Great Evil and Great Good - Resolve and Take Action to Transform Great Evil into Great Good

Great events never have minor omens. When great evil occurs, great good follows. Since great slander already exists in our land, the great correct Law will spread without fail. What could any of you have to lament? Even if you are not the Venerable Mahakashyapa, you should all perform a dance. Even if you are not Shariputra, you should leap up and dance. When Bodhisattva Superior Practices emerged from the earth, did he not emerge dancing? And when Bodhisattva Universal Worthy arrived, the ground shook in six different ways.

(Passage from “Great Evil and Great Good”, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p1,119)

Neither its date nor its recipient is known about this letter. Judging from the content, it may have been sent to some of Nichiren Daishonin’s believers who were facing difficulties on account of their faith.

With the assurance, “When great evil occurs, great good follows”, Nichiren Daishonin encouraged his disciples to regard the hostility they faced as an omen of great good, i.e., the eventual spreading of the correct teaching.

But one crucial point to note here is that, “omen” here does no mean that great good automatically comes after great evil; it means that, by regarding difficulties as opportunities and possessing the firm resolve to take courageous action to transform them into springboards for growth, we can realize great good.

For this reason, the Daishonin said, “What could any of you have to lament?” If one is absolutely convinced that great good will follow great evil, one should rejoice when difficulties arise, instead of lamenting about it.

The Daishonin urged us to rejoice like the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In the Lotus Sutra, it is stated that countless number of Bodhisattvas of the Earth danced with joy as they emerged from the earth. Bodhisattvas of the Earth are bodhisattvas who have been entrusted with the mission to propagate the teachings of the Mystic Law in the Latter Day of the Law. Their lives are one with the Mystic Law and represent the life entity of joy. Nichiren Daishonin taught that we should bravely confront adversities with great joy based on a firm sense of mission that we are Bodhisattvas of the Earth entrusted with the mission to propagate the Mystic Law.

SGI President Ikeda said in his guidance, “Faith in the Daishonin’s Buddhism enables us to change poison into medicine, no matter what the circumstances. It is precisely when some terrible misfortune or catastrophe occurs that we are presented with an opportunity to receive tremendous benefit – or, in the Daishonin’s words, that ‘great good follows’ (WND, 1,119)… The lion king brings forth the greatest strength when the situation is most dire.”

It is so easy for one to feel helpless, lose hope and be defeated amidst present turbulent global conditions where humankind is constantly plagued by fear and insecurity arising from terrorism, natural calamities such as tsunamis, typhoons and earthquakes, diseases such as Sars, bird flu and rising social problems such as aging population, juvenile crimes and growing indifference towards others, or economic uncertainty like the current financial crisis. However, based on the conviction of this Gosho passage, let us strive to lead our friends and family towards happiness and the world towards peace, transforming great evil into great good based on single-minded prayers, undaunted determination and courageous actions.