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Ikeda Sensei’s Lectures

Everything Begins With Prayer Infused With the Shared Vow of Mentor and Disciple

Ikeda Sensei’s Lecture Series [70]

Prayer in Nichiren Buddhism means making a vow to win without fail.

Everything begins with prayer. I myself have begun every great effort for kosen-rufu with prayer. Whenever I faced difficulties, I challenged them with prayer as my foundation, chanting wholeheartedly and overcoming them one by one.

As we prepared to launch into the February Campaign of 1952,[1] I told my fellow members in Kamata Chapter: “Let’s start with prayer!” I also kicked off the Osaka Campaign of 1956,[2] 65 years ago, with prayer infused with a deep vow for kosen-rufu. I remember at that time chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in front of the Gohonzon that bears the inscription “Prosperity of the Great Law and Fulfillment of All Prayers” that was enshrined at the Soka Gakkai Kansai Headquarters.

‘As Though to Produce Fire From Damp Wood’

The first of the five guidelines of our noble women’s division,[3] which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year [on June 10], is “Everything begins with prayer.” Despite the busy demands of everyday life, including household responsibilities, work, raising children and caring for elderly parents, they make time for gongyo and daimoku. They pray earnestly for their own and others’ happiness, and encourage and support friends and fellow members. How incredibly admirable they are! Such prayer reflects a truly noble humanity.

We, the members of the Soka Gakkai, Bodhisattvas of the Earth, have created a movement that celebrates humanity. It is propelled by our strong prayers directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin, and by always taking to heart his words “praying as earnestly as though to produce fire from damp wood, or to obtain water from parched ground” (“On Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 444).

Through our prayers to open fresh horizons in kosen-rufu toward the Soka Gakkai’s 100th anniversary (in 2030), let us boldly write a new triumphant epic of human revolution and the shared struggle of mentor and disciple.

In this installment, let’s explore the key to victory in kosen-rufu and life centering on the four pillars of 1) prayers of practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, 2) prayers to change poison into medicine, 3) prayers infused with the shared vow of mentor and disciple and 4) prayers to realize the Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

The Prayers of Practitioners of the Lotus Sutra Are Certain to Be Fulfilled

The prayers offered by a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra will be answered just as an echo answers a sound, as a shadow follows a form, as the reflection of the moon appears in clear water, as a mirror collects dewdrops,[4] as a magnet attracts iron, as amber attracts particles of dust, or as a clear mirror reflects the color of an object. (“On Prayer,” WND-1, 340)[5]

The first pillar is our prayers as practitioners of the Lotus Sutra.

In his treatise “On Prayer,” thought to have been composed during his exile on Sado Island, the Daishonin declares with absolute conviction: “The prayers offered by a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra will be answered” (WND-1, 340). In its opening paragraphs, he also states, “Prayer that is based upon the Lotus Sutra is a prayer that is certain to be fulfilled” (WND-1, 336). He declares, in other words, that such prayer produces genuine results.

In another writing, Nichiren says the benefits of the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings are like the light of a firefly, while the benefits of the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] are like the sun and the moon (see “On the Benefits of the Daimoku,” WND-2, 1074). The benefit of daimoku is truly vast and immeasurable!

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to bring the sun of time without beginning—our innate Buddhahood—to shine brightly within us and illuminate our lives with hope day after day. It is the ultimate source of value creation.

The Sound of Daimoku Reverberates Throughout the Universe

The various similes Nichiren Daishonin uses in the above passage from “On Prayer”—such as an echo answering a sound, a shadow following a form and the reflection of the moon appearing in clear water—are all unvarying natural phenomena. He is teaching us that the prayers of practitioners of the Lotus Sutra will definitely produce results.

It is just as he states in another passage in this writing, “Though one might point at the earth and miss it, though one might bind up the sky, though the tides might cease to ebb and flow and the sun rise in the west, it could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered” (WND-1, 345).

Elsewhere, he says: “There is nowhere throughout the worlds of the ten directions that the sound of our voices chanting daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] does not reach. Our voices may be small, but when we intone the powerful sound of daimoku, there is no place in the entire major world system that they do not penetrate” (Gosho zenshu, p. 808).[6] He declares that daimoku is so powerful that there is nowhere in the universe it does not reach.

