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Buddhist Study

Making Offerings

Grass grows in the Gold Creek Reservoir of Brookfield, Brisbane. Vulnerable though it may appear, this grass thrives in the winter, and is said to sometime form heart-shaped flowers. Photo by WENYI LIU / GETTY IMAGES.

Severing Attachments That Perpetuate Our Suffering

Among the practices that Buddhists carry out is that of almsgiving. There are two types of almsgiving: the offering of goods and the offering of the Law. By engaging in both, we can overcome our sufferings and walk the direct path to Buddhahood.

The offering of goods allows us to break free from our attachment to material possessions, while the offering of the Law helps us sever our tendency to hold on to attachments that are often the source of suffering. Nichiren Daishonin states:

Since nothing is more precious than life itself, one who dedicates one’s life to Buddhist practice is certain to attain Buddhahood. If one is prepared to offer one’s life, why should one begrudge any other treasure for the sake of Buddhism? On the other hand, if one is loath to part with one’s wealth, how can one possibly offer one’s life, which is far more valuable? (“Letter from Sado,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 301)

SGI President Ikeda explains this passage, stating: “Simply clinging to our lives will not result in attaining genuine happiness. Establishing a fundamental purpose and pursuing the correct course in life—ready to face any hardship this might entail—enables us to experience deep joy and fulfillment. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by shallow desires and hold fast to our lesser selves at a crucial moment, then our hearts will wither, and only misery and regret will await us” (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, p. 7).

Using Money for the Most Noble Cause

Money was originally created to be used. However, next to life, people tend to have a hard time parting with it. When driven by greed, people can easily end up slaves to money, which perpetuates their suffering.

In contrast, the Buddhist practice of almsgiving helps us utilize money for the most noble cause of spreading the Mystic Law. Thus, making financial offerings to spread Buddhism enables us to fight our tendencies to be controlled by money while developing the wisdom to use it in the most valuable way.

To make offerings of the Law means teaching others about the Mystic Law to help them establish lives of absolute happiness. Through this, we challenge our tendency to hesitate or judge the capacity of others to attain Buddhahood, which keeps us from fully embracing the spirit of compassion and respect for all taught in Buddhism. By courageously sharing Buddhism, we can fully engage in our inner transformation and experience the greatest benefit and joy.

Making Offerings Based on Our Vow and Appreciation

President Ikeda wonderfully embodies this spirit of almsgiving. While battling illness and financial hardships, he fully supported the development of kosen-rufu. He recounts this in The New Human Revolution:

[He] made it his creed to use even a little of the money remaining from his pay to support Soka Gakkai activities, to contribute to spreading Nichiren Buddhism. To do so was his joy and secret pride … Shin’ichi[1] was absolutely convinced that the benefit and good fortune he had acquired as a result had enabled him to overcome his illness and today assume the Soka Gakkai’s leadership with confidence and composure.

He had not acted to support his mentor or the organization at someone else’s behest. He had done so spontaneously, with a spirit of cheerfulness. It was an expression of his sincere faith, a reflection of his profound resolve to dedicate his life to spreading Nichiren Buddhism throughout the world. (vol. 4, pp. 118–19)

With the uncertainty and fear surrounding the quickly spreading COVID-19 virus, this is the exact time to strengthen our faith. Nichiren Buddhism teaches the power of making a strong determination in the most difficult times. With our annual May Contribution Campaign approaching, let’s redouble our resolve to take part with the confidence that “misfortune will change into fortune”[2] for ourselves and the world.

To learn more on how you can participate in May Commemorative Contribution click here!


  1. In The New Human Revolution, Shin’ichi Yamamoto is the character representing SGI President Ikeda. ↩︎
  2. “Reply to Kyo’o,” WND-1, 412. ↩︎

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