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Meet the Lion


“When each of us becomes a lion, we can triumph over any form of adversity. Lions are strong. They fear nothing.”[1]—Ikeda Sensei

Photo by Hennadii / Getty Images

The lion symbolizes the qualities of courage, strength and perseverance that we aim to achieve through Buddhist practice. Nichiren Daishonin, who opened the way for all people to attain Buddhahood, referred to himself as the lion king and urged his disciples to become lion kings themselves, saying, “Each of you should summon up the courage of a lion king and never succumb to threats from anyone.”[2] Furthermore, he explained the roar of a lion in this way: “The first shi of the word shishi, or ‘lion’ [which means ‘teacher’], is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi [which means ‘child’] is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The ‘roar’ is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison.”[3]

When mentor and disciple chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo based on a shared vow and initiate the struggle for kosen-rufu, they call forth the invincible spirit of the lion king.

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