Offerings Based on the Vow for Kosen-rufu Sow Seeds of Good Fortune
Nichiren Daishonin teaches that what matters most is how we use our precious lives and for what causes we exert ourselves.
In his letter “The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings,” for instance, he writes:
Though one may perform meritorious deeds, if they are directed toward what is untrue, then those deeds may bring great evil, but they will never result in good. On the other hand, though one may be ignorant and make meager offerings, if one presents those offerings to a person who upholds the truth, one’s merit will be great. How much more so in the case of people who in all sincerity make offerings to the correct teaching!
In addition, we live today in a time of trouble, when there is little that ordinary people can do. And yet, busy as you are, in your sincerity you have sent me thick-stemmed bamboo shoots of the moso variety as offerings to the Lotus Sutra here in the mountains. Surely you are sowing good seeds in a field of fortune. My tears never cease to flow when I think of it. (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1134)
He clearly states here that the offerings we make can bring about either good or evil, depending on the purpose or cause for which they are made. There are ample examples in our society today that reflect this point.
The purpose of Nichiren Buddhism is kosen-rufu, that is, creating peace and harmony, and establishing a solid foundation for the universal respect for the dignity of life. And the practice of Buddhism carried out by the SGI constitutes the practical way to realize these esteemed ideals.
In the letter mentioned above and in many others, Nichiren praises his disciples for sincerely making offerings to support him. It was due to offerings of food, clothing and money that enabled him to continue transmitting his teachings for the sake of humanity. And his disciples—despite their own financial struggles and difficult circumstances— ensured the continued spread of Nichiren’s teachings.
What’s more, Nichiren also states that offerings made to the correct teaching amid confused and troubled times will “sow good seeds in a field of fortune.” He taught that making offerings for the sake of kosen-rufu brings immeasurable benefits.
SGI President Ikeda explains: “All too many people’s hearts are racked by anxiety and fear in these uncertain times in which we live. How inspiring, then, are our members, who confidently share the Buddhist teaching of cause and effect with others, and demonstrate it in their own lives, giving proof to the Daishonin’s words, ‘Human beings [will] never fail to prosper when they make good causes’ ” (“The Third Day of the New Year,” WND-1, 1013) (Dec. 6, 2013, World Tribune, p. 2).
Why are making offerings an integral part of Buddhist practice? Because taking such action helps us transcend our lesser self and align our lives with the Mystic Law, which constitutes the eternal, powerful rhythm underlying the entire universe.
When we unhesitatingly support kosen-rufu, we expand our state of life. “This is the path,” President Ikeda explains, “of fulfilling our highest potential by breaking free from the shell of our lesser self, dominated by egoism, and bringing forth our greater self, which accords with the supreme teaching of Buddhism” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, p. 358).
Dedicating our lives to kosen-rufu is how we manifest limitless life force, wisdom and fortune. In one sense, the process of human revolution constitutes this process of revealing this boundless life force in our lives.
President Ikeda also affirms:
Where do we see the brilliance of humanity in people? Isn’t it found in those who have broken through the shell of their ego and who dedicate themselves to helping their suffering friends, to their fellow human beings and to society at large, even though at times they must make sacrifices to do so? This is what it means to dedicate one’s life to kosen-rufu.
Furthermore, nothing is wasted on the path of kosen-rufu. Every hardship we encounter becomes a source of great good fortune and benefit . . .
Life’s true brilliance is born from awakening to our personal mission and initiating courageous action to advance kosen-rufu. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 11, pp. 307–08)
As a result of its members throughout the world taking such actions based on their vow to support the spread of Nichiren Buddhism, today the SGI has become a global organization dedicated to realizing the vision of Nichiren Daishonin and Shakyamuni Buddha. Through the sincere contributions of the members, there are nearly 100 centers throughout the United States where people can joyfully carry out activities.
During this May Commemorative Contribution period, as we work toward the 50,000 Lions of Justice Festival on Sept. 23, let’s set our sights on expanding the foundation for the future of kosen-rufu in America by planting seeds of good fortune, courageously challenging our limitations and revealing the “brilliance of our humanity.”