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Ikeda Sensei

The District Is the Arc de Triomphe of Life

Photo by Johannes Plenio / Unsplash.

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

Nichiren Daishonin writes, “The wish-granting jewel …, though only a single jewel, can shower all kinds of treasures upon the wisher” (“The Recitation of the ‘Expedient Means’ and ‘Life Span’ Chapters,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 69).

Just like the wish-granting jewel, each of our Soka Gakkai districts—the front line in our efforts to spread the Mystic Law—is a source of countless treasures in the form of good fortune and capable people.

Shakyamuni outlines to Bodhisattva Universal Worthy four conditions or vital points for people to practice the sutra in the defiled age of the Latter Day of the Law (see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 361). Briefly, they are:

1) “[Those seeking the Law] must be protected and kept in mind by the Buddhas.” For us today, this means receiving the protection of the Gohonzon [by embracing and upholding it].

2) “They must plant the roots of virtue.” This means chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and teaching others to do the same.

3) “They must enter the stage where they are sure of reaching enlightenment.” Ultimately, this means practicing with the harmonious community of believers that correctly upholds the teachings.

4) “They must conceive a determination to save all living beings.” This means making a vow for kosen-rufu—to widely spread the Mystic Law.

Our districts fully embody all four of these conditions representing the heart of the Lotus Sutra.

With district leaders in the forefront, our districts brim with the same spirit as the Buddha to lead all people to enlightenment, striving to encourage each individual and compassionately spread the Mystic Law. How incredibly noble they are!

It doesn’t matter if some people attack or malign our movement. For we know that anyone who honestly sees the warm human harmony evident in our districts—filled with members who pray for the happiness of others and devote themselves to the welfare and security of their communities—is bound to be impressed.

In our youth, my wife and I both strove wholeheartedly to expand our gathering of Bodhisattvas of the Earth from our districts, where everyone made second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s spirit their own.

Speaking with a group of dedicated district leaders in the early days of our movement, I said:

As ordinary human beings, our problems are endless. But Nichiren Daishonin had problems, too—problems arising from his commitment to lead all people to enlightenment. Having dedicated our lives to kosen-rufu, we share those problems of the Buddha, and the harder we think and pray to resolve them, the greater we expand the life state of Buddhahood within us, in accord with the principle that “earthly desires are enlightenment.”

As we head toward the Year of Youth and Triumph (2023), let us advance dynamically by refreshing our determination and making a great vow in our lives and districts!

Our districts are united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind”—in the shared commitment to lead all people to enlightenment. Therefore, with the conviction that “although Nichiren and his followers are few, … they will definitely accomplish their great mission of widely propagating the Lotus Sutra” (“Many in Body, One in Mind,” WND-1, 618), let us triumph in all our endeavors as we strive together harmoniously, joyfully and cheerfully!

Each district is an Arc de Triomphe of life, celebrating and inspiring the victories of everyone’s human revolution.

Our districts
the heart of the Lotus Sutra.
Everyone is a Buddha!
Let us triumph together.

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