Soka Spirit

Boldly Facing Challenges Makes Us Strong and Confident

Obstacles Are an Essential Part of Revealing Our Buddhahood

Photo by SHANNONSTENT /GETTY IMAGES.


What is the ultimate purpose of practicing Nichiren Buddhism? It is for each practitioner to reveal our highest potential, our Buddhahood, throughout our lives, and to become happy. And the way to do this is to consistently carry out correct Buddhist practice, spread the joys and benefits of this practice, and to swiftly and boldly challenge the obstacles and negative functions that arise in our lives.

In his speech at the May 18, 2005, Headquarters Leaders Meeting, SGI President Ikeda offered several points for winning over challenges, establishing lives of absolute victory and fostering successors to carry on our movement into the future. The following highlights some key points from this speech.

Obstacles Are an Essential Part of Revealing Our Buddhahood

During wartime Japan, founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi stood firm against the government authorities, refusing to compromise his beliefs in Nichiren Buddhism and its teaching of establishing peace in society. He continued to share the principles of Nichiren Buddhism with his captors in prison, where his life came to a close in November 1944.

In discussing the resolve to spread the Mystic Law, he declared: “The greater our obstacles, the greater our assurance of attaining Buddhahood”; “The greater the hatred we encounter, the more our benefits multiply”; and “Refuting slander of the Law solidly protects one’s own life. It also protects Nichiren Daishonin’s spirit and serves as a driving force for kosen-rufu” (June 17, 2005, World Tribune, p. 3).

Only when we struggle against the challenges before us can we reveal our inherent Buddha nature.

Only when we struggle against the challenges before us can we reveal our inherent Buddha nature, which emerges through the wisdom, courage and compassion we gain through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and taking action to share the universal philosophy of respect for the dignity of life that is at the heart of the Mystic Law and Nichiren Buddhism.

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda proclaimed: “The great endeavor of kosen-rufu is a struggle against devilish functions. We cannot afford to cower at their onslaughts. If we allow them to defeat us, humanity will be forever enveloped in darkness” (June 24, 2005, World Tribune, p. 2).

Each time we win over devilish functions, we are moving all of humanity toward peace and happiness. And not only that, we are strengthening our own lives.

No matter where we may find ourselves, no place will be perfect, and we are bound to face problems and disingenuous people.

President Toda also said: “Problems allow us to grow and develop; bad, ill-intentioned people enable us to expand and elevate our life conditions. When we take such a positive view, we can lead strong and confident lives” (June 17, 2005, World Tribune, p. 3).

Win With a Strong Life Force

The world today is rampant with divisive and destructive influences. Therefore, we need the sharp sword of faith to battle and win over our many obstacles. To effectively wield this sharp sword requires us to consistently and abundantly chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo each day.

President Ikeda affirms: “Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to strengthen our life force; we can become healthy in both body and mind. Sharing Nichiren Buddhism with others and advancing our movement of kosen-rufu magnifies our life force. People whose lives are in sync with this rhythm are strong. In contrast, those who stray from the organization of kosen-rufu grow weak” (June 24, 2005, World Tribune, p. 2).

Prayer Based on Mentor and Disciple Is the Key to Victory

Nichiren teaches, “Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1001). Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the best strategy, the quintessential source, for breaking through all obstacles and winning in kosen-rufu and in life.

President Ikeda explains that the key to mastering the strategy of the Lotus Sutra lies in uniting our hearts with the profound heart of our mentor. He says: “The strategy of the Lotus Sutra is vibrantly alive in the spirit of mentor and disciple in the Soka Gakkai, an organization directly connected to the Daishonin. Nothing is stronger than the strategy of the Lotus Sutra in which the hearts of mentor and disciple are one” (June 24, 2005, World Tribune, p. 3).

Victory Depends on Capable People

To advance our movement for kosenrufu into the future, we must continue fostering capable people who can take on challenges and obstacles with the same courage and resolve as the mentors of Buddhism.

President Ikeda has striven to find people of promise, train them and help them develop their abilities by giving them many opportunities to take on the most challenging struggles.

He says: “People’s ability and characters are forged and polished in the midst of activity, through taking on one challenge after another. In that respect, Soka Gakkai activities provide an ideal means for fostering capable people” (June 17, 2005, World Tribune, p. 3).

Our SGI activities provide us the greatest opportunities to deepen our understanding of Buddhism, hone our ability to see everything from a Buddhist perspective and to develop into capable people who can lead society toward peace and happiness. These activities help us to become capable fighters for kosen-rufu.

Mr. Toda says: “Fighters are people who blaze with a fierce fighting spirit and passion to resolutely vanquish evils that inflict suffering on the people. There must be a burning flame in your heart” (June 17, 2005, World Tribune, p. 3). WT