A Wonderful Song of “Living Beings Enjoying Themselves at Ease”

SGI President Ikeda's Monthly Message.

This monthly encouragement by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was originally published in the October 2018 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

Photo: Seiko Press
Photo: Seikyo Press

We begin each day with gongyo, singing an invigorating song of praise for our lives. Our vibrant voices ring throughout the universe, activating the protective workings of the Buddhas and heavenly deities.

The verse section of “Life Span,” the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra that we recite daily, contains the words: “Where living beings enjoy themselves at ease. / The gods strike heavenly drums, / constantly making many kinds of music” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 272). [In gongyo, the passage reads: “Shujo sho yu-raku. Shoten gyaku tenku. Jo sas shu gi-gaku.”]

Referring to this passage, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda once said humorously: “You were all born to enjoy your lives to the fullest. In order to truly savor that enjoyment, a little suffering is necessary, in the way a pinch of salt adds flavor. Right now, you all have too much salt!”

He went on to encourage us, saying that no matter how troubled the world may be, we should create a rhythm of hope, like heavenly drums beating in tune with the Mystic Law; perform a wondrous melody that resounds as a joy-filled symphony; and strive to build a network where all can be happy and at ease.

A life dedicated to fulfilling the great vow for kosen-rufu is itself a stirring epic and an inspiring work of art.

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings [referring to Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound], Nichiren Daishonin states:

We may say that the words “wonderful sound” [meaning the sound or voice of the Wonderful Law] refer to the unfathomable and wonderful sound made at the present time, in the Latter Day of the Law, when Nichiren and his followers now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore it is the wonderful sound that tells us that earthly desires are enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. (OTT, 176)

The power of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is boundless and immeasurable. It contains the light of Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound, who embodies the great power of art and culture. By chanting the wonderful sound of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we of the Soka Gakkai, resembling the magnificent assembly in the Lotus Sutra, are creating the ultimate value in human artistic expression.

Our great movement for kosen-rufu is bright and exciting thanks to the inspiring endeavors of our precious fellow members in the Music Corps, the Fife and Drum Corps, our many chorus groups, the Arts Division and other groups. I am especially moved by their remarkable efforts to continue to offer hope and encouragement in disaster-stricken areas through their concerts and performances. With their unwavering faith, tireless efforts and beautiful unity, they are contributing to a brilliant flowering of Soka arts.

A religion that values culture will gain wide support and bring people together across the globe, transcending all differences.

We have entered an age when the cultural exchanges conducted by the Min-On Concert Association and Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, which are both supported by ordinary people, are increasingly contributing to peace.

A life dedicated to fulfilling the great vow for kosen-rufu is itself a stirring epic and an inspiring work of art. Today again, let us join in a wonderful song of “living beings enjoying themselves at ease” with our fellow members everywhere, infinitely noble yet unheralded champions.

In our great drama of kosen-rufu,
there is song, dance and art,
as we transform
even tragedy
into joyous victory.

(pp. 4-5)

More in Encouragement

Go to the Encouragement Section »