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Q: How can I be happy when my life feels like an endless series of setbacks?

Reflection of a woman's eye in a broken mirror
Ismael Sanchez / Pexels

A: Everything that happens in our lives has meaning. Moreover, the way of life of practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism is to find and discover meaning in all things. Nothing is insignificant. Whatever a person’s karma may be, it definitely has profound meaning. This is not just a matter of outlook. Changing the world starts by changing our fundamental state of mind. This is a key Buddhist principle. A powerful determination to transform even negative karma into mission can dramatically transform the real world. By changing our inner state of mind, we can change any suffering or hardship into a source of joy, regarding it as a means for forging and developing our lives. To turn even sorrow into a source of creativity—that is the way of life of practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism. …

To have a fighting spirit is itself the direct path to happiness. Only through struggles and challenges can we develop inner strength and truly creative lives. Also, by maintaining unwavering faith in the correct teaching of Buddhism no matter what obstacles or hardships arise, we can enter the path of happiness for all eternity. Attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime means securing this path in our daily lives during our present existence. (Ikeda Sensei, The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, p. 88)

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