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.


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.)