“What Type of World Are You Willing to Fight to Create?”
A message from SGI-USA Women’s Leader Akemi Bailey-Haynie.
by Akemi Bailey-Haynie
SGI-USA WOMEN’S LEADER
I would like to begin by expressing my deepest appreciation for your efforts every single day to advance kosen-rufu amid your own challenges and hardships. There is no question that society needs you more than ever.
From the violence plaguing every urban center to the divisive and callous rhetoric that dominates the national conversation, the fabric of America is being torn apart by violence, hatred and fear. Add to that terrorist attacks rocking the foundations of not only our country but also nations across the world.
Amid the devastation, we must not forget those left behind. No mother—no matter what her race, political views, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, immigration, social or economic status—should ever have to bury her child, especially when that child’s death is the result of senseless violence.
Many people are asking, How should we view the current state of a airs in the United States, when so many people are losing hope?
In his poem “Peace: The Foundation for Lasting Human Happiness,” SGI President Ikeda writes:
There is something more precious
than all the treasures of the
and that is, our lives.
That is why
we must not condone unscrupulous actions
that harm life;
we must fight resolutely
the devilish forces that seek
to destroy life.
As practitioners of Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism, our mission to stand up and actualize these ideals is clear. Now is the time to “cast o the transient and reveal the true”—to challenge ourselves to cast away doubts, fears and hesitation, and shatter the shell of our lesser selves.
We must first unite based on powerful prayer to push back the currents of violence that are engulfing our nation and world. In his series “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace,” President Ikeda says: “Even one daimoku can pervade the entire universe. Truly heartfelt and determined prayer, therefore, has the power to move everything” (September 2014 Living Buddhism, p. 58). Let us deepen our conviction in this point.
No amount of political rhetoric, picking sides, scapegoating or finger pointing will transform this country. Instead, we must attack this “one great evil,” which is the lack of respect and lack of trust in one another’s inherent Buddha nature.
Based on prayer to elevate our life condition, let us challenge ourselves to engage in compassionate dialogue and share Buddhism with as many people as possible. President Ikeda says that wars exist because people lack the capacity to have honest, sincere dialogue. And, even if we do speak with others, how often are we truly listening?
If we are practicing Nichiren Buddhism, which is rooted in respect for all life, we need to elevate our life condition to embrace all people, not just those whom we like.
At all times, we have two choices: 1) perpetuate the cycle of suffering shrouded in fear and cowardice, or 2) change our destiny as individuals and that of humankind.
Transforming a community starts with each of us, once we resolve to do so. We all have conflicting tendencies within our hearts, such as hopelesness, complacency, fear, arrogance, insecurity and laziness. It is so easy to become stuck—to believe that things will never change or that we’re incapable of achieving our dreams. This is why having a mentor is so important. In “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” Nichiren Daishonin tells his disciples, “A blue fly, if it clings to the tail of a thoroughbred horse, can travel ten thousand miles” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 17).
When we are facing a crucial moment—paralyzed by fear and indecision—that is precisely the time to study President Ikeda’s guidance in the World Tribune and Living Buddhism. By doing so, we can perceive our own weaknesses and forge the wisdom to confront our challenges. We can then use what we’ve learned from Sensei’s example to break through our perceived limitations, especially when it comes to believing that our prayers and our efforts to share Buddhism can help establish peace in the land.
President Ikeda says:
Move the age!
Bring the world together!
(see Peace: The Foundation for Lasting Human Happiness)
What type of world are you willing to fight to create? Please let your love of humanity, your belief in the limitless potential of all people and your desire to live in an altruistic society free of misery become your driving force.
With my deepest respect and appreciation,