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Gosho Study

Our Resolve Now Makes Way for a Brighter Future

Photo by Anthony Wallen.

If in a single moment of life we exhaust the pains and trials of millions of kalpas, then instant after instant there will arise in us the three Buddha bodies[1] with which we are eternally endowed. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is just such a “diligent” practice.

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 214

Nichiren Daishonin dedicated his life to awakening people to the incredible power of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the essence of the Lotus Sutra. Toward the end of his life, he took up residence at Mount Minobu where he trained his disciples, wrote letters to his followers and lectured on the Lotus Sutra. 

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings is a collection of notes on his lectures on key passages in the Lotus Sutra, compiled by his disciple and successor, Nikko. 

The above passage is Nichiren’s commentary on the lines from “Emerging from the Earth,” the 15th chapter of the Lotus Sutra: “Day and night with constant diligence / they … seek the Buddha way” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 260). 

This describes how the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, who vow to spread the Mystic Law after the Buddha’s passing, had practiced alongside Shakyamuni since the infinite past. Striving single-mindedly on the path set forth by the Buddha, they achieve a grand life state endowed with the “three Buddha bodies.” 

We exert millions of kalpas of effort by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the same mind as Nichiren and sharing Buddhism with others, thus activating our limitless power and wisdom to take on life’s challenges and transform our lives.

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department 

Ikeda Sensei’s Encouragement

1. This ‘Single Moment of Life’ Is Critical

I served and supported Mr. Toda for 10 years, but the things he and I achieved as mentor and disciple in that time were equivalent to what might take some a century or even a millennium to achieve.

“[Chanting] Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is just such a ‘diligent’ practice.” This is a very profound statement. “Diligent” (or shojin in Japanese) here is composed of two Chinese characters. The Chinese character for sho means “pure” and refers to pure faith, while the character for jin means “ceaseless” and refers to uninterrupted advance. To diligently carry out this practice of pure faith and ceaseless advancement is the direct path by which we can attain enlightenment or Buddhahood. For us, to continually move forward while making efforts for the sake of kosen-rufu is what it means to “exert millions of kalpas of effort.”

Our determination in the present moment is the key to victory. The great Russian author Leo Tolstoy said to the effect that it is wise to live in the moment, to do our very best right now. In other words, our focused resolve now can open the way to a brighter future. Though our resolve is intangible, it is manifested as action. Nichiren writes that when confronted by obstacles, “the wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat” (“The Three Obstacles and Four Devils,” WND-1, 637). Faith means having the resolve to take on all of life’s challenges with courage and joy. And chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the driving force that enables us to continue pressing ahead bravely. (Sept. 11, 2020, World Tribune, p. 3)

2. Renew Your Resolve and Emerge Triumphant

This passage teaches the essence of attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime. “The three Buddha bodies with which we are eternally endowed” refers to the boundless life state of Buddhahood within us. The key to manifesting this life state in each instant is to expend in a single moment of life millions of kalpas’ worth of strenuous effort. “Millions of kalpas” means an infinite expanse of time. Through practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism with this kind of concentrated effort, we can bring forth our inherent Buddha wisdom and life force. …

The Daishonin teaches that only through intense struggle, undaunted by hardships, can we attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, carry out our human revolution and transform our life condition. In a sense, my days have been a continuous, arduous, all-out struggle. I have been through inconceivably bitter experiences time and again.

On those occasions, this passage sustained me, helping me renew my resolve, chant daimoku, overcome all hardships and emerge triumphant.

It is important that you courageously exert yourself, too, for the sake of kosen-rufu, the happiness of others and your own future. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, pp. 80–81)


  1. Three Buddha bodies: Three integral aspects of a Buddha. Dharma body: the truth or Law to which the Buddha is enlightened. Reward body: the wisdom that enables the Buddha to perceive the truth. Manifested body: compassionate actions, or the physical body with which a Buddha compassionately leads people to enlightenment. ↩︎

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