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Buddhist Study

True Cause: The Spirit of Always Moving Forward From the Present Moment


The following is an excerpt from SGI President Ikeda’s lecture on Nichiren Daishonin’s writing “The Supremacy of the Law,” addressing the concept of “true cause” and the importance of always strengthening our faith.

So long as one maintains firm faith, one is certain to receive the great protection of the gods. I say this for your sake. I know your faith has always been admirable, but now you must strengthen it more than ever. (“The Supremacy of the Law,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 614)

SGI President Ikeda: Nichiren Daishonin emphasizes that those with firm faith in the Mystic Law are certain to be protected by the Buddhist gods. This is an assurance that the protective forces of the universe will safeguard all who devote themselves to kosen-rufu with unshakable commitment …

It is extremely difficult to forge a mind that will remain constant amid the tempests of fundamental darkness or ignorance that rage in the polluted Latter Day of the Law. Firm faith or courageous resolve to persevere in upholding the correct teaching is therefore of vital importance.

We cannot move the heavenly deities to action with a weak or passive attitude in faith. The protective workings of these benevolent universal forces arise in response to prayers and actions infused with an unwavering determination to win and never be defeated by hardship.

In the above passage from “The Supremacy of the Law,” Nichiren tells Nichimyo, “I say this for your sake.” He is already well aware that Nichimyo is a woman of strong faith. But he takes this opportunity to teach her the key to establishing an even more unassailable Buddhist practice. First, he pays tribute to her commitment to seeking the correct path of Buddhism, which has been clear in her actions so far. He writes, “I know your faith has always been admirable.” He then gives her this guidance, “But now you must strengthen it more than ever.” . . . He urges her to strengthen her faith even more in order to teach her a cornerstone of Buddhist practice. This, in other words, is the spirit of always moving forward and continually growing—further today than yesterday, further tomorrow than today.

Nichiren Buddhism teaches the mystic principle of the true cause[1]—meaning that a fresh cause can be made at each moment—and emphasizes the present and the future. No matter how admirably we may have exerted ourselves in our Buddhist practice in the past, if we allow our efforts to grind to a halt in the present, we will eventually stop growing in faith. As the saying goes, “Not advancing is regressing.”

Of course, people sometimes cannot be as active as they’d like due to illness or the infirmities of old age. And circumstances sometimes place restrictions on people’s efforts for kosen-rufu. But irrespective of our situations, the important thing is not to slacken in our resolve; if we do, we cannot be said to have the firm faith that Nichiren proclaims is so necessary. No matter how hard we might have struggled in the past, if we stop practicing, then all our efforts will have been in vain . . .

An ever-fresh resolve and unflagging dedication—this has been the Soka Gakkai spirit since the pioneering days of our movement. “Forward, forward—ever forward!”—this is the motto of kosen-rufu.

Having firm faith means bravely confronting adversity, not retreating under any circumstance. Those who are weak and indecisive at a crucial moment cannot hope to bring forth the protection of the heavenly deities . . .

No matter what daunting hardships we face, we must keep pressing forward. We must forge ahead with the determination to strengthen our faith day by day and month after month, as Nichiren exhorts (see “On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” WND-1, 997). (Learning From Nichiren’s Writings: The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, pp. 135–37) WT

Maintaining an Eternally Youthful Spirit

In the following excerpt from vol. 25 of The New Human Revolution, Shin’ichi Yamamoto (SGI President Ikeda’s pseudonym) encourages two women who had made important contributions since the pioneering days.

“I am so happy to see both of you, the mothers of Fukushima, looking so well and healthy. An organization whose pioneering members remain active and energetic will continue to develop” . . .

“Having stepped down from your position on the front lines, you’re at a very important point in your life. You mustn’t think ‘I’ve completed my mission, and now I can just relax and enjoy myself.’ If you do, your faith will begin to crumble. Your struggle is just beginning.

“Recently I asked a prefecture guidance leader, ‘In the last seven years, how many people have you introduced to Buddhism?’ He had previously introduced Nichiren Buddhism to several hundred people. ‘These last seven years, I haven’t been able to introduce anyone,’ he said.

“I said to him: ‘Let’s once again strive with the pioneering spirit of the early days. It’s vital to continue advancing and encouraging others as long as you live, whether you’re in your 80s or 90s. Please live your life with an eternally youthful spirit.’”

Filled with conviction, Shin’ichi [Yamamoto] spoke to the two women, “I want you to communicate the Soka Gakkai spirit to everyone through your actions, for as long as you live.” (NHR-25, 37–38) WT


  1. Mystic principle of the true cause: Nichiren Buddhism directly expounds the true cause for enlightenment as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is the Law of life and the universe. It teaches a way of Buddhist practice of always moving forward from this moment on based on this fundamental Law. ↩︎

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