What’s important is that our prayers are filled with powerful conviction and the determination to realize them, come what may. When we earnestly chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, our prayers reach every corner of the universe.

Through deep prayer, we transform our fundamental state of mind, and that inner transformation changes our own lives as well as our environment.

This is the doctrine of the “actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life”[7] that the Daishonin gave concrete expression to [as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]. It is the absolute law of life. That is why everything starts from prayer.

The Ongoing Battle Against Fundamental Ignorance

By praying before the Gohonzon, we activate the benevolent deities—the protective functions of the universe. From the perspective of Buddhism, the law of cause and effect ensures that the moment we pray, we create a cause for our victory, for our prayers to be answered.

But this is not perceptible to us as ordinary people, and as a result we may have doubts and worries about whether our prayers will in fact be answered. Prayer is an ongoing battle against fundamental ignorance,[8] the ultimate form of delusion. Faith means having complete conviction in the indisputable law of life, even though we may not be able to perceive it directly. By chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, employing the “strategy of the Lotus Sutra” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 1001), we can conquer fundamental ignorance.

If we forget about prayer and only pursue strategies or methods, we are very likely to find ourselves going in circles. Supreme victory is guaranteed when we pray with all our might as practitioners of the Lotus Sutra.

If we just chant without any real focus or determination, our prayers won’t be fulfilled. As practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism, let’s chant wholeheartedly, bring forth wisdom and continue to challenge ourselves with courage and perseverance more than anyone. Buddhism is a teaching that values reason.

Be Active Practitioners, Not Passive Believers

The “practitioner of the Lotus Sutra” in the phrase “the prayers offered by a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra” (WND-1, 340) refers specifically to Nichiren Daishonin himself. But in a broader sense, it also includes genuine disciples who dedicate themselves to the great vow of spreading the Mystic Law. This can be seen, for instance, when he writes to Shijo Kingo: “You became a votary [practitioner] of the Lotus Sutra” (“Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment,” WND-1, 318).[9]

Founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi taught the importance of being active practitioners as opposed to passive believers.[10]

Practitioners are those who practice in exact accord with the Buddha’s teaching.[11] They are people of action who persist courageously in faith, no matter what happens. This describes our Soka Gakkai members who day after day chant sincere daimoku, take action, speak out and positively contribute to the happiness of others, to the development of their local communities and to a more secure and peaceful world. Soka Gakkai members are true emissaries of the Buddha.

Since our prayers are those of practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, the heavenly deities will safeguard us, and our prayers will be realized.

The heavenly deities themselves, the Daishonin says, owe a great debt of gratitude to the Lotus Sutra. Immediately before the passage we are studying, he asks rhetorically, “How could these heavenly beings have forgotten the vow that they took in the presence of the Buddha, or the debt of gratitude they owe to the sutra that allowed them to attain Buddhahood, and thus abandon the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra? [They certainly would never do so.] When we think of it in this way, we can feel greatly assured” (WND-1, 340). All the Buddhas, bodhisattvas and heavenly beings gathered at the assembly where the Lotus Sutra was preached attained Buddhahood through the sutra. To repay that debt of gratitude, they vow to Shakyamuni to protect the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra. Were they to break their promise, the Daishonin infers, they would be committing a grave offense.

The Daishonin assures us that as long as we continue to strive for kosen-rufu, we will be safeguarded by the protective functions of the universe. And he writes, “If we do not harbor doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 283). Our prayers as practitioners of the Lotus Sutra enable us to walk the path to certain happiness and face the challenges of karma with hope and optimism.

The Power to Change Poison Into Medicine

The second pillar is prayers to change poison into medicine.[12]

My mentor, Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, often said that the essence of the Mystic Law is its power to change poison into medicine.[13] He poured his heart into encouraging those who were suffering, assuring them that through the benefit of faith in the Gohonzon, through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they could definitely change all of their problems and worries into happiness.[14] Inspired by his encouragement, countless individuals stood up in faith and built lives of renewal and hope. Mr. Toda was a mentor of profound compassion.

The Mystic Law enables us to transform all poison into medicine. There may be times when we ask ourselves why bad things happen to us, but when we practice Buddhism, everything that happens has profound significance. We can move everything in a more positive direction, confident that our prayers will be fulfilled.

