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Ikeda Sensei

Persevering in Buddhist Study Amid Hardships

In [founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo] Makiguchi’s copy of the collected writings of Nichiren Daishonin, many passages in “The Opening of the Eyes” are underlined in red and the margins are filled with notes, such as “Propagation,” “Great vow” and “What is the mark of a genuine practitioner?” These notes reflect his solemn spirit to seek the way of Buddhist practice.

He once said, “I cannot read the Daishonin’s writings without being moved to tears by his great compassion.” As Mr. Makiguchi’s words suggest, the whole point of reading the Daishonin’s writings is to connect with the Daishonin’s spirit.

Describing his emotions on reading a passage from “The Opening of the Eyes” and connecting with the Daishonin’s passion and life force, Mr. Toda once wrote: “His blazing spirit strikes my heart with the intensity of the noonday summer sun. My chest feels as if it is filled with a giant ball of molten iron. Sometimes I feel like a scalding spring is gushing forth inside me, or as if a great, earthshaking waterfall is crashing over me.”[1]

I recall that in my youth, as I strove to assist [second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda during great troubles, I read Nichiren’s writings every day, no matter how exhausted I was.

In my diary from those times, I expressed my joy at reading them: “Where shall sensitive youth turn for an answer? As I read [Nichiren’s writings], I tremble with delight. Buddhism, clearly expounding the origin and basis of all, offering true happiness.”[2]

Mr. Makiguchi said: “You should not seek to understand Buddhism with your mind. You come to understand it through faith.” In other words, even if we may find the teachings of Buddhism difficult to understand, through an earnest desire and commitment to learn about and deepen our grasp of them in the course of our efforts for kosen-rufu, we will be able to elevate our state of life.

By reading Nichiren’s writings every day, even just a sentence or short passage, we can make our lives shine brilliantly. (Ikeda Sensei, Faith, Practice and Study: The Basics of Nichiren Buddhism, pp. 41–42)


  1. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (The collected writings of Josei Toda) (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1983), 3:179. ↩︎
  2. Daisaku Ikeda, A Youthful Diary: One Man’s Journey From the Beginning of Faith to Worldwide Leadership for Peace (Santa Monica, CA: World Tribune Press, 2006), 5. ↩︎

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