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Gosho Study

The Greatest Way to Live

Photo by Nathan Guan / Unsplash.

“They give their lives for shallow, worldly matters but rarely for the Buddha’s precious teachings. Small wonder they do not attain Buddhahood.” (“Letter from Sado,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 301)


What is the purpose of life? What do we live for? How can we best use our lives? Nichiren Daishonin urges us to lead a life dedicated to spreading the teaching for establishing happiness and peace.

When this letter was written, persecutions against Nichiren were intensifying, and more and more disciples were abandoning their faith. But no matter how good the reason, abandoning one’s faith means veering from the path of true happiness. Therefore, Nichiren urges against using our lives solely for “shallow, worldly matters” and instead to work for a loftier purpose: to spread Buddhism for the sake of happiness for ourselves and others. Such a path in life leads directly to becoming a Buddha.

His words are like a lion’s roar, like a parent’s strict love, sent to his disciples who were fighting against great difficulties. To freely give of one’s life does not mean to disregard our personal dreams or to sacrifice our lives. Rather, it means to decide to persevere in faith, to stick with the SGI no matter what and to show actual proof of our practice. Let’s advance with the pride that “this is the greatest way to live my youth!”

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

Selfless dedication is found in a seemingly ordinary way of life open to anyone. A true example of such dedication can be seen in our daily efforts for kosen-rufu, exerting ourselves body and soul to encourage others and sincerely sharing the greatness of Buddhism with those around us. (A Foundation for Your Life, pp. 94–95)

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