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May Contribution

Sincere Offerings Is a “Way to Become a Buddha Easily”

The aim of Nichiren Buddhism is for each of us to establish lives of absolute, enduring happiness and to help those around us do the same. In fact, from the perspective of Buddhism, each of us has the great mission of building185 fulfilling lives, and contributing to others and to society. SGI President Ikeda explains that, as SGI members, our mission “is to realize kosen-rufu, an undertaking to eliminate misery from the world and bring happiness and peace to all” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 16, p. 8).

An integral part of carrying out our practice of Buddhism with this aim in mind is the act of making offerings to support the Buddhist community that is advancing kosen-rufu.

Two key ways we do so is through the offering of goods and the offering of the Law. To offer goods means providing our time, money, skills and other things to support the Buddhist community in fulfilling its function to spread and protect the teaching of Nichiren Buddhism. The offering of the Law refers to teaching others the correct practice of Buddhism and leading them to lasting happiness.

Everything comes down to what is in our hearts as we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and carry out all our SGI activities.

In “The Wealthy Man Sudatta,” Nichiren Daishonin writes: “The way to become a Buddha easily is nothing special. It is the same as giving water to a thirsty person in a time of drought, or as providing fire for a person freezing in the cold. Or again, it is the same as giving another something that is one of a kind, or as offering something as alms to another even at the risk of one’s life” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1086).

In saying that becoming a Buddha “is nothing special,” Nichiren is saying that, just like giving water to a thirsty person during a drought, our Buddhist practice helps us give what is needed most at the right time. In addition, President Ikeda explains that offering something that is precious and “one of a kind” means “pledging to carry out kosen-rufu in the course of our daily lives while living life to the fullest. In doing so, we are devoting our lives to Buddhism, and thereby open the life state of Buddhahood within us” (October 2014 Living Buddhism, p. 29).

In the case of Nanjo Tokimitsu, who was the recipient of this letter, Nichiren heartily praises him for his offering of a thousand coins despite the economic hardships Tokimitsu faced. The authorities had levied high taxes on his estate and demanded that he provide men for unpaid labor. This was most likely out of retaliation for Tokimitsu’s actions to protect his fellow practitioners when they were experiencing persecution by priests and authorities in Atsuhara Village.

Even amid such intense pressure and severe privation, Tokimitsu continued striving with unshakable faith and dedicated commitment, diligently supporting the Daishonin. He strove with the same heart and spirit as his mentor to firmly establish a foundation for kosen-rufu that would last far into the future. And in this letter, Nichiren assures his disciple that because of his sincere and dedicated efforts, he will gain immeasurable benefit and is on the course to attaining Buddhahood.

In another writing, Nichiren says, “Ordinary people keep in mind the words ‘earnest resolve’ and thereby become Buddhas” (“The Gift of Rice,” WND-1, 1125).

Taking action with “earnest resolve,” or sincere dedication, is the direct path to attaining Buddhahood. Everything comes down to what is in our hearts as we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and carry out all our SGI activities.

President Ikeda says: “When we awaken to the fact that we possess within us the life state of Buddhahood as vast as the universe itself, there is no difficulty we cannot surmount. When we manifest our inherent strength, we can challenge boldly, with confidence and joy, the tasks that lie before us each day” (October 2014 Living Buddhism, p. 26).

So, whether we are making financial contributions, supporting SGI activities, encouraging our friends in faith, or sharing Buddhism with those around us, our “earnest resolve,” our sincerity of heart, determines everything. “Earnest resolve,” President Ikeda points out, “cannot be seen, but through its power we can orient ourselves in the direction of victory and happiness” (September 2105 Living Buddhism, p. 34). WT

Changes to Contribution Guidelines

The SGI-USA is pleased to announce that the Central Executive Committee, our national planning body, recently approved important changes to our guidelines for accepting financial contributions:

1) Any person who joined the SGI-USA on or after Jan. 1, 2019, must wait one year before making a financial contribution to the organization.

2) On or after the one-year anniversary of their joining our organization, they may be asked to start financial contributions to the SGI-USA after being interviewed by a chapter through national leader, who will share the spirit of faith-based contribution as clarified by SGI President Ikeda in volume 4 of The New Human Revolution and elsewhere.

One key passage reads as follows:

Donations to support organizational activities represent offerings for the advancement of kosen-rufu. Faced with members’ growing insistence that they be allowed to help finance the organization, [second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda sensed that the time had finally come to open the door to such a development . . . Financial contributions to the Soka Gakkai were not the same as donations to other organizations, because it was essential that offerings for kosen-rufu be based on faith. As long as the contributors possessed such sincere and ardent faith, they would not fail to receive immeasurable benefit.” (p. 109)

3) To support the leaders who will conduct the interviews and to ensure consistency of our message, an SGI-USA study booklet about the spirit of financial contribution will be printed and distributed to all chapter through national leaders by Sept. 30, 2019. It will also be available online.

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