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Ikeda Sensei

Cultivating Flower Gardens of Happiness in the Rich Earth of Respect and Trust

Photo by Emiel Molenaar / Unsplash

Originally published in the April 2022 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

In “The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs,” the fifth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, we find the beautiful expression “human flowers” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 142).

I recall my conversation with South Africa’s great humanitarian leader Nelson Mandela, after welcoming him with 500 youth.[1] I told him about this term, and we affirmed our commitment to build a future in which “human flowers” would bloom freely, without discrimination and in rich diversity, like a vibrant, colorful garden. The memory of Mr. Mandela smiling and nodding at this prospect warms my heart.

“The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs” chapter teaches that the great blessings or benefits of the Mystic Law nourish and cause the life state of Buddhahood to blossom in “living beings of countless thousands, ten thousands, millions of species” (LSOC, 135), equally and without distinction, just as life-giving rain falls impartially on all plants and trees.

This principle of the Mystic Law lights the way for realizing respect for diversity and peaceful coexistence, which the world so desperately needs.

It was seven decades ago (in 1952) that my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, set forth his vision of global citizenship. Around that time, he and I studied this passage from Nichiren Daishonin’s writings: “This self has from the beginning been in possession of one’s own realm of Buddhahood and of the realms of Buddhahood possessed by all other living beings” (“The Meaning of the Sacred Teachings of the Buddha’s Lifetime,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 62). In other words, we contain within us not only our own world of Buddhahood but also that of all others.

The life of each one of us is infinitely respectworthy and vast in scale, connected to the Buddha nature of all other people, of all humanity and of the entire universe. The Soka Gakkai’s grand vision of bringing humankind together as one global family is based on this profound, unwavering view of life.

That is why, whatever the circumstances, we refuse to give in to defeat or despair and keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for our own and others’ happiness. We tirelessly engage in dialogue to share the life-affirming principles of Nichiren Buddhism, so as to call forth and unite people’s Buddha nature with the aim of building a world of peace and happiness for all.

No one remains unchanged by the compassionate rain of the Mystic Law. Even when someone responds to our efforts negatively, it can be taken as a sign that the seeds of Buddhahood we have sown will someday sprout and produce flowers of happiness in their life.

Today, the rich earth of respect and trust cultivated through the sweat and tears of our noble champions of kosen-rufu spans the globe, and new Bodhisattvas of the Earth are emerging and blossoming confidently as “human flowers.”

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “If the mind of faith is perfect, then the water of wisdom, the great impartial wisdom, will never dry up” (“Letter to Akimoto,” WND-1, 1015).

With the big, open hearts of the wise, let’s keep striving in dialogue to richly nourish the lives of others!

With deep pride
in sowing the seeds of Buddhahood,
speak to others with all your heart
in the spirit of “still I am not discouraged,”
believing that tomorrow’s “human flowers” will bloom.


  1. The two met at the Seikyo Shimbun building in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, on October 31, 1990. ↩︎
  2. “The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 748. ↩︎

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