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Buddhist Study

Planting Seeds of Buddhahood


The aim of Nichiren Buddhist practice is to help people develop into individuals who are undefeated by any obstacle and can contribute to the peace and happiness of those around them.

An essential aspect of Nichiren Buddhism is sharing its practice with others and helping them establish lives of genuine fulfillment. This process of teaching others about and helping them embrace faith in Buddhism is expressed in Buddhist teachings as planting, or sowing, seeds of Buddhahood.

Nichiren Daishonin states, “The Lotus Sutra is like the seed, the Buddha like the sower, and the people like the field” (“The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 748).

When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and strive to engage others in dialogues about the benefits of Buddhist practice, we, “the sower,” are planting the seed of Buddhahood in the “field” of their lives.

Buddhism teaches two stages of sowing. Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda explains, stating:

There are two kinds of seed sowing [in Buddhism]: sowing the seeds by letting people hear the teaching, and sowing the seeds by leading people to arouse faith in the teaching. Let’s say you meet someone for the first time and tell them about Nichiren Buddhism, but the person does not take faith.

This is sowing the seeds by letting people hear the teaching. But suppose that later someone else who practices this Buddhism approaches that person and talks about faith in the Mystic Law again, and they decide to receive the Gohonzon. This is sowing the seeds by leading people to arouse faith in the teaching. Both of these are equally sowing the seeds of Buddhahood, and the benefit is the same. (October 2003 Living Buddhism, p. 45)

In our efforts to share Buddhism with others, some may embrace faith right away, while others may not. There may even be those who strongly oppose our Buddhist practice. Regardless of the immediate reaction, it is vital for us to continue caring and chanting for that person’s happiness and sharing Buddhism with others. Each seed we plant will definitely bear fruit.

What’s also important to understand is that while all people inherently possess the Buddha nature, without someone to share Buddhism with them, the seed of Buddhahood will not “sprout.” SGI President Ikeda explains:

All people possess the life state of Buddhahood within, but unless they form a connection with the Lotus Sutra, which teaches the truth about the world of Buddhahood, it remains dormant in their lives. That’s why it is so important to . . . teach others Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the Law of universal enlightenment. (November 2019 Living Buddhism, pp. 56–57)

In this year, commemorating the 60th anniversary of kosen-rufu in America, we are aiming to welcome 6,000 youth to the SGI-USA. This is a time when people throughout our society are searching for hope and meaning. When we carry out the two types of sowing by sharing with as many people as possible the hope-filled philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, we become the greatest cultivators of happiness and peace.

SGI President Ikeda’s Guidance

An Act of Supreme Good

In the following excerpt from The New Human Revolution, Shin’ichi Yamamoto, who represents SGI President Ikeda in the novel, responds to a member who asks how to share Buddhism with others amid a busy schedule.

What is the key to enabling others to practice? It is determination. As long as you are firmly resolved, you can transform any situation . . .

First, it’s important to pray wholeheartedly to the Gohonzon to share Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings with others. When you do so, people who are seeking Buddhism will appear in your environment. It’s also crucial that you speak with as many people as possible about the practice. Of course, there is no guarantee that any of them will take faith right away. But what matters is that you continue to tenaciously deepen your bonds of friendship with them, praying every day for their happiness while engaging them in dialogue. If you plant seeds and nurture them with care, they will definitely bloom one day and bear fruit. There’s no need to be impatient.

In addition, even if your friends haven’t joined the Soka Gakkai, you can still bring them to meetings and study and chant [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] together with them. It’s important to let things happen naturally.

At any rate, all your efforts to share Nichiren Buddhism will come back to you as good fortune. Whether or not the other person starts to practice, you are still creating causes for your own attainment of Buddhahood . . .

The act of spreading Nichiren’s teachings—of striving to help each person change their life on a fundamental level—is an act of supreme good that guarantees a future of eternal happiness. (vol. 13, pp. 165–66)

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