The Three Kinds of Treasure - The Practice of Revering Others

The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the “Never Disparaging” chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies his behaviour as a human being.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p851-852)

This letter was written at Minobu on 11 September 1277 and addressed to Shijo Kingo in Kamakura and titled, “The Three Kinds of Treasure”.

Sometime back, Shijo Kingo had begun making efforts to convert his Lord, Ema, to Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching. Lord Ema, however, did not respond positively. On top of this, Kingo’s colleagues spread scurrilous reports about him, and Kingo was accused of fomenting trouble at a religious debate at Kuwagayatsu in June the same year. Kingo faced his greatest crisis in life when his angry lord gave him the ultimatum to discard his faith or have all his lands confiscated.

Later that year Lord Ema fell illm and Kingo, being a skilled physician, was told to treat his lord. This letter was written in response to Kingo’s report that he was going to administer medicate treatment to his lord.

Eventually, Kingo managed to cure him and his grateful lord later increased Kingo’s land-holdings.

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This is a passage in which Nichiren Daishonin taught that the essence of the practice of Buddhism lies in “the behaviour as a human being in revering others” based on the firm belief that Buddhahood exists in one’s life and in that of others.

“The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings” is none other than the Lotus Sutra - the teaching that expounds the universal enlightenment of all living beings. The Daishonin continued to state that the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the practice of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging described in the “Never Disparaging” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.

Bodhisattva Never Disparaging accorded everyone he met the highest respect, repeating the words from the “Twenty-four-character Lotus Sutra”, bowing to them in reverence as he recited the words. He was thus names because he was a bodhisattva who never disparaged others.

However, he was struck with sticks of wood, tiles and stones, and was vilified and persecuted by people who simply cannot believe that ordinary beings can attain Buddhahood. Nevertheless, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging persevered in his practice of revering others and as a result, achieved the purification of his six senses (purification of his life state) through the benefit of the Lotus Sutrs and attained Buddhahood. The Lotus Sutra expounds Bodhisattva Never Disparaging as Shakyamuni Buddha in a past existence.

In this way, when one perseveres in the Buddhist practice of revering others, it becomes the power source in transforming one’s life, which in fact, is the transformation of one’s karma and the purification of the six senses.

In other words, the conduct of revering others is equivalent to spreading the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and it is this practice of propagation that enables one to attain Buddhahood, that is, the fundamental victory in life.

The conduct of “the universal reverence for all living beings” demonstrated by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging is the very embodiment of the concept of the “universal enlightenment of all living beings”, the central theme underscoring the Lotus Sutra, the scripture that contains the true intent of the Buddha.

And, the conduct of revering all living beings can be said to be an indispensable practice for an individual aspiring to attain Buddhahood. For this reason, the Daishonin concluded here that “the purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behaviour as a human being”.

In this age of the Latter Day of the Law characterised by mistrust, disbelief and insecurity arising from the contempt of human life and all life entities, we are holding high the banner of the sanctity and dignity of life as we continue to engage others in dialogue to help them form connections with Buddhism. In this sense, our daily practice is in exact accord with the original spirit of Buddhism.

SGI President Ikeda said, “Those who sincerely revere and praise others will in turn be revered and praised. Likewise, those who sincerely rejoice at the happiness of others are those who are truly happy themselves.”

Let us expand the circle of friendship and trust as we strive for the happiness of ourselves and others while conducting ourselves with wisdom when engaging in sincere dialogues.

Translated and adapted from the September 2012 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

On Persecutions Befalling the Sage - The "Courage of the Lion King" is the Soka Gakkai Spirit

Each of you should summon up the courage of a lion king and never succumb to threats from anyone. The lion king fears no other beasts, nor do its cubs. Slanderers are like barking foxes, but Nichiren’s followers are like roaring lions.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p997)

Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at Minobu on the 1st day of the 10th month in 1279 to his followers in general. The Daishonin also instructed that this letter be kept by Shijo Kingo.

