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Daily Life

Planting the Seed of Buddhahood in Each Person

The eternal formula for achieving personal victory and transforming our land.

Planting seeds
Photo by Francesco Gallarotti/Unsplash

It was on May 3, 1953, that second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda held an afternoon meeting with representative leaders. The Soka Gakkai was still a fledgling people’s movement, poles apart from his lifetime goal to introduce 750,000 households to Nichiren Buddhism and transform the destiny of his country and its people. His young disciple, Daisaku Ikeda, had just been dispatched to Bunkyo Chapter to create a model for widely spreading the Mystic Law in a country where the majority still struggled after the war with poverty and illness. On this day, President Toda chose to focus on the practical aspects of faith, saying to the leaders present, “Now, let me tell you how you can get true benefits,”[1] offering the following analogy in which he likened the practice of sharing Buddhism with others as weeding the garden of our minds:

Faith is just another word for embracing the Gohonzon. It is equal to planting a tree that grows to become a Buddha. It means to sow the seed of Buddhahood in the garden of your mind. This seed is invisible to your eyes, but once it is sown, all of the heavenly deities will faithfully protect you day and night.

As days pass, the seed will sprout to form a small tree and, as it grows, the tree will spread branches, put forth leaves, come into bloom and finally bear fruit—the entire process happening in an incredibly short span of time. …

You are still in the stage where the seed has sprouted; perhaps it has not even budded in some of you. If a worm devours the shoot, all of your past efforts will come to nothing. Should the weeds run rampant on the ground, the young tree will fall into decay.

You must weed the garden of your mind. You can do this by participating in propagation activities. … Since you already have the precious seed planted in the garden of your mind, you must continue to apply fertilizer and pull up the weeds. That is the only way you can become happy.[2]

Nearly 70 years have passed since then, and the years that followed, when President Toda achieved his lifetime goal of 750,000 households practicing Buddhism in Japan, forming the foundation of the Soka Gakkai’s people’s movement. Under the leadership of Ikeda Sensei, the Soka Gakkai has grown into a global movement, 10 million strong in 192 countries and territories. What hasn’t changed since then is the faith formula for achieving personal victory and transforming our land.

This year, as our country and world face the global coronavirus pandemic and other pressing challenges, we mark the 70th anniversary of the Kamata Campaign of February 1952, when the youthful Daisaku Ikeda led the chapter in introducing 201 households to Nichiren Buddhism in a single month, a feat that electrified the membership and enabled them to transform their destinies and country. Sensei says of propagation:

The only way to fundamentally free people from suffering in this evil age is to activate their inherent Buddha nature by teaching them about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and directly planting the seed for enlightenment in their lives. In other words, the teaching to be spread in the Latter Day is the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and the way to practice it is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo oneself and teach others to do the same.[3]

He also says:

Our goal is for each person to find true happiness through practicing Nichiren Buddhism. … But even if they don’t practice Buddhism, there’s no need to be disillusioned or disappointed.

Try talking to one person. If it doesn’t go well, try talking to two more people. If that still doesn’t work out, try three, five, 10, and if 10 are unfruitful, then try 20. If 20 doesn’t work out, then try 30 and 40. The point is just to keep sharing Buddhism, with conviction and in high spirits. All those efforts will be transformed into benefit and good fortune, a force for transforming your karma.[4]

More than ever, people are seeking a sound philosophy to guide them. Whether or not the efforts we make bear fruit right away, let’s continue to make causes to help people form a connection with the Mystic Law, planting countless seeds of Buddhahood in 2022, the Year of Youth and Dynamic Progress, and using our efforts as the impetus to transform our karma and land.

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff


  1. The Human Revolution, p. 885. ↩︎
  2. Ibid., pp. 885–86. ↩︎
  3. November 2020 Living Buddhism, p. 60. ↩︎
  4. The New Human Revolution, vol. 25, pp. 112–13. ↩︎

SGI-USA Focus for 2022

Making Efforts Now Toward 2030 and Beyond