Faith in the Gohonzon guarantees that “misfortune will change into fortune” (“Reply to Kyo’o,” WND-1, 412). As the Daishonin declares: “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion” (WND-1, 412). With daimoku, we can break through all obstacles.

Sometimes we may get a different result than what we hoped for, but the time is sure to come when we look back and realize that everything turned out in the best way for our lives.

Our Good Fortune in Encountering the Mystic Law

We have immense good fortune just to have even encountered the daimoku of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the ultimate teaching that can lead all people to enlightenment and lasting happiness. As the Daishonin writes: “It is extremely rare to be born as a human being. Not only are you endowed with human form, but you have had the rare fortune to encounter Buddhism. Moreover, out of the Buddha’s many teachings you have encountered the daimoku, or the title, of the Lotus Sutra [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] and become its votary. Truly you are a person who has offered alms to a hundred thousand million Buddhas in his past existences!” (“Letter to Jakunichi-bo,” WND-1, 993). There is no greater good fortune or joy than being able to chant to the Gohonzon.

Every wish, thought or prayer we express before the Gohonzon will be accepted and enfolded in the boundless compassion of Buddhahood. Let’s chant openly and honestly, “regarding both suffering and joy as facts of life” (see “Happiness in This World,” WND-1, 681). When our hearts are full of pain or sorrow, let’s put those feelings, just as they are, into our daimoku. Let’s chant with unwavering faith in the power of the Mystic Law just “as parents refuse to abandon their children, or as a child refuses to leave its mother” (“The Meaning of Faith,” WND-1, 1036).

When we turn our problems into prayers, their significance changes. By turning them into prayers filled with determination and conviction, we can expand our state of life. Our hardships then become the groundwork for carrying out our human revolution, and our karma even changes into our mission for kosen-rufu. In this way, all our struggles become the fuel for fresh growth and development. This is the meaning of changing poison into medicine. It is what the Daishonin describes when he writes, “The sufferings of hell will vanish instantly” (“Lessening One’s Karmic Retribution,” WND-1, 199).

The important thing is to take to heart the Daishonin’s words “You cannot strike fire from flint if you stop halfway” (“Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment,” WND-1, 319) and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with deep conviction to the very end.

Even a Single Daimoku Brings Immeasurable Benefit

Even a single daimoku brings immeasurable benefit.

Nichiren Daishonin promises that we can attain Buddhahood by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo even a single time: “If you recite these words of the daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] once, then the Buddha nature of all living beings will be summoned and gather around you. At that time the three bodies of the Dharma nature within you—the Dharma body, the reward body, and the manifested body[15]—will be drawn forth and become manifest. This is called attaining Buddhahood” (“Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man,” WND-1, 131).

When we’re not feeling well, it’s fine to just chant daimoku three times instead of pushing ourselves to do a full gongyo. We can also chant daimoku for friends and loved ones who aren’t practicing Nichiren Buddhism, or for members who are too ill to chant themselves. That is because having the desire to chant daimoku and also the spirit to chant for others are themselves sources of benefit.

We can also accumulate benefit and good fortune from chanting daimoku even without grasping its profound meaning, as the Daishonin tells us with the simile: “When a baby drinks [its mother’s] milk, it has no understanding of its taste, and yet its body is naturally nourished” (“On the Four Stages of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice,” WND-1, 788).

Earnest daimoku always reaches the Gohonzon. Let’s chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the vigor of a magnificent steed galloping over the open plains, praying until we feel satisfied and refreshed.

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the heart and essence of the Lotus Sutra. It is the very life of the Daishonin, as he affirms when he says, “The soul of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (“Reply to Kyo’o,” WND-1, 412). When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the Gohonzon, we come into contact with the Daishonin’s spirit and manifest the same great life state as the Daishonin, the life state of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, in our own beings. That’s how we bring forth limitless wisdom, compassion and courage, powerfully overcome every difficulty, and change poison into medicine. How fortunate we are!

The Essence of Nichiren Buddhism

If lay believers and their teacher pray with differing minds, their prayers will be as futile as trying to kindle a fire on water. Even if they pray with one mind, their prayers will go unanswered if they have long made the error of attacking greater teachings with lesser ones. Eventually, both lay believers and their teacher will be ruined. (“The Eight Winds,” WND-1, 795)[16]

The third pillar is prayers infused with the vow of mentor and disciple.