Around this time, propagation around the Fuji area began to produce significant results under the leadership of Nikko Shonin. There were a number of converts among both priests and laity, especially farmer believers.

However, as the number of new believers increased, so did the pressures from the religious and secular authorities as they deemed it a threat. It especially incurred the wrath of Gyochi, the deputy chief priest of Ryusen-ji temple, whose opposition to the Daishonin’s teachings eventually led to the Atsuhara Persecution whereby 20 farmer believers were arrested on false charges, and three of them, Jinshiro, Yagoro and Tarokuro, were later beheaded. In spite of these persecutions, not one of the twenty farmers abandoned their faith.

Seeing that his followers were now ready to give their lives if necessary to protect the Law, the Daishonin realized that the time had come to fulfill the purpose of his life – that is, the inscription of the object of devotion for the sake of all humankind.

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This is a passage in which Nichiren Daishonin taught us that the key to surmounting obstacles in life through our practice of faith is none other than “courage” and the “mentor-disciple spirit”.

Simply put, the “heart of the lion king” refers to “courage”, and at the same time, the fundamental life force that wells forth in our lives. It also refers to the latent strength we possess within us.

The Daishonin said we must “summon up” the “courage of the lion king”.

We cannot bring forth something that does not already exist. Qualities such as courage and life force do not belong solely to an exclusive group of individuals. We all inherently possess it inside us. Since it already exists within our lives, all we need to do is to summon forth this courageous spirit to defeat cowardice and delusion clouding our lives.

To reiterate that we must remain absolutely fearless no matter what oppression or adversity may befall us, the Daishonin added, “The lion king fears no other beasts, nor do its cubs.”

The spirit of selfless dedication without begrudging his life, which the Daishonin opened the way for kosen-rufu to lead all people to happiness, is itself “the heart of a lion king”. We, the disciples are the cubs of a lion king. Therefore, when we strive with the same spirit as our mentor in the same commitment of faith, we too cannot fail to bring forth this courage of the lion king that remains undefeated in the face of all kinds of obstacles, no matter how harsh.

Faith based on the shared commitment of mentor and disciple is what enables us to summon up that heart of a lion king. When disciples stand up and chant the daimoku o the Mystic Law in the same mind as the mentor and strive to uphold justice, our lion roar will surely prevail over the devilish functions and powerful enemies, who are like “barking foxes”.

SGI President Ikeda said, “The courage of the lion King is none other than the Gakkai spirit. This courageous spirit is to be summoned forth. There is not a single individual in this world who does not possess courage. It is there in the lives of all but for some, it is in the state of latency. It has yet to be summoned forth… Losers use adversities and words like ‘impossible’ as excuses to limit their own potential without taking any actions. Victors, on the other hand, fearlessly take action with courage and audacity. Herein lies the deciding point between losers and victors.”

Let’s summon forth the Gakkai spirit from within our lives and boldly move forward in order to breakthrough all barriers of obstacles and impossibilities to emerge as shining victors in life.

Translated and adapted from the July 2012 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life - The Spirit of "Many in Body, One in Mind" is the Driving Force of Kosen-rufu

All disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren should chant Nam-myo-ho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death. Herein lies the true goal of Nichiren’s propagation. When you are so united, even the great desire for widespread propagation (kosen-rufu) can be fulfilled. But if any of Nichiren’s disciples disrupt the unity of many in body but one in mind, they would be like warriors who destroy their own castle from within.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p217)

This letter, dated the 11th day of the second month in 1272, was sent by Nichiren Daishonin Daishonin to Sairen-bo Nichijo, who, for reasons that are unclear, was also living in exile on Sado Island.

Details about Sairen-bo are scarce but it is known that he was a learned priest formerly of the Tendai school who had become a follower of the Daishonin while on Sado Island.

It would seem that Sairen-bo had written to him asking about “the heritage of the ultimate Law of life and death”, a term used in the esoteric doctrine of the Tendai school at the time and “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life” was written in response to his question.

