Fundamentals

Unity That Embraces Diversity

Excerpt From SGI President Ikeda’s “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace”

Greensboro, North Carolina. Photo by Aja Tushinde Elliot.


This guidance is from section 23.4 of “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace” series, published in the July 2017 Living Buddhism, p. 56.

Nichiren Daishonin taught his disciples to proceed in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind.” This was his clear guidance. Acting in accord with his teachings is the mark of a true practitioner.

In modern terms, “many in body, one in mind” means an organization. “Many in body” means that each person is different—that people differ in their appearances, positions, circumstances and individual missions. But as for their hearts—their hearts should be one; each person should be “one in mind,” united in spirit.

In contrast, if a group of people are “many in body, many in mind,” there is no unity of purpose. Likewise, if they are “one in body, one in mind,” it means they have been coerced into uniformity and compelled to think, look and act alike. This is akin to fascism, where people have no freedom, and it ultimately only leads to a state where people are “one in body, many in mind”—a situation where people give the appearance of being united and committed to the same goal on the surface but, in reality, don’t accept that goal in their hearts.

“Many in body” means that each person gives full play to their unique potential and individuality. “One in mind” means that everyone works together based on faith, sharing the same goal and purpose. This is true unity.

One can liken the unity of “many in body, one in mind” to a bamboo grove. Each bamboo stalk sprouts up independently, yet underground, their roots are firmly intertwined. The world of faith is the same. Because we share the same “roots,” because we share a common spirit and purpose, each one of us can grow limitlessly, reaching for the sky in our personal development and achievements.

True unity is achieved when each person has the strength to stand alone—the conviction and fortitude to advance, even if you are the only one. It’s not just passively depending on the support of others or finding strength in numbers.

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