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Gosho Study

Action Is the Direct Path to Changing Our Karma


Nichiren has now read [and lived] the entirety of the Lotus Sutra. Even a single phrase or verse assures one’s enlightenment; since I have read the entire sutra, how much more certain is my enlightenment. I am more confident than ever. Though I may sound presumptuous, my most fervent wish is to realize the security and peace of the entire land. In an age when none will heed me, however, it is beyond my power. I will close now to keep this brief. (“Lessening One’s Karmic Retribution,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 200)

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

This passage reveals that Nichiren Daishonin’s practice of shakubuku is what it means to read and live the Lotus Sutra.

In Buddhist practice, the important thing is that one’s words and actions are in harmony. …

Likewise, in Nichiren Buddhism, action is of key importance. In this writing, he points out that, while it is relatively easy to recite the Lotus Sutra with letter-perfect accuracy—a form of Buddhist practice that many in Japanese society of the day prided themselves on—it is very difficult to conduct oneself exactly as the sutra teaches.

In particular, Nichiren cites four passages of the Lotus Sutra that he has read with his life. Each passage asserts that those who propagate the Lotus Sutra after the Buddha’s passing in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law are certain to incur enmity and hardship in society. Because he has encountered just such obstacles, Nichiren declares that he alone in the Latter Day has practiced in a way that completely accords with the sutra’s predictions. …

Nichiren was waging a momentous struggle to open the path to Buddhahood for all people of the Latter Day of the Law. It was also an unprecedented struggle to transform the destiny of the land and, further, to transform the destiny of all humankind. This is the Daishonin’s spirit. From this, it becomes clear that only Nichiren can be considered as the true votary of the Lotus Sutra and the fundamental teacher who, with profound insight into the underlying nature of life, selflessly strove to open the path for transforming destiny in order to actualize happiness for all people and secure a peaceful world.

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As SGI members, we dedicate ourselves to kosen-rufu and strive wholeheartedly to help others change their karma, while grappling head-on with our own karma. Nichiren’s spirit lives in such noble actions, and such actions themselves enable us to live as lion kings overflowing with unsurpassed happiness and fulfillment. (The Hope-filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, pp. 160–62)

Peace, Culture and Education: The Purpose of Buddhist Study—Part 2

The Student Division—Be Leaders of Wisdom and Courage Who Will Create a New Era of Hope