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In this passage, Nichiren Daishonin taught that the heritage of the ultimate Law of life flows in the united spirit of many in body, one in mind.

Right at the outset of this passage, the Daishonin used the phrase, “All disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren”, to address what he was about to say. In other words, the Daishonin was addressing this vital guideline to all practitioners who base themselves on the true spirit of mentor and disciple with the shared commitment to realize kosen-rufu – that is, the harmonious community of practitioners.

Next, the Daishonin cited three key requirements in voicing his expectation of an ideal vision of a harmonious community of practitioners. He urged his disciples to “transcend all differences among themselves”; to “become as inseparable as fish and water”; and to “unite in the spirit of ‘many in body but one in mind’”.

Let’s us first look at the term “differences” in the phrase “transcending all differences among themselves”. What the Daishonin specifically means here are feelings of antagonism, discrimination and selfishness that arise from the tendency to see self and others, or diverse phenomena or events, as separate and disconnected – a tendency that obstructs empathy and understanding.

To “transcend” such differences means to wage an intense struggle against one’s own self-centeredness.

In addition, the Daishonin said that his followers should “become as inseparable as fish and water in which they swim”. This indicates a spirit of mutual respect, understanding, support and caring, regardless of superficial differences in circumstances or position.

Finally, the Daishonin stressed the importance of uniting in the spirit of “many in body but one in mind”. This is the very foundation of the harmonious community of practitioners. It also encompasses the two preceding points.

“Many in body” – which can also be translated as “different in body” – means that we each have our own unique personalities, talent, roles to play; and so on.

In general sense, “one in mind” – or “one in heart” – means sharing a common goal or values. More specifically for us, it means sharing faith in the Mystic Law and the great vow for kosen-rufu.

The Daishonin concluded that the heritage of the ultimate Law of life and death flows in the lives of those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and advances with this spirit of many in body, one in mind.

In this passage, the Daishonin went on to clarify the crucial point that the “true goal” of his propagation lies in ensuring that his followers embody the spirit of “many in body but one in mind”.

The Daishonin stated with conviction, “When you are so united, even the great desire for widespread propagation (kosen-rufu) can be fulfilled.” The Daishonin was teaching here that only by putting into practice the principle of many in body, one in mind, based on “faith grounded in the shared commitment of mentor and disciple” and “unity built on genuine respect for our fellow practitioners”, can the great vow of the Buddha to realize kosen-rufu be achieved.

SGI President Ikeda said, “Let us continue exerting ourselves wholeheartedly in faith and taking sincere action to create unity in diversity – ‘many in body but one in mind’ – and thereby further expand our harmonious community of practitioners, built by the first three presidents through the shared commitment of mentor and disciple. For this itself is the path of kosen-rufu and is a sure step towards world peace.”

While emphasizing the importance of harmonious unity, the Daishonin also admonished those who disrupt the unity of “many in body but one in mind” as being “like warriors who destroy their own castle from within”. In other words, they are like “worms within the lion’s body”, destroying the kosen-rufu movement from the inside. Hence, the Daishonin instructed his followers about the importance of “transcending all differences among themselves” and to protect the community from such destructive forces.

Let’s consolidate the solidarity among all fellow practitioners and boldly open the way forward for the realization of happiness for all people.

Translated and adapted from the July 2012 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

The Blessings of the Lotus Sutra - The Benefit of Supporting the Votary of the Lotus Sutra

Every being, from the highest sage on down to the smallest mosquito or gnat, holds life to be its most precious possession. To deprive a being of life is to commit the gravest kind of sin… In providing another with sustenance, one obtains three kinds of benefit. First, one sustains one’s own life. Second, one brings colour to one’s face. Third, one gains strength.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p667)

This letter was written at Minobu in the intercalary third month of the second year of Kenji (1276) and addressed to Myomitsu, a believer who lived at Kuwagayatsu in Kamakura. While detailed information about Myomitsu is not available, it appeared that he and his wife frequently made offerings to the Daishonin at his small dwelling in the wilderness of Mount Minobu.

