Q: I feel that nobody appreciates my hard work. How should I view this as a Buddhist?
This Q&A series addresses frequently asked questions about Nichiren Buddhism.
A: It’s natural to want to be acknowledged for our efforts and to know that our actions are worthwhile. And being praised for our actions often fuels our motivation to work harder.
Nichiren Daishonin, through his own actions, demonstrated the importance of appreciating others for their efforts, especially when it came to supporting kosen-rufu—or spreading Buddhist ideals in an effort to establish happiness and peace in our lives and in society.
He taught that based on the law of cause and effect, everything we do for kosen-rufu is engraved in our lives and helps us to establish the life state of Buddhahood, a diamondlike and totally free state of life. Absolutely no effort is wasted when we strive for kosen-rufu.
Nichiren writes: “Where there is unseen virtue, there will be visible reward” (“Unseen Virtue and Visible Reward,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 907); and “Whether you chant the Buddha’s name, recite the sutra, or merely offer flowers and incense, all your virtuous acts will implant benefits and roots of goodness in your life. With this conviction you should strive in faith” (“On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime,” WND-1, 4).
Instead of giving in to our doubts or relying on others’ opinions, we must look at how we are challenging ourselves—improving ourselves from yesterday to today and from today to tomorrow. As we break through our limitations and continue making causes to transform our own lives, we bring forth the courage, compassion and wisdom to also positively impact our families, communities and the world.
In the end, victory or defeat in life is not decided by others. We decide the course of our lives. By chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and taking action, we can bring forth the powerful resolve to move our lives in the direction we desire no matter our circumstances.
SGI President Ikeda offers this practical guidance: “Even if we are not praised or properly appreciated, it is important that we don’t end up resenting leaders and other members or lose our enthusiasm. That only erases our benefit and good fortune, and causes us to stop growing. Buddhist practice is a struggle with the devilish functions within one’s own life. Those devilish functions will use every possible means to sap the enthusiasm and destroy the faith of a person striving sincerely in their Buddhist practice. There may even be times when a person wonders why they keep running into such hardships. But nothing goes
unseen by the Gohonzon. In light of the law of cause and effect, the more effort one makes for the Mystic Law, the more good fortune one will accumulate in one’s life” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, p. 145).
By repeatedly resolving to make every effort to advance in our Buddhist practice and help others do the same, we “implant benefits and roots of goodness” in our lives and experience the greatest fulfillment and happiness.