#Toynbee & #Ikeda: The Heart of Dialogue (#Backstory to “Choose Life”)… The #WorldPeace #WorldView of #Buddhism

14 May


(Me? First book I read from Daisaku Ikeda – an eye opener, to say the least, setting the stage way back in 1989…)

Relevant excerpt:

The Heart of Dialogue
Living Buddhism

THIS MONTH MARKS 45 YEARS SINCE SGI PRESIDENT IKEDA began his dialogue with world-renowned British historian Arnold J. Toynbee. Not only was this President Ikeda’s first official dialogue with a Western academic, but also through their meeting he embarked on a worldwide journey of dialogue with more than 1,600 influential figures in the realms of academia, politics, business, activism and art. Not all of President Ikeda’s dialogue partners have shared corresponding views of life and peace. In fact, he has met with figures whose ideas sharply differ from his own. Yet, regardless of the person’s background or belief system, President Ikeda, through his unceasing efforts to emphasize people’s common humanity, has underscored that dialogue has the power to create a more peaceful world.


Dr. Arnold J. Toynbee was born in London on April 14, 1889. He served humanity as a journalist and historian, whose primary concern was how to raise the conscience of humanity to a level where war would never again occur. He traveled extensively to many countries to make friends with people of different backgrounds and gain a deep understanding of various cultures.

Dr. Toynbee was especially fascinated with Japanese culture, leading him to take three trips to Japan. During his third visit in 1967, he learned about the Soka Gakkai through discussions with religious scholars. Two years later, President Ikeda received a letter from Dr. Toynbee, inviting the Soka Gakkai president to his home in London. The two met from May 5–9, 1972, and then again from May 15–19, 1973, spending more than 40 hours in discussion.

The dialogue spanned many topics concerning the future of humanity, including the nature of human beings, the natural environment, health, education, politics, religion, literature and issues of war and peace. ***In reading the dialogue, we observe that President Ikeda and Dr. Toynbee didn’t agree on certain issues, however, in each instance, they came to a common understanding based on their mutual desire for peace and human happiness…***

The content of their dialogue was published in 1975 under the title, Choose Life. (Excerpts of the dialogue follow on pp. 18–21 of this issue.)

As their dialogue drew to a close, President Ikeda asked Dr. Toynbee, “As your student, what grade would you give me?” Dr. Toynbee responded that he would give him an A, and went on to explain the origin of the letter A, which is the head of an ox, its horns turned upside down. The letter expresses strength of will and determination. President Ikeda responded with a determination of his own: “To me, the horns of the ox symbolize the fighting spirit to courageously challenge any evil or injustice. Having received an A from you, Dr. Toynbee, I am further determined to struggle against all negative forces that seek to bring suffering to humanity” ( The New Human Revolution, vol. 16, p. 169).

After parting ways, Dr. Toynbee handed a list of potential dialogue partners to a staff member supporting President Ikeda in the hopes that he would meet with them. This friendship with Dr. Toynbee opened the gates of dialogue that President Ikeda has continued to pursue with influential figures from all over the world, paving a direct path to peace for all humanity.


Today, courageous dialogue has the power to melt the icy walls of hatred and mistrust that divide people along superficial lines. President Ikeda has described the Buddhist perspective of dialogue, saying: “Dialogue involves learning from others. It requires respect for others” (March 18, 2011, World Tribune, p. 5). Dialogue is not simply a conversation or verbal exchange. Rather, dialogue comes from the shared wish of two people to respect one another, learn from one another and mutually grow as a result of their interaction.
It’s easy for people to associate with others who think like them, or find amusement in berating the ideas of those who are different.

This attitude, however, is antithetical to the Buddhist spirit of dialogue. In a sense, regardless of how noble one’s beliefs, they only take shape when a person is willing to engage in dialogue with someone with whom they disagree on certain issues.

The German literary giant Johann Wolfgang von Goethe responded to a friend who confided that he had nothing to do with those beyond his inner circle, saying: “It is in conflict with nature opposed to his own that a man must collect his strength to fight his way through; and thus all our different sides are brought out and developed, so that we soon feel ourselves a match for every foe. You should do the same; you have more capacity for it than you imagine; indeed, you must at all events plunge into the great world, whether you like it or not” (December 2013 Living Buddhism, p. 32). Nichiren Daishonin, likewise, discusses how this sort of dialogue can enrich our lives, when he declares: “In this age as well, it is not one’s allies but one’s powerful enemies who assist one’s progress” (“The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 770).

We learn here, that coming into contact with those who think differently from us is in fact an exhilarating opportunity to further develop our capabilities to work for the happiness and peace of humanity.

In his 2017 New Year’s message, President Ikeda called on SGI members around the world to “work even harder to reach out in dialogue based on respect for others, transcending all differences” (January 1, 2017, World Tribune, p. 3). This call is in complete accord with Nichiren Daishonin’s philosophy of humanism. Through studying this feature on President Ikeda’s approach to dialogue, let’s reaffirm our conviction that courageous and compassionate dialogue with all people is the direct path to kosen-rufu.