Miyomitsu and his wife, together with other followers centering around Shinjo Kingo, maintained their sinere faith in the Daishonin’s teachings even during the most difficult times of the Atsuhara Persecution.

The following explanation is based on SGI President Ikeda’s study series: “Learning from the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin: The Teachings for Victory” on the Gosho, “The Blessings of the Lotus Sutra”.

The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin teaches that all people can manifest the sublime power of the Mystic Law within their lives. It is a teaching that elucidates the fundamental dignity and sanctity of all life.

The Daishonin began this writing by stating that life is the most precious of all treasures. All living beings, even mosquitoes and gnats, he observed, prized their lives.

Shakyamuni Buddha himself valued all living beings and had immense compassion for them. Regarded as equally important, he added, is making offerings of sustenance, which sustain life.

By starting his letter in this way, the Daishonin seek to lavish the highest praise on Myomitsu for his invaluable offerings that supported and sustained the life of the votary of the Lotus Sutra, an act that will bring the giver unimaginably great benefit.

The Daishonin noted that because such offerings benefit the recipient by sustaining his life, brightening his complexion, and increasing his strength, the same benefits are also gained by the giver. (cf WND-1, p667)

In other words, offerings of sustenance function to support life, bring inner radiance, and strengthen vitality and life-force.

The Daishonin then went on to explain that the givers of such offerings are assured of receiving three kinds ofwondrous karmic reward.

First of all, in the human and heavenly realms, the benefit of having sustained another’s life will manifest as gaining long life; the benefit of having given strength to another will manifest as possessing virtue and influence and winning the trust and respect of many people; and the benefit of bringing colour to another’s face will manifest as being endowed with the thirty-two features and being as graceful and dignified as a lotus flower. (cf WND-1, p667)

The Daishonin also described the karmic rewards of such offerings in the realm of Buddhahood, which appear as the “three bodies of the Buddha” [embodiments of ultimate truth, wisdom, and compassion].

These benefits respectively consist of manifesting oneself as a Buddha of the Dharma body, a body that is as vast and boundless as space; manifesting oneself as a Buddha of the reward body, emanating the pure and brilliant light of supreme wisdom; and manifesting oneself as a Buddha of the manifested body, overflowing with compassion like Shakyamuni. (cf WND-1, p667)

Thus, because actions that support and nurture life are the very heart of Buddhist practice, the benefit of providing another with sustenance manifests not only as immense good fortune for the giver in the human and heavenly realms, but also manifests in the realm of Buddhahood by one’s life perfectly endowed with the three bodies of the Buddha in a single body.

Making offerings enables one to achieve good – the highest expression of which is the supreme good of attaining Buddhahood. In the Daishonin’s Buddhism, especially, the person or teaching to whom the offering is made is also very important.

The provisional teachings teach that if one makes offerings to a sage, one will be reborn in the human and heavenly realms. But by making offerings to the Lotus Sutra, the teaching for attaining Buddhahood, once can manifest the three bodies of the Buddha in one’s own life.

Accordingly, supporting and protecting a votary of the Lotus Sutra, who expounds and spreads the ultimate teaching for gaining enlightenment, is particularly praiseworthy.

The Opening of the Eyes - Establishing Faith to Strive On "When the Crucial Moment Comes"

Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbour doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have any doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith. Foolish men are likely to forget the promise they have made when the crucial moment comes.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p283)

“The Opening of the Eyes” was a treatise in which Nichiren Daishonin revealed his identity as the Buddha of the Latter of the Law, thereby establishing the basis for this treatise being designated as the writing that clarified the object of devotion in terms of the Person.

The Daishonin began writing this treatise immediately after arriving on Sado Island and completed it in February 1272. It was addressed to Shijo Kingo, on behalf of his followers.

The title, “The Opening of the Eyes” means exactly that: “To open the eyes”. It is a call to all people in the Latter Day of the Law to “open their eyes to Nichiren”, who would lead them to happiness.

