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Buddhism of the Sun

Faith Is the Compass for Victory in Life—Courageously and Cheerfully Sailing the Course to Happiness

Ikeda Sensei’s Lecture Series—Installment 88

Youth members in Guam, March 2023. Photo by Jonny Salas.

I first met Josei Toda in August 1947. At that fateful discussion meeting, which marked the start of our mentor-disciple relationship, he lectured on Nichiren Daishonin’s treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.” I was just 19. When I asked, “What is the correct way to live?” he replied without hesitation that Nichiren Buddhism enables anyone to overcome the fundamental sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death and to lead the best possible life.

It was only two years after the end of World War II. Everyone was struggling to survive from day to day. I remember reading a newspaper article about a survey stating that 90 percent of families couldn’t make ends meet on their earnings alone. In that time of extreme turmoil, Mr. Toda single-handedly launched a great struggle for kosen-rufu to dispel the darkness of suffering shrouding humanity.

• • •

Buddhism Offers Hope for Surviving Turbulent Times

I have a piece of paper I treasure—the completion certificate Josei Toda presented me at the end of one of his lecture series. I vividly recall his affectionate gaze and confident voice as he handed it to me. I accepted the certificate with immense pride and gratitude as a verification of having received instruction from my mentor on Nichiren Buddhism, the supreme philosophy for world peace and eternal happiness.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “If the Law that one embraces is supreme, then the person who embraces it must accordingly be foremost among all others” (“Questions and Answers about Embracing the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 61).

What are the beliefs and philosophy that guide our actions? Unless we anchor ourselves in sound guiding principles, the turbulent currents of life and society can quickly sweep us away. People who embrace a fundamental philosophy that accords with the underlying Law of the universe will be “foremost among all others,” as Nichiren says, and can ultimately adorn their lives with unsurpassed victory.

• • •

The Joy of Studying the Supreme Philosophy of Life

This autumn, the much-anticipated Study Department Introductory Exam will be held across Japan [on November 6, 2022]. Those of you studying for the exam may encounter many new and unfamiliar Buddhist terms, such as changing karma, lessening karmic retribution[1] and voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma.[2] Nichiren Buddhism is the supreme philosophy of life, the light of wisdom illuminating turbulent and troubled times. The more you study it, the more you open the door to a life of happiness and victory. Buddhist study expands and enriches your inner state of life.

Nichiren Daishonin’s writings are a source of inspiration and courage. They awaken us to the absolute dignity of our lives and enable us to overcome all adversity. Buddhist study is the driving force for building a solid core of wisdom and freely creating value. Studying the supreme principles of life brings joy and will not fail to impact our lives profoundly. Those who study and those who teach become experts in human philosophy, whose lives shine with pride and triumph. Mr. Toda frequently encouraged members by describing those who embrace Nichiren Buddhism as champions of faith and life.

Let us study Buddhism, our compass in life, in a relaxed and open manner, as if conversing under a shady tree while cooled by a pleasant breeze. We will begin with a passage from “A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering.”

• • •

Resolute Faith for Overcoming Obstacles

One who listens to even a sentence or phrase of the [Lotus Sutra] and cherishes it deep in one’s heart may be likened to a ship that crosses the sea of the sufferings of birth and death. The Great Teacher Miao-lo[3] stated, “Even a single phrase cherished deep in one’s heart will without fail help one reach the opposite shore [that is, enlightenment].[4] To ponder one phrase and practice it is to exercise navigation.”[5] Only the ship of Myoho-renge-kyo[6] enables one to cross the sea of the sufferings of birth and death. (“A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering,” WND-1, 33)

It is no exaggeration to say that life is a series of hardships. In an age like ours, marked by unending crises, many face challenges that seem beyond their control. In “A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering,” Nichiren explains the essence of faith for advancing toward victory with hope and an expansive life state even when tossed about by life’s seemingly endless trials.

He begins by praising the recipient, Shiiji Shiro, for the accuracy of a report he had sent.[7] He goes on to instruct him on the importance of resolute faith in overcoming obstacles. Describing the spirit of a genuine practitioner, he says: “The greater the hardships befalling him, the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith. … Likewise, without tribulation there would be no votary [practitioner] of the Lotus Sutra” (WND-1, 33). He also urges Shiro to strive with an awareness of his “profound karmic relationship from the past [that makes it possible for him to teach others even a sentence or phrase of the Lotus Sutra]” and fulfill his noble mission as an “envoy of the Thus Come One” (WND-1, 33).

