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The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu

Excerpts From Nichiren’s Writings in Volume 8

This installment, published in the May 22, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, focuses on passages from Nichiren Daishonin’s writings that SGI President Ikeda discussed in volume 8 of The New Human Revolution.

Passage 1

“Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat.” (“The Hero of the World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 835)

Coming Out a Winner Makes You Happy

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

On June 3, 1963, Shin’ichi Yamamoto gave words of encouragement at the Tokyo No. 1 Headquarters leaders meeting.

“In whatever struggle, coming out a winner makes you happy. When we succeed in our activities, we experience boundless vitality and joy, which becomes a great source of hope and energy. If we lose, however, that joy and energy do not well forth from our lives …

“Whether in our efforts to share Buddhism with others or to increase the number of members attending meetings, if we want to win, we need to first set a goal, muster our determination and chant daimoku in earnest. We must then bring forth our wisdom and bravely face the challenge while taking resolute action.

“Each obstacle we overcome brings us wonderful benefit and good fortune. It is through this process that we learn the formula for triumphing in life. Moreover, the tremendous conviction in faith we gain by exerting ourselves in our activities endows us with the strength to surmount any difficulty or hardship we encounter in life.

“Nichiren Daishonin writes, ‘Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat’ (WND-1, 835). This is because kosen-rufu is a struggle against the devil king of the sixth heaven, the negative function that destroys life. In fact, human existence is itself a struggle. Realizing genuine happiness begins with challenging and winning over our own cowardice and laziness. Human revolution means to overcome the negative aspects of the self, and our Soka Gakkai activities are the arena in which we can do so.” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 8, pp. 39–40)

Passage 2

“The voice does the Buddha’s work.” (see The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 4)

For Every Unfounded Statement, Ten Declarations of the Truth

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

On July 28, 1963, at the first all-Japan Writers Department general meeting, Shin’ichi pointed out the prevalence of malicious and distorted reporting in society.

“What will happen,” asked Shin’ichi, “if Japan falls under the control of a small group of ill-intentioned journalists or leaders who agitate and influence the people?

“The mission of the Writers Department is to challenge such malicious reporting, to expose lies, and to forge a fresh climate of public opinion in which true peace and happiness can develop. I declare that the age when freedom of speech can be exploited by a handful of critics or the privileged few is over. Freedom of speech must never be the exclusive right of such people. Let us raise the curtain on a new age through a passionate war of words waged by an alliance of good!”

True freedom of speech will only be realized when the people boldly speak out for truth and justice. Every abusive and unfounded statement must be met with ten declarations of the truth. It is precisely such effort that gives life to the Daishonin’s teaching “The voice does the Buddha’s work.”

In closing, Shin’ichi called on the members of the Writers Department to always be allies of the people and courageous champions in the great struggle of words. In other words, people who move others’ hearts with their passion, ideals and penetrating logic. (NHR-8, 184–85)

Extending Detailed Care and Consideration

Nichiren Daishonin exemplified detailed consideration for others. Through his writings, we can learn how he cherished and cared for his disciples, many whom he could not regularly meet.

In the “Securing the Foundation” chapter in volume 8 of The New Human Revolution, SGI President Ikeda discusses the time when Nichiren received a gift of an unlined summer robe from his disciple Toki Jonin.

Jonin’s 90-year-old mother had made this unlined robe for her son, putting her heart and soul into sewing each stitch. Though intended for him, Jonin offered this robe to Nichiren to help him through the summer months.

Thinking of the trouble Jonin’s mother went through to sew this robe, Nichiren wrote that she must have been “straining her eyes, putting into it every bit of strength she has” (“A Mother’s Gift of a Robe,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 532).

Nichiren further writes, “I shall don the robe, and in the presence of the god of the sun relate in detail how I came to possess it” (WND-2, 532). With this statement, Nichiren assured Jonin and his mother that the Buddhist gods definitely would protect them and that they had nothing to worry about.

By sewing the robe, Jonin’s mother expressed her love and concern for her son, who went on to express his gratitude for her as well as his mentor. In response, Nichiren demonstrated his appreciation and care for his disciple, extending his heart to his disciple’s mother. This beautiful exchange of the heart provides a snapshot into the humanistic world of Buddhism.

Later in the “Securing the Foundation” chapter, President Ikeda writes, “Shin’ichi Yamamoto always reminded himself that he must take action with the Daishonin’s spirit” (NHR-8, 8).

How can I bring joy to and lift the spirits of my comrades? And further, how can I offer encouragement and prayers to the family members and those supporting my fellow members? Expanding the network of individuals with such sincerity of heart is the basis of the kosen-rufu movement.

Volume 8: Chapter Four—Raging Rapids

Q: Why is sharing Buddhism a necessary part of our Buddhist practice?