On Persecutions Befalling the Sage - Growing by the Day

Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month. Should you slacken in your resolve even a bit, devils will take advantage.

(Passage from “On Persecutions Befalling the Sage”, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p997)

Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at Minobu on 1 October 1279 to his followers in general, instructing that the letter be kept by Shijo Kingo.

In this writing, the Daishonin stated that the year 1279 was the 27th year since he first proclaimed his teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on 28 April 1253 and that the time had come for him to fulfill the purpose of his life. The reason of his appearance in the world is none other than the inscription of the object of devotion for the sake of all humankind.

The Daishonin realised that the time was right to do so after observing the indomitable faith of his lay disciples during the Atsuhara Persecution. In this writing, the Daishonin encouraged his disciples, especially those who were struggling in the midst of the Atsuhara Persecution, not to fear the oppression and that they must now "summon up the courage of a lion king" and strive till the very end.

The passage we are studying is the portion where the Daishonin taught us the importance of maintaining "non-regressing faith".

As the Daishonin said, "Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month", it is important that we costantly cherish a challenging spirit, seeking and striving to grow and develop ourselves day by day, month after month.

"Not advancing is regressing." Therefore, the moment we say, "This is enough" or "I can't go on any further" - this is the moment we are defeated by our own weaknesses - and this is when we begin to "regress".

The Daishonin said, "Should you slacken in your resolve even a bit, devils will take advantage." Thus, even if we slacken a little bit, negative forces will take advantage to seep into our lives to destroy the seeds of happiness.

Faith is a constant struggle against our own inertia and self-imposed limitations. It is a battle between the forces of the devilish function and Buddhahood.

The key that motivates one to tirelessly to grow in faith continuously is to cherish the earnest spirit to constantly seek one's mentor and to dedicate our lives to the cause of kosen-rufu, always working hand-in-hand, with fellow members of the SGI. Only by doing so can we destroy the workings of the devils that seek to destroy our faith and establish a life of indestructible happiness.


Gakkai activities creates the momentum of happiness and victory in our lives

It was in 1985 that I relocated to Tochigi Prefecture due to my husband's work. On the eighth year of my marriage, my beloved husband passed away suddenly due to a terminal illness. Looking at the sorrowful sight of my five-year old son and a one-year old daughter standing right before my eyes, I was so devastated that I could feel all my energy draining away from my life.

At that darkest moment of my life, SGI President and Mrs Ikeda happened to be visiting Tochigi Prefecture to attend a leaders meeting in this area, and they warmly embraced me with their wholehearted encouragement.

President Ikeda even wrote a poem for me, which read:
"Remain undefeated
The Mystic Law
Is right there in your life."

Mrs Ikeda also spurred me on with these words, "Even though we may be practising faith, there will be times when we encounter hardships that are way beyond our expectations. But remember, everything that happens has a profound meaning. There is absolutely no hardship or suffering that we, who have embraced the Mystic Law, cannot overcome. Never be daunted or defeated and strive for kosen-rufu based on faith in the Gohonzon and you will be able to blaze a magnificent path of life. Rather than concentrate on winning, strive to remain undefeated. I'll be waiting for your two children at Soka University."

The heartwarming encouragement from President and Mrs Ikeda touched my heart to the core and I felt as if a ray of hope had brightened up my life. "Yes! I shall never be defeated by my karma. I'm going to triumph over this devilish function." I resolved and felt a surge of courage welling forth from the depths of my life.

From that day, I pledged to "eternally live my life together with my mentor", "transform my karma into a mission" and "dedicate my entire being for the sake of kosen-rufu".

I went back to my hometown in Nagasaki and threw my entire life into the movement of kosen-rufu there. Through my strong faith, I was fortunate to be financially stable which allowed me to concentrate fully on Gakkai activities without any reservations.

Thereafter many trials continued to test my faith. I was inflicted by various illnesses, including Meniere's disease (a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance), a dermatological disease where the doctor could not detect the cause and Graves disease (also known as Basedow's disease - a thyroid disorder).

I challenged each illness with all my might based on a solid determination and pressed myself forward to continue striving for kosen-rufu. I overcame each disease and emerged the winner.

Twenty years has passed by since that fateful day. With the great support from fellow members, my children have grown up healthily into fine adults in the garden of kosen-rufu. My son is a fourth year student at Soka University and will be graduating next year while my daughter is in her third year at the same university.

It is my greatest joy that both my children and I are able to live our lives with the same heart and mind as our mentor to fulfill our mission for kosen-rufu in this lifetime. My life is overflowing with deep gratitude that I am able to dedicate my life for the sake of kosen-rufu.

President Ikeda said in his guidance, "Today will never come again. Let us live each precious day with vigour by summoning up 'the courage of a lion king' and win. Whatever our past, let leave them behind us. What is important is the actions we take right now in order to blaze a path of continuous achievement and development towards the future. This will mark the beginning of a magnificent drama of human revolution... Advancing together with the activities of the SGI daily with renewed determination constitutes the very action that will put us in sync with the Law of the universe and create the momentum of happiness and victory in our lives."

As we advance, let us continue to polish ourselves by growing by the day and by the month and become the brilliant sun of our community, bringing great hope to the people around us as we expand the circle of friendship and happiness in the society.

Translated and adapted from an article written by Nagasaki Prefecture WD Study Chief Kayoko Nakashima published in the March 2006 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.