Brief Guidances

Q: How can I share Buddhism naturally and confidently?

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In The New Human Revolution, vol. 6, Ikeda Sensei recounts his trip to Egypt in 1962. While at a museum, he strikes up a conversation on Buddhism with a stranger (through the assistance of an interpreter). A Soka Gakkai youth leader, who had accompanied Sensei and witnessed the interaction, was inspired by his ability to talk about Buddhism so naturally. He asked Sensei how he could overcome his own tendency to get defensive and sound forced, unnatural, whenever he brought up his faith and the Soka Gakkai with others.

Sensei replied: “All of society, all phenomena and events are Buddhism, so that whether discussing history, politics or life in general, I can’t help expressing the Buddhist point of view.

“If we make Buddhism and faith the bases of our lives and have pride and confidence in that, our discussions will just naturally become dialogues on Buddhism. If we find ourselves unable to do so, it is because we have somehow built a fence around Buddhism in our minds. It hasn’t permeated every aspect of our lives and thought.

“If every time you talk about Buddhism you become defensive, tense up and look severe, people won’t be receptive to what you say. For us, Buddhist dialogue is the most natural, effortless expression of our humanity.” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 6, revised edition, pp. 98–99)