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Ikeda Sensei

We Are All Great Philosophers Embodying the Doctrine of ‘Three Thousand Realms in a Single Moment of Life’

Torrance, California. Photo by Yvonne Ng.

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

As human beings, we cannot be more than human beings, nor do we need to be.

Nichiren Daishonin opened the way for all human beings, just as they are, to shine their brightest, with supreme nobility, dignity and humanity.

Praising Sage Nichimyo, a disciple and single mother who, amid troubled times, sincerely supported her fellow practitioners and traveled with her infant daughter to visit him at his place of exile on Sado Island, Nichiren writes, “Just as a commoner can become a king in this present life, so can an ordinary person become a Buddha instantly. This is the heart of the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life” (“Letter to the Sage Nichimyo,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 324).

His words ring with a message of boundless compassion: “Your strong faith means that your life state is that of a Buddha. You will not fail to become a champion of happiness. That is the purpose of Buddhism, which teaches the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.”

Our founding president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi underlined the aforementioned words of praise to Sage Nichimyo in his copy of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings. We have emerged from the great earth of the people as towering philosophers of life, calling forth countless others to join us. We each possess the inherent life state of Buddhahood that “does not need to be improved on in any way” (see The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 141) and embody the supreme principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

The Japanese word ou meaning “king,” “ruler” or “monarch,” appears frequently in Nichiren’s writings, but he doesn’t use it as a symbol of authoritarian power.

For example, he writes, “A king sees his people as his parents” (“Offerings in the Snow,” WND-2, 809). He also states, “The ruler of the nation is better able to help others than are the officials who serve under him” (“On Reciting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-2, 223). He also defines a “king” as the correct and unshakable state of being of a monarch or champion of life, declaring, “The [Chinese] character for king or ruler unites heaven, humankind, and earth” (“On Reprimanding Hachiman,” WND-2, 934).

In March 1966, I said to a women’s division leader in Brazil who maintained a firm vision for the future despite kosen-rufu activities there being severely restricted by the military government: “Depending on what kind of efforts you make when you find yourself in difficult or challenging times, you can create the cause for great progress and victory.”

And proving my words true, our organization in Brazil today shines as a champion of worldwide kosen-rufu.

Our attitude or resolve at each moment is key.

In these times when it feels like we are in a dark tunnel with no end in sight, let us redetermine to fulfill our vow as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, brimming with a powerful resolve that moves the universe. Working with and for the people, let us make even greater efforts to engage in dialogue to encourage others with genuine care and warmth.

Through solidly uniting together as champions of humanity, champions of the people, let us create a future of bright hope!

Gazing down
on the fleeting
parades of false glory,
let us take pride in building
a magnificent citadel of the people.

Lighting the Flames of Boundless Hope and Courage

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