No:8184  Friday, March 18, 2011   SGI President Ikeda's Editorial.

 

The Invincible Courage of Soka

Since Buddhism

is about winning,

triumph completely.

With courage and with prayer,

leave behind a brilliant history.

 

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55) once wrote: “Courage is the only thing that can rescue life and humankind.”[1]

            Without courage, we cannot realize the full potential of our life. Without courage, we cannot help others.

 

In a letter to the lay nun Ueno, mother of the young Nanjo Tokimitsu, Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside oneself; both lie only within one’s own heart. . . . One who embraces the Lotus Sutra will realize that hell is itself the Land of Tranquil Light”[2] (WND-1, 456).

 

            When we are consumed by the sufferings of our small lesser self, our heart is trapped in the restrictive, confining state of hell. But deep within each of our lives, we possess the free and untrammeled world of Buddhahood, which is vaster than the ocean and wider than the sky. Courage derived from faith in the Daishonin’s Buddhism enables us to manifest this expansive state of Buddhahood and build a “Land of Tranquil Light” right here, in the world in which we live.

 

            My mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, said: “The courage of the Buddha can withstand all misfortune. It can prompt even the most negative and devilish forces to support the cause of Buddhism. If we intrepidly take action, a strength we never knew we had will emerge from within, allowing us to overcome every obstacle.”

 

In order to realize the lofty goal of kosen-rufu that my mentor had vowed to achieve, I always eagerly flew to the front lines of any campaign or struggle.

 

            The youth of Soka need just a single weapon: courageous faith.

 

            In 1956, I engaged in an unprecedented struggle with our dedicated Kansai members to build a great citadel of the people. It was my greatest joy to see one member after another overcoming painful personal karma and vibrantly demonstrating wonderful actual proof of their happiness and victory amidst our courageous struggle to make the impossible possible.

 

 

[1] Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, translated and edited by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1990), vol. 2, p. 240.

 

[2] Land of Tranquil Light: Also, Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. The Buddha land, which is free from impermanence and impurity. In many sutras, the actual saha world in which human beings dwell is described as an impure land filled with delusions and sufferings, while the Buddha land is described as a pure land free from these and far removed from this saha world. In contrast, the Lotus Sutra reveals the saha world to be the Buddha land, or the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light, and explains that the nature of a land is determined by the minds of its inhabitants. 

 

As Shakyamuni Buddha stated in the Nirvana Sutra: “Suppose that a couple has seven children, one of whom falls ill. Though the parents love all their children equally, they worry most about the sick child” (WND-1, 535). Although the Buddha’s compassion encompasses all people, it is especially directed to those who are suffering or facing adversity.

 

            To overlook no one; to judge no one; to abandon no one; to have complete faith in another person and reach out to them and awaken their Buddha nature—this is the humanistic spirit of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. 

 

            Sincere encouragement can give someone who is lost and confused the courage to take that first step forward. Encouragement kindles courage in others’ hearts. In this way, the invincible courage of Soka spreads in an unending ripple effect.

 

            In November 1960, at the inaugural meeting of Nagano Chapter, I remember shaking hands firmly with a district women’s division leader. She had introduced more than 400 households to the Daishonin’s Buddhism, overcoming illness and economic hardship in the process. She once said: “I’m fortunate to be able to practice this wonderful Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin. There is nothing that intimidates me. Whatever may happen, Buddhism means being victorious. I was born to strive and win together with my mentor. When one has courage, one’s strength can increase tenfold, a hundredfold.”

Nothing can match the courage of women, of mothers. I hope our successors in the youth division will continue to honor the noble women of Soka—the mothers of kosen-rufu—for their victorious efforts.

*

Members of SGI-Argentina, amid a severe economic recession, determined to unite and breakthrough all obstacles with faith, and as a result, over a four-year period, achieved a fivefold increase in attendance at discussion meetings. Also, in March (2011), they held a Youth Peace Culture Festival that was a magnificent success.

 

I am reminded of these words of my mentor: “Courage translates into compassion. With courage, help others and help society. Let’s all take up this great struggle!”

 

Since mentor and disciple are one,

the spirit to never be defeated

is now passed on to you.

So win without fail,

as ever-victorious Soka.

 

(Translated from the April 2011 issue of Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai monthly study journal)

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