Mentor and disciple praying with a shared vow for kosen-rufu is the essence of Nichiren Buddhism.

In “The Eight Winds,” the Daishonin instructs Shijo Kingo to lead the life of a worthy person—namely, a person of wisdom—through not being swayed by the eight winds[17] that obstruct Buddhist practice.[18] In the passage we are studying, he particularly stresses the importance of mentor and disciple being of one mind when surmounting adversity and transforming karma.

The prayers of mentor and disciple united in spirit are invincible.

Concretely speaking, this means chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with a seeking spirit, asking oneself what one’s mentor would do, and resolving that now is time to stand up as a disciple.

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin says:

[With regard to the phrase “to roar the lion’s roar” (Jpn sa shishi ku):] The first shi [which means “teacher”] of the word shishi, or “lion,” is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi [which means “child” or “disciple”] is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The [lion’s] “roar” (ku) is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison. (see OTT, 111)

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith based on the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple is the true lion’s roar in Nichiren Buddhism. It enables us to give free play to the immeasurable wisdom and power we inherently possess.

Both presidents Makiguchi and Toda acted just as the Daishonin taught, basing their prayers on the shared vow of mentor and disciple and opening the way to kosen-rufu through their selfless devotion to propagating the Mystic Law.

Imbuing Our Lives With Buddhahood

Josei Toda said, “We must exert ourselves in faith, filling our beings with daimoku, the very life of the Daishonin; we must engrave it in our hearts, and imbue our lives with it day after day, so that all our activities turn into acts of compassion.”[19]

What are we wishing and praying for? What is the vow that motivates us on the deepest level? Our fundamental mindset makes us who we are. We need to imbue our lives with the vow for kosen-rufu, the vow of mentor and disciple. The essence of the Soka Gakkai lies in teaching faith grounded in the direct bond between mentor and disciple. Such faith awakens us to our true identity as Bodhisattvas of the Earth[20] and enables us to bring forth our innate Buddhahood.

As a disciple, I was completely united with my mentor, Mr. Toda, and I strove with an unsparing dedication to faith according to his guidance. Our members in Japan and around the world are carrying on the spirit of mentor and disciple that Mr. Makiguchi, Mr. Toda and I have demonstrated. They are working together with a commitment to realize their vow as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. That is why the Mystic Law has spread as widely as it has today.

Eternally Following the Great Path of the Oneness of Mentor and Disciple

The above passage from “The Eight Winds” says that no matter how earnest, if the prayers of teacher and believers—mentor and disciples—are not based on the Lotus Sutra, the teaching of universal enlightenment, then they will fall into decline.

How wonderful that we of the Soka Gakkai, whose prayers are based on the Lotus Sutra, enjoy lives that lead to victory for both mentor and disciple!

Most of the members who fought alongside me in the Osaka Campaign had only recently started practicing Nichiren Buddhism. I shared with them this passage: “Three things are required—a good teacher, a good believer, and a good teaching—before prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land” (“How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 880).

When a good teaching and a good teacher are present, the Daishonin indicates, the key to “banishing disasters from the land” hinges on whether we are good disciples. He states: “As long as they [my followers] are together with Nichiren, they will reach the treasure land [that is, attain Buddhahood]. But if they are not together with him, they will fall into the great citadel of the Avichi hell” (OTT, 78). “Together with Nichiren,” here, means a life state where we are always united with the Daishonin. It expresses the resolve to always strive together with our mentor. This way, we will attain a state of life equal to that of the Buddha. When we strive at all times to realize the great vow for kosen-rufu, we embody the words “Morning after morning we rise up with the Buddha, evening after evening we lie down with the Buddha” (OTT, 83).

Nichiren Buddhism takes the way of mentor and disciple to a more profound level, revealing the oneness of mentor and disciple. And it is the mission of the disciple to fulfill the vow they have shared with their mentor since time without beginning.

‘Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land’ Is the Vow of Mentor and Disciple

The fourth pillar is prayers for “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

In the passage I mentioned earlier that I shared with members during the Osaka Campaign, we find the words “disasters banished from the land” (WND-1, 880). Our mission is to create a world where all can live in peace and security.

