How We Start the Day Is the Key to Victory in Life

Our practice of morning and evening gongyo is the foundation for advancing on the correct path of life.

Photo: iStockphoto / Rasica.

Sharing his own personal experience, SGI President Ikeda stresses the importance of making a good start to the day and maintaining a regular lifestyle to get the most out of each day and lead a victorious life.

For the sake of the growth and future success of our young men and young women, I would like to impart the message that getting the day off to a good start is the key to victory in life.

In 1973, I visited the United Kingdom and engaged in an extended dialogue with the renowned British historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889–1975). Dr. Toynbee was 84 at the time. Yet even at that advanced age, with his motto Laboremus (Latin for “Let’s get to work!”), he energetically continued to apply himself to his scholarly research day after day.

I still clearly remember his words on that subject. He said that he kept regular hours, awaking every morning at 6:45. After preparing breakfast for himself and his wife and making his bed, he would start working at 9. In this simple description of his morning routine, I sensed his youthful spirit to treasure each day and keep learning and improving. His example also left me deeply impressed that truly outstanding individuals, no matter what their age or circumstances, remain tirelessly committed to the pursuit of learning and self-development. At the same time, Dr. Toynbee’s words reminded me that a good start in the morning and a regular lifestyle are indispensable to making each day productive and fulfilling. Those who go on to achieve eminence invariably value these important basics.

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin states:

Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are persons who “lodge in the same place as the Thus Come One [the Buddha].” Therefore, Fu Ta-shih says in his commentary, “Morning after morning we rise up with the Buddha, evening after evening we lie down with the Buddha.” (p. 83)

As disciples of Nichiren Daishonin, we chant and practice the Mystic Law, day after day. As such, each one of us rises and rests together with the Buddha (that is, the Gohonzon).

I’m so grateful to be able to create many causes to transform
my karma through my practice.

First, our practice of morning and evening gongyo is the foundation for advancing on the correct path of life—a path aligned with the Law that pervades the three existences of past, present and future—leading the most meaningful existence. Especially important, as the phrase “morning after morning we rise up with the Buddha” indicates, is doing an invigorating morning gongyo. Failing to win in the morning can lead to an unsatisfactory day. And an unending succession of such days can add up to an unsatisfying life. On the other hand, winning in the morning, getting off to a good start, leads to a productive day and puts you on a path to solid progress, ultimately culminating in a life of fulfillment and victory.

That’s why it’s so important to win in the morning and get the day off to a refreshing start. This is something young people, especially, should challenge, for it is a source of victory and growth in all spheres. Small things matter. Right or wrong, small things accumulate and lead to a major difference in the results. That’s why the best way to achieve your important future goals is to pay careful attention to your minor daily challenges and triumph in each one of them.

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “If a person cannot manage to cross a moat ten feet wide, how can he cross one that is a hundred or two hundred feet?” (“The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 766). Small challenges, small successes, repeated again and again, become great victories and flower into a life of glorious success. (April 2016 Living Buddhism, pp. 48–50)

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