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Q: Is it possible for me to realize my dreams and become fulfilled in this lifetime when things are constantly changing and my options seem more and more limited?

Members receive the SGI-USA Distinguished Pioneer of American Kosen-rufu Award for those who have practiced in the U.S. for 40 years or more, Torrance, Calif., October 2019.
Members receive the SGI-USA Distinguished Pioneer of American Kosen-rufu Award for those who have practiced in the U.S. for 40 years or more, Torrance, Calif., October 2019. Photo by Monica Soto Ouchi

A: Nichiren Daishonin writes, “You will grow younger, and your good fortune will accumulate” (“The Unity of Husband and Wife,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 464). Ikeda Sensei gives us guidance below on. how to attain this goal and urges us to practice with hope while facing any difficulties, including those that seem to be never-ending.

This is the Year of Hope and Victory. Let’s chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the determination to realize hope and victory in our lives and maintain strong connections with our brothers and sisters in faith!

Faith is inextinguishable hope. The practice of faith is a struggle to realize our desires. And the basis of this practice is prayer. Through prayer, hope turns into confidence. This spirit of confidence unfolds in three thousand ways, finally resulting in the attainment of our hopes. Therefore, we must never give up.

Even places that have been shrouded in darkness for billions of years can be illuminated. Even a stone from the bottom of a river can be used to produce fire. Our present sufferings, no matter how dark, have certainly not continued for billions of years—nor will they linger forever. The sun will definitely rise. In fact, its ascent has already begun.

Those who over long periods grow accustomed to being miserable may acquire the tendency to give up. But with the Mystic Law, we need never resign ourselves to defeat. (Ikeda Sensei, Learning From the Gosho, pp. 91-92)

Please live with hope throughout your life. Right until the very end of your lives, I hope that you will not only cherish but also realize many great hopes and dreams and inspire others to do the same. Please proceed toward the glorious summit of your aspirations, sharing with one another your infinite hopes and dreams.

There are no deadlocks when you have faith. Through faith, you can overcome any and all problems and eternally advance toward evermore expansive horizons of hope. This is the most wonderful way to live. Hope costs nothing; it is free. Yet at the same time, it is life’s most valuable treasure.

Please cherish this treasure of hope, holding it close to your heart throughout your life. This in itself represents a life of victory, a life of glory. (Sensei, My Dear Friends in America, third edition, p. 353)

In the Lotus Sutra we find the words “They [who have heard the Law] will enjoy peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 136). But various obstacles arise in the path of kosen-rufu, and life is a battle against our personal karmic destiny. “Enjoy peace and security in their present existence” doesn’t mean that life will always be smooth sailing, with no troubles or challenges. It describes a life state in which, even when we experience difficulties and trials as fierce as angry breakers, we are able to courageously and serenely overcome them, never retreating a step.

Triumphing boldly in life, come what may, is the true meaning of enjoying peace and security in our present existence. What matters is being able to experience in our final years that our life has been one of peace and security in our present existence after having triumphed over the storms of adversities that may have marked our previous years. To achieve that, we must never stray from the Soka Gakkai or abandon the Gohonzon, no matter what, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and striving courageously for kosen-rufu as long as we live. …

Steadfast prayer is the key. Chant intensely every day, whether others are noticing or not—that’s the driving force for everything. (Sensei, The New Human Revolution, vol. 23, pp. 316–17)

Did You Know?

Founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi was 57 years old when he encountered Nichiren Buddhism in 1928. He later recalled of that day: “With an indescribable joy, I completely changed the way I had lived for almost 60 years. … The anxiety that came from searching in the dark for. life’s answers completely evaporated, and my inborn reserve and diffidence disappeared. My goals in life became increasingly grander and loftier, and my fears dwindled.” (April 2015 Living Buddhism, pp. 26–27)

Becoming Genuinely Strong

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