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Gosho Study

‘Become as Strong as Steel’

Photo by Christopher Burns / Unsplash.

“Iron, when heated in the flames and pounded, becomes a fine sword. Worthies and sages are tested by abuse. My present exile is not because of any secular crime. It is solely so that I may expiate in this lifetime my past grave offenses and be freed in the next from the three evil paths. (“Letter from Sado,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 303)

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

Here Nichiren Daishonin underscores the importance of practicing Buddhism to transform our karma.

Developing inner strength and fortitude is the supreme benefit of practicing Nichiren Buddhism. A thoroughly forged life ensures our eternal happiness. The Daishonin says that his present ordeal “is not because of any secular crime,” even going so far as to assert that he was exiled solely so that he could change his karma in this lifetime.

We practice Buddhism to forge and transform our lives. Indeed, as the Russian author Mikhail Sholokhov states, each of us is “the blacksmith of our own happiness.” My disciples, become as strong as steel, as strong as finely tempered swords! Stand up as true worthies and sages!

Nichiren vigorously encourages his embattled followers as if shaking them by the shoulders: “You have to change your karma! The power to do so exists within you! Don’t run away from hardships! True victory means winning over your own weaknesses! Great suffering produces great character! Become an enduring victor!” (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 1, pp. 31–32)

From the March 2023 Living Buddhism

SGI-USA San Francisco Buddhist Center

The Courage to Be Honest