After experiencing a near execution at Tatsunokuchi on 12 September in the previous year, the Daishonin was exiled to Sado by the authorities. In the aftermath of the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, many of his disciples were imprisoned, banished to exile, or had their lands confiscated.

As a result, a majority of his followers in Kamakura began to harbor doubts and abandoned their faith. The Daishonin described this situation in one of his writings in this manner: “…in Kamakura, among 999 out of 1,000 people… gave up their faith when I was arrested.” (WND-1, p469)

Many in society, including his disciples scathingly asked why, if the Daishonin were truly the votary of the Lotus Sutra as he claimed, he and his followers did not enjoy protection from the heaven.

It was against this setting that the Daishonin composed this treatise. In order to dispel people’s negativity and doubt and instill them with confidence and conviction, it was imperative that the Daishonin provided clear answers to the doubts raised by both his followers and the general populace.

The greater part of this treatise is devoted to clarifying such doubts.

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This is an important passage in which Nichiren Daishonin taught us on establishing faith for surmounting difficulties.

Prior to this passage, the Daishonin wrote: “This I will state. Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assil me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law”. (WND-1 p280)

Ready to brave all consequences, the Daishonin articulated his own unshakeable vow to persevere in his efforts to spread the Mystic Law in order to lead all people of the Latter Day to enlightenment., irrespective of the difficulties this may entail and even though he may not receive any protection from the heavens.

The Daishonin then called forth to his disciples to respond to this lion’s roar and share his resolve to stand up and struggle aslongside him through this passage that we are studying this month which begins with the words, “Although I and my disciples…”

It is expounded in the Lotus Sutra that in the course of our endeavor to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, the three obstacles and four devils will vie with one another to appear and the three powerful enemies will surely appear in our journey of kosen-rufu.

It I for this reason that the Daishonin empahsised here inthis passage that we must not harbor doubts because heaven does not lend us protection or be discouraged because we do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life.

Another reason for this admonition is because disbelief is the root of slander and this will destroy one’s faith.

Now, the question is how do we surmount and prevail over these hardships?

The Daishonin stated here very clearly, “if we do not harbor doubts in our hearts” – in other words, by sharing and maintaining strong faith based on the spirit of not begrudging one’s life demonstrated by the Daishonin himself, one will be able to summon forth the great life force that enables one to surmount and prevail over all kinds of obstacles. By doing so, we will “as a matter of course” attain Buddhahood.

This was what the Daishonin had been teaching his disciples all along but when obstacles appear in reality, many began to harbor doubts and abandon their faith.

“Crucial moments” are precisely the time when one should uphold and never forget the promises they made to their mentor and rise up to take on the challenges.

SGI President Ikeda said, “The principles that ‘obstacles lead to enlightenment’ and ‘persecutions lead to attaining Buddhahood’ signify that all obstacles we encounter in life or in the course of our practice of faith appear so that we can attain Buddhahood. Attaining Buddhahood means to attain absolute happiness and eternal victory. It means we can enjoy the same life state as the eternal Buddha and thereby manifest the ultimate strength as a human being.”

Let us be convicted that it is courageous faith to fight all obstacles at crucial moments that will enable us to manifest Buddhahood from within and charge ahead fearlessly.

(Translated and adapted from the May 2012 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai's monthly study journal.)

Letter to the Brothers - Times of Difficulties is Precisely the Opportunity to Attain Buddhahood

If you propagate it, devils will rise without fail. If they did not, there would be no way of knowing that this is the correct teaching. Once passage from the same volume reads: “As practice progresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form, vying with one another to interfere… One should be neither influenced or frightened by them. If one falls under their influence, one will be led into the paths of evil. If one is frightened by them, one will be prevented from practicing the correct teaching.” This statement not only applies to me, but also is a guide for my followers. Reverently make this teaching your own, and transmit it as an axiom of faith for future generations.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p501)

This is a letter that Nichiren Daishonin wrote to the Ikegami brothers who lived in Ikegami in the province of Musashi (present day Ota Ward in Tokyo) and their wives in which he taught the essence of “faith for surmounting obstacles”. The letter was originally thought to be written in 1275 but recent studies indicate that it was 1276.

