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Q: What does it mean to use the strategy of the Lotus Sutra?


The Lotus Sutra expounds the fundamental Law of the universe, the Mystic Law. And Nichiren Daishonin taught that everything in life unfolds in accord with the workings of this Mystic Law.

We base our lives on this Law by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which helps us elevate our life force, bring forth Buddhahood from within our lives and find the best ways to transform even the most complex difficulties into the power source for victory.

To his disciple Shijo Kingo, who had narrowly escaped an ambush and continued facing mounting obstacles, Nichiren urges: “Spur yourself to muster the power of faith. Regard your survival as wondrous. Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1001).

Employing this strategy of the Lotus Sutra means to always make our Buddhist faith and practice the foundation of our actions. Ikeda Sensei says:

When we manifest the powerful life force of Buddhahood from within us through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can bring forth the courage to move forward, the wisdom to triumph and the compassion to encourage and support others.

Mr. Toda also said, “Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and living with strong faith day after day injects our life with diamondlike brilliance and strength every day.” (Sept. 4, 2009, World Tribune, p. 5)

The practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo drives out from our hearts cowardice, carelessness, arrogance and all our negative tendencies that keep us locked in a deepening cycle of suffering. By chanting, we break free from this cycle and gain hope and confidence to strive and win in the ongoing battle against our own delusions and fears.

“The strategy of the Lotus Sutra, making positive use of everything, is the driving force that dynamically propels us toward victory.”

What’s more, the true benefit of consistently and confidently employing the strategy of the Lotus Sutra is developing a strong, resilient life filled with courage that not only refuses to be defeated by any obstacle but also shines all the more brightly the greater the obstacles we face.

Faith Means “Prayer, Planning, Action, Unity and Courage”

The term strategy refers to a systematic plan of action—a clear way to produce effective results. From the Buddhist perspective, putting our faith first is the best strategy for leading the most victorious and fulfilling life.

Regarding the meaning of strategy and faith in Nichiren Buddhism, Sensei says: “For us, our strategy in the realm of kosen-rufu is faith—in other words, prayer, planning, action, unity and courage based on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon. The strategy of the Lotus Sutra, making positive use of everything, is the driving force that dynamically propels us toward victory” (Oct. 16, 2009, World Tribune, p. 5).

And what guides our clear and decisive actions based on faith is our spirit to seek the teachings and example of our mentors in faith.

Sensei continues:

The writings of Nichiren constitute an instruction manual left to us by him on how to employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra toward realizing happiness for all humanity. They are teachings for victory that enable us to break through every obstacle we encounter in the journey of life and in our efforts for kosen-rufu. If we take the Daishonin’s words deeply to heart and unerringly put them into practice, we are guaranteed to lead victorious lives free of the slightest regret, enacting our own triumphant dramas of making the impossible possible. (Oct. 16, 2009, World Tribune, p. 5)

When we employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra to live with the same commitment as Nichiren and take action to spread Buddhism, better our society and lead all people to happiness, everything moves in the best direction for leading the most victorious of lives.

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

The “strategy of the Lotus Sutra” refers to faith in the Gohonzon. It is faith that battles ignorance and delusion, breaks through negative karma, and wins without fail through confident prayer and the boundless wisdom and courage that flow forth as a result.

No matter what the situation, when we base ourselves on the Mystic Law, the ultimate Law of the universe, we will never be deadlocked. The unparalleled power of the Mystic Law enables us to overcome all obstacles or enemies that hinder us on the path to attaining Buddhahood. (The Hope-filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 143)

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