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Daily Life

Creating Hope in Turbulent Times

Photo by Rayna Tedford.

For two weeks in October 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the world teetered on the edge of nuclear war as the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a direct and dangerous confrontation involving nuclear missile deployments.

Amid the Cuban Missile Crisis, as it came to be known, Ikeda Sensei, appearing in The New Human Revolution as Shin’ichi Yamamoto, addressed members’ concerns on several occasions, conveying deep insights into the Buddhist posture during a time of crisis. Following are excerpts from that encouragement.

A strong prayer reaches the farthest corners of the universe.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Shin’ichi Yamamoto … earnestly chanted with the strongest and unwavering conviction that war must be avoided at any cost. Nichiren [Daishonin’s] writings state, “One’s body and mind at a single moment pervade the entire realm of phenomena” (“The Doctrines of Three Thousand Realms,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 82). A strong prayer, an earnest resolve, reaches the farthest corners of the universe. That’s why Shin’ichi prayed with all his might for a resolution to the crisis the world was facing. He chanted so as to envelop the entire world with his prayers.

A Buddhist’s struggle for peace begins with a powerful prayer. From that prayer arises determination, which in turn gives rise to wisdom and expresses itself in courageous, committed action.” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 7, revised edition, pp. 62–63)

‘When this teaching spreads around the world, it surely will act as the most powerful force for preventing war’

“The present confrontation has only underscored our conviction that Buddhism is an absolute necessity for our age. The people of the United States, the Soviet Union and Cuba all cherish a desire for peace. They all want to enjoy their lives. …

“Yet despite this desire for peace, nations succumb to mutual distrust and regard one another with hatred and hostility. This is the reality of our world. How, under such
circumstances, can we eliminate all possibility of nuclear war? Buddhism holds the only true solution.

“Buddhism teaches that all living beings are Buddhas. It reveals that all people possess the Buddha nature, that oneself and others are inherently endowed with the life force of the Buddha. The philosophy of Buddhism is a magnificent system of thought firmly based on respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life. When this teaching spreads around the world, it surely will act as the most powerful force for preventing war. (NHR-7, revised edition, 64–65)

 ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo cuts this fundamental darkness off at the root.’

“[All] who strive in Buddhist faith and practice will cause the life force of the Buddha to well up from within them. With this, they can crush the negative impulses to destroy and slaughter that may exist within their lives. The disaster of nuclear war arises solely from fundamental darkness, the most basic delusion inherent in life. Many negative and evil states of mind arise from that fundamental darkness, including distrust, hate, jealousy, the desire to dominate others and the impulse to kill.

“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo cuts this fundamental darkness off at the root and allows the light of true wisdom—that is, fundamental enlightenment or the inherent Buddha nature—to illuminate our lives and thus transform hate into compassion, destruction into creation, and distrust into trust. We also call this human revolution.” (NHR-7, revised edition, 65)

October 20, 2023, World Tribune, p. 4

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