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Q: I often hesitate to share Buddhism. How can I have more courage?

Allen Zaki

A: Developing courage can be compared to building muscles. If we constantly give in to our fears, our courage can fade and become dormant. However, while we may face difficulties each day that make us want to retreat—whether at work, in relationships or in trying to share Buddhism with our friends—no matter how big or small an act, courage is courage. And it is strengthened by every effort we make to bring it forth.

We can do so by earnestly chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to expand our state of life and to discover a deeper purpose that enables us to continue to challenge ourselves amid setbacks.

SGI President Ikeda explains that true courage “comes from the wish to build a good and just society, to be a good human being. If we are to do good, not only for ourselves but for humanity and the world, we need courage” (Discussions on Youth, new edition, p. 333).

Many continue to practice Nichiren Buddhism because it enables us to bring forth courage, wisdom and compassion to overcome our own struggles, and develop a deeper humanity in the process. And we introduce Buddhism to others because we want to share the beneficial power of this practice.

In spreading this teaching, Nichiren Daishonin urges his disciples: “Each of you should summon up the courage of a lion king and never succumb to threats from anyone” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 997).

This “heart of the lion king” can be described as Nichiren’s own powerful desire to lead all people to enlightenment, which he dauntlessly upheld in the face of intense persecution.

The three founding presidents of the Soka Gakkai—Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda—paved the way for practicing Buddhism in modern times. Driven, as well, by the desire to lead all humanity to happiness and peace, they exemplified the same courageous spirit as Nichiren in the face of intense persecutions.

President Ikeda says:

The most important thing on the path of kosen-rufu is courage. Courage is the source of strength to go and encourage someone, to talk to our friends about Nichiren Buddhism or to stand up to persecution for the sake of the Law. Courage is the key to developing our state of life and changing our karma. The source of such courage is having the heart of a lion king . . .

When disciples align their spirit with their mentor and stand up with the same commitment, they can summon forth the bold and fearless heart of the lion king within them. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, pp. 359–60)

By striving to deepen the shared commitment of mentor and disciple, we can take one courageous step after another to connect with and share this Buddhism with others. This is how we strengthen our muscle of courage and summon forth the “fearless heart of the lion king.”

Excerpts From Nichiren’s Writings in Volume 14

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