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Gosho Study

Maintaining Steadfast Faith at a Crucial Moment

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Any weakness in faith will be a cause for regret. The cart that overturns on the road ahead is a warning to the one behind.

In an age like this no one can help but thirst for the way. You may hate this world, but you cannot escape it. The people of Japan are certain to meet with terrible misfortune in the immediate future. (“Letter to the Brothers, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 467)

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

Ultimately, everything hinges on whether we can realize how fortunate we are to have encountered “a person who expounds this sutra exactly as the sutra directs” (WND-1, 495), and to strive with this teacher to propagate the Mystic Law. If our faith or resolve is weak at a crucial time, we’ll be left with eternal regret.

When we encounter obstacles in the course of our Buddhist practice, we, in fact, find ourselves at a momentous crossroads, a vital juncture that will decide whether we open the gateway to attaining Buddhahood forever through strong faith or close off the path to happiness by forsaking our faith.

Whenever great obstacles confront us, let’s challenge them intrepidly, bearing in mind this passage from Nichiren Daishonin’s treatise “The Opening of the Eyes”: “Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbor doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith. Foolish men are likely to forget the promises they have made when the crucial moment comes” (WND-1, 283).

Putting the spirit of this passage into action is the eternal lifeline of the SGI. If we keep advancing with these words as our point of reference, our faith will shine with indestructible brilliance.

Based on the spirit of this passage, any time we face hardships is a crucial moment. It is, therefore, essential that we have the dauntless faith to enable us to fight back bravely at such times—for instance, when the three obstacles and four devils strike, when we are challenging ourselves to change our karma or when we are engaged in a win-or-lose struggle for kosen-rufu. We should realize that every day we can learn this spirit of faith from Nichiren’s example. We must never be foolish people who cave in at a crucial moment. (Learning From the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin: The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, p. 86)

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