True Happiness Lies in the Richness of Our Hearts
Nothing can destroy the treasures of the heart.
More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all. From the time you read this letter on, strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart! (“The Three Kinds of Treasure,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 851)
For many, happiness can be difficult to grasp.
But in the brief passage above, Nichiren Daishonin clarifies what’s most important for experiencing true happiness. He identifies three main categories of “treasures” that people tend to value.
“Treasures in a storehouse” refers to money and material wealth. “Treasures of the body” symbolizes our health, abilities and social standing. And “treasures of the heart” indicates an inner richness or strength. On a more fundamental level, these treasures of the heart are the qualities we develop and store in our lives through deepening our faith. They can be described as an expansive state of life, abundant good fortune, vigorous life force, inexhaustible wisdom and warm humanity. Because the treasures of the heart are key to building true happiness, Nichiren asserts that they are the most valuable of all.
While treasures in a storehouse and treasures of the body are important, they don’t guarantee lasting happiness. Though some may have material wealth, unfortunate events can cause them to lose everything. In the same way, some may enjoy good physical health, but they might encounter an accident or illness. Treasures of the heart, however, are the internal riches we develop by challenging our inner transformation and reaching out to others who are suffering. Though intangible and often difficult to measure, these qualities are what stay with us no matter what we go through. Therefore, accumulating treasures of the heart must be our fundamental purpose in life.
As SGI President Ikeda said to those affected by the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan: “Nichiren Daishonin writes that even if we should meet with disasters and calamities, they cannot destroy our hearts. Nothing can destroy the treasures of the heart” (March 25, 2011, World Tribune, p. 1). President Ikeda also writes, “When you accumulate the treasures of the heart, then the treasures of the body and the treasures of the storehouse will naturally follow” (My Dear Friends in America, third edition, p. 290). By striving to accumulate treasures of the heart, we establish indestructible happiness and bring forth the brilliance of our Buddha nature in all aspects of our lives.