Our prayers are grounded in action to realize the Daishonin’s ideal of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land and the entire world. They are the prayers of courageous individuals committed to transforming the destiny of humankind. That is the true meaning of prayers infused with the vow of mentor and disciple.

The starting point for “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land” is prayer that enables us to awaken to the greatness of our own lives.

The Daishonin says: “Great joy [is what] one experiences when one understands for the first time that one’s mind from the very beginning has been a Buddha. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys” (OTT, 211–12). Prayer in Nichiren Buddhism enables us to awaken to the truth that our mind, our life, has always been a Buddha. In other words, we awaken to the ultimate reality that our lives at their very essence are truly noble, strong and wise. That is the purpose of our prayers.

Prayers based on the Mystic Law bring happiness both to ourselves and to other people. We pray not only to awaken to the dignity of our own lives but to enable others do the same.

In “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” the Daishonin writes, “If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not?” (“On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” WND-1, 24). Let’s inspire one another to become people who pray for the happiness of others and work to bring peace and security to society.

By helping one person after another experience the joy of awakening to their highest potential, we are expanding our movement of respect for the dignity of life. How wonderful this is!

The renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1916–99) was deeply interested in Nichiren Buddhism and the sound and rhythm of daimoku. I remember him saying to me that he found it truly inspiring how Buddhism saw the divinity, or Buddhahood, within ordinary people, highlighting its astounding belief in human beings.[21] Our pride as Soka Gakkai members striving to realize the Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land” is that we believe wholeheartedly in the potential of all people. An inner transformation in the life of a single individual can bring about change leading to a better society. What’s important is our conviction that we can transform our lives.

Mr. Toda expressed his firm resolve: “No matter what enormous hardships might arise, I will never forsake the great vow for kosen-rufu.”[22]

That is the spirit of Soka mentors and disciples. With that noble resolve, Mr. Toda fought tirelessly and laid the foundations for the magnificent future development of kosen-rufu.

Establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land is the effort to make the sun of hope rise in the lives of those filled with sorrow and despair. When we cause the sun to rise in our hearts, we can help others do the same. Whatever the times or the place, prayer and action based on the vow for kosen-rufu create an endless chain reaction of joy and hope.

Prayers to Transform the Destiny of Humankind

Nichiren Daishonin also writes, “It is the power of the Buddhist Law that enables the deities of the sun and moon to make their rounds of the four continents”[23] (“On Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Shijo Kingo,” WND-1, 685). Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the fundamental law permeating life and the universe. That’s why when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, our lives merge with this universal Law and we are able to create value that leads to happiness. We can bring forth hope and make wonderful contributions toward building a secure, peaceful world. Such is the power of our prayers as Soka Gakkai members.

A Network of Bodhisattvas of the Earth

Like the golden sun rising to dispel the darkness, the sound of our voices chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo makes our lives shine brighter and pulse with greater energy. It fills us with life force as boundless as the universe itself.

As we aim toward our 100th anniversary, let us chant resounding daimoku, the great sound of infinite hope, each precious day as we dynamically expand our network of people awakened to their identity as Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

Let us continue striving to create a hope-filled world that embodies the Daishonin’s ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land”! Let us be confident of the continued victory of mentor and disciple!

Translated from the February 2021 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.


