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Daily Life

Practical Things We Can Do to Improve Our Relationships

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Need inspiration? Here are some excerpts from Ikeda Sensei’s guidance that can inspire us to develop ourselves and transform difficult relationships.


It is … important to chant for those you don’t like, find hard to get along with or feel resentful toward. It may be difficult and perhaps even impossible for you to do so at first. But if you keep trying and chant for them, the situation will change. Perhaps you will change, or they will change. Either way, the situation will move in a more positive direction. Many people have experienced this first hand. Above all, becoming a person who is able to chant for the happiness of such challenging individuals will be your greatest fortune. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, p. 283)

How We Greet Others Is Key

A pleasant greeting can instantly forge positive connections. It can create goodwill, even if it is your first encounter or the other person is someone you have trouble communicating with.

When greeting others, it doesn’t matter if your greeting isn’t returned. Taking the lead in greeting others is important. Those who can respect others will be respected in turn. Those who can greet others cheerfully, sincerely and warmly are truly admirable. Greeting others is an art that reflects one’s life state. (August 31, 2012, World Tribune, p. 4)


When I meet others, I always make a point of expressing my appreciation to them. I hope you’ll also always sincerely thank the people in your life. When words of gratitude well forth naturally from your heart, all your relationships will develop in a positive direction. It’s up to you, not the other person. Your own life condition determines everything. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, pp. 195–96)

• • •

There is a women’s division member who suffered from dementia in her later years, and she was unable to remember even the names of her family members. But when the doctor asked her what was the happiest moment in her life, she immediately responded: “When my daughter was born. I was so happy!” Hearing this, tears welled up in the eyes of her daughter, who was standing nearby. “Thank you,” she said. “Thank you, mother. That was all I needed to hear.”

The daughter reflected on how she was always scolding her own son. “Yes,” she thought, “how happy I was when he was born!” Yet, over the years, driven by some mental image of an ideal child, she had tried to mold her son to fit that form, thinking only of where he didn’t measure up to the ideal and dwelling on his shortcomings in one respect or another. Still, in spite of how demanding she was, her son tried his best to live up to her expectations. He was kind to her. As these thoughts came to her, she was overcome with gratitude toward him. “Thank you. I’m happy just that you are alive and well. I’m happy just that you’re here beside me. Thank you.”

She saw her son with fresh eyes, and suddenly she had so many reasons to be grateful and happy. After all, though it was hard getting her son out of bed in the mornings, he would eventually get up, even if it was sometimes at the last minute. That, in itself, was an amazing thing. He may have been a little picky about his food, and he may not have been at the top of his class, but she was just grateful he went to school and wore a bright smile each day.

She was grateful for everything, even when nothing special happened. She was grateful for each day that passed with her family safe and well. She realized that taking so much for granted had been a symptom of a deep and pervading arrogance on her part.

Similarly, there are people who, when diagnosed with a serious illness, realize for the first time just how much they have taken their health for granted and never appreciated all that they had.

I hope that, every once in a while, you will look your partner in the eye and say thank you. Instead of eating dinner together in silence, take the time to express your appreciation. It may seem a bit embarrassing at first, but try it, and you’ll see how it changes your life. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, pp. 199–200)

Read more on building harmonious relationships.

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