The Protective Forces of Kosen-rufu
by Adin Strauss
SGI-USA General Director
Many SGI members, especially those of us who’ve been practicing Buddhism for many years, have studied about the “protective forces” that we can summon through our practice.
The “forces” we speak of are nothing other than the power of the Buddha and the Law that exist within our lives and all around us, indeed throughout the universe.
And it is the power of our faith and the power of our practice that activate these forces.
Nichiren Daishonin explains this using a beautiful metaphor: “When with our mouths we chant the Mystic Law, our Buddha nature, being summoned, will invariably emerge. The Buddha nature of Brahma and Shakra, being called, will protect us” (“Those Initially Aspiring to the Way,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 887).
But who are these “Brahmas” and “Shakras” that we summon?
They are none other than actual human beings living with us in this ordinary world.
At this time, I’ve been hearing such amazing stories of dedicated SGI-USA members—doctors, nurses, first responders, hospital staff performing the vital function of cleaning and disinfecting—far behind the scenes and often unacknowledged.
Even in truly regrettable circumstances, such as ones in which critical equipment to protect lives of both patients and caregivers is in short supply, our valiant kosen-rufu comrades are giving it their all.
SGI President Ikeda states:
In particular, our fellow members of the SGI are themselves Buddhist deities, something that should be treasured and appreciated to the utmost.(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 6, pp. 151–52)
This is what the Daishonin tells his followers. For example, he says, “The heavenly gods and benevolent deities will assume various forms such as those of men and women” (“The Izu Exile,” WND-1, 35). … To forget this and instead admire only influential people in society, while thinking little of one’s fellow members, is completely backward.”
A chapter of the Lotus Sutra is devoted to Bodhisattva Medicine King, those who dedicate themselves to the Law, to repaying their debt of gratitude to their mentor and to serving others. Medicine King also demonstrates how to transform sufferings into joy and enlightened wisdom, and poison into medicine.
Upholding the great Soka tradition, let’s send waves of passionate and appreciative daimoku for the absolute protection of our front-line members, and further to all selfless people who have freely and courageously taken on a great mission amid this tremendous challenge.
And with cast-iron determination and rock-solid prayer as a foundation, let’s take even these incredibly trying circumstances as fuel to develop our own state of life and compassion. Then, let’s reach out to others with the joy and conviction that people are so desperately seeking.
With deep appreciation,