Copyright: SGI/SGI-USA 2017

“No one can avoid problems, not even sages or worthies” – #Nichiren #Gosho #Study of #Buddhism by Daisaku #Ikeda – #SGI #SGIUSA #WorldPeace #WorldView

13 Nov

The Buddhism of the Sun Illuminating the World
—Study for November—

Living Buddhism

The Five Eternal Guidelines of the Soka Gakkai PART 2 [ 10]
“Faith for Achieving Happiness”— Creating Lives of Happiness for Ourselves and Others
What is the aim of Nichiren Buddhism?
We were born into this world to be happy. Surely no one wishes to be unhappy. This is why, since ancient times, happiness has been one of the central issues of philosophy. Human happiness is also the original purpose of religion.
After World War II, in a devastated Japan, my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, rose up alone to rebuild the Soka Gakkai, which had been destroyed as a result of wartime government persecution.
In those post-war years, it was all anyone could do just to survive from day to day. People were in a state of spiritual desolation, without any hope or dreams for the future. They faced such trials as food shortages, financial hardships, poverty, illness, family discord, unemployment and punishing workloads. Society was racked by mistrust and turbulence. The scars of the war ran deep, and the younger generation had lost all hope. It was a period of great suffering, misery and misfortune.
The Proactive Attitude of “Achieving Happiness”
These kinds of maladies are still pressing issues for humanity in the 21st century. Poverty, epidemics and war continue to deprive people of their dignity, pride, independence and joy in living, plunging them into dark despair and resignation. Seeing this recurring pattern of people being robbed of their very right to exist, how can we find meaning in life? A truly living religion, a religion concerned with people’s welfare, must grapple head-on with this question.
In the extreme confusion of the times, Mr. Toda strove tirelessly to convey the philosophy of happiness of Nichiren Buddhism. No matter what depths of suffering and despair we may be in right now, the power of faith in the Mystic Law enables us to open the way to a life of genuine happiness. This unshakable conviction has provided Soka Gakkai members with great hope for the future and
been the bedrock of their determination to weather and challenge all of life’s hardships.
Mr. Toda stressed “faith for achieving happiness.” His choice of the word “achieving” embodies a profound philosophy of life. Happiness is not something given to us by others. It is not something we wait for to suddenly appear in our lives, unrelated to our own will and effort. Ultimately, each of us has to achieve happiness for ourselves. Faith in Nichiren Buddhism guarantees that we can do so.
The purpose of our Buddhist practice is to build a state of eternally enduring happiness in our own lives and to help others do the same. In this installment, let us study the second of the five eternal guidelines of the Soka Gakkai—“Faith for achieving happiness.”
There is no true happiness other than upholding faith in the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]. This is what is meant by “peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences” [ The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening
and Closing Sutras, p. 136]. Though worldly troubles may arise, never let them disturb you. No one can avoid problems, not even sages or worthies.
Drink sake only at home with your wife, and chant Nam-myohorenge-kyo. Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nammyoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever. (“Happiness in This World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 681) 1
Establishing a State of Absolute Happiness
What kind of happiness do we seek to achieve through faith? Mr. Toda summarized the Buddhist view of happiness into two key points.
The first is that there is a difference between relative happiness and absolute happiness.
Nichiren Buddhism does not reject the relative happiness of a comfortable life or good health. Having a job, good health and improving our standard of living are all important. While making positive efforts to achieve those things, Mr. Toda said we should also challenge ourselves through Buddhist practice to attain a state of absolute happiness that nothing can destroy—a state in which living is itself a joy and our lives are imbued with the four virtues of eternity, happiness, true self and purity. 2
The second aspect of the Buddhist view of happiness that Mr. Toda stressed is that we were born into this world to enjoy life.
The Lotus Sutra teaches that this world is a place “where living beings enjoy themselves at ease” (LSOC, p. 272). 3 But in this saha world4 filled with suffering, we cannot enjoy ourselves if our life force is weak. That’s why we need to exert ourselves in Buddhist practice to bring forth our inner Buddhahood and strengthen our life force. With a strong life force, we can calmly and enjoyably ascend the hilly path of life. The countless hardships and challenges we experience will be transformed into something that adds to our joy in life, like a pinch of salt that enhances the flavor of sweets.
Mr. Toda’s dearest wish was for everyone to find supreme pleasure in life.
A Life Where We Enjoy Ourselves at Ease
“Happiness in This World” is a letter Nichiren Daishonin wrote to Shijo Kingo and his wife, Nichigen-nyo, at a time when they were undergoing adversity. 5 In it, he taught them how to attain a state of absolute security and peace of mind.
His letter opens with the words “There is no true happiness for human beings other than chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (WND-1, 681). This is the supreme path, he says, to a life in which we can freely enjoy ourselves. Based on this, he declares: “There is no true happiness other than upholding faith in the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]” (WND-1, 681).
A life dedicated to faith in the Mystic Law is in itself the state of Buddhahood, enabling us to enjoy life to our heart’s content. We are assured of “peace and security in our present existence and good circumstances in future existences” (see LSOC, 136).
Certainly, the world is filled with an unceasing cacophony of negativity and malice. Even those leading the most admirable lives cannot escape being attacked and criticized. But Nichiren says of such troubles, “Never let them disturb you” (WND-1, 681).
