Skip to main content

Gosho Study

‘Buddhahood Lies in Continuing Faith’

Photo by Dan Roizer / Unsplash.

Many hear about and accept this sutra, but when great obstacles arise, just as they were told would happen, few remember it and bear it firmly in mind. To accept is easy; to continue is difficult. But Buddhahood lies in continuing faith.  

“The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith,”
The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 471

Challenges in life often lead us to question our beliefs, assumptions and ourselves. Nichiren Daishonin teaches that these times present an opportunity to strengthen and polish our faith so that we can persevere until we achieve victory. 

He wrote the above passage in March 1275 to his samurai disciple Shijo Kingo, whose feudal lord had shunned him for trying to convert him to Nichiren’s teachings. In addition, his fellow samurai retainers plotted to discredit him in his lord’s eyes. In desperation, Kingo complained that great hardships were showering down on him like rain (see WND-1, 471). 

Here, Nichiren guides Kingo on how to face obstacles. He teaches that so long as we continue to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon and strive in faith, we can call forth our inherent Buddha nature and elicit the protective functions in our environment. We can transform and prevail over anything that causes us to suffer by chanting and taking action. 

Later, when his lord fell ill, he reached out to Kingo, a skilled physician. After recovering with Kingo’s help, his lord renewed his trust in Kingo and rewarded him by increasing his landholdings threefold. Shijo Kingo’s victory wonderfully exemplifies the Daishonin’s teaching in this passage. 

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department

Ikeda Sensei’s Encouragement

1. ‘Continuing’ Is a Proactive Stance

As Nichiren Daishonin writes in this letter to Shijo Kingo, “Buddhahood lies in continuing faith” (WND-1, 471). “Continuing” is a proactive stance, implying struggling against the onslaught of difficulties that may arise and steadily practicing the teachings of Buddhism.

Persevering and continuing in faith require tireless spiritual struggle. If we just go through the motions of practicing, we will quite likely be defeated when beset by daunting obstacles. 

When the three obstacles and four devils[1] arise, do we challenge them, or do we let them defeat us? Are we beaten by criticism and opposition directed toward our Buddhist practice? Do we let our karma or our circumstances get the better of us, or do we have the strength and wisdom to triumph over them? This is all determined by our own resolve or mind-set. 

Obstacles, in fact, test the strength and depth of our faith. We need to continue polishing our lives and vow to ourselves to keep struggling on until we are victorious, firmly resolved that everything starts from our inner transformation. This is the spirit of faith in Nichiren Buddhism. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 6, p. 78)

2. Persist and Become Happy Without Fail

I can state with utter certainty that those who earnestly persist in developing their faith, just as Nichiren teaches, never fail to become happy.

Nichiren Buddhism is a teaching for attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime. It enables us to achieve a state of absolute happiness in this world, in this existence. By embracing faith in this Buddhism we have sown the seeds of enlightenment and planted the roots for victory in our lives. It’s important that we therefore nourish those seeds and roots so that we can develop a self as solid and unshakable as a mighty tree able to withstand the harshest tempests. The key to doing so is continuing in our Buddhist practice. No matter what happens, it is vital that we persist in developing our faith and live out our lives together with the SGI and our fellow members.

Nichiren Daishonin states, “Therefore, the best way to attain Buddhahood is to encounter a good friend” (“Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain,” WND-1, 598). The organization of the SGI and all our fellow members are just such “good friends.” Those seniors in faith who are striving in society as champions of philosophy and wisdom also learned about the basics of faith and the correct path in life through the SGI. (Aug. 31, 2007, World Tribune, p. 2) 

December 9, 2022, World Tribune, p. 9


  1. Three obstacles and four devils: Various obstacles and hindrances to the practice of Buddhism. The three obstacles are 1) the obstacle of earthly desires, 2) the obstacle of karma and 3) the obstacle of retribution. The four devils are 1) the hindrance of the earthly desires, 2) the hindrance of the five components, 3) the hindrance of death and 4) the hindrance of the devil king. ↩︎

Climate Action

Time to Sing a Song of Triumph