It is not clear when the Ikegami brothers took faith in the Daishonin’s teachings but they were generally thought to have been the Daishonin’s earliest followers. The brothers belonged to the Ikegami clan, a prominent samurai family that served as a leading construction contractor for government building projects.

However, after the Daishonin went to live in Mount Minobu, their father opposed their faith in the Lotus Sutra disowned Munenaka, the elder of the two. The guidance in this letter was written in response to the report of this development.

The Daishonin revealed the the true nature of hardships that the brothers were confronting. He explained that hardships arise due to the devil king of the sixth heaven harassing practitioners by negatively influencing those around them.

The Daishonin also explained that practitioners encounter hardships due to their own karma from past lifetimes and that they should in fact be considered a benefit in the form of lessening one’s karmic retribution.

Finally, the Daishonin further explained that hardships can also be seen as an ordeal devised by the heavenly deities - the protective functions of the universe - to test the strength of a person’s faith.

In addition, the Daishonin taught that the appearance of the three obstacles and four devils serves to show that the Ikegami brothers were on the correct path of Buddhist practice and urged them to remain united, and together with their wives, prevailed over the adversity that they were confronting then, based on faith.

Some time after this letter was written, the elder brother was disowned for the second time (after he was reinstated after the first disownment). However, the brothers practiced exactly in accordance with the Daishonin’s teachings and finally wn their father over by successfully converting him to the Daishonin’s Buddhism.

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The practice of Buddhism entails a struggle between the forces of the Buddha and devilish functions.

To the beleaguered Ikegami brothers who were confronting one of the most serious crises in their lives, the Daishonin encouraged them that they must on no account be defeated by such negative forces.

The first point that the Daishon encouraged them that they must on no account be beaten be defeated by such negative functions.

The first point that the Daishonin revealed in this passage is that when one carries out one’s Buddhist practice correctly, the working of negative forces will surely appear.

The Daishonin’s Buddhism is a religion of transformation that uphold the universal enlightenment of al people. It is preciously for this reason, when once strives in one’s Buddhist practice based on resolute faith, that negative functions appear to hinder one’s progress in one’s faith and practice.

In this passage the Daishonin cited a message from the Great Teacher T’ien T’ai’s Great Concentration and Insight which reads: “As practice regresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form, vying with one another to interfere.” In our context, we can say that when we strive on the two paths of study and practice and when our conviction in faith is about to be further strengthened, that is the crucial when negative forces will appear to hintder us from doing so.

On top of this, the point to note is that the passage stated that the “three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form”.

These negative functions seek to catch practitioners of the Daishonin’s Buddhism off guard, and through various insidious means, they vie with one another to tempt, discourage or exhaust them.

Now, the question is how do we remain unaffected by the three obstacles and four devils? Here, the Daishonin outlined two key ingredients for the find of faith needed to conquer them - (1) “not being influenced by them” and (2) “not being frightened by them”.

“Not being influenced by them” manifest the “wisdom” to see devilish functions for what they are and not be swayed by them, while “not being frightened by them” means to summon forth the “courage” to stand up to them without fear. In terms of our daily practice, it is by carrying out the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge kyo that will enable us to manifest the wisdom and courage from within our lives to defeat such negative forces.

Nichiren Daishon himself set an example by walking along this very path of battling and thoroughly triumphing over devilish functions in exact accordance with the passage from Great Concentration and Insight expounds. Based on the actual proof, the Daishonin stated, “This statement not only applies to me, but also is a guide for my followers. Reverently make this teaching your own, and transmit it as an axiom of faith for future generations.”

In this way, the Daishonin called forth to his disciples to courageously wage a struggle against all obstacles that appear before us in the shared commitment of mentor and disciple.