He then continues, “Drink sake only at home with your wife” (WND-1, 681). Shijo Kingo had his wife, Nichigen-nyo, to confide in; and we, in addition to family, also have fellow members, friends in faith, to share our troubles with. There’s no need to try to bear them alone and in silence. In addition, the Gohonzon is aware of everything. No matter what anyone else may say, we should just steadfastly live our lives the way we have chosen. Here, the Daishonin is teaching us the importance of chanting Nam-myohorenge-kyo as we strive together with good friends around us, warmly supporting and encouraging one another.
Regard Both “Suffering and Joy as Facts of Life”
“Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens” (WND-1, 681), writes Nichiren Daishonin. Countless SGI members have engraved this passage in their hearts and fervently chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to overcome their problems. No matter how painful or challenging our situation, if we keep chanting to the Gohonzon with focused prayer, we are certain to break through it.
Such prayer forges an indomitable spirit, kindles limitless hope, brings absolute peace of mind and powers resolute progress. It is a source of unsurpassed happiness and one of the most noble acts we can perform as a human being.
Next, Nichiren mentions the “boundless joy of the Law” (WND-1, 681). 6 Being able to freely enjoy the “boundless joy of the Law” is the life state of Buddhahood.
We can definitely lead happy lives based on unshakable conviction in faith and in accord with the ultimate law of the universe.
A Religion for Transforming Our Lives
In December 1955, the Kansai Headquarters, the first major Soka Gakkai facility in Osaka, opened [in a newly renovated building]. At a meeting held to commemorate that event, Mr. Toda, smiling warmly, called on the members to overcome illness and gain financial fortune, urging them to “persevere in faith and become exemplars of happiness.” 7
And in February the following year (1956), at the Nakanoshima Civic Hall, a place of so many memories, he said with humor: “I’ve never heard of a poor Buddha. I’ve never heard of a Buddha with tuberculosis. I’ve never seen a Buddha being chased after by debt collectors.” 8 The aim of our Buddhist practice is to become happy. Mr. Toda explained the great benefits of the Mystic Law by saying that the benefits he had personally attained through faith in the Gohonzon were so enormous that they wouldn’t fit into the civic hall. 9
Two months later (in April 1956), at a meeting at the Osaka Stadium held in the rain, he declared that he was determined to see to it that not a single sick or poor person remained in Kansai. 10 He put his entire being into encouraging these ordinary members who were struggling to make ends meet, resolved to help free them from the depths of despair and hopelessness.
“By practicing Nichiren Buddhism, we are sure to attain benefits, show actual proof of the power of faith and become happy without fail!”—filled with this conviction, we actively went out to share Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings with others. As we did so, some derided the Soka Gakkai as “a gathering of the poor and sick” and arrogantly scorned our Buddhism as a religion that only cared about worldly benefits.
But do we not need benefits in this world? We confidently replied to such charges by saying that an effective religion is one that improves its practitioners’ lives and positively transforms the way they live.
Above all, our members felt themselves brimming with zest for life, revitalized on a fundamental level and experienced the joy of actually setting forth on the path to breaking through the chains of destiny. The Kansai members, ordinary men and women rising powerfully into action, knew instinctively that those heaping scorn on them were arrogant and misguided individuals who looked down on others, and were ignorant of the true purpose of religion.
No fact speaks louder than transforming our life circumstances. No proof is more powerful than changing our destiny.
Just as our founding president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, insightfully observed, Buddhism is a teaching for living. It gives us the strength to navigate the rough waters of life. It is the path leading to supreme happiness.
With a confident laugh, Mr. Toda declared: “What’s wrong with being a gathering of the poor and sick? A real religion reaches out to and helps those who are suffering the most, after all! The Soka Gakkai is the greatest ally of the people.” This lion’s roar of my mentor was a great declaration of human rights, a pledge to eradicate the causes of people’s misery and misfortune, including poverty, sickness and conflict.
Let those who have suffered the most enjoy the greatest happiness! Everyone has the right to become happy. Nichiren Buddhism is the foremost ally of those experiencing the deepest suffering.
The Soka Gakkai stands forever on the side of the people. This is proof of its commitment to continuing its struggle against the fundamental evil that lies at the root of all human suffering and misery— the tendency to disrespect and devalue life—and to helping all people become happy.
From a mundane view, I [Nichiren] am the poorest person in Japan, but in the light of Buddhism, I am the wealthiest person in all Jambudvipa [the entire world]. When I consider that this is all because the time is right, I am overwhelmed with joy and cannot restrain my tears. It is impossible to repay my debt of gratitude to Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings. Perhaps even the rewards of the Buddha’s twenty-four successors11 are inferior to mine, and even those
of the great teachers such as T’ien-t’ai Chih-che and Dengyo12 cannot approach mine. (“On Establishing the Four Bodhisattvas as the Object of Devotion,” WND-1, 977) 13
“The Wealthiest Person in the Entire World”
Nichiren Daishonin’s life was threatened on numerous occasions. He was exiled twice, and denounced and reviled by people throughout the land. “From a mundane view,” as he put it, he may well have been “the poorest person in Japan” (WND-1, 977). But viewed in the mirror of Buddhism, he was “the wealthiest person in all Jambudvipa” (WND-1, 977)—that is, the wealthiest person in the entire world.
“I am overwhelmed with joy and cannot restrain my tears” (WND-1, 977), he continues, describing the reality of his indestructible happiness, impervious to the devilish workings of the most powerful authorities. 14
As SGI members striving to realize kosen-rufu, the mission entrusted to us by Nichiren Daishonin, we are forging a state of unshakable happiness through our daily activities. In other words, we are accumulating the most valuable of treasures, the “treasures of the heart.”
