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Ikeda Sensei

Spreading Happiness and Joy

Debra Williams

This monthly encouragement by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was originally published in the February 2020 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

I am reminded once again of this declaration by my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda: “We were born into this world to enjoy ourselves.”

Amid the ongoing turmoil and suffering in the aftermath of World War II, he affirmed that each person could achieve a state in which life itself is a joy through the power of faith in Nichiren Buddhism. He called out, “Let’s put happy smiles on the faces of people throughout Japan and the world!” It seemed like an impossible dream to many of those who were listening, but these words were an expression of his unshakable conviction based firmly on the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin.

In a letter to Shijo Kingo and his wife, Nichigen-nyo, who were battling many hardships, Nichiren Daishonin states: “There is no true happiness for human beings other than chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The [Lotus Sutra] reads, ‘ . . . where living beings enjoy themselves at ease.’[1]How could this passage mean anything but the boundless joy of the Law?” (“Happiness in This World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 681).

The happiness described here does not refer to some transient joy such as that derived from material wealth or fame. It is the great joy that arises from the innermost depths of our lives themselves.

He goes on to say: “Surely you are included among the ‘living beings.’ ‘Where’ means Jambudvipa [the entire world] . . . Could ‘enjoy themselves at ease’ mean anything but that both our bodies and minds, lives and environments, are entities of three thousand realms in a single moment of life and Buddhas of limitless joy?” (WND-1, 681).

He assures us that by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as entities of the Mystic Law, all people without exception, no matter where they live in the world, can create a life state and environment in which they can “enjoy themselves at ease.”

“Not even sages or worthies can escape the sufferings of this real world” (see WND-1, 681), says Nichiren. As such, we must continue to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and forge ahead, “suffering what there is to suffer, enjoying what there is to enjoy, and regarding both suffering and joy as facts of life” (see WND-1, 681). This is the path of absolute victory that allows us to overcome all negative karma in our lives and difficult problems confronting society, and light the way to the future.

The most eloquent testimony to this are the smiling faces of our noble and dignified pioneer members of the Many Treasures Group, who have triumphed through all in our journey of joint struggle. I’m delighted that their stories are being shared in publications around the world.

In this age where the life state of anger seems all too prevalent, often erupting destructively, let us forge even stronger unity in diversity and strive to spread the Mystic Law, the “greatest of all joys,”[2] to people the world over. Let’s do so always remembering Nichiren Daishonin’s words: “Strengthen your power of faith more than ever” (WND-1, 681).

Sharing sufferings and joys
connected by karmic bonds,
let us advance eternally
on the path
of “enjoying ourselves at ease.”


  1. The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 272. ↩︎
  2. The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 212. ↩︎

“To the Bright Suns of Kosen-rufu”

Prayer Infused With A Vow Brings Forth Courage, Wisdom and Strength