ohashi No Taro\b0 , WND, 678\par \tab Written to Nanjo Tokimitsu on March 24, 1276 from Minobu\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i Daily Wisdom - \i0 October 23\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder. Spur yourself to muster the power of faith. Regard your survival as wondrous. Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other.\par \tab\b The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,\b0 WND, 1000-1\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo on October 23, 1279 from Minobu\par \par Have profound faith. A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered.\par \tab\b The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,\b0 WND, 1001\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo on October 23, 1279 from Minobu\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul Within The Faith Of Ordinary People, Sept. 16, 1993, Malibu, Calif.\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone\tab While making it clear that we should base ourselves on the Gohonzon, 26th High Priest Nichikan also insisted that strong faith and practice are necessary to tap the infinite powers of the Buddha and the Law. He wrote in the same commentary: \ldblquote One should understand that when one believes in the object of devotion that is the embodiment of the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] hidden in the depths of the Lotus Sutra, and chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, one can, through the powers of the Buddha and the Law, perfect the practice of observing the mind and attain enlightenment. But if one is lacking in faith, the power of the object of devotion will not enable one to attain enlightenment\rdblquote (\ldblquote The Commentaries of Nichikan,\rdblquote P. 456).\par \tab Faith is crucial. Only with the actual practice of chanting daimoku and taking action for kosen-rufu does one\rquote s faith become true and correct and can one reap infinite benefit and blessings.\par \tab Nichikan also wrote: \ldblquote The Gohonzon of three thousand realms in a single moment of life is not somewhere outside us. It resides within the faith of us ordinary people\rdblquote (p. 465).\par \tab Of course, Nichikan\rquote s declaration is based on Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s injunction: \ldblquote Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself.... This Gohonzon also is found only in the two characters for faith\rdblquote (WND, 832). [The Japanese word for \ldblquote faith\rdblquote consists of two Chinese characters.]\par \tab Even though you may possess the Gohonzon, you will not enjoy its true benefit unless you have faith and take action for kosen-rufu.\par \tab First Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi spread the Law by teaching the concept of punishment. Believe it or not, there were priests who opposed this, saying that it contradicted the teachings of Nichiren Shoshu. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda decried this error on the part of the priests and wrote: \ldblquote In the upper right corner of the Gohonzon are the words, \lquote If you slander this Law, you will have your head broken into seven pieces.\rquote Doesn\rquote t this signify the theory of punishment? At the same time, in the upper left corner of the Gohonzon is an inscription that reads, \lquote If you make offerings to the Law, you will receive more good fortune than that derived from holding the ten titles of the Buddha.\rquote Doesn\rquote t this signify the promise the Gohonzon makes to us that we will receive benefits when we worship it? Benefit, or value, and punishment, or anti-value, constitute the reality of our daily lives. Some Nichiren Shoshu priests had forgotten that the power of the Gohonzon can be revealed in one\rquote s daily life in either way until President Makiguchi discussed it. They were astonished at what he brought out, and I am dumbfounded that many of them have since pretended that they have known this principle very well for quite some time.\par \tab\ldblquote Also, some priests are not yet aware of this principle. I am saddened rather than surprised by their ignorance\rdblquote (\ldblquote The History and Conviction of the Soka Gakkai,\rdblquote 1951). \par \tab How astonishing was the priests\rquote ignorance of Buddhism, and how little their faith in the Gohonzon! What is worse, they attacked and criticized the Soka Gakkai, which was working hard to spread the teachings in exact accord with the Daishonin\rquote s teachings while demonstrating the power of the Gohonzon. \par \tab The Nichiren Shoshu priesthood today has not the least bit of faith in the Gohonzon. To them, the Gohonzon is nothing more than a tool for controlling the believers and greedily plundering their offerings. They will inevitably face the Daishonin\rquote s condemnation.\par \tab The Daishonin said, \ldblquote Even more valuable than reason and documentary proof is the proof of actual fact\rdblquote (WND, 599). Nothing is more powerful than the proof of actual fact. Nothing is more convincing than the actual fact of benefit and victory. The purpose of our faith is to show actual proof of the benefit we derive.\par \tab Only the SGI has shown actual proof of the benefit of faith. It is an organization of believers overflowing with such proof, an organization that pulses with the lifeblood of faith. \par \tab\b My Dear Friends in America\b0 , pp. 296-98\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra, #49\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone People who are without the invisible authority of the spiritual realm (i.e., religion) readily adhere to visible authority (i.e., the political and social hierarchy).\par \tab\b Living Buddhism,\b0 June 2000, pg. 42\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul 3 - A Scripture That Calls Out to All People\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Religion in the twenty-first century must provide people with the wisdom to be independent, to think and decide wisely for themselves how to live their lives.\par \tab\b The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 1\b0 , pg. 54\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul Toward Tomorrow with Hope - 23\super rd\nosupersub HQ Leaders Meeting, December 5, 2002, Tokyo, Japan\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Buddhism teaches the importance of the present and the future. The purpose of Buddhism and faith is for us to always advance from today toward tomorrow filled with hope, taking positive steps for the future. We must never forget this crucial point.\par \tab Nichiren Daishonin writes: \ldblquote Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month. Should you slacken in your resolve even a bit, devils will take advantage\rdblquote (WND, 997). When we display a weakness in our resolve, having the attitude of \ldblquote that\rquote s good enough,\rdblquote we will be defeated by devilish functions.\par \tab Not advancing is retreating. Let us keep moving forward vigorously throughout our lives along the path of kosen-rufu.\par \tab\b World Tribune\b0 , January 24, 2003, pg. 2\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul Live Each Day Filled with Value and Happiness, February 26, 1990, Malibu, California\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone The parable of the gem in the robe related in the \lquote Five Hundred Disciples\rdblquote chapter of the Lotus Sutra, concerns this foolishness of human beings. The story goes as follows: Once upon a time there lived a poor man. He had a wealthy friend who was a government official. One day he went to visit the rich man and was treated to a sumptuous feast. Completely overcome by wine, he dozed off.\par \tab The host, however, was suddenly called to attend to urgent business and had to set out on a trip immediately. So he sewed a priceless jewel into the lining of the friend\rquote s garment: it was a jewel that fulfilled all one\rquote s wishes. He gave it to the intoxicated friend as a gift.\par \tab Totally unaware of the precious jewel given him by his departed friend, the poor man wandered through various provinces. When he was finally reunited with the wealthy friend, he had become utterly unkempt and shabby after years living as a wanderer. It was only when his friend told him of the gift given him long ago that the man realized that all along he had possessed a wonderful jewel. He became euphoric.\par \tab Shakyamuni\rquote s disciples, who had initially been satisfied with a lesser form of enlightenment, totally unaware of their potential for the supreme state of Buddhahood, related this metaphorical tale out of self-reflection and gratitude when they had realized their error. They liken a person who does not realize his inherent Buddha nature to the poor man who suffers in destitution unaware of the fact that he actually possesses a priceless jewel.\par \tab\b My Dear Friends in America\b0 , pp. 89-90 \par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul SGI President Ikeda\rquote s Lecture on \i The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life\i0\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone\ldblquote Be resolved\rdblquote indicates the tremendous importance of the guidance which follows. At that time Sairenbo found himself in the worst hardship imaginable, at a crucial juncture which would determine whether he would attain enlightenment or not. The phrase \ldblquote be resolved\rdblquote carries with it the Daishonin\rquote s fervent wish for him to somehow inherit true Buddhism\rquote s lifeblood. The heritage of the ultimate law flows only in the lives of those who summon forth the great power of their faith and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. \ldblquote Summon forth the great power of your faith\rdblquote is the way the Daishonin, with his entire being, encouraged the faith of this one person.\par \tab For faith to \ldblquote be steadfast and correct at the moment of your death,\rdblquote you must have an undisturbed faith in the Mystic Law at that final moment, feel the greatest joy to have been able to embrace the Law, and end your life with the deepest satisfaction that you have nothing whatsoever to regret. Therefore, the passage as a whole urges us to pray sincerely now, while we are alive, so that everything within us centers completely on Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at the moment of our death. It also teaches us to pray with the awareness that each moment is the last moment of our life.