He writes, “More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all” (“The Three Kinds of Treasure,” WND-1, 851). Those who accumulate these “treasures of the heart” in their lives through faith dedicated to kosen-rufu are truly the wealthiest, supremely happy people.
Mr. Toda remained a spiritual champion, even while imprisoned for his beliefs during World War II, continuing his unsparing struggle to defend the correct teaching of Buddhism. Based on his profound conviction that he was truly “wealthy,” he assured his family that they were as well. In a letter he wrote to them from prison, he said: “No matter how hard life is and how poor you are, please always be confident that you are ‘wealthy people.’ For I, too, am living [with all my might here in prison].”
As the disciple of this great mentor, completely united with him in spirit, I have forged ahead through every storm of adversity in my struggle for kosen-rufu. I have dedicated my life to the Mystic
Law, to my mentor and to our members. I have been fully prepared to encounter great difficulties. Overcoming every obstacle, regarding each trial as an honor, I opened the way for worldwide kosen-rufu together with our noble pioneer members.
Now is the time for my fellow members of the men’s and women’s divisions and my successors in the youth division to advance triumphantly along this great and honored path with the conviction that you are the happiest people in the world.
“Joy” [in the phrase “responding with joy”] means that oneself and others together experience joy . . . Then both oneself and others together will take joy in their possession of wisdom and compassion.
Now, when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-rengekyo, they are expressing joy in the fact that they will inevitably become Buddhas eternally endowed with the three bodies. ( The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 146)
“Oneself and Others Together Experience Joy”
In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin discusses the phrase “responding with joy” that appears in [“The Benefits of Responding with Joy,” the 18th chapter of] the Lotus Sutra, saying: “‘Joy’ means that oneself and others together experience joy” (OTT, 146). This shared joy, experienced by both oneself and others, is true joy and happiness, he asserts.
Happiness is something that we must each achieve for ourselves and experience in our own lives. But at the same time, one’s own happiness to the exclusion of others is not true happiness. Just being content with one’s own welfare with no concern for others is selfish. By the same token, brushing aside one’s own happiness and caring only about the happiness of others is not sufficient either. True happiness is a condition where both ourselves and others are happy.
The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) also identified the essence of happiness as existing in the expansive spirit of shared happiness. He wrote: “Remove exclusiveness from the pleasures. The more you leave them to [people] in common, the more you will always taste them pure.” 15 Happiness only exists when it is shared.
When something good happens, we want to share it with others—our family, friends, fellow members, our mentor. Happiness expands and grows within this web of relationships where we share our joys and sorrows.
Wishing for the Happiness of All
Nichiren Daishonin writes, “If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not?” (“On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” WND-1, 24). These well-known words express the fundamental spirit with which we should pray in order to realize a truly peaceful and prosperous society.
During World War II, Mr. Makiguchi rejected the notion of self-sacrifice for the sake of the country that the Japanese wartime militaristic authorities encouraged in their nationalist propaganda: “Self-negation is a lie. What is right is to seek happiness for both oneself and everyone else.” 16
Mr. Toda asserted: “Becoming happy yourself is no great challenge; it’s quite simple. But the essence of Nichiren Buddhism lies in helping others become happy, too.” 17
We cannot steal happiness from someone or attain it by sacrificing others for our own gain. It is something that must be shared—which is why I have always insisted that our happiness must not be built upon the misfortune of others.
Next in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren says, “Then both oneself and others together will take joy in their possession of wisdom and compassion” (p. 146). “Wisdom and compassion” refer to the life state of Buddhahood itself. Whatever difficulty we encounter, we remain undefeated, and the wisdom to overcome it and the compassion to help others well forth from within us.
He continues, “Now, when Nichiren and his
followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are expressing joy in the fact that they will inevitably become Buddhas eternally endowed with the three bodies” (OTT, 146).
The “three bodies” are the Buddha’s three bodies—the Dharma body, the reward body and the manifested body. Both ourselves and others are originally supremely respectworthy Buddhas, embodiments of the Mystic Law. This describes the Dharma body. The wisdom to create happiness for ourselves and others based on that profound awareness corresponds to the reward body. And practical, compassionate action for the happiness of ourselves and others corresponds to the manifested body. This passage tells us that when we chant Nammyoho-renge-kyo, we ordinary, unenlightened beings, just as we are, become Buddhas possessing these wondrous three bodies.
The Joy of Expanding Our Lives
In another part of The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin speaks of the “great joy that one experiences when one understands for the first time that one’s mind from the very beginning has been the Buddha. Nam-myohorenge-kyo is the greatest of all joys” (pp. 211–12).
Moreover, realizing that one’s mind, one’s life, has from the very beginning been the Buddha leads to the recognition that this is true not only of oneself, but also equally of others. We and others alike are Buddhas—a realization that is certain to cause a feeling of absolute joy to rise up within us. When we attain this life state of rejoicing at our own welfare and that of others, unsurpassed happiness enduring for all eternity will shine brilliantly in our hearts.
There is no greater joy or happiness than realizing that we are “Buddhas eternally endowed with the three bodies” (OTT, 146), just as we are. This is itself the life state of Buddhahood. It is the state of savoring the “boundless joy of the Law” that enables us to fully and freely experience the benefits of the Mystic Law, a state of absolute happiness.
