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Fundamentals

Gratitude Is a Source of Fundamental Strength

Fundamentals: Learning From The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin

Photo by Helena Lopes / Unsplash.

“What can we say, then, of persons who are devoting themselves to Buddhism? Surely they should not forget the debts of gratitude they owe to their parents, their teachers, and their country. But if one intends to repay these great debts of gratitude, one can hope to do so only if one learns and masters Buddhism, becoming a person of wisdom.” (“On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 690)

Background

Nichiren Daishonin teaches that the most important way to live is to show our gratitude to those who have supported us. … Therefore, surely those who practice Buddhism should always show their appreciation. Parents who have raised us, teachers who have helped us develop and the country where our lives are sustained—we should never forget that we are who we are today because of these. This is the first step for leading a life of gratitude.

But how do we repay these kindnesses? The best way, Nichiren says, is to study Buddhism and become wise, which in turn will enable us to lead to happiness those who have helped us. Everyone can overcome the sufferings of birth and death and realize true happiness through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Therefore, exerting ourselves to spread the Mystic Law and to introduce our friends to the practice is the supreme path of showing gratitude and establishing an indestructible self.

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

When we live with a sense of gratitude, we will never be deadlocked in life. Being firmly resolved to show our appreciation to our parents, our teachers and everyone who has helped us become the person we are today can serve as a driving force for self-improvement. Not wishing to betray the trust of those who have fostered us can keep us on the right path throughout life. And when we face difficulties, thinking of all those who have helped or assisted us in some way can rouse a renewed fighting spirit in our hearts. Gratitude is a source of fundamental human strength. (A Foundation for Your Life, pp. 52–53)

“Being firmly resolved to show our appreciation to … everyone who has helped us become the person we are today can serve as a driving force for self-improvement.”

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