\par \tab When we pray with such awareness, the Mystic Law will well forth from the depths of our life and merge with the Mystic Law pervading the entire universe. In this bond the ultimate law flows ceaselessly. I want you to know that there is no other way to inherit and manifest the ultimate law in your life. Only then can you, even though common mortals, be able to reveal yourselves as entities of the Mystic Law who transform earthly desires into enlightenment and change the sufferings of life and death into nirvana.\par \tab The heritage of Buddhism flows within the faith of individuals - the belief of those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the prayer that their faith will be firm and true at the moment of their death. In Buddhism the Law is the foundation of everything. However, the Law cannot produce any value by itself. There must be people who embrace the Law and make the truth it contains part of their lives. It takes people to discover the Law, and people to convey it to others. That is why the emphasis in Buddhism on how to transmit the Law from one person to another is so strong, and that is why people are given the highest value.\par \tab\i Hyaku-rokka Sho \i0 (The One Hundred and Six Comparisons) states, \ldblquote The Law does not spread by itself; because people propagate it, both the people and the Law are worthy of respect.\rdblquote On \i Taking Faith in the Lotus Sutra \i0 reads, \ldblquote All the teachings of the Buddha are propagated by people. Hence T\rquote ien-t\rquote ai\rquote s statement, \lquote A person represented the Law even during the Buddha\rquote s lifetime. How, then, is it possible in the Latter Day for the Law to be worthy of respect if the person who spreads it is not?\rquote If the Law is supreme, so is the person who embraces it. To slander that person, therefore, is to slander the Law.\rdblquote Here we can see the great value the Daishonin attached to people, as individuals and together.\par \tab Only one life can activate another life. The spirit of Buddhism flows in life-to-life communication, in the course of mutual help and guidance among or between people. Earlier we studied the phrase, \ldblquote Thus I heard,\rdblquote in \i The True Entity of Life. \i0\ldblquote I\rdblquote in the phrase is Ananda, one of Shakyamuni s ten major disciples who listened to more of his master s teachings than any other disciple. In another sense, \ldblquote I\rdblquote denotes life. Otherwise, T\rquote ien-t\rquote ai would not have stated that \ldblquote I heard\rdblquote indicates a person who upholds the True Law. \ldblquote I heard\rdblquote in no way signifies the simple act of listening with one\rquote s ears. It means to accept, believe and practice the Buddha\rquote s teaching with one\rquote s entire being.\par \tab\b Selected Lectures on the Gosho, Vol. 1\b0 , pp. 190-92\par \ul\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504 A Humanistic Organization is the Very Foundation of Religion, December 12, 1987, Tokyo, Japan\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone In short, on the road to the attainment of Buddhahood, even a person whose faith is at first weak will not stumble if he is provided with strong support. Conversely, even if you think that your faith is strong, it is not easy to walk along the difficult road where the three obstacles and four devils stir up powerful winds. That is why your comrades are absolutely essential. Good friends are necessary; an organization of faith is necessary.\par \tab Of course, attaining Buddhahood depends ultimately on each individual\rquote s own efforts and practice of faith in Buddhism. In the final analysis, the determination to walk alone, without relying upon anyone else, is necessary. The significance of the organization and our comrades lies in the fact that they encourage each individual\rquote s practice and inspire each individual\rquote s development. The organization actually only plays a supplementary role by aiding the individual in attaining enlightenment. But it is precisely because of this supplementary role that the organization is important.\par \tab\b Buddhism in Action, Vol. VII\b0 , pp. 8-9\par \par \pard\brdrt\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrl\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \brdrb\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrr\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \qj\tx504\b\v 2003a\v0 2\tab Polishing one\rquote s life through faith\par \pard\qj\tx504\b0\par When our prayers for Buddhahood are answered and we are dwelling in the true land of Tranquil Light where we will experience the boundless joy of the Law, what pity we will feel for those who sink to the bottom of the great citadel of the Avichi hell and meet extreme suffering there! \par \b\tab On Practicing the Buddha's Teachings,\b0 WND, 395\par \tab Written to all believers in May of 1273 from Ichinosawa on Sado\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i Daily Wisdom - \i0 November 11\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds. But if you nurse an unreasonable grudge against your lord, they will not protect you, not for all your prayers.\par \b\tab The Eight Winds,\b0 WND, 794\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo in 1277 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \fs24 Daigaku and Uemon no Tayu had their prayers answered because they followed my advice.\par \b\tab The Eight Winds,\b0 WND, 794\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo in 1277 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \fs24 If lay believers and their teacher pray with differing minds, their prayers will be as futile as trying to kindle a fire on water.\par \b\tab The Eight Winds,\b0 WND, 795\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo in 1277 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \fs24 Your face bears definite signs of a hot temper. But you should know that the heavenly gods will not protect a short-tempered person, however important they may think he or she is.\par \b\tab The Three Kinds of Treasure,\b0 WND, 849\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo on September 11, 1277 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \fs24 More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all. From the time you read this letter on, strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart!\par \b\tab The Three Kinds of Treasure,\b0 WND, 851\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo on September 11, 1277 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom - \i0 June 1\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone The heart of the Buddha\rquote s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the \ldblquote Never Disparaging\rdblquote chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging\rquote s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being.\par \b\tab The Three Kinds of Treasure,\b0 WND, 851-2\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo on September 11, 1277 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 Chapter 4 - Rissho Ankoku\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone The goal of Nichiren\rquote s Buddhism is to create peace and prosperity in society by equipping individuals - the prime movers of society and shapers of the times - with the inner requisites to triumph in all endeavors. The \ldblquote Rissho Ankoku Ron\rdblquote reveals the underlying principle for achieving this. Because Buddhism regards all beings as Buddhas, it finds absolute dignity and limitless potential in each individual. These same ideals constitute the unshakable philosophical basis of democracy.\par \tab\b The New Human Revolution, Vol. 4\b0 , Pg. 236\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 Equality is the Lifeblood of Buddhism, SUA Calabasas, September 23, 1991\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism teaches that \ldblquote Eagle Peak is where the Gohonzon exists as well as the place where Nichiren and his followers who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo dwell\rdblquote (GZ, 757). Again, since wherever the Daishonin and his followers who embrace the Mystic Law live is the land of Tranquil Light, the Daishonin teaches, they \ldblquote need not leave [their] present place and go elsewhere\rdblquote (GZ, 781).\par \tab You can accumulate good fortune here in this land of the United States. Confident that the area where you live and make your home is itself the land of Tranquil Light, you should strive to make it shine as such. This is the correct way of practicing Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism, which is truly a world religion.\par \tab\b My Dear Friends in America\b0 , pp. 110-11\par \ul\fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\fs24 Anchoring Our Faith Firmly in Our Daily Lives, Los Angeles, June 5, 1996\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Prayer is the foundation. But at the same time, if we fail to make concrete efforts, no matter how much daimoku we chant, our prayers will not be answered. Buddhism is reason. If we just chant without doing any work, we cannot succeed in our jobs; if students do not study, it will be reflected in their grades.\par \tab We must make steady and persistent efforts firmly grounded in daily life. If we travel in the orbit of \ldblquote faith equals daily life,\rdblquote all our prayers will definitely be answered. We can then lead lives in which all our desires will be fulfilled.\par \tab Should all our prayers be answered without our having to make any effort, we would grow lazy. Should all our desires be achieved without our ever having to experience suffering or hardship, we could not understand the pain and struggles of others, and our compassion would gradually wane.\par \tab The real benefit of the Mystic Law is inconspicuous. Just as trees grow taller and stronger year after year, adding growth rings that are imperceptible to the human eye, we, too, will grow toward a victorious existence. For this reason, it is important that we lead tenacious and balanced lives based on faith.