Spreading Waves of Joy Around the World
What kind of age do we want to make the 21st century? In response to that question, the eminent economist John Kenneth Galbraith (1908–2006) unhesitatingly replied that we need to make it an age in which people can truly enjoy living in this world, confident that they can better themselves and lead happy, fulfilling lives; and an age where we put an end to killing. Having lived through the turbulent times of the 20th century, he had given long and deep thought to the future of humanity. I felt that his vision echoed Mr. Toda’s fervent wish to rid the world of all misery and suffering.
The Soka Gakkai is an organization dedicated to value creation. The essence of happiness for both ourselves and others lies in creating the values of beauty, benefit and good. 18 As the expression of our
personal triumph in faith, let us each bring flowers of happiness to bloom in all their rich variety and cultivate an ever-widening, joy-filled garden of happiness, victory and peace in our communities, societies and the world.
Nichiren Daishonin writes that hearing someone rejoice can cause another to rejoice in turn (see “The Recitation of the ‘Expedient Means’ and ‘Life Span’ Chapters,” WND-1, 68). We are now in the new era of worldwide kosen-rufu, when waves of joy arising from “faith for achieving happiness” are transcending borders and ethnic and linguistic differences to spread all across the globe. We are striving to open an age of the victory of the people, when all humanity together can achieve happiness.
Happiness accumulates through our steady efforts each day. And the foundation of our lives, which are directed toward realizing happiness, is our unsurpassed daily practice of chanting Nammyoho-renge-kyo.
I am praying earnestly today and will keep on doing so—praying for you to lead long, healthy lives; to realize all your desires, and enjoy peace and security in your present existence; to achieve your mission in this life and enjoy good circumstances in future existences; to become happy without exception; and to adorn your lives with brilliant victory.
Translated from the February 2016 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai monthly study journal.
1. “Happiness in This World” is a letter, dated June 27, 1276, that Nichiren Daishonin sent to Shijo Kingo, who was facing harsh persecution at the time.
2. Eternity, happiness, true self and purity are known as the four virtues. Describing the noble qualities of the Buddha’s life, the four are explained as follows: “eternity” means unchanging and eternal; “happiness” means tranquility that transcends all suffering; “true self” means true and intrinsic nature; and “purity” means free of illusion or mistaken conduct.
3. The phrase “where living beings enjoy themselves at ease” appears in “Life Span,” the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. It expresses the truth that this saha world of suffering is actually the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, where all living beings experience the greatest enjoyment.
4. Saha world: This world, which is full of suffering. Often translated as the world of endurance. In Sanskrit, saha means the earth; it derives from a root meaning “to bear” or “to endure.” For this reason, in the Chinese versions of Buddhist scriptures, saha is rendered as “endurance.” In this context, the saha world indicates a world in which people must endure suffering.
5. In 1274, after Nichiren Daishonin took up residence on Mount Minobu, Shijo Kingo attempted to introduce the Daishonin’s teachings to his feudal lord, Ema. When Ema reacted with displeasure, Shijo Kingo’s envious colleagues took advantage of the situation to slander him to his lord. This led to a period of great adversity, which he described with the words, “great hardships have showered down on me like rain” (“The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith,” WND-1, 471).
6. Boundless joy of the Law: The supreme and ultimate happiness of the Buddha, the benefit of the Mystic Law.
7. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1984), vol. 4, p. 400.
8. Ibid., p. 417.
9. Ibid., p. 418.
10. Ibid., p. 435.
11. Twenty-four successors: Those who, after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, successively inherited the lineage of his teachings and propagated them in India.
12. T’ien-t’ai (538–97), also known as Chih-i and commonly referred to as the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai or the Great Teacher Chih-che (Chih-che meaning “person of wisdom.”) He spread the Lotus Sutra in China and established the doctrine of “three thousand realms in a single moment of life.” His lectures were compiled in such works as The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra and Great Concentration and Insight. Dengyo (767–822), also known as Saicho, was the founder of the Tendai (T’ien-t’ai) school in Japan. He traveled to China where he mastered T’ien-t’ai’s teachings.
13. “On Establishing the Four Bodhisattvas as the Object of Devotion” was composed on May 17, 1279, and addressed to Toki Jonin, who lived in Wakamiya, Katsushika District of Shimosa Province (present-day Chiba Prefecture).
14. In other writings, Nichiren states: “With this body of mine, I have fulfilled the prophecies of the [Lotus Sutra]. The more the government authorities rage against me, the greater is my joy” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 243); “It is indeed a matter of joy that my situation perfectly fits the sutra passage that reads, ‘Again and again we will be banished.’ How delightful! How gratifying!” (“The Joy of Fulfilling the Sutra Teachings,” WND-2, 463); and “I feel immeasurable delight even though I am now an exile [on Sado Island]” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” WND-1, 386).
15. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, translated by Allan Bloom (London: Penguin Books, 1991), p. 353.
16. Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi) (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1987), vol. 10, p. 8.
17. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1984), vol. 4, p. 378.
18. Drawing inspiration from the Kantian value system of “truth, good and beauty,” first Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi postulated his own theory of value based on the principles of “beauty, benefit and good.” He defined the value of beauty as that which brings aesthetic fulfillment to the individual.