The passage we are studying this time comes immediately after. Here, the Daishonin encourages us that those who uphold the Mystic Law can triumph over all challenges and attain enlightenment without fail.

• • •

The Inescapable Sufferings of Birth and Death

No one can escape the four sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death. Buddhism regards birth and death as the most fundamental sufferings.

During the Daishonin’s day, natural disasters, famine, epidemics and war plagued Japan. The populace was left helplessly adrift in a sea of suffering, as Nichiren Daishonin lamented in his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”: “There is hardly a single person who does not grieve” (WND-1, 6). He later adds, “I have been brooding alone upon this matter, indignant in my heart” (WND-1, 7).

In the passage we are studying, Nichiren calls the endless suffering of life in this world “the sea of the sufferings of birth and death” (WND-1, 33). It is an expanse of raging waves stretching as far as the eye can see, its waters dark and depths unfathomable.

• • •

Chanting Daimoku for Ourselves and Others Day After Day

How can we cross this vast turbulent sea and make our way to the opposite shore of enlightenment? Quoting The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra by the Great Teacher Miao-lo, Nichiren explains that we can unfailingly reach that far shore by hearing and cherishing in our hearts “even a sentence or phrase of the Lotus Sutra” (WND-1, 33). Here, “a sentence or phrase” refers to Myoho-renge-kyo [or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo], the one fundamental Law by which all Buddhas attain enlightenment.

“Cherish it deep in one’s heart” (see WND-1, 33) means to continue, day after day, to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and teach others to do the same. Just as the color of cloth dyed in indigo grows more vivid with each immersion in the dye, the repeated practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo imbues our lives with Buddhahood, as suggested by the metaphor “from the indigo, an even deeper blue.”[8] By devoting ourselves to the basics of faith, practice and study, the Lotus Sutra permeates and enriches our lives.

Mr. Toda said: “Please talk with others unhesitatingly about what you’ve learned about Nichiren Buddhism. By doing so, it will eventually become part of your life.”

By practicing steadfastly with faith like flowing water, we will cross the sea of the sufferings of birth and death and attain Buddhahood, regardless of our social position or circumstances. We become victors in life by remaining unshaken by anything as we exert ourselves courageously in faith.

• • •

The Ship of Myoho-renge-kyo Captained by Shakyamuni

Nichiren writes, “Only the ship of Myoho-renge-kyo enables one to cross the sea of the sufferings of birth and death” (WND-1, 33).

Why must it be the “ship of Myoho-renge-kyo”? And what sort of ship is it?

In the second half of this letter, he employs apt metaphors to impress upon Shiiji Shiro the magnificence of this ship and to encourage him to strive with strong faith.

First, he explains that it is the ship mentioned in “Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King,” the 23rd chapter of the Lotus Sutra, where encountering the sutra is described as being “like someone finding a ship in which to cross the water”[9] (see The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 328).

This ship, the Daishonin says, was crafted by Shakyamuni as the shipbuilder, who possesses immeasurable and boundless wisdom. He fashioned it using the “lumber” of the sutras taught before the Lotus Sutra, cutting away the unnecessary parts to form its shape and joining them together with the “spikes” or “nails” of the teaching in which he revealed the truth of his enlightenment (see WND-1, 34).[10] In other words, the “ship of Myoho-renge-kyo” is the true teaching that Shakyamuni wished to convey more than any other.

Next, the Daishonin says, this ship, built just as he wished, is launched upon the sea of the sufferings of birth and death. Its mast is the Middle Way,[11] and its sails are the “three thousand realms in a single moment of life”[12]—the teaching of hope and transformation that opens the way for the enlightenment of all people. Driven by the headwind of the “true aspect of all phenomena,”[13] the Buddha’s ship sails forward, carrying aboard all living beings who have faith in the Mystic Law. But that is not all. Shakyamuni himself takes the helm, Many Treasures Buddha handles the rigging and Bodhisattva Superior Practices and the other three leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth,[14] row in perfect unison (see WND-1, 34).[15] This is the “ship of Myoho-renge-kyo.”

Like a sailing ship, those who uphold the Mystic Law can redirect the wild gales of life’s many vicissitudes into the power to move forward. No matter what strong currents may push against them, countless Buddhas and bodhisattvas will work together to keep the ship on the right course to Buddhahood.

• • •

Freeing All People From Suffering

Josei Toda once offered four criteria for identifying a religious philosophy that genuinely benefits humanity. Namely, it must help all people 1) free themselves from suffering, 2) enjoy true happiness, 3) truly purify their lives and 4