\par \tab\b My Dear Friends in America, \b0 pp. 419-20\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul SGI President Ikeda\rquote s Lecture on \i The True Object of Worship\i0\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone First of all, \ldblquote our life and its environment\rdblquote means the life and environment of the original Buddha. The entity of \i ichinen sanzen, \i0 therefore, is the Gohonzon, which embodies the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds and the three thousand conditions of life. But \i ichinen\i0 of \i ichinen sanzen\i0 means single-minded faith, and so, when we take faith in the Gohonzon, our life and its environment both become the entity of \i ichinen sanzen\i0 .\par \tab\b Selected Lectures on the Gosho, Vol. 1\b0 , pp. 281-2\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul November 15\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Please steadily advance along the fundamental path of "faith manifests itself in daily life," living in the way that best suits you. Just as the sun rises every day, if you persistently advance based on the Mystic Law, the absolute Law of the universe, you will definitely be able to lead a life in which all desires are fulfilled, a life that you cannot now even conceive of. Please be convinced that you are now leading the most certain and valuable life.\par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 349\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #49\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone\b Endo:\b0 With regard to prayer, people frequently bring up the problem of extraneous thoughts occurring to them while they are chanting.\par \b Ikeda:\b0 There is nothing wrong with having an active mind while chanting. This is a natural human tendency. The important thing is to face the Gohonzon just as we are, without affectation.\par \tab Having extraneous thoughts is an inherent part of our lives in that we are entities of the principle of three thousand realms in a single life moment. Therefore, through daimoku we can turn even those thoughts into benefit.\par \tab There are no rules governing how we should pray. There\rquote s no need to be something we aren\rquote t. Even if we were to try to control our thoughts by making our prayer rigid and forced, our minds would still tend to wander. As we deepen our faith, we also strengthen our ability to concentrate.\par \tab Actually, since the thoughts or ideas that come to mind as we chant represent issues that concern us at that moment, we should not consider them extraneous. Instead, we should pray earnestly about each one, whatever it may be. Rather than chant only about large issues, we should pray specifically about every issue we face, winning over each one and strengthening our foundation as we go. There is of course no need to be tense or nervous when praying. What matters is that we are completely ourselves.\par \b Endo:\b0 People also wonder whether it is okay to chant for many things at the same time, or if they should concentrate on one issue at a time.\par \b Ikeda:\b0 There\rquote s no limit to how many things we can pray about. It just means that the more desires we have, the more sincere and abundant our prayer will be. It\rquote s just like if you want to do a lot of shopping, you need a lot of money. Buddhism is reason.\par \b Saito:\b0 It occurs to me that questions such as this one might arise from the misconception that the Gohonzon \ldblquote hears\rdblquote our prayers and then solves them supernaturally.\par \b Ikeda:\b0 Who answers our prayers? We do - through faith and effort. No one does it for us. Returning to the shopping analogy, it is the same as using our own money when we go shopping. Having our own money is a prerequisite. The \ldblquote currency\rdblquote of prayer is none other than our practice of faith.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism,\b0 June 2000, pg. 34-35\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #49\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone\b Suda:\b0 Some people have expressed concern because some of their prayers have not been answered.\par \b Ikeda:\b0 We are practicing a faith in which \ldblquote no prayer goes unanswered.\rdblquote We must first and foremost be convinced of this. There will be times, however, when our prayers seem to be answered and times when they do not. As long as we continue to pray, in the end everything will go in the best possible direction. This will be clear to us when we look back later.\par \tab More than anything, it is the struggle we go through to have our prayers answered that makes us stronger. If we were to immediately get everything we prayed for, we would become spoiled and decadent. We would lead indolent lives, devoid of any hard work or struggle. As a result, we would become shallow human beings. What, then, would be the point of faith?\par \tab Life is a series of events and problems. We face all manner of troubles. This is the way life goes. But it is this variety that enables us to lead a fulfilled and joyful existence, to grow, and to develop an expansive and strong state of life.\par \b Endo:\b0 Certainly, if all SGI members were to pray to win the lottery, it would be impossible for everyone to have their prayer answered!\par \b Ikeda:\b0 If everything that we prayed for came true instantly, it would be no different than magic. This goes against reason. You can\rquote t make steamed rice by simply turning on the rice cooker if you haven\rquote t put in any rice.\par \tab Buddhism is common sense. It teaches the correct path in which our faith is expressed in how we live. There is no such thing as faith that ignores reality. Our desires will not be realized without making any real effort.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism,\b0 June 2000, pg. 35\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #49\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone\b Ikeda:\b0 Returning to the earlier topic of prayer, following the Middle Way is to steadfastly advance along the correct path in which \ldblquote daily life equals faith\rdblquote and \ldblquote faith manifests itself in one\rquote s efforts.\rdblquote It is neither abstract \ldblquote placebo faith\rdblquote nor effortless \ldblquote magical faith.\rdblquote\par \b Saito:\b0 We need to continue chanting and taking action until our prayers are realized. Then, in the end, we will attain a state of ultimate fulfillment. Life is about such struggle.\par \b Ikeda:\b0 Whether our prayers are answered depends on our faith. The depth of our karma also affects the result of our prayer. Sometimes it just takes time. Whether and when our prayers are answered can have a variety of meanings. But there is no doubt about the fact that our life begins to change in a favorable direction from the very moment we begin to pray.\par \b Suda:\b0 Is this true even of self-centered prayer?\par \b Ikeda:\b0 It is human nature to think of oneself. The important thing is that we go to the Gohonzon just as we are. If we go out of our way to put on an air of nobility, as if all our concerns are lofty ones, then we are presenting a \ldblquote false self.\rdblquote The Gohonzon does not respond to lies. When we chant daimoku about our greatest worries and our deepest wishes, our state of life improves, and we gradually develop the mind to pray not just for ourselves, but for the happiness of our friends and for kosen-rufu. Also, I think it is vital to challenge ourselves to pray for such lofty goals. It is all up to us - we are free to pray about anything we wish.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 June 2000 pg 37\par \pard\qj\tx504\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul January 20\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone In this lifetime, to demonstrate the power of faith in the Mystic Law to others some of you may have been born into poverty so that you could show actual proof by gaining secure and comfortable lives. Some of you may have been born with ill health so that you could show proof by growing strong and healthy. Irrespective of your situations, however, the light of faith in the depths of your beings will continue to shine on eternally with diamond-like brilliance. \par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 22\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul November 29\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Compassion is the very soul of Buddhism. To pray for others, making their problems and anguish our own; to embrace those who are suffering, becoming their greatest ally; to continue giving them our support and encouragement until they become truly happy-it is in such humanistic actions that the Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism lives and breathes. \par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 363\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 December 31\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone To lead a life in which we are inspired and can inspire others, our hearts have to be alive; they have to be filled with passion and enthusiasm. To achieve that, as President Toda also said, we need the courage to \ldblquote live true to ourselves.\rdblquote And to live true to ourselves, we need the strength of mind not to be swayed by our environment or be obsessed with vanity and superficial appearances. Rather than borrowing from or imitating others, we need the conviction to be able to think for ourselves and to take action from our own sense of responsibility. \par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 397\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 Toward Tomorrow with Hope - 23\super rd\nosupersub HQ Leaders Meeting, December 5, 2002, Tokyo, Japan\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone No one becomes great without a struggle. All of life is a struggle. Only those who have faced and triumphed over adversity possess genuine greatness. Without this struggle, no matter how famous or celebrated one may be, any claim to greatness is merely an empty fa\'e7ade.\par \tab Today, Dr. Henderson is a consultant on sustainable development to more than 30 nations. In the course of our discussion, she said something that I will never forget: \ldblquote From the start of the movement [we launched], I assumed there would be difficulties. As a matter of fact, I find difficulties exciting.\par \tab She also said: \ldblquote Don\rquote t give up, no matter what difficulties you face. If you consistently assert something and it is right, the times are sure to come around to it.\rdblquote A person with hope, perseverance and determination is certain to triumph in the end - such is the unshakable conviction of this outstanding thinker.\par \tab\b World Tribune\b0 , January 24, 2003, pg. 2\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 19: Faith - The Engine of Our Lives\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Exerting ourselves in the practice of gongyo each day amounts to what you might call a spiritual workout. It purifies and cleanses our life, gets our motor running and puts us on the right course for the day. It gets our body and our mind working smoothly and puts us in rhythm, in synch, with the universe.\par \tab\b Discussions on Youth, Vol. 2\b0 , pg. 185\par \par \pard\brdrt\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrl\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \brdrb\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrr\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \qj\tx504\b\v 2003a\v0 3\tab The power of faith and the power of practice \par \pard\qj\tx504\b0\fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 19: Faith - The Engine of Our Lives\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone\b Ikeda:\b0 Religion is proof of our humanity. Of all the animals, only human beings have the capacity for prayer, a most solemn and sublime act.\par \tab Nature\rquote s colossal and wondrous forces inspired people from ancient times to worship things in their natural environment, such as mountains, fire and the ocean. We can assume, therefore, that a mixture of fear, awe and respect toward the natural world and its phenomena - infinite, vast, majestic and filled with mysteries - led to the human expression of prayer.\par \tab For instance, people instinctively wish, for protection for themselves and their loved ones when faced with a sudden natural disaster or threat and at the most desperate and dire of times. When such a wish is powerfully concentrated, it becomes a prayer. It is not of the realm of logic or intellect. It transcends such things. Prayer is an act in which we give expression to the pressing and powerful wishes in the depths of our being and yearn for their fulfillment.\par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Kimura:\b0 I think this is something that everyone can relate to.\par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda:\b0 Human beings have an undeniable instinct for prayer. Religion first came into being in response to this. Prayer did not come into existence because of religion; it was the other way around.\par \tab There may be many instances when you might feel like praying: in hoping to score well on a test, for example, or to have fine weather the coming day. Even those who consider themselves not to be religious pray for something. Just wishing for the good health of your children or resolving to improve yourself in some way also constitutes a prayer, even if you don\rquote t want to call it that.\par \tab Prayer in Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism - chanting daimoku to the Gohonzon - directly fuses all of our diverse prayers with reality, based on the universal law of life.\par \tab In short, religion came into being out of the human desire for happiness.\par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Igeta:\b0 This helps us understand the significance of prayer. But there are many different religions in the world. Why?\par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda:\b0 Religion emerged out of the human instinct for prayer, but later in human history, various religions began to define or adopt different objects toward which to focus their prayers.\par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Kimura:\b0 People seem to worship and venerate all sorts of things, depending on their religion.\par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda:\b0 What people take as their object of devotion is a very important issue. In Japan, some people worship foxes [which in folk belief are thought to have spiritual powers]. But by making a fox one\rquote s object of devotion, one merely draws forth the state of Animality. This is because our lives commune with and respond to the object of devotion, attaining a state resembling that embodied therein. \par \tab\b Discussions on Youth, Vol. 2\b0 , pp. 165-67\par \fs16\par \fs24 So, if you earnestly pray that blessings be given to you without delay, how can your prayers fail to be answered?\par \tab\b On Prayer,\b0 WND, 346\par \tab Written to Sairen-bo Nichijo in 1272 from Ichinosawa on Sado\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom - \i0 August 10\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Concerning prayer, there are conspicuous prayer and conspicuous response, conspicuous prayer and inconspicuous response, inconspicuous prayer and inconspicuous response, and inconspicuous prayer and conspicuous response. But the only essential point is that, if you believe in this sutra, all your desires will be fulfilled in both the present and the future.\par \b\tab Letter to the Lay Priest Domyo,\b0 WND, 750\par \tab Written to the lay priest Domyo on August 10, 1276 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom - \i0 January 25\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Buddhism teaches that, when the Buddha nature manifests itself from within, it will receive protection from without. This is one of its fundamental principles.\par \b\tab The Three Kinds of Treasure,\b0 WND, 848\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo on September 11, 1277 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom - \i0 November 17\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone The same is true of your attaining Buddhahood. No matter what grave offenses you might have committed, because you did not turn against the Lotus Sutra, but showed your devotion by accompanying me, you will surely become a Buddha. Yours is like the case of King Possessor of Virtue, who gave his life to save the monk Realization of Virtue and became Shakyamuni Buddha. Faith in the Lotus Sutra acts as a prayer [to attain Buddhahood]. Strengthen your resolve to seek the way all the more and achieve Buddhahood in this lifetime.\par \b\tab The Receipt of New Fiefs,\b0 WND, 946\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo in October of 1278 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \fs24 Yet since the Lotus Sutra answers one\rquote s prayers regarding matters of this life as well, you may still survive your illness.\par \b\tab Encouragement to a Sick Person,\b0 WND, 76\par \tab Written to Nanjo Hyoe Shichiro on December 13, 1264 from Awa\par \fs16\par \fs24 For this reason, Shariputra, Mahakashyapa, and the others who make up the twelve hundred [arhats] and the twelve thousand [arhats], and all the others of the two vehicles who attained Buddhahood, will certainly respond to the prayers of those who practice the Lotus Sutra.\par \b\tab On Prayer,\b0 WND, 336\par \tab Written to Sairen-bo Nichijo in 1272 from Ichinosawa on Sado\par \fs20\par \fs24 But prayer that is based upon the Lotus Sutra is a prayer that is certain to be fulfilled.\par \b\tab On Prayer,\b0 WND, 336\par \tab Written to Sairen-bo Nichijo in 1272 from Ichinosawa on Sado\par \fs16\par \fs24 Therefore, we know that the prayers offered by a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra will be answered just as an echo answers a sound, as a shadow follows a form, as the reflection of the moon appears in clear water, as a mirror collects dewdrops, as a magnet attracts iron, as amber attracts particles of dust, or as a clear mirror reflects the color of an object.\par \b\tab On Prayer,\b0 WND, 340\par \tab Written to Sairen-bo Nichijo in 1272 from Ichinosawa on Sado\par \fs16\par \fs24 And yet, though one might point at the earth and miss it, though one might bind up the sky, though the tides might cease to ebb and flow and the sun rise in the west, it could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered.\par \b\tab On Prayer,\b0 WND, 345\par \tab Written to Sairen-bo Nichijo in 1272 from Ichinosawa on Sado\par \fs16\par \fs24 Hence, even though your late son, Yashiro, committed evil, if you, the mother who gave birth to him, grieve for him and offer prayers for him day and night in the presence of Shakyamuni Buddha, how could he not be saved?\par \b\tab Letter to Konichi-bo\b0 , WND, 661\par \tab Written to Konichi-bo in March of 1276 from Minobu\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i Daily Wisdom - \i0 November 14\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Therefore, when once we chant Myoho-renge-kyo, with just that single sound we summon forth and manifest the Buddha nature of all Buddhas; all existences; all bodhisattvas; all voice-hearers; all the deities such as Brahma, Shakra, and King Yama; the sun and moon, and the myriad stars; the heavenly gods and earthly deities, on down to hell-dwellers, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human and heavenly beings, and all other living beings. This blessing is immeasurable and boundless.\par \pard\li504\qj\tx504\b How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra,\b0 WND, 887\par \pard\qj\tx504\tab Written to Myoho in 1277 from Minobu\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 The One Essential Phrase (2)\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Prayers are invisible, but if we pray steadfastly they will definitely effect clear results in our lives and surroundings over time. This is the principle of the true entity of all phenomena. Faith means having confidence in this invisible realm. Those who impatiently pursue only visible gains, who put on airs or who are caught up in vanity and formalism, will definitely become deadlocked. \par \tab\b Learning from the Gosho\b0 , Pg. 90\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 SGI President Ikeda\rquote s Lecture on \i The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life\i0\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone We must devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the practice of our faith, always focusing on the true purpose of our lives. We must do so in order to accumulate the kind of good fortune which will not vanish after death, but will remain for all eternity.\par \tab This is the most important aspect of our attitude toward faith. It does not follow, however, that we, as Buddhists who are also ordinary members of society, must discard everything but Buddhism. As we continue to practice our faith, upholding the goal of \i kosen-rufu, \i0 everything we do and everything we possess will be given new meaning because it is based on the Mystic Law. That is how we can live \ldblquote with the profound insight that now is the last moment of life.\rdblquote When we live from moment to moment, always maintaining that resolution, \ldblquote a thousand Buddhas will extend their hands to free us from all fear and keep us from filling into the evil paths.\rdblquote This means that we will live in a state of perfect peace and security, as if carried in the arms of a thousand Buddhas, and that we will never fall into the evil paths of Hell, Hunger, Animality and Anger. In a literal sense, the phrase means that we will enter a state of perfect peace and security at the last moment of our life, but in a deeper sense, it refers to each moment in this lifetime.\par \tab\b Selected Lectures on the Gosho, Vol. 1\b0 , Pg. 124\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul Part II - Faith and Practice\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Nothing can match the strength of those whose lives have been shaped and forged through challenging and overcoming hardships. Such people fear nothing. The purpose of our Buddhist practice is to develop such strength and fortitude. To cultivate such an invincible core is in itself a victory It is also the greatest benefit. Those who succeed in this endeavor will savor unsurpassed happiness; they manifest the supreme state of Buddhahood. (8/29/96)\par \b\tab Faith into Action\b0 , Pg. 150\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul November 21\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone If you practice faith while doubting its effects, you will get results that are at best unsatisfactory. This is the reflection of your own weak faith on the mirror of the cosmos. On the other hand, when you stand up with strong confidence, you will accrue limitless blessings. \par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 355\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul 7 - Teachers of the Law Live Among the People\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone\b Ikeda:\b0 Yes. The key point is to pray that one\rquote s sincerity will be understood by the other person. Wisdom arises from prayer. Prayer gives birth to confidence and joy. While \i shakubuku \i0 is difficult, when we bear in mind that, through our actions, both the other person and we ourselves will definitely realize tremendous happiness and benefit, nothing could be more joyful. Mr. Toda often said: \ldblquote We should not agonize over doing \i shakubuku\i0 . We have to do \i shakubuku \i0 with a sense of joy.\rdblquote\par \tab\b The Wisdom of Lotus Sutra, Vol. 2\b0 , pg. 194\tab [Living Buddhism Feb 97 pg 29]\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul 8 - Enacting the Drama of Kosen-rufu\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone Our mind and energy should be concentrated on the tasks we must accomplish. Our prayer is then directed, and, through the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the entire universe will move toward our victory and success. We need to make kosen-rufu our prime focus. We need to fix our attention on our friends and fellow members. We need to pray wholeheartedly for kosen-rufu, for the prosperity of the SGI, and for the happiness of all; and we have to take action. This is what it means to be a true champion of kosen-rufu. \par \tab\b Wisdom of Lotus Sutra, Vol. 4\b0 , pg. 223\tab [Living Buddhism Dec 98 pg 43]\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul 6 - From the Six Paths to the Four Noble Worlds\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone People feared and worshipped the great power of nature. Sensing the existence of a destiny that they were powerless to change through their own efforts, they prayed to their gods for their lot to improve. From such prayer religion was born. Prayer was not born of religion; rather, religion was born of prayer. In other words, the concept of \lquote heaven\rquote suggests a perception on people\rquote s part of a great existence transcending human beings.\par \tab\b The Wisdom of Lotus Sutra, Vol. 4\b0 , pg. 152\tab [Living Buddhism Sept 98 pg 28]\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul 7 - The Mutual Possession of the Ten Worlds\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone While there may be instances when our prayers are answered immediately, there will also be times when that is not the case. Even so, we should continue offering prayer, chanting daimoku and taking action. Such resolute faith is itself the world of Buddhahood; it is victory. Maintaining such faith to the very end of our lives enables us to set out on a journey over the three existences at one with the \ldblquote eternal Buddha\rdblquote of the \ldblquote Life Span\rdblquote chapter.\par \tab\b The Wisdom of Lotus Sutra, Vol. 4\b0 , pg. 195\tab [Living Buddhism Oct 98 pg 37]\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #37\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone In his commentary on the Gosho \lquote The Object of Devotion for Observing One\rquote s Mind\rquote , Nichikan Shonin says: \lquote [If you have faith in this Gohonzon and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo even for a short while,] no prayer will go unanswered, no offence unexpiated, no good fortune unbestowed, and all righteousness will be proven.\rquote Such absolute conviction contains all the benefits of the four stages of faith and five stages of practice described in the \lquote Distinctions in Benefits\rquote chapter.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism,\b0 April 1999, pg. 40\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #39\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone Rather than feeling distressed over a lack of capable people in one\rquote s area, for example, the first thing one should do is offer prayer. To secure peace based on the teachings of Buddhism is the Buddha\rquote s will. It is the Buddha\rquote s enterprise and the Buddha\rquote s work.\par \tab As Nichiren Daishonin promised, Bodhisattvas of the Earth could therefore not fail to be in any given area, no matter how remote. The problem isn\rquote t that there are no capable people; it\rquote s simply that we cannot \ldblquote see\rdblquote them. The solution is to offer earnest prayer. We also need to be determined to take full responsibility without anyone\rquote s help. Such resolve will without a doubt bring forth people able and willing to work in the same cause.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 July 1999, pg. 31\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #42\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone When we chant daimoku just as the Daishonin instructs, our voices resonate throughout the entire universe. Just as a soft voice can be transformed into a booming voice through the use of a good megaphone, when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with heartfelt prayer, we can move the entire universe. As Nichikan, the twenty-sixth high priest, says: \ldblquote [If you have faith in this Gohonzon and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo even for a short while] no prayer will go unanswered, no offense unexpiated, no good fortune unbestowed, and all righteousness proven.\rdblquote\par \tab Nichiren Daishonin says that it is \ldblquote not difficult\rdblquote for those who chant the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra to become Buddhas equal to Shakyamuni (WND, 1030). This statement is very significant. He says this because the Mystic Law is the origin of all Buddhas.\par \tab We must absolutely never give up on prayer. He declares: \ldblquote Muster your faith and pray to this Gohonzon. Then what is there that cannot be achieved?\rdblquote (WND, 412). We need to pray \ldblquote as though to produce fire from damp tinder or to obtain water from parched ground\rdblquote (WND, 445).\par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 October 1999, pg. 27\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #45\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone\b Ikeda:\b0 It is a teaching of the highest compassion. President Toda used to say that someone who just practices on his own without making any effort to advance kosen-rufu is like a person who stashes away some sweets so that he can eat them later when no one is around. President Makiguchi also emphasized the importance of doing shakubuku, saying, \ldblquote Unless you carry out bodhisattva practice, you cannot become a Buddha.\rdblquote And he reprimanded the priesthood for having forgotten this spirit.\par \b Saito:\b0 Distinguishing between \ldblquote believers\rdblquote and \ldblquote practitioners,\rdblquote Mr. Makiguchi wrote: If you just believe and offer prayer, you will receive benefit without fail. But this alone does not amount to bodhisattva practice. There\rquote s no such thing as an egoistic Buddha who only seeks benefit for himself and does not endeavor to help others. Unless we carry out bodhisattva practice, we cannot become Buddhas. True faith, in other words, means spreading the teaching to others with the spirit of a parent toward his or her children. Those who do so are genuine practitioners.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 January 2000, pg. 36\par \fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul\fs24 Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #48\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone\b Ikeda:\b0 This great life force is itself what is meant by \ldblquote peace and security in the present existence,\rdblquote and it also becomes proof of \ldblquote good circumstances in future existences\rdblquote (cf LS5, 99). Nichiren Daishonin says, \ldblquote One should regard meeting obstacles as \lquote peaceful\rquote\rdblquote (GZ, 750). \ldblquote Peace and security in the present existence\rdblquote indicates the state of life to courageously battle and overcome any ordeal that might confront us, and thereby to secure faith that shines with still greater brilliance and force than before.\par \b Saito:\b0 Such benefit is truly unparalleled.\par \b Ikeda:\b0 Though this wonderful state of life is available to all, many people don\rquote t seem to want it! Instead, they seem desirous of anything else, and content themselves with pursuing immediate gain! And then if they are subjected to the slightest insult, they begin to doubt the Gohonzon! Praying with doubt is like trying to keep water in a bathtub with the plug pulled. Your good fortune and benefit will drain away. A passage from the \ldblquote Perceiver of the World\rquote s Sounds\rdblquote reads, \ldblquote from thought to thought never entertaining doubt!\rdblquote (LS25, 306). A confident prayer will reverberate powerfully throughout the entire universe. The benefit we receive when we initially take faith is comparable to a small mountain. The boundless life force of Buddhahood is like a large mountain. On the way from this small mountain to the large mountain you have to pass through a valley. This indicates the three obstacles and four devils, and other obstacles of all kinds. Only by passing through this \ldblquote valley\rdblquote can we ascend the \ldblquote great mountain\rdblquote of Buddhahood.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism,\b0 April 2000, pg. 39 \par \pard\qj\tx504\fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 November 30\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone President Toda often said: \ldblquote Those of you who have problems or sufferings, pray earnestly! Buddhism is a deadly serious win-or-lose struggle. If you should [pray with such an earnest attitude] and still have no solution forthcoming, then I will give you my life!\rdblquote This invincible conviction on which Mr. Toda was willing to stake his life inspired the members. \par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 364\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul December 01\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Buddhism means putting the teachings into practice. Practice equals faith. With sincere prayer and action, our desires cannot possibly fail to be fulfilled. When you continue to apply yourselves to your Buddhist practice toward kosen-rufu, solidifying and gaining mastery in your faith, you will find that all your prayers will definitely be answered. \par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 367\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul 19: Faith - The Engine of Our Lives\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx5400\ulnone\b\f6 Ikeda: \b0\f7 Yes, so you can imagine the immense benefit you will obtain when you earnestly continue to do gongyo and chant daimoku. Basically, you do gongyo and chant daimoku for yourself. Your practice of gongyo and daimoku is not an obligation - it is a right. The Gohonzon will never demand that you chant to it. An attitude of appreciation in being able to chant to the Gohonzon is the heart of faith. The more you exert yourself in faith - in doing gongyo and chanting daimoku - the more you stand to gain.\par \tab\f0 The Daishonin also doesn't say anything in the Gosho about the specific amount of daimoku we should chant. It is entirely up to each individual's awareness and sense of responsibility. Faith is a lifelong pursuit, so there's no need to be unnecessarily nervous or anxious about how much or how little daimoku you chant.\f7\par \f0\tab\b Discussions on Youth, Vol. 2\b0 , pg. 183\tab [World Tribune, February 20, 1998, page 1]\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx5400\ul\fs24 Conversations on Youth - Prayer is Electric\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx5400\ulnone\b\f8 Ikeda: \b0\f0 Basically, just be yourself. That\rquote s the most important thing.\par \tab Revere the Gohonzon as the fundamental basis of your life, reach out to it and take your problems to it - do this naturally, as a child reaches for its mother. When you\rquote re suffering or when you\rquote re sad, there\rquote s no need to put on a good face or pretend that everything\rquote s all right. Just chant exactly as you are, unreservedly giving expression to the feelings in your heart.\par \tab The Daishonin writes, \ldblquote What we call faith is nothing extraordinary\rdblquote [WND, 1036 (MW-5, 303)]. And he urges, \ldblquote As parents will not abandon their children, or as a child refuses to leave his mother, so we should put our trust in the Lotus Sutra\rdblquote [WND, 1036 (MW-5, 303)]. In other words, all that we need do is trust the Gohonzon wholeheartedly, praying sincerely that our desires will be realized. Such prayer definitely will empower us.\par \tab There is nothing extraordinary about prayer - prayer is simply wishing for something with all our heart. And our heart matters most. It is important to chant with deep faith, reverence and love for the Gohonzon in our heart.\par \tab\b World Tribune\b0 , December 11, 1998, pg. 8\par \pard\qj\tx504\fs20\par \pard\brdrt\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrl\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \brdrb\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp20 \brdrr\brdrs\brdrw10\brsp80 \qj\tx504\b\v\fs24 2003a\v0 4\tab Chanting Daimoku based on a pledge or vow\par \pard\qj\tx504\b0\fs16\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom\i0 - February 1\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone If I remain silent, I may escape persecutions in this lifetime, but in my next life I will most certainly fall into the hell of incessant suffering. If I speak out, I am fully aware that I will have to contend with the three obstacles and four devils. But of these two courses, surely the latter is the one to choose.\par \b\tab The Opening of the Eyes (1),\b0 WND, 239\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo in February of 1272 from Tsukahara on Sado\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom - \i0 December 1\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone I vowed to summon up a powerful and unconquerable desire for the salvation of all beings and never to falter in my efforts.\par \b\tab The Opening of the Eyes (1),\b0 WND, 240\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo in February of 1272 from Tsukahara on Sado\par \par This I will state. Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assail me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law.\par \b\tab The Opening of the Eyes (2),\b0 WND, 280\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo in February of 1272 from Tsukahara on Sado\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom - \i0 February 2\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Here I will make a great vow. Though I might be offered the rulership of Japan if only I would abandon the Lotus Sutra, accept the teachings of the Meditation Sutra, and look forward to rebirth in the Pure Land, though I might be told that my father and mother will have their heads cut off if I do not recite the Nembutsu - whatever obstacles I might encounter, so long as persons of wisdom do not prove my teachings to be false, I will never yield! All other troubles are no more to me than dust before the wind.\par \b\tab The Opening of the Eyes (2),\b0 WND, 280\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo in February of 1272 from Tsukahara on Sado\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom - \i0 June 8\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Be resolved to summon forth the great power of faith, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the prayer that your faith will be steadfast and correct at the moment of death. Never seek any other way to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death, and manifest it in your life.\par \b\tab The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,\b0 WND, 218\par \tab Written to Sairen-bo Nichijo on February 11, 1272 from Tsukahara on Sado\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\i\fs24 Daily Wisdom - \i0 July 15\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone I, Nichiren, am hated by the people of Japan. This is entirely due to the fact that the lord of Sagami regards me with animosity. I grant that the government has acted quite without reason, but even before I encountered my difficulties, I foresaw that troubles of this kind would occur, and I resolved that, whatever might happen to me in the future, I must not bear any hatred toward others. This determination has perhaps acted as a prayer, for I have been able to come safely through any number of trials. And now I am faced with no such difficulties. \par \b\tab On Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Shijo Kingo\b0 , WND, 686\par \tab Written to Shijo Kingo on July 15, 1276 from Minobu\par \fs20\par \fs24 This wonderful Law, which is foremost and unexcelled, should in fact be the basis of prayers.\par \pard\li504\qj\tx504\b How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra,\b0 WND, 881\par \pard\qj\tx504\tab Written to Myoho in 1277 from Minobu\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 The One Essential Phrase (1)\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone When we chant daimoku with appreciation at having the rare opportunity to dedicate our lives to the noble mission of wholeheartedly devoting ourselves to others\rquote happiness, immense vitality wells forth. From the depths of our lives, we tap the wisdom to encourage others and show actual proof. \par \tab\b Learning from the Gosho\b0 , Pg. 78\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 Bringing Joy, Harmony, and Happiness to the World, September 26, 1993, Boston, Massachusetts\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone The desire to become more healthy, obtain greater financial security, or become more beautiful - these things, too, are hopes we may cherish. So are the splendid development of one\rquote s children and the good health and long life of one\rquote s partner. Let\rquote s work hard and accumulate more good fortune so that we can travel around the world one day.\rquote Families that can discuss and share these kinds of hopes and dreams are happy indeed.\par \tab At today\rquote s meeting there are also fellow members from Panama, Peru, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan in attendance. One might well be inspired by the idea of going to visit these countries one day and talking with the members there about the wondrousness of the Mystic Law. This is another magnificent hope to cherish.\par \tab As Buddhists, our greatest hope is the happiness not only of ourselves and those nearest and dearest to us but also of our friends and fellow members. \ldblquote I want so-and-so to become happy. I want to enable all the members to enjoy themselves.\rdblquote There is no more lofty way of life than praying for and exerting ourselves for others\rquote happiness.\par \tab\b My Dear Friends in America\b0 , pp. 347-8\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 The People\par \pard\nowidctlpar\li288\ri288\qj\tx504\ulnone You who work away in silence,\par you with your strong muscles, browned by the sun - \par I can hear the pure, rapid beating \par of the heart in your breast\par \fs20\par \fs24 I will spend my life exerting myself for your sake\par Though at first sight I seem to stand in isolation,\par I want to make it my proud and only mission\par to fight on and on for you alone,\par always in your behalf\par \fs20\par \fs24 I will fight,\par you will fight,\par fight until the day when,\par on this earth,\par your rough hands will tremble\par and the joy of life shines forth in your simple faces\par \fs20\par \fs24 I will fight!\par You must fight too!\par Wherever you may be,\par holding fast to a steady tempo\par today again I fight!\par \pard\qj\tx504\tab\b Songs from My Heart\b0 , P. 76\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 The One Essential Phrase (2)\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Prayers based on the Mystic Law are not abstract. They are a concrete reality in our lives. To offer prayers is to conduct a dialogue, an exchange, with the universe. When we pray, we embrace the universe with our lives and our determinations. Prayer is a struggle to expand our lives. \par \tab\b Learning from the Gosho\b0 , Pg. 92\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul\fs24 Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #49\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone\b Ikeda:\b0 It is when we take action for kosen-rufu with a selfless spirit that the microcosm of our lives fuses with the macrocosm of the universe and our prayers are answered. The Daishonin says, \ldblquote It could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered\rdblquote (WND, 345). So the issue becomes whether one is a \ldblquote practitioner\rdblquote of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s teaching is about making a vow. In our present situation we need to pledge to the Gohonzon: \ldblquote I will advance kosen-rufu to the best of my ability! I will realize victory without fail!\rdblquote Our prayer starts from this vow.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 June 2000 pg 44\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\tx6336\ul\fs24 Dialogue on [The Wisdom of] the Lotus Sutra #51\par \pard\qj\tx504\tx6336\ulnone We may casually speak the words \ldblquote actual proof\rdblquote and \ldblquote human revolution,\rdblquote but in reality these are not easy to achieve. Although many profess faith in Buddhism, those who carry out genuine faith and practice are very few. We cannot attain Buddhahood by practicing halfheartedly or out of force of habit. There\rquote s no such thing as a self-centered, egotistical Buddhist practice. That wouldn\rquote t be \ldblquote practicing the Buddha\rquote s teaching,\rdblquote but practicing one\rquote s own teaching. Only by carrying out faith single-mindedly dedicated to the achievement of kosen-rufu can we change our karma. The only way to cause a transformation in those running a country is to demonstrate the true power of the people through courageous prayer and struggle to \ldblquote make the impossible possible.\rdblquote\par \tab To take on such a struggle with an easygoing attitude will only result in mishaps. We need to be keenly aware of how serious an undertaking it is.\par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 August 2000 pg 36\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 Chapter 5 - Pioneers\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone\ldblquote Buddhism is a teaching of unsurpassed reason. Therefore, the strength of one\rquote s faith must manifest itself in the form of studying, exercising one\rquote s ingenuity and making twice as much effort as anyone else. Earnest daimoku is the wellspring for the energy to challenge these things. Your daimoku must also be a pledge.... This means to make a vow of your own accord and pray to fulfill it.... \par \tab\ldblquote Prayer in Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism means to chant daimoku based on a pledge or vow. At its very core, this vow is to attain kosen-rufu. It means chanting resolutely with the determination: \lquote I will realize kosen-rufu. Therefore, I will show magnificent actual proof in my work. Please enable me to somehow bring forth my greatest potential.\rquote This is what our prayer should be like.\par \tab\ldblquote It is also important that we establish clear and concrete goals for what we hope to achieve each day and then pray and challenge ourselves to achieve each one. This earnest determination will give rise to wisdom and resourcefulness, thereby leading to success. In short, to win in life we need determination and prayer, effort and ingenuity. It is misguided to dream of getting rich quick, expecting to encounter a rare stroke of luck or some shrewd moneymaking scheme. This is not faith. It is mere fantasy.\rdblquote\i \par \pard\qj\tx504\tx3060\tx4500\i0\tab\b The New Human Revolution, vol. 1,\b0 pp. 250-1\par \pard\qj\tx504\fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 January 01\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone Those who wake up each morning with work to accomplish and a mission to fulfill are the happiest people of all. SGI members are like this. For us each day is one of supreme purpose and satisfaction. For us each day is New Year\rquote s Day. Please exert yourselves vigorously with the determination to live each day to the fullest, so that you may compose a golden diary of life. \par \tab\b For Today & Tomorrow - Daily Encouragement,\b0 pg. 3\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 Toward Tomorrow with Hope - 23\super rd\nosupersub HQ Leaders Meeting, December 5, 2002, Tokyo, Japan\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone To forget justice, to forget the SGI - our prime point - that is something we must absolutely avoid in the course of our lives. There have been those who, though they rose to high social position thanks to the Soka Gakkai, became consumed by self interest, abandoned their faith and ended up leaving the organization and turning against us. We must stand up against such base, ungrateful people\par \tab The famous French writer Victor Hugo, with typically keen insight, said: \ldblquote What is an envious person? An ingrate. He detests the light that illuminates and warms him.\rdblquote\par \tab Envy is frightening. How many just, honest people throughout history have had their lives and reputations destroyed by those driven by envy? How pitiful are those whose only reaction to great men and women is envy.\par \tab The English philosopher Francis Bacon called envy \ldblquote the vilest affection [emotion] and the most depraved.\rdblquote\par \tab Next, let me share the words of former South African president Nelson Mandela, who, incidentally, sent me his regards the other day. Speaking of why he was able to emerge victorious from his imprisonment of 10,000 days, Mr. Mandela wrote in \i Long Walk to Freedom\i0 : \ldblquote I do not know that I could have done it had I been alone. But \'85 together our [my and the other political prisoners\rquote ] determination was reinforced. We supported each other and gained strength from each other.\rdblquote\par \tab The same is true of our beautiful world of the SGI. We are strong because we support one another and gain strength from one another. Isolating oneself from others may make one feel free and unfettered, but such a life tends to make one self-centered and vulnerable to negative influences, ultimately leading to decline and defeat. Therefore, let us advance together with our fellow members!\par \tab The renowned Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi proclaimed: \ldblquote The smile of happiness, the tear of sympathy, are both denied the world of beasts. They are the privilege of [humankind] alone.\rdblquote\par \tab What is the definition of a strong person? The French historian Jules Michelet declared, \ldblquote The strong are those who fortify others.\rdblquote People of genuine greatness give strength and courage to their friends, empowering others.\par \tab\b World Tribune\b0 , January 24, 2003, pg. 2\par \fs20\par \pard\qj\ul\fs24 Chapter 1 - Westward Transmission\par \ulnone All things, our struggles in life and activities for kosen-rufu included, are determined by powerful and unwavering resolve. The cause for defeat, too, lies not in the obstacles we face or the severity of our situation but only in an ebbing or breakdown in our inner determination.\par \pard\qj\tx504\tab Shin\rquote ichi Yamamoto had accomplished such unprecedented results in propagation since becoming president because of his unshakable determination - his proud, unwavering commitment as Josei Toda\rquote s disciple.\par \tab\ldblquote I will realize Sensei\rquote s vision without fail!\rdblquote - this resolve was the force that drove him, what lay at the core of his every thought.\par \tab For Shin\rquote ichi, the severity of obstacles and the difficulty of circumstances were irrelevant. He had embarked on his struggle knowing full well what difficulties lay ahead. Everything was difficult; everything was impossible, if one wished to view it that way.\par \tab When our resolve weakens, all we can see are giant obstacles looming on the horizon. We end up believing that they are immovable realities. This is where the cause for defeat lies. The key to victory in our struggle for kosen-rufu, it may be said, lies in battling the cowardice that resides within our own hearts. Shin\rquote ichi now strove to bring about a transformation in each person\rquote s inner resolve, because ultimately, this is where the human revolution begins. [Pg. 18] \'85 \par \tab [Shin\rquote ichi and High Priest Nittatsu came across a huge cedar tree that had fallen to the ground.] \ldblquote ...We must always be on guard against parasites within. This goes for the individual and the organization as well. If we forget to fight the enemy within - the traitor within our own hearts - rot will set in from there... This cedar, I think, offers an important lesson for ensuring the eternal prosperity of the Law.\rdblquote \par \tab At the year\rquote s first nationwide leaders meeting later that day, Shin\rquote ichi took up this theme again, stressing how important it was for the leaders to transform their inner resolve. \ldblquote The sun of victory resides in our hearts,\rdblquote he said. \ldblquote Slay the internal enemy known as cowardice.\rdblquote He also stressed the importance of being harmoniously united and in rhythm with one another.\par \tab\ldblquote ...What determines an organization\rquote s strength? It is unity and harmonious cooperation among its leaders. When the leaders of an organization are out of sync or lack harmony with one another, any ability or power individuals may possess is diffused.\rdblquote [Pg. 19] \'85 \par \tab\ldblquote In baseball, the team with good teamwork is strong. When the first baseman fields a ball, a teammate will cover first base. This is acting in harmony. The team cannot win if the teammate stands by and does nothing, saying, \lquote It\rquote s the first baseman\rquote s job to cover first base.\rquote The important thing is to think not only about yourselves but to work in harmony with those around you. This will contribute to your own growth as well. In any event, let\rquote s again create a record of unprecedented triumph this year through solid unity.\rdblquote [Pg. 20]\par \tab\b The New Human Revolution, Vol. 3\b0 , pp. 18-20\par \fs20\par \ul\fs24 Chapter 3 - Acceleration\par \ulnone Kosen-rufu is a philosophical movement deeply rooted in people\rquote s daily lives. The time has come for it to flourish in earnest. I look forward with all my heart to your valiant efforts as the leaders in this undertaking.\rdblquote Shin\rquote ichi had resolved to begin by exhaustively studying the Daishonin\rquote s teachings himself and to lecture on the Gosho to members whenever possible. He was prepared to do all in his power to help them understand the profound mission they possessed from the eternal past as disciples of Nichiren Daishonin. \par \tab\b The New Human Revolution\b0 , Vol. 6, pg. 150\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul The World of Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s Writings #1\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone\b Ikeda: \b0 True religion is found in the lives of human beings. The Daishonin\rquote s Buddhism is Buddhism for ordinary people. The real purpose of Buddhism is to bring people peace and happiness. \par \tab The Daishonin\rquote s writings reveal at least two great vows he made over the course of his life. The first was when, at age 12, he pledged to become the wisest person in Japan. The second was made when he was 32, just before he declared the establishment of his teaching. The Daishonin describes this latter vow in \ldblquote The Opening of the Eyes,\rdblquote when he speaks of his decision to refute slander of the Lotus Sutra, no matter how great the persecution he may face, and to spread the correct teaching for the sake of the happiness of all people (cf. WND, 239-40). The Daishonin carried out this vow throughout his life. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Saito: \b0 The initial vow that the Daishonin made when he was 12 could be thought of as the departure point of his quest. The second was made when he stood up as the votary of the Lotus Sutra, and is expressed in his towering declaration to be the \ldblquote pillar of Japan\rdblquote (WND, 280) and so forth, which was a central theme of our discussion last time. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda: \b0 The Daishonin made the first vow when he entered Seicho-ji temple in Awa Province (present-day Chiba Prefecture). At 12, he was the equivalent age of a sixth grader today. It is likely that his reason for entering Seicho-ji at such a young age was not so much to begin training as a priest as to receive basic education in reading and writing. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Saito: \b0 Buddhist temples throughout Japan at the time functioned as educational institutions. The Daishonin was ordained as a priest four years later at 16. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda: \b0 Though it wasn\rquote t until he was 16 that he was formally ordained, at age 12 the Daishonin\rquote s life already brimmed with the spirit to seek the teachings of Buddhism, the essential spirit of anyone who wishes to renounce the secular world and embark on the life of a priest. It is thus believed that the Daishonin\rquote s active pursuit of the truth began from this early age. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Saito: \b0 The Daishonin himself says that he was \ldblquote twelve or sixteen years old\rdblquote (GZ, 1407) when he entered the priesthood. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda: \b0 This conveys to us just how profound and significant was his vow to become the \ldblquote wisest person in all Japan.\rdblquote \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Saito: \b0 In regards to that vow, the Daishonin states, \ldblquote There are profound reasons for the prayers I offered, but I cannot write them in detail here\rdblquote (GZ, 1292). This indicates that he had much more to say on the matter. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda: \b0 And he does so in a number of places in the collection of his works. One is his pledge to earnestly open a path to enlightenment for all people, beginning with his parents. He writes, \ldblquote When a man leaves his parents and home and becomes a monk, he should always have as his goal the salvation of his father and mother\rdblquote (\ldblquote The Opening of the Eyes,\rdblquote WND, 228). This sounds like a general statement, but he was also referring to himself. \par \tab In another place, the Daishonin, recollecting his entry into the priesthood, remarks, \ldblquote What can we say, then, of persons who are devoting themselves to Buddhism? Surely they should not forget the debts of gratitude they owe to their parents, their teachers, and their country. But if one intends to repay these great debts of gratitude, one can hope to do so only if one learns and masters Buddhism, becoming a person of wisdom\rdblquote (\ldblquote On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,\rdblquote WND, 690). \par \tab Here we can see that the Daishonin\rquote s vow to become the wisest person in all Japan stemmed from his desire to repay his debt of gratitude to his parents among others, and to lead all people to enlightenment. \par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 , May 2002, pp. 38-39\par \par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul The World of Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s Writings #1\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone\b Saito: \b0 Allow me to briefly paraphrase what we\rquote ve discussed so far. \par \tab Looking at the Daishonin\rquote s life from the time he entered Seicho-ji until the time he cast off his provisional status and revealed his identity as the Buddha of the Latter Day, we see the following sequence of events: making a vow at age 12; receiving a jewel of wisdom; studying the sutras; establishing his teaching and making a vow to realize kosen-rufu; striving as the votary of the Lotus Sutra and facing great persecution; and discarding his transient status and revealing his true identity. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda: \b0 After discarding his transient status and revealing his true identity, the Daishonin poured his energies into establishing the entity of the Law (Gohonzon) for the transmission of his teaching to actualize kosen-rufu over the ten thousand years and more of the Latter Day of the Law. In this way, he sought to transmit his own vow and enlightenment to people throughout the entire world. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Saito: \b0 To put this even more succinctly, we can view the Daishonin\rquote s life in these terms: vow, enlightenment, deeper vow, deeper enlightenment. \par \fs8\par \b\fs24 Ikeda: \b0 The consistent thread that runs through his life is his effort to lead people to enlightenment. \par \tab A Buddha is definitely not an absolute being who lives a static existence. He shares the sufferings of others, and, on sensing that the age has become deadlocked, earnestly ponders how to transform the situation. A Buddha vows to carry out a struggle to lead the people and the age to enlightenment. The strength of this vow causes the Buddha\rquote s enlightenment to mature into rich wisdom. \par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 , May 2002, pg. 45\par \fs20\par \pard\keepn\s1\qj\tx504\ul\fs24 The World of Nichiren Daishonin\rquote s Writings #1\par \pard\qj\tx504\ulnone\b Ikeda: \b0 This is the Daishonin\rquote s vow for the future. It can also be read as his decree to future practitioners of the Lotus Sutra. \par \tab\ldblquote Nichiren\rquote s great and encompassing compassion\rdblquote is revealed in his struggle to protect the Law in order to fundamentally lead the people of the Latter Day to enlightenment. It is also demonstrated in the fact that in the midst of enduring incredible persecution, he revealed Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the seed for attaining Buddhahood, enabling all people to achieve enlightenment. The benefit of striving for the Mystic Law, he declares, will last for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity. \par \tab The Daishonin calls on us to carry on the struggle he initiated, which is the very wellspring of kosen-rufu, and never allow its flow to cease. He also instructs us to enable as many people as possible to receive the boundless benefit of the Mystic Law, for therein lies the brilliant path of peace and happiness for humankind. \par \tab From the vantage point of the eternal future, we are still in the pioneering stage of kosen-rufu. It is only recently that kosen-rufu has begun to expand around the world. Let us courageously advance with renewed awareness of our responsibility to lead the way in this age. \par \tab\b Living Buddhism\b0 , May 2002, pg. 45\par \par }