Propagation. Buddhism. Gosho.

2 Oct

Buddhism should be spread by the method of either shōju or shakubuku, depending on the age. These are analogous to the two worldly ways of the literary and the military…


The Birds of the Snow Mountains – #Kankucho | Soka Gakkai International (#SGI) Official

17 Sep


What I mean by a staff is some steadfast belief, or a firm mind which remains unperturbed even in the face of the greatest difficulty. I tend to believe that the nest the Kankucho birds kept vowing to build implies more than a warm dwelling place. It implies a foundation on which an unwavering mind and a spirit that will neither be carried away by pleasure nor defeated by suffering can be established. The foolishness of the Kankucho birds represents nothing other than the vulnerability of the human mind to change and fluctuation. It also indicates the human tendency to take the line of least resistance, avoiding immediate tasks that require prompt action.


– Ikeda


#Ikeda on #Friendship: “be like the sun!”… #LivingBuddhism #SGIUSA #SGI

31 Aug

Message for Youth
Living Buddhism, August 2016

17.13 Personal Relationships
Responding to questions from high school students, SGI President Ikeda discusses friendship and relationships from various perspectives.
President Ikeda’s Guidance
Adapted from the dialogue Discussions on Youth, published in Japanese in March 1999.
Friendship is the most beautiful, powerful and precious thing in life. It is your greatest treasure. No matter how successful or wealthy a person is, without friends life is sad and lonely. A lack of friends can also lead to a narrow, self-centered existence.
In this vast universe, we have been born together at the same time on this tiny planet. And how rare is it to find, among the 5.8 billion1 members of the human race, truly caring and honest friends who understand our thoughts and feelings without the need for a lot of words, and with whom we can relax and be ourselves.
Even being in the same class at school with someone is the result of a profound connection. Some of you may have found genuine friends among your classmates. If you have, please treasure them. But if you feel you don’t have any close friends right now, please don’t worry. Just decide that the reason you don’t have any now is so you’ll be able to make the most wonderful friends later on. Concentrate your energies now on becoming the best person you can. In the future, you might even make friends all over the world.
In any event, friendship is up to you, not the other person. It all depends on you. I hope you will be loyal and true friends, not fair-weather friends who are there when all is well, but disappear when something bad happens.
And when you graduate from school, I hope you will have grown to be generous, warmhearted people who can say to your friends with all honesty: “I will never forget you. If you ever have a problem or something you want to talk about, don’t hesitate to come to me. And I hope I can go to you, too.”
What kind of advice would you give someone who feels that a friend has suddenly started to treat them coldly, but has no idea why?
I think the best thing to do at such times is to gather your courage and ask what’s wrong. In many cases, you’ll probably be surprised to find that what you imagined wasn’t your friend’s intention at all. Quite often, when you distance yourself from a friend because you’re too afraid to ask what’s wrong, the other person may in fact also be feeling hurt and lonely.
Human relationships are like a mirror. Often when you are thinking, “If my friend were only a bit nicer to me, I’d be more open with her,” your friend may well be thinking, “If only she were more open with me, I’d be nicer to her.”
That’s why it’s important to be the one who starts the conversation. If you still get a cold response, then you know that the problem lies with your friend, not with you.
Sometimes, there’s nothing we can do about the way others feel. People’s hearts change. What do you do when that happens? Adopt the attitude, “Though others may change, I never will.” If you are treated coldly or someone lets you down, resolve not to do the same to others. Those who
betray others’ trust only hurt themselves, as if they are driving a spike into their own hearts, without even being aware of it.
Shakyamuni is described as a person who always made the effort to reach out and speak to others— something that you need to be strong in order to do.
There may be times in life when others let you down or disappoint you. Nichiren Daishonin was betrayed by many of his followers, even though he was the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. I’ve had people turn against me, too—people for whom I’d done a great deal. But I was never surprised at all; rather, it’s something I came to expect.
At such times, you need to be brave. You haven’t done anything wrong, so just go on living with self-confidence and assurance. Those who betray or bully others are in the wrong. They are to be pitied.
If a friend betrays your trust, just forge new friendships. Don’t lose your trust in everyone just because someone has hurt you. If you don’t trust anyone you may avoid being hurt or disappointed, but you’ll become a closed, narrow person. In truth, those who have suffered deeply are able to be kinder to others. You have to be strong.
Be like the sun. Not all of the light of the sun falls on planets that will reflect it back. The sun’s rays also spread out into empty space, seemingly wasted. Yet, the sun still goes on shining brightly.
You may find that those who reject the radiant light of your friendship will naturally fade out of your lives. But the more you shine your light, the more brilliant your own lives will become. Follow the path that you believe in, no matter what others think or do. If you remain constant and stay true to yourselves, others will definitely one day come to understand your sincere intent.
You are also fortunate in that you can chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I know of many people who suffered from bullying, but when they challenged their situations through earnestly chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they suddenly found one day that the bullying had stopped. Through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo when you are suffering, you can quite naturally overcome that suffering, almost without being aware of it. Often it’s only when you look back that you realize it.
I hope you will also chant for your friends. That is the greatest expression of friendship.
You may have friends who are sick, who cannot attend school or who are struggling to cope with problems at home. Whatever the case may be, the best thing you can do is to chant for them. Your prayers, like radio waves, though invisible, will definitely reach them. It is also important to chant for those you don’t like, find hard to get along with or feel resentful toward. It may be difficult and perhaps even impossible for you to do so at first. But if you keep trying and chant for them, the situation will change. Perhaps you will change, or they will change. Either way, the situation will move in a more positive direction. Many people have experienced this first hand. Above all, becoming a person who is able to chant for the happiness of such challenging individuals will be your greatest fortune.
The influence of friends is sometimes stronger than that of parents or anyone else. If you have good friends, friends who are trying to improve and develop themselves, you’ll improve and grow, too. Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), the American steel magnate, modestly attributed his success to having gathered around him people who were far more talented and capable than he. This was his philosophy of life. The only way to make good friends is to be a good friend yourself. Good people gather around other good people.
I hope you will be accepting and supportive of others. Please become people with hearts as broad as a great river, as wide as the ocean and as vast as the blue sky. Wonderful friendships will unfold from such big hearts.
17.14 Love as a Source of Growth
President Ikeda explains that the ideal love relationship is one where both parties inspire each other to realize vibrant growth and develop as human beings.
President Ikeda’s Guidance
Adapted from the dialogue Discussions on Youth, published in Japanese in March 1999.
