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Self-reflection Is Key to a Happy Life

Woman reflected in hand mirror
CSA Plastock / Getty Images

A classic Japanese comedy tells the following story: Once there was a country village where no one had a mirror. In those days, mirrors were priceless. A man, returning from his trip to the capital, handed his wife a mirror as a souvenir. That was the first time for her to see a mirror. Looking into it, she exclaimed: “Who on earth is this woman? You must’ve brought a girl back with you from the capital.” And so began a big fight.

Though this story is fictitious, many people become angry or grieve over phenomena that are actually nothing but the reflection of their own lives—their state of mind and the causes that they have created. Like the wife in the story who exclaims, “Who on earth is this woman?” they do not realize the folly of their ways.

Because they are ignorant of Buddhism’s mirror of life, such people can- not see themselves as they truly are. This being the case, they cannot guide others along the correct path of life nor can they discern the true nature of occurrences in society. (Ikeda Sensei, My Dear Friends in America, third edition, p. 100)

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