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New Members Meeting

The Four Powers: Our Conviction and Prayer Will Bring About Results

When you strike a bell, the sound it makes differs depending on whether you use a toothpick, a chopstick or bell striker. Our prayers being realized also comes down to the power of our faith and practice. Photo by YVONNE NG.

As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our daily lives and all levels of society, many of us may be left feeling uncertain or fearful.

Fortunately, Buddhism stresses that in the face of the greatest adversity, we have the power to bring forth limitless strength, transform our circumstances and create the future we envision.

Nichiren Daishonin affirms that “it could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered” (“On Prayer,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 345).
Now, more than ever, it is vital for us, as Buddhist practitioners, to strengthen our faith and pray resolutely for the health and safety of our loved ones and a quick resolution to this current global crisis.

In Nichiren Buddhism, there are four key components, called the “four powers,” that function to realize our prayers. They are the power of the Buddha, the power of the Law, the power of faith and the power of practice.

When we chant with great resolve, we can tap into vast wellsprings of ingenuity, confidence
and hope.

The power of the Buddha, which refers to the Buddha’s respect and care for all people, represents the wellspring of compassion, courage and wisdom that is innate in all of us.

The power of the Law indicates the boundless capacity of the Mystic Law—the force governing our lives, the universe and all its aspects—to lead all people to enlightenment. The Law itself is not tangible, but reveals itself in our words, actions and all things.

The Gohonzon is the object of devotion that reflects the power of the Buddha and the power of the Law within us.

Thus, the power of faith describes our belief in the Gohonzon and the conviction that our prayers will be answered. It is the key component for realizing our desires and goals. Nichiren clearly states: “Misfortune will change into fortune. Muster your faith, and pray to this Gohonzon. Then what is there that cannot be achieved?” (“Reply to Kyo’o,” WND-1, 412).

Moreover, the power of practice refers to consistently chanting to the Gohonzon and teaching others to do the same. SGI President Ikeda explains: “The power of practice encompasses the strength of your chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the energy with which you work for kosen-rufu—for the happiness of all people and the prosperity of society. The stronger the power of your practice for yourself and others, the more you can tap the power of the Buddha and the power of the Law inherent in the Gohonzon and in your life” (Discussions on Youth, new edition, p. 299).

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda offered the analogy of striking a bell. The sound the bell makes greatly differs depending on whether you use a toothpick, a chopstick or a bell striker. While the bell is the same, the more powerfully you hit it, the more powerfully it sounds. This also applies to our prayers to the Gohonzon—everything depends on the power of our faith and practice.

President Ikeda continues: “As the expressions the power of faith and the power of practice indicate, belief has power. The greater your conviction that your prayers will be answered—the stronger your faith—the more powerfully the Gohonzon, the Mystic Law, responds to your prayers. …

“Although we say that prayers are answered, in Nichiren Buddhism, the fulfillment of our prayers is nothing supernatural. It’s not about some transcendent being like a Buddha or god in a distant realm taking pity on us to grant our wishes” (Discussions on Youth, new edition, p. 299).

Ultimately, the power of our prayer depends on our focus and determination. When we chant with great resolve, we can tap into vast wellsprings of ingenuity, confidence and hope, raising our life condition to transform our circumstances.

By strengthening the power of faith and the power of practice, we unleash the powers of the Buddha and the Law inherent in the Gohonzon and in our lives. As we continue to chant powerfully and take action for kosen-rufu, deepening our study of Buddhism and fortifying our conviction in faith, we will not only transform our current crisis but also move society in the direction of peace.


SGI President Ikeda’s Guidance

Embodying the Buddha’s Wisdom

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda used to describe the Gohonzon this way: “This certainly doesn’t do it full justice, but the Gohonzon can be likened to a happiness-manufacturing machine.” The Gohonzon is the ultimate crystallization of human wisdom and the Buddha wisdom. That’s why the power of the Buddha and the Law emerge in exact accord with the power of your faith and practice. If the power of your faith and practice equal a force of 100, then they will bring forth the power of the Buddha and the Law to the degree of 100. And if it is a force of 10,000, then it will elicit that degree of corresponding power. (Discussions on Youth, new edition, p. 299)

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