Just as naturally as spring brings flowers and winter brings snow, youth is a time of awakening to feelings of love and attraction. This is one of the stages of life. You are entering a new period in your life, just as the sun marks a new day by rising brightly at dawn.
Everyone’s concerns about love and relationships are different. It depends on your personality, your situation and your environment. There is no one single approach that will solve everyone’s problems. In addition, everyone is perfectly free to fall in love or be attracted to someone. Who you decide to go out with or have a relationship with is your own choice, and it’s not really anyone else’s business.
The only advice I would like to give you on this subject, as an older friend, is not to let your relationship make you lose sight of pursuing your allimportant personal development.
The purpose of your studies and after-school activities, such as team sports and clubs, is to build a foundation for your life, to make you a strong person. Worries about your personality and your relations with friends are also nutrients for building a strong self.
The same is true of love. Love should help you grow as a person; it should invigorate you and help you realize your full potential. This is the basic premise. But as the saying “Love is blind” suggests, when people are in love they often lose the ability to see themselves objectively.
If you allow your new relationship to worry your parents, to lead you into bad behavior or to stop you from studying, then you and your partner are acting as negative influences on, or hindrances to, each other. Neither of you will be happy if you just end up hurting one another.
The question is: Does the person you like inspire you to work harder at your studies or distract you from them? Does their presence make you more determined to devote greater energies to after-school activities, be a better friend, a more thoughtful son or daughter? Do they inspire you to realize your future goals and work to achieve them? Or is that person your central focus, overshadowing all else, including your after-school activities, your friends and family, and even your goals for the future?
A relationship in which you both forget what you should be doing now, your goals and aims, is not good for either of you. A healthy relationship is one in which two people encourage each other to reach their respective goals while sharing each other’s hopes and dreams. A relationship should be a source of inspiration, invigoration and hope to live your lives to the fullest.
Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) is one of the greatest poets who ever lived. His great love, Beatrice, was his inspiration in life. He loved her from the time he was a boy, and then he happened to meet her again by chance when he was 18. He wrote of the deep emotion he felt on that occasion in his poem “La Vita Nuova” (The New Life). As Dante struggled to find a way to express his feelings for Beatrice, he invented a new poetic form. Beatrice opened the door of artistic creation for him.
But his love for Beatrice would never be requited. She married another man and died young. Yet, Dante kept loving her. His love forged, elevated and deepened his spirit into something more lofty and noble. In his lifework, The Divine Comedy, Beatrice is depicted as a gentle, benevolent being who guides him to heaven.
Of course, Dante lived in a different age and perhaps a different country from you. But I think there are many things to be learned from this great poet who stayed true to his own feelings, whether they were reciprocated or not, and transformed them into his guiding inspiration in life. I truly believe that love should be a positive impetus for our lives, the driving force for living with strength and courage.
17.15 Learning Is Light, Ignorance Is Darkness
Those who keep learning throughout life remain youthful. President Ikeda discusses the importance of cultivating the habit of learning while we are young.
President Ikeda’s Guidance
Adapted from an essay compiled in Kokoronoshiki (Seasons of the Heart), published in Japanese in May 1993.
There is a Russian saying: “Learning is light, ignorance is darkness.” Of course, “learning” here does not refer only to studying at a university. In a broader sense, learning is self-improvement, while ignorance is stagnation. The spirit of learning leads to peace, progress and prosperity, while ignorance leads to misery, misfortune and impoverishment.
In my youth, I studied while working. Around 1950, when Mr. Toda’s businesses were in serious trouble, was the most difficult period for me, as I was also in poor health. Yet, I never felt unhappy. Spending my days working alongside the person I had chosen as my mentor, I hadn’t the slightest regret. My only frustration was that I couldn’t study as much as I wanted to.
As if he knew my thoughts, Mr. Toda said to me: “Don’t worry. I will teach you everything you would learn at a university. Just be patient. Leave your education to me.”
From that time, I spent every Sunday at Mr. Toda’s home, receiving private instruction from
him. With his wide-ranging scholarship—encompassing government, economics, literature, physics, astronomy and other fields of science—he became a perfect tutor, imparting to me all of the knowledge he had acquired in his lifetime.
Eventually, in addition to Sundays, the classes expanded to weekday mornings before work. Mr. Toda’s classes were extremely demanding. Through this training by my mentor in the midst of our arduous struggles, I built the foundation for my life.
Mr. Toda was always studying. Two weeks before he died, he sternly asked me what I had been reading, adding: “Never forget to keep reading. I’m presently up to volume three of the [ancient Chinese classic] Compendium of Eighteen Histories.” At that time, he was extremely weak, to the extent that he could no longer stand or walk unaided. The intense resonance of his voice, however, still reverberates in my ears.
Those who continue learning, who stay active and engaged, remain forever young. Lives that continue improving are like the water of a ceaselessly flowing river, always fresh and pure.
Of the many people I have met, it was the eminent British historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889–1975) who impressed me most deeply with his unwavering devotion to learning.
After repeated invitations from Dr. Toynbee, I had the opportunity to meet and engage in discussion with him for a total of 40 hours over 10 days in 1972 and 1973. The content of our dialogue was published in 1975. Since then it has been translated into English under the title of Choose Life, as well as into French, German and many other languages, and has been well received around the world. I am delighted at the result, hoping it might repay in some small way the sincerity of Dr. Toynbee, who took the time to engage in those lengthy discussions with me, someone many years his junior.
The year after our dialogue ended, Dr. Toynbee was incapacitated by illness. Unfortunately, the outlook for his recovery was not good, and it appears that he never fully regained his faculties. In a letter I received from his wife, Veronica, she wrote that even in that condition her husband asked for books, and although it was doubtful that he could actually read, he turned the pages as if he could.
I was deeply moved to read this. Even when illness deprived him of his full awareness, Dr. Toynbee’s dedicated efforts in scholarly research had become an expression of his life itself, always seeking to learn and aiming higher. I felt he was the model of a great individual, fully deserved of the recognition he had gained as one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century.
It is easy to pay lip service to lifelong learning. With Japan’s emergence as an economic superpower, people have more free time. They engage in a wide range of hobbies. But simply having time and attending classes somewhere won’t guarantee inner enrichment. The key is whether one has a vibrant desire to improve and grow.
Dr. Toynbee kept books beside him even when he was bedridden. Learning had become a habit, a good habit, for him. Those who acquire that habit when they are young are fortunate.
