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Q: What does it mean to have a seeking spirit in faith?

A: Every morning and evening, we recite these words during gongyo: “isshin yokken butsu” (“single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha,” see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 271). This does not mean that we desire to physically see or be in the presence of the Buddha. Rather, it signifies the importance of revealing Buddhahood from within our own lives. Often this is hard to do as fundamental ignorance can cloud our ability to see and reveal the Buddha nature within and recognize it in others. 

Having a seeking spirit means to open our hearts to what Buddhism has to offer, striving to understand the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and encouragement from our mentor, Ikeda Sensei, and how we can put them into practice. What’s more, seeking guidance from seniors in faith can draw attention to weaknesses in our lives that we are unaware of so that we can overcome them.

Because each of us possesses limitless potential, when we have a spirit to seek, there is no limit to which we can expand and enrich our state of life based on the Mystic Law. On the other hand, whether we have been practicing for 20 days or 20 years, if we are satisfied with our current understanding, we put a halt to our own growth. Buddhist practice entails having the humility to ask questions and grow ceaselessly. 

Sensei explains: 

One of the fourteen slanders mentioned in Nichiren Daishonin’s writings is that of shallow, self-satisfied understanding. This does not merely mean possessing shallow knowledge; it indicates the condition of those who have lost their seeking minds and ceased to make efforts to deepen their understanding. This signifies backsliding in faith. (My Dear Friends in America, third edition, p. 53)

By having a seeking spirit, we are guaranteed a life without deadlocks, of ever-growing confidence and lasting joy.

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

NHR Study Guide, Vols. 11–20

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington