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Daily Life

Upholding an Invincible Spirit (Part 1)

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In light of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the following are Ikeda Sensei’s excerpted quotes emphasizing the importance of never giving up and upholding a fighting spirit.

If you win in the end, you will have won in everything!

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda would often say to me: “An impasse is a critical turning point. Do you give up and throw in the towel? Or do you stand up with indomitable resolve, determined to go on fighting? That difference in attitude is what determines victory or defeat.” Mr. Toda deeply and firmly impressed this lesson on me.

“Listen to me, Daisaku.[1] Whatever happens along the way, triumph in the end! Resolve to win! If you win in the end, you will have won in everything.”

… It is only when we struggle against adversity that the tremendous power residing in the very depths of our lives begins to reveal itself. Those who can summon great strength at the most challenging time are victors. This is an unchanging rule of history. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, Part 2, p. 185)

•  •  •

You must continue with your human revolution.

“That must have been very difficult for you too. But the suffering you’ve experienced has made you into a person who can understand the suffering of others. It’s a shame that the family business went bankrupt, but that happens frequently in our world. The important thing is not to go bankrupt as a person. Never be defeated.” …

“Even when you’ve overcome bankruptcy, you need to continue with your human revolution and perfect yourself, or you won’t be able to change your karma. It is important that you continuously strive your hardest for kosen-rufu, polishing and perfecting yourself in the process.” (Sensei’s dialogue with a member, The New Human Revolution, vol. 25, p. 224)

•  •  •

Everything has profound meaning.

In the drawn-out recession we are now facing, some of our members may find themselves the victims of corporate restructuring or unemployment. However, when viewed through the eyes of Buddhism, everything has profound meaning.
We must not lament our situations. As long as we have strong faith—courageous faith—we can definitely transform all hardships into something positive, turning poison into medicine.

Please … continue advancing resolutely forward, no matter what happens.

Buddhism concerns itself with winning. And it is crucial that we triumph. We must triumph over ourselves and triumph in life. That is the reason we practice Nichiren Buddhism.

[Nichiren] Daishonin is fully aware  of all of your efforts, as you valiantly struggle to overcome various hardships and strive for kosen-rufu with sincere dedication. Please put your minds at ease, and live out your lives of profound mission to the fullest. I hope you will continue to move forward each day in a way true to yourself, with dignity, courage and pride. (Feb. 15, 2002, World Tribune, p. 2)

•  •  •

Conquer our doubts through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Nichiren Buddhism enables us to confidently overcome life’s problems without becoming discouraged, feeling sorry for ourselves or thinking: I’m no good! or I can’t do it! The power of the Mystic Law enables us to decisively vanquish the fundamental darkness or ignorance that tries to diminish our supremely noble lives.

In other words, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a battle against the darkness or ignorance that shrouds the truth that we ourselves are Buddhas. That’s why it requires serious dedication. Through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can conquer our doubts and break through the shell of our lesser self. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the fundamental power that can transform even sorrow into a wellspring of creativity. (November 2018 Living Buddhism, p. 51)

•  •  •

Muster the courage to rise to the challenge.

In November 1978, a time when the Soka Gakkai was beset with fierce obstacles [because of the first priesthood issue], I called out to the young people who would shoulder the future: “Leading an undefeated life is eternal victory. Not being defeated, never giving up, is actually a greater victory than winning.”

Not being defeated means having the courage to rise to the challenge. However many times we’re knocked down, the important thing is that we keep getting up and taking one step—even a half step—forward. (November 2018 Living Buddhism, p. 56)

•  •  •

Persevere with wisdom and strength.

Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo ends with the simple words “Wait and hope.”

Those who know what it means to truly persevere have the wisdom and strength to create the future. The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are champions of hope who possess “the power of great perseverance” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 256). They are champions of spreading the Mystic Law in this troubled age, individuals with the ability to persevere for the sake of their great purpose. Victory is proof of their underlying power.

That is why nothing can defeat the mentors and disciples of Soka who are dedicated to realizing the vow of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. We were all born to win, each of us carrying out our mission from the remote past. We are guaranteed to show actual proof of victory. (November 2018 Living Buddhism, p. 56)

•  •  •

Our Buddhist practice is the driving force for unlimited improvement.

If you possess strong life force and abundant wisdom, it is possible to enjoy the challenge of overcoming life’s hardships much in the same way that waves make surfing exhilarating and steep mountains give mountaineering its appeal.

Because the Mystic Law is the source of the life force and wisdom for overcoming life’s difficulties, the Daishonin states that there is no greater happiness than chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Reality is harsh. Please courageously challenge the stern realities of life and win, and win again, in everything—in daily life, work, school and family relations. The teachings of Buddhism and our practice of faith are the driving force for unlimited improvement. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, Part 1, p. 6)

•  •  •

Indestructible happiness is forged through challenging hardships.

In the realm of faith, too, it is only by continually challenging ourselves amid hardships and difficulties that we can attain a state of absolutely indestructible happiness.

Nichiren states, “Difficulties will arise, and these are to be looked on as [peace and comfort]” (see The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 115).

The realm of kosen-rufu—in which we see difficulties as peace and comfort, as a badge of honor, and advance while surmounting every obstacle—is the “soil” in which people of truly great character are nurtured and grow. This is the great path for building lasting happiness, and, just as the Daishonin instructs, it is the royal road by which the correct teaching is being spread widely. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, Part 2, pp. 174–75)


  1. Daisaku is Ikeda Sensei’s first name. ↩︎

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