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Buddhist Study

The Fusion of Reality and Wisdom


Nichiren Buddhism teaches us how to bring forth the wisdom to transform the challenges we face in our lives as well as the larger issues impacting society.

Nichiren Daishonin teaches that every one of us possesses limitless power to transform even our greatest obstacles into the most beneficial opportunities. Through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the fundamental Law of life and the universe, we can tap into our greatest potential, experience an enlightened state of life and utilize all aspects of our lives—the good, the bad  and everything in between—to move  our lives in the best direction of happiness and fulfillment.

One way to understand the power of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is through the Buddhist principle of the “fusion of reality and wisdom.” Nichiren writes:

Reality means the true nature of all phenomena, and wisdom means the illuminating and manifesting of this true nature. Thus when the riverbed of reality is infinitely broad and deep, the water of wisdom will flow ceaselessly. When this reality and wisdom are fused, one attains Buddhahood in one’s present form. … What then are these two elements of reality and wisdom? They are simply the five characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. (“The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 746)

In the passage above, Nichiren describes reality as “the true nature of all phenomena,” which refers to the truth that permeates all life. Wisdom, he explains, is “the illuminating and manifesting of this true nature,” pointing to the insight to perceive or illuminate that truth. And “fusion” refers to the state of Buddhahood through which we can perceive that reality and wisdom are essentially one.

Based on his belief in the Mystic Law, Nichiren revealed his own Buddhahood by thoroughly challenging and overcoming all the persecutions and adversity he faced in striving to spread this Law. He inscribed the Gohonzon, the mandala through which he expressed the fusion of reality and wisdom that he had achieved in the depths of his life.

The Gohonzon represents our enlightenment, which is the ultimate reality of our lives. And when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with deep faith in the Gohonzon, we achieve the fusion of reality and wisdom in our own lives.

Ikeda Sensei discusses this in The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra:

In essence, everyone is a Buddha. That is our “reality.” It is the light of wisdom that causes the world of Buddhahood in our lives to shine. Our Buddhahood starts shining when we develop the wisdom to realize we are Buddhas. This is the fusion of reality and wisdom. From our standpoint, according to the Buddhist principle of “substituting faith for wisdom,” wisdom means faith. That we possess the world of Buddhahood is the objective truth, the reality, of our lives. Faith causes this reality to shine in actuality. …

We experience the fusion of reality and wisdom when we work to carry out our mission burning with the conviction “I am a Bodhisattva of the Earth! I am a Buddha!” (vol. 3, p. 18)

This relationship between reality and wisdom applies not only to spiritual life and Buddhist practice but to every aspect of our individual reality. For instance, if you’re a nurse, then the fusion of reality and wisdom might be reflected in chanting to do your best at work and making efforts to ensure that patients are treated respectfully, feel cared for and receive the best medical attention.

Sensei says, in the same discussion, “Effecting the perfect fusion of reality and wisdom in our lives means becoming indispensable wherever we are” (vol. 3, p. 17).

When we deepen our prayer to the Gohonzon, strengthening our conviction in the belief that everyone possesses limitless potential, the wisdom of the Buddha wells forth within us, enabling us to access limitless reserves of ingenuity and hope.

Buddhism emphasizes that each of us are deeply connected with our environment and all other people. As we deepen our prayer with the powerful conviction “to produce fire from damp wood, or to obtain water from parched ground” (“Rebuking Slander of the Law,” WND-1, 444), we can become the force for change in our families, communities and the world.

Nov. 18 will mark the 90th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai’s founding. With this in mind, Sensei urges us to tackle every challenge deeply aware of the significance of our efforts from this year on. He declares:

The 10-year period from the 90th to the 100th anniversaries of the Soka Gakkai will mark a period of vital importance that will be a turning point for humanity. (March 6 World Tribune, p. 10)

• • •

Keeping our focus firmly on this important decade that holds the key to peace and prosperity for our planet, let us bravely make the causes for great victory in kosen-rufu and in our lives. (Feb. 7 World Tribune, p. 2)

Now more than ever, as we strive amid the chaotic and uncertain times ahead, let’s deepen our prayer to the Gohonzon, fusing our life with the Mystic Law, to bring forth the greatest wisdom of the Buddha to win over every challenge and transform our own lives as well as society.

Minneapolis Honors Ikeda Sensei

Fulfilling Our Vow as Bodhisattvas of the Earth