May Contribution

Making Offerings Brings Limitless Benefits

SGI President Ikeda on the boundless benefit of making offerings.

Photo: iStockphoto / druvo


THE BOUNDLESS BENEFIT
OF MAKING OFFERINGS

The benefit of making offerings to the Lotus Sutra is boundless. Through that benefit, we can triumph over any obstacles and devilish function. And nothing is stronger than a person whose life is instilled with this confidence.

The Lotus Sutra—epitomized by the single character myo—is the source of the enlightenment of all Buddhas of the ten directions and three existences. The sutras teach that countless Buddhas have appeared in the universe from the infinite past and will continue to do so into the infinite future. The Lotus Sutra is the teacher by which all Buddhas attain enlightenment. Therefore, making offerings to the Lotus Sutra is equivalent to making offerings to all Buddhas throughout time and space, and the benefit that derives from doing so is immeasurable. (The Hope-Filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, pp. 4–5)


OPENING THE PATH TO
A HOPEFUL FUTURE

With whomever I meet, I always put my whole life into each encounter, thinking that I may never have the chance to meet that person again. It has been the same with the struggle to advance kosen-rufu around the globe. In the early days of our movement, no one believed that worldwide kosen-rufu could become a reality. But this is the prophecy of the Lotus Sutra and the decree of Nichiren Daishonin. My thoughts have been: “If I don’t take that first step now, a path forward will never open”; “If I travel the world now, planting the seeds of peace of the Mystic Law in each country, someday those seeds will bear fruit”; “If I open the way now, eventually others will proudly follow.” I have acted on the firm belief that youth will one day stand up with confidence, encouraged by the extent of my efforts.

From nothing—no funding, no support, no human resources, no time—we have forged a path where none before had existed. And now, true to my conviction, Bodhisattvas of the Earth have appeared in [192] countries around the world. (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, p. 214)


THE JOY AND PRIDE
OF MAKING OFFERINGS

[Shin’ichi Yamamoto] drastically cut his living expenses and made it his creed to use even a little of the money remaining from his pay to support Soka Gakkai activities, to contribute to spreading Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. To do so was his joy and secret pride. Because of this, he even spent an entire winter without an overcoat. Whenever he received some of his back salary, he would use a sizable portion of it to support [President] Toda’s activities to promote kosen-rufu. Shin’ichi was absolutely convinced that the benefit and good fortune he had acquired as a result had enabled him to overcome his illness and today take on the Soka Gakkai’s leadership with confidence and composure. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 4, pp. 115-16)


CONTRIBUTING TO THE
EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF KOSEN-RUFU

In the face of these severe economic conditions, the determination of [Soka Gakkai members] to make contributions only burned brighter. They knew they were presented with a rare chance. Had they been born in a different age, they thought, they would never have been given this opportunity, and they thus regarded it as the greatest good fortune.

The members were resolved not to let tough economic times stop them. Instead, they felt spurred on by the challenge. Thinking of how the wealthy merchant Sudatta in Shakyamuni’s day and Nanjo Tokimitsu in Nichiren Daishonin’s time had made donations even in the midst of terrible hardship, the members were determined to make sincere offerings themselves. They wanted to make the best contribution they could so that they would feel not the slightest sense of regret.

Sharing their determinations with one another, members set high contribution goals for themselves and then poured their energies into achieving them, their hearts aflame with vibrant joy.

Filled with a sincere spirit of faith, some members of the men’s division even gave up smoking and drinking in order to put the money they saved toward their donation. This thrilled their wives, who could see the positive effect the campaign was having on their husbands’ health. Some women began sewing their children’s clothes in an effort to cut household expenses so they could make their contribution goal. High school students took on paper routes and elementary school students saved their allowances to do their part.

Many who made donations filled coin banks or tin cans to the brim with one hundred-, ten- and one-yen coins, cradling them carefully in their arms like great treasures. The actions of these humble members shone with a sincerity that no amount of money could ever measure. The solid weight of their coins was the weight of their pure faith.

In one case, three siblings from Fukuoka Prefecture, all in their teens, traveled a distance of 25 miles for three hours by bicycle to hand in their contribution.

Their plan was to add what they saved on their roundtrip train fares to the amount they already had. In some regions, it was not at all unusual for members to walk six to twelve miles to the nearest collection point. A group of 26 members in Toyama Prefecture journeyed by boat down the Shogawa River from Gokayama in Higashitonami County to get to the collection center in Inamimachi. And in the Tsushima islands, members also traveled by boat to make their donations. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 10, pp. 165–67)

 

(pp. 18–19)