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Buddhist Study

One Person of Passionate Commitment Is Stronger Than a Force of Untold Numbers

San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo by Roso Sabalones.

This guidance is from section 24.9 of “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace” series, published in the September 2017 Living Buddhism, pp. 59–60.

In August 53 years ago (in 1947), I became a disciple of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda. Soon after joining the Soka Gakkai, I read Nichiren Daishonin’s writing “On Practicing the Buddha’s Teachings.” There is one passage that says:

“Once you become a disciple or lay supporter of the votary who practices the true Lotus Sutra in accord with the Buddha’s teachings, you are bound to face the three types of enemies [arrogant lay people, arrogant priests and arrogant false sages].

Therefore, from the very day you listen to [and take faith in] this sutra, you should be fully prepared to face the great persecutions of the three types of enemies that are certain to be more horrible now after the Buddha’s passing.” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 391)

As a disciple who took Mr. Toda’s spirit as my own, I made the following vow: “Let me alone bear the brunt of any persecutions. Allow me to protect my mentor Mr. Toda and all the members of the Soka Gakkai.”

When he was about to be executed at Tatsunokuchi, Nichiren Daishonin exclaimed, “What greater joy could there be?” (“The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 767). And when he was exiled to Sado, he declared, “Because I view things this way, I feel immeasurable delight even though I am now an exile” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” WND-1, 386). In life and in the struggle for kosen-rufu, all our sufferings and earthly desires are fuel for our enlightenment. The tougher the challenges we face, the greater the joy and benefit, and the higher the life condition we will ultimately savor.

It’s important for leaders to resolve to work harder than anyone. They should also keep striving and live their lives cheerfully and confidently, determined to enjoy themselves more than anyone. People with such resolve are invincible; no one is a match for them. One person of passionate commitment is stronger than a force of untold numbers.

The outcome of a struggle is decided by the leaders’ determination, by their sense of responsibility.

The members in the early days of the Soka Gakkai rose up with a spirit of absolute determination to triumph and achieve kosen-rufu in their communities. If you have that determination, capable people will appear and join you in realizing that goal. Your resolve will also be communicated to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the universe, who will respond to your dedication. In other words, resolute prayer is the key. And just as the fields burst into flower when spring comes, all of your efforts, too, will blossom without fail when the right time comes.

Ikeda Wisdom Academy: March 2019

Commentary on Volume 3