  1. February Campaign: In February 1952, Ikeda Sensei, then an adviser to Tokyo’s Kamata Chapter, initiated a dynamic propagation campaign. Together with the Kamata members, he broke through the previous monthly record of some 100 new member households by introducing Nichiren Buddhism to 201 new member households. ↩︎
  2. Osaka Campaign: In May 1956, the Kansai members, uniting around a young Daisaku Ikeda, who had been dispatched by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda to support them, increased their chapter’s membership by 11,111 households in a single month. ↩︎
  3. In March 2009, Sensei presented the women’s division with five guidelines: 1) Everything begins with prayer; 2) Advancing harmoniously with our families; 3) Fostering young successors; 4) Cherishing our communities and societies; and 5) Joyfully sharing our experiences in faith. ↩︎
  4. Vapor condenses on a mirror placed outside at night. It was said that the mirror drew this water down from the moon. ↩︎
  5. On Prayer” was written by Nichiren Daishonin in 1272 during his exile on Sado Island and is thought to have been addressed to his priest disciple Sairen-bo. In this letter, the Daishonin declares that it is impossible that the prayers of a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra should go unanswered. ↩︎
  6. “Oko kikigaki” (The Recorded Lectures); not translated in The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vols. 1 or 2. ↩︎
  7. Actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life: The doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which is the fundamental teaching for attaining enlightenment, is classified into two as the theoretical principle and the actual embodiment of this principle. These are respectively termed “theoretical three thousand realms in a single moment of life” and “actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life.” The theoretical principle is based on the theoretical teaching (first half) of the Lotus Sutra, while the actual principle is revealed in the essential teaching (second half) of the Lotus Sutra. However, in the Latter Day of the Law, these are both theoretical; the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that Nichiren Daishonin revealed is the actual teaching of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. ↩︎
  8. Fundamental ignorance: Also, fundamental darkness. The most deeply rooted illusion inherent in life, said to give rise to all other illusions. The inability to see or recognize the ultimate truth of the Mystic Law, as well as the negative impulses that arise from such ignorance. ↩︎
  9. Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Nevertheless, you became a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and as a result, you suffered severe persecutions, and you came to my assistance. … You have not only heard the Law, but have taken faith in it and since then have followed it without turning aside. How wondrous! How extraordinary!” (“Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment,” WND-1, 318). ↩︎
  10. See Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Works of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 10 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1987), pp. 151–52. ↩︎
  11. In the “Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One,” the 21st chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha states: “After the Thus Come One has entered extinction, you must single-mindedly accept, uphold, read, recite, explain, preach, and transcribe it [the Lotus Sutra], and practice it as directed” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 316). The phrase “practice it as directed” is often rephrased indirectly as “practice according to the Buddha’s teaching,” and so forth. ↩︎
  12. Changing poison into medicine: The principle that a life dominated by the three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering can be transformed into a life replete with the three virtues of the Dharma body, wisdom and emancipation by virtue of the power of the Mystic Law. In other words, any adverse situation can be changed into a positive one through the power of Buddhist practice. ↩︎
  13. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (The Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 7 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1987), p. 599. ↩︎
  14. See translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (The Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 2 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1982), p. 56. ↩︎
  15. Three bodies: Three kinds of body a Buddha may possess. They are the Dharma body, the reward body and the manifested body. The Dharma body is the fundamental truth, or Law, to which a Buddha is enlightened. The reward body is the wisdom to perceive the Law and is called so because a Buddha’s wisdom is considered the reward derived from ceaseless effort and discipline. And the manifested body is the compassionate actions the Buddha carries out to lead people to happiness. ↩︎
  16. Composed in 1277, in this letter the Daishonin teaches Shijo Kingo that one who remains unshaken in the face of the “eight winds” is a person of wisdom who will be protected by the heavenly deities. At the time, fellow samurai used Shijo Kingo’s refusal to accept a transfer of his lands to discredit him to his lord. ↩︎
  17. Eight winds: Eight conditions that prevent people from advancing along the right path to enlightenment. According to The Treatise on the Stage of Buddhahood Sutra, the eight winds are prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure. People are often swayed either by their attachment to prosperity, honor, praise and pleasure (collectively known as the “four favorable winds”), or by their aversion to decline, disgrace, censure and suffering (the “four adverse winds”). ↩︎
  18. Nichiren writes, “Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds” (“The Eight Winds,” WND-1, 794). ↩︎
  19. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (The Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 3 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1983), p. 44. ↩︎
  20. Bodhisattvas of the Earth: The innumerable bodhisattvas who appear in the “Emerging from the Earth,” the 15th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, and are entrusted by Shakyamuni with the task of propagating the Law after his passing. In the “Supernatural Powers,” the 21st chapter, Shakyamuni entrusts Bodhisattva Superior Practices, the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, with spreading the Law in the saha world in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law. ↩︎
  21. Translated from Japanese. Article in the Seikyo Shimbun, April 7, 1992. ↩︎
  22. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda) vol. 4 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1989), p. 61. ↩︎
  23. Four continents: The continents situated respectively to the east, west, north and south of Mount Sumeru, the mountain that stands at the center of the world, according to ancient Indian cosmology. They are Purvavideha in the east, Aparagodaniya in the west, Uttarakuru in the north and Jambudvipa in the south. ↩︎

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace—November

The Blue Fly and the Thoroughbred Horse