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Q: What is the best way to create a meaningful third stage of life?

Photo by Bob Nardi.

Q: I am a longtime SGI member—currently a district leader. I am nearing retirement and still feel very young. In terms of Buddhist practice, what is the best way to create a meaningful third stage of life?

A: The first thing is to have a spirit of gratitude and a dedication to kosen-rufu for as long as you live, all the while continuing to strengthen your faith. Though your leadership position may have changed, you should never think of yourself as having retired or graduated from faith. You are still fighting the good fight, just in a different role.

Otherwise, everything you’ve pledged, determined and said to others so far will be for naught. If they see you’ve given up, your juniors will lose heart and become dejected, and that may cause them to lose faith in Buddhism. As Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“To accept is easy; to continue is difficult. But Buddhahood lies in continuing faith” (“The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 471). Let’s make sure to keep the flame of faith burning brightly till the very end.

All Soka Gakkai members are closely observing the way their seniors in faith, who’ve practiced Nichiren Buddhism for many years, lead their lives. That’s why former Soka Gakkai leaders have the mission and responsibility to be role models as long as they live, demonstrating the correctness of the Soka Gakkai and Buddhism.

Of course, with age you may lose some of your physical vigor, and it may be harder for some of you to get around, but that’s the natural progression of life. There’s no need to overexert yourself or feel self-conscious. Just be yourself and keep encouraging members, talking about Buddhism, and striving your best for the sake of kosen-rufu. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 25, pp. 128–29)

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