SGI President said, “It is because we strive to realise kosen-rufu that devilish functions appear to obstruct us. And their appearance is precisely your opportunity to attain Buddhahood. Struggling against the three obstacles and four devils is the path to Buddhahood. This is the formula for attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime.”

Let’s us strive based on faith that remains undaunted in the face of the three obstacles and four devils and open forth a victorious state of life.

(Translated and adapted from the April 2012 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai's monthly study journal.)

The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood - Sowing Seeds of Happiness in Life of Others

Because I have expounded this teaching, I have been exiled and almost killed. As the saying goes, “Good advice grates not the ear”. But still I am not discouraged. The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower, and the people like the field.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p748)

This letter was written from Mount Minobu on August 1276 to Soya, a lay follower who had lived in Soya Village in Shimosa Province.

His full name and title were Soya Jiro Hyoe-no-jo Kyoshin, and he was thought to have been an officer of the high court of the Kamakura shogunate. Together with Toki Jonin and Ota Jomyo, he was one of the leading believers in Shimosa.

He received many important writings containing the essential doctrines of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. The content of these letter clearly indicated that he had strong faith and was highly educated.

In this letter, the Daishonin first explained that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo constitutes the two elements of reality and wisdom, the way to Buddhahood.

The Daishonin also pointed out at the end of the letter that one who ignores those who commit slander will not be able to attain Buddhahood. In this way, as the title of the Gosho suggested, the Daishonin laid down the essentials for attaining Buddhahood.

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To whom do we owe this debt of gratitude for the fact that we are practising the teaching of the Mystic Law today? As memories raced through our minds, probably the faces of seniors in faith, fellow members or family members who did their utmost best to share Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings with us appear vividly.

However, if we were to trace to the beginning of it all, the wellspring is none other that Nichiren Daishonin himself.

The Daishonon established the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the essence of the Lotus Sutra, as the fundamental teaching for all people in the Latter Day of the Law to enjoy peace and happiness in their lives. Thereafter, he initiated a movement to spread this teaching far and wide.

In this letter, the Daishonin taught that if one forgets the original teacher, one would surely lose sight of the correct path to enlightenment. During the Daishonin’s time, various Buddhist schools slandered and criticised Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra.

It was in response to this religious landscape that the Daishonin called forth that one should never forget the originsl teacher for all people, and tried to awaken these schools from their erroneous thoughts by expounding “this teaching”.

For this reason, as the Daishonin said in this Gosho, “Good advice grates on the ear”, the Daishonin was intensely hated by people with deep attachments to erroneous thoughts and teachings.

As a result, the Daishonin was harshly persecuted, experiencing life-threathening oppressions, including a near-execution and exiles.

Despite having experienced such adversities, the Daishon stated, “But still I am not discouraged.” Though short, this statement expresses the Daishonin’s indomitable resolve to continue waging the struggle for kosen-rufu and that he would never give up this endeavour no matter what happens.

This is because the Daishonin was well aware that he did not overcome these great obstacles and spread the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, the Law that would lead all people of the Latter Day to happiness will perish.

The Daishonin revealed the underlying profound significance of the teaching he had establish in this manner: “The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower, and the people like the field.”

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the seed of Buddhahood that enables all ordinary beings to become a Buddha.

The Buddha is like a sower, who sow the seeds of Buddhahood in the lives of the people.

Likewise, when we share the teachings of the Mystic Law with someone, our efforts can help awaken the innate Buddhahood that exists in the depths of his or her life.

In this way, there is no doubt the practice of propagation constitutes the “Buddha’s action” of sowing the seed of Buddhahood in life of the others.

SGI President Ikeda explained in this guidance: “Kosen-rufu is an endeavour to sow the seeds of absolute happiness - seeds that enable people to feel that living is itself a joy - in the lives of all people.”

Let’s us continue carrying out the noble endeavour of sowing seeds of happiness in the lives of others by initiating sincere dialogues based on prayers for the happiness of our friends.

(Translated and adapted from the November 2011 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai's monthly study journal.)