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Gosho Study

Gaining Conviction

Photo by Allen Zaki

“One who, on hearing the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, makes even greater efforts in faith is a true seeker of the way. T’ien-t’ai states, ‘From the indigo, an even deeper blue.’ This passage means that, if one dyes something repeatedly in indigo, it becomes even bluer than the indigo leaves. The Lotus Sutra is like the indigo, and the strength of one’s practice is like the deepening blue.” (“Hell Is the Land of Tranquil Light,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 457)


Knowing that faith is what will enable the widowed lay nun Ueno to survive, prosper and raise her young children, Nichiren urges her to make “even greater efforts in faith.” 

T’ien-t’ai’s words, “From the indigo, an even deeper blue,” point to how repeated efforts help us deepen our faith. Indigo has long been used as a blue dye, and repeated dying results in a deeper blue than the plant itself. Nichiren likens this to the deepening of one’s faith through continuous Buddhist practice: repeatedly chanting, studying and sharing Buddhism with others.

Profound Buddhist principles can’t help us if we have only a theoretical understanding of them. Only when we repeatedly put them into practice and engrave them in our hearts can we deepen our faith. This, in turn, will allow us to break through our problems and live to the fullest. By continuing to make “even greater efforts” in faith, we can thoroughly “dye” our lives with the limitless life state of Buddhahood.

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

When we deepen our faith through hearing the teachings and strive ever harder in our Buddhist practice, we can manifest our Buddhahood in our actual lives and attain enlightenment in this existence.

The purpose of studying Nichiren’s writings is not only to understand his spirit and deepen our own faith. It is also important because by learning about the profound principles of Buddhism, we can gain the solid conviction that the source of hope and peace resides within our own hearts, and based on this we can strive earnestly for the happiness of ourselves and others. (A Foundation for Your Life, pp. 250–51)

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On the Cover—Washington