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Advancing With Good Friends Is the Buddha Way

Illustration by Leo Matsuda.

Shakyamuni’s disciple Ananda once asked if advancing with good friends is half the way to enlightenment. Shakyamuni responded that this was not the correct way of thinking. It is not half the Buddha way, he said, but all the Buddha way.

Ikeda Sensei explains:

Advancing and striving together with good friends is not half but all of Buddhist practice. We of the Soka Gakkai have fully embodied this message of Shakyamuni, this spirit of Buddhism. Sometimes advancing with others is frustrating and difficult. Acting alone, just as one pleases, is undoubtedly much easier. But that can lead to becoming self-centered, which prevents us from practicing Buddhism properly. Before we know it, we’ll have strayed from the correct path. Ultimately, we’ll find ourselves in a lonely, sad and miserable state of life. Mutual development and true Buddhist practice lie in joining together with many different kinds of individuals and sharing various challenges and working with them as we encourage one another to advance and grow. (The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 3, p. 101)

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Q: I was an SGI-USA leader for a long time, but now, as a general member, I’m wondering how I can best contribute.