In the workplace and the home, as well as in the events of daily life, we can always find precious opportunities to learn. There are those who use five spare minutes to read a newspaper, open a book, listen to the news or gain something from an encounter with another person. Though they may seem busy, such people are able to transform that very busyness into learning. Laziness is the first step toward stagnation. Let us lead lives nourished by the rich wellspring of a desire for self-improvement, maintaining a lively interest and curiosity about everything.
17.16 Be Suns Illuminating a New World
President Ikeda offers advice to SGI-USA youth division members on life and faith
President Ikeda’s Guidance
From a speech delivered at an SGI-USA youth training session, Malibu, California, February 26, 1990.
Youth is a time full of worries and problems. Young people’s hearts are constantly vacillating. You are worried about your future, your personality, relationships, social issues and life in general. You are confused and anxious. You are troubled by the gap between ideals and reality, and may sometimes fall into self-hatred and become consumed with insecurity and fear.
Youth is a season of emotional turmoil and suffering. This is the reality of youth, no matter what the country. In a certain sense, that’s how it should be. You are not the only ones suffering like this, and in this period of change and growth, these feelings probably can’t be helped.
The important thing is not to be impatient. You can’t attain peace of mind nor social stability all at once. It takes time.
If a plane tries to take off without taxiing down the runway and gradually building up speed, it won’t succeed. And even if it takes off, if it lacks sufficient fuel and good maintenance, it won’t stay in the air long. It may even crash.
Life and Buddhist practice are like a marathon. You may at times run out front and at times fall behind. But what matters is the final moment at the finish line.
The training you undergo in your youth is all for that final, true victory. That’s why you need to study as hard as you can now. Keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and build up a reservoir of life force.
Steadily move ahead on the fundamental path of putting your faith into practice in life, in your own distinct way.
The sun rises every day. It never takes a break. If you do the same, persistently pressing ahead in accord with the Mystic Law, the ultimate Law of the universe, you will come to enjoy a wonderful life of complete satisfaction and fulfillment, far surpassing anything you imagined. Please be assured that this is the most certain and valuable way to spend your youth.
We are pioneers embracing this great philosophy, of which so much of humankind is still unaware. It is, therefore, extremely important to demonstrate just how wonderful Nichiren Buddhism truly is by showing actual proof of its benefit in our lives. Seeing such proof will enable people to realize the greatness and originality of this Buddhism and see that it is different from anything they have encountered before.
Nichiren Daishonin writes, “Even more valuable than reason and documentary proof is the proof of actual fact” (“Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 599).
Of course, you shouldn’t overreach yourselves just trying to show proof. All you need do is present an example of steadily seeking to improve and develop yourselves in the way most natural for you—in your daily lives, in your families, your workplaces, your communities and in your character.
Just carry out your human revolution in your own way. In doing so, you will naturally come to impress others with your vitality, hope, conviction and reassuring presence. That, in itself, will build the foundation for sharing Nichiren Buddhism with others, without any need for words.
There’s no need to rush in our efforts to share Buddhism. I feel it’s better to be strict and uphold sound standards for membership, rather than just increase our numbers.
All people have a fabulous “new world”—a yet-undiscovered realm—within them. It is called the world of Buddhahood. But most of humanity is still not aware of its existence.
Our Buddhist practice is the effort to fully tap and activate this “new world” of Buddhahood, a realm of infinite power and potential.
Once we awaken to the world of Buddhahood within us, our lives are filled with unsurpassed joy. An entirely “new world” also opens up in our lives and in society. Communicating this to others is our mission.
17.17 Cherish High Ideals
Through the guidance of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, President Ikeda calls on young people to strive with all their might to realize high ideals.
President Ikeda’s Guidance
From a speech delivered at the first Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting, Tokyo, January 20, 1988.
Naturally, there are many different ways to live your youth, and there is no need to suggest a single approach for everyone. But whatever path you choose, what will play a decisive role in the direction your life takes into the future is whether you live the days of your youth to the fullest or let them slip by without making any real effort.
Mr. Toda often gave us guidance to the effect: “If you’re going to do something big, it’s important that you have the determination to achieve it in your 20s and 30s. If you wait until you’re in your 40s, and then suddenly decide to embark on some great venture, it becomes that much more difficult to succeed.”
He also advised: “Young people should cherish dreams that seem almost too big to accomplish. Inevitably in life, we’re only able to achieve a fraction of what we’d like to. So if your dreams are too small to begin with, you’ll end up not being able to accomplish anything. What good, then, will you have created with your life?”
Striving to realize a high ideal in your 20s and 30s is the key to enjoying unsurpassed satisfaction and fulfillment in this seemingly long yet short existence.
You’re only young once. How unfortunate it would be to reach your 40s and 50s, and be filled with sadness and regret. A life of discontent—a life unfulfilled and half-realized like a sputtering, smoldering fire that never leaps into bright flames—is also a terrible waste.
That’s why you should burn your brightest and strive your hardest in your youth when you are at the height of your powers and your health. It is all for your own benefit.
Mr. Toda taught that young people should cherish high ideals and advance with bright, burning energy. The higher the summit you aim for, the greater the satisfaction you will savor when you reach the peak. This is a way of life filled with passion and growth, brimming with the limitless power of faith in the Mystic Law.
Kosen-rufu is the supreme summit for humankind,
the most meaningful and noble ideal. It is also the most realistic ideal and one that is most urgently needed by society and the times. Dedicate your youth and your life, fully and without reservation, to the great ideal of kosen-rufu. Such a life accords with the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and embodies the essence of the unchanging Soka Gakkai spirit.
Translated from the April 2016 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.
This concludes Part 2 of “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace.”
With President Ikeda’s permission, some minor edits and revisions have been made to the original Japanese, and excerpts of remarks originally in dialogue format have been recast as monologues for ease of reading.
—Selected Excerpts Editorial Committee—
1. The world’s population was estimated to be around 5.8 billion in 1996. Today, the figure is 7.1 billion.

#TDE – Capabilities, required…

25 Mar

Challenge, accepted!
(Or as I like to think of it, one writes an unsung, unwritten yet relevant chapter of a future volume of "The New Human Revolution" everyday. Makes every joyful struggle, worthwhile…)

#Encouragement – steering towards, aiming at, navigating: daily practice of #Daimoku & #Gongyo

13 Mar

The Daily Encouragement

"If we don’t practice gongyo, the rhythm of our lives will be thrown off kilter, just as a machine that isn’t oiled will rust.

Gongyo and chanting daimoku are like starting an automobile’s engine every day and driving in the direction of happiness and truth.

By doing so day after day, you will gradually attain perfect unity with the universe and the Law.

That state is the state of the Buddha."

Daisaku Ikeda

(Could not agree more…)