The Blessings of the Lotus Sutra - Encouragement Enhances the Momentum of Advancement

The more gold is heated in the flames, the brighter will be its colour; the more a sword is whetted, the sharper it will become. And the more one praises the blessings of the Lotus Sutra, the more one’s own blessings will increase.

(Passage from “The Blessings of the Lotus Sutra”, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p673)

This letter was written by Nichiren Daishonin at Minobu on the fifth day of the third month of 1276 and addressed to the Honourable Myomitsu.

The Honourable Myomitsu was a disciple of Nichiren Daishonin who lived at Kuwagayatsu in Kamakura. While detailed information about Myomitsu is not available, it appears that he and his wife were earnest and sincere practitioners of faith.

The passage we are studying this month constitutes the concluding portion of this letter. The Daishonin stated here that when gold is heated in the flames, its colour will become brighter and the more a sword is whetted, the sharper it will become. In the same way, the more we praise the blessings of the Lotus Sutra (that is, the Gohonzon), the more our benefits and good fortune will increase.

Similarly, praising and cherishing fellow members who are striving for kosen-rufu in the forefront of our movement is equivalent to praising the Lotus Sutra and the benefits one accrues from doing so will be unimaginable.

In one of his guidance, SGI President Ikeda said, “The more one praises the wonderful power of the Mystic Law, the more one’s benefits will increase. In the same way, leaders of kosen-rufu must sincerely praise, thank and encourage fellow members who are working hard to propagate the Mystic Law.

The benefits and good fortune one receives will be in direct proportion to the efforts one put in for this endeavour. Nichiren Daishonin’s writings are themselves words of encouragement.

Offering continuous encouragement is the key in the realm of human beings – be it in families, schools, organizations and societies, development will stop the moment encouragement cease to exist. The momentum for advancement arises from encouragement. One’s sense of purpose to be born as a human being expands and enhances through encouragement.”


Mrs Kimiko Oyama, a women division district leader living in Kumamoto city lost her beloved husband in a traffic accident 11 years ago. Just as she was wondering how she was going to continue living her life together with her three young children, she received a heartwarming poem from President Ikeda.

It read:
“Live out your life
As a great mother
While cherishing your noble husband
Deep in your heart
And achieve ultimate victory
No matter what.”

Mrs Oyama was so touched and grateful that President Ikeda would go to this extent to encourage one individual member that tears flow uncontrollably down her cheeks. At the same time, boundless courage began surging forth from the depth of her life. Deeply engraving the last phrase of the poem, “Achieve ultimate victory no matter what”, in her life, she stood up courageously with the pledge, “I’m definitely going to foster my three children into capable leaders of kosen-rufu.”

In order to raise her three children, Mrs Oyama decided to continue teaching at a secondary school. In 2003, she was assigned to be the form teacher of a class in which students were facing various problems, including student K who was on a rampage lately due to frequent clashes with his family, while there was another who refused to attend school.

Mrs Oyama decided to write down the names of all her students and sent daimoku to each and every one of them daily. She also resolved to make this class onto one in which everyone can feel the warmth and comfort of being among good friends who cherish both oneself and others.

However, things did not go as smoothly as she thought. There were many challenges as she met one obstacle after another. As she continued chanting for her students, she suddenly thought of an idea – why not ask her students to start writing a diary about good things that happened in their lives. She wanted to give her students an opportunity to look for “good things” – no matter how insignificant – that happens in their otherwise problem-filled lives. On other words, the students will record the “small happiness” they manage to discover into their diaries.

Initially, items recorded were really trivial, such as “today’s lunch was delicious”. However, Mrs Oyama persevered. Everyday, she took home 35 copies of the diaries from her students, read and wrote comments on every diary as she journeyed home on the subway train. She continued this over a period of 100 days till the students graduated. It was through this diary that Mrs Oyama got to know that student K has lost self-confidence and suffered from inferiority complex because his parents kept comparing him with his siblings.

Mrs Oyama tried to restore the self-confidence in student K by looking for different good points about K and wrote them as praises of him in the diary everyday. She also suggested to student K to do a research on his family business as a class project. Through this, student K had more opportunity to communicate with his father and his father was also able to understand K better.

Ultimately, student K even received an award for his class project. This boosted his self-confidence immensely and his relationship with his family members improved trememdously.

Each student began to change their attitude towards life when they could discover joy and appreciation in the small little things in life that others may take fro granted. Through this, Mrs Oyama was able to transform her class into one that was filled with a wonderful sense of joy, confidence and harmony.

This experience deepened Mrs Oyama’s conviction that praising others will never fail to instill hope and confidence in their lives.

She applied this principle to her members in her district. All fellow members who are striving for kosen-rufu are “children of the Buddha” without a single exception. Mrs Oyama wrote down the names of all the “children of the Buddha” in her district and prayed for their happiness each and every day. No matter what others may said, she was never swayed and continued to look for the good points of every individual member and praised them for it. She practiced this through and through.

Just as what President Ikeda wrote 11 years ago, Mrs Oyama achieved ultimate victory. Her three children, who are now in the primary and secondary schools, are growing well as members of the Future Division of the Soka Gakkai.

When one sincerely respects and praises others, one will in turn be able to earn the respect and praise from others and the Buddhist gods, the protective functions of the universe.

Establishing an enriching life state where one is able to rejoice at the happiness of one’s friends is equivalent to savouring supreme happiness ourselves.

Lets continue polishing our lives through faith based on the spirit of oneness of mentor and disciple and become individuals shining with humanism who can offer encouragement and praises to anyone we come into contact with.

Key points of the Gosho passage:
1. Karma is created through thoughts, words and deeds. Firstly, when we praise Nam-myoho-renge-kyo or the Gohonzon, our words are extolling the greatness of the Gohonzon. Secondly, our thoughts are also filled with deep appreciation and reverence for the Gohonzon. Thirdly, praising the Gohonzon is a deed that encourages others who hear our praises to take faith in the Gohonzon. That is why praising the Gohonzon can create such great good fortune.

2. How do we praise the Gohonzon? When we strive to introduce and convince others to practise Nichiren Buddhism, we are praising the Gohonzon. When we relate our testimonies at discussion meetings, we are praising the Gohonzon. When we do our human revolution by overcoming difficulties with our courage and determination, our victories themselves are like raises about the wonderful power of the Gohonzon within our life.

3. President Ikeda further adds that praising, thanking and encouraging fellow members who are striving for kosen-rufu is equivalent to praising the Gohonzon. In short, when we practise this principle of praising the Gohonzon and praising those who strive for kosen-rufu, we will receive the greatest good fortune in our lives.

Translated and adapted from an article written by Kazuko Manabu, Women Division Study Chief for Kumamoto Prefecture, published in the October 2006 issue of The Daibyakurange, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.