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Daily Life

Upholding an Invincible Spirit (Part 2)

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. Part one appears in the May 15 World Tribune.

Continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens.

Nichiren [Daishonin] writes to [Shijo Kingo]:

Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than [experiencing] the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever. (“Happiness in This World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 681)

Right now, your life may be filled with suffering. But just as pleasure never lasts forever, neither does suffering. In life, there is both suffering and joy. Sometimes we win, and other times we lose. Both suffering and joy are a part of life; this is life’s reality. That is why, whether experiencing suffering or joy, we should keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, just as we are, says the Daishonin. If we do that, we will attain a state of supreme happiness through the wisdom and power of the Mystic Law. We can lead a life in which nothing will defeat us. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 1, pp. 86–87)

Let’s remain undefeated in our hearts, and awaken to our mission.

In the tough economic times following World War II, when [second Soka Gakkai President] Josei Toda’s businesses were in dire circumstances, I made the following entry in my diary:

In society, we find those who win and those who lose. Fortune and misfortune are unfathomable. Even if we achieve a win, our joy will not last forever. But a person of self-awakening, even if temporarily defeated, can go on to build a future vaster, broader, deeper and greater than someone who seems to have won. As long as we remain undefeated in our hearts, we can continue moving forward step by step, confident in our next victory.

That is still my belief today.

Self-awakened people are those awakened to the shared vow of mentor and disciple, to their mission as disciples. They are individuals whose sense of purpose has become one with their mission for kosen-rufu. (November 2018 Living Buddhism, p. 56)

We can positively transform any situation.

The important thing is to remain undaunted when difficulties arise, to firmly believe that they are expressions of the Buddha’s compassion and forge ahead with even stronger faith.

Some may weakly succumb to doubt and question why they still have problems even though they are practicing Nichiren Buddhism. But such a weak way of thinking will—in accord with the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life—come to permeate every aspect of their lives and create a state of even greater suffering. This is the opposite of having strong faith.

As ordinary people, we may not be able to fathom why a particular event happens at a particular time, but over the long term we will come to understand its meaning. We will also be able to positively transform the situation, changing poison into medicine. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 1, pp. 82–83)

Trying times are opportunities to make a leap forward to greater happiness.

Practicing Nichiren Buddhism doesn’t mean that we are immune to life’s problems. The storms of karma appear in many unexpected ways—as problems at home, at work, with our children and so on. But with each challenge we overcome, we carry out our human revolution and transform the destiny of our families and loved ones. In fact, trying times are opportunities to make a leap forward to greater happiness.

Life is long. Sometimes we will succeed, and sometimes we won’t. There is no need to be embarrassed by a temporary setback. The important thing is to triumph in the end, to never lose our fighting spirit, no matter how difficult the situation. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, p. 35)

Let’s build a strong self that can bravely face every trial.

The absence of hardship is not happiness. True happiness and joy in life are found in not being defeated by hardship, by picking ourselves up again when we fall down, by weathering and triumphing over adversity.

Life is a battle.
Life is a challenge.
Life is training.

Difficulties are an inescapable part of life. Our practice of Nichiren Buddhism empowers us to build a strong self that can bravely face every trial we encounter, enabling us to challenge the situation with a positive spirit and seeing it as a chance for growth. Those who have this fighting spirit win in the end. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, p. 173)

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