Lead Lives Free of Regret

Excerpts from President Ikeda's "The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace."

Bobby Butler (left) with Greater North Seattle Chapter young men’s division member Sandeep Ramanathan. Photo: Stephanie Araiza.

This guidance is from section 16.1 of “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace” series, published in the March 2016 Living Buddhism, pp. 42–43.

While strolling together with a group of young women’s division representatives this morning, I discussed the subject of the best way to live.

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being” (“The Three Kinds of Treasure,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 852).

“Our behavior as a human being”—what kind of behavior leads to a life of happiness and wisdom?

Nichiren also teaches, “You must not spend your lives in vain and regret it for ten thousand years to come” (“The Problem to Be Pondered Night and Day,” WND-1, 622).

He is saying that we must not waste this precious existence, that we must not live in such a way that we are left with eternal regret.

It is, therefore, important that we choose a life of lasting fulfillment over one of shallow self-indulgence.

No matter how fun-filled or entertaining your life may seem, without a sense of fulfillment, it cannot truly be called happy. A life that is without any real purpose and only leaves you feeling empty is an unhappy one.

It’s also important that we choose self-improvement over pleasure. Those committed to self-improvement have depth. They are attractive. They have hope.

Likewise, we need to choose serious effort over resignation, to dare rather than retreat. Those who do so brim with energy and vitality.

Acting with compassion instead of arrogance, with courage rather than fear—in such behavior lies the essence of Buddhism.

In the same spirit, I call on you to choose progress over stagnation, unity over disharmony, joy over pessimism, action over indecision, laughter over despondency.

The Soka Gakkai is a gathering of champions dedicated to spreading the correct teaching of Buddhism. To stand up proudly for truth and justice, rather than cast our lot with those who propound false and misguided ideas is the path taught by Nichiren Daishonin.

Let us always press forward steadily, come what may, choosing cheerfulness over gloom, encouragement over envy, enthusiasm over anger.

Let us live out our lives with unwavering confidence, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance, not authoritarianism, filled with hope instead of despair, taking action instead of complaining, and engaging in dialogue, not violence.

Those who fight against their own weaknesses and keep pressing forward resolutely— challenging themselves instead of giving up, and taking personal responsibility for victory instead of criticizing others—triumph in the end and attain happiness.

Moreover, the efforts we make now determine not just this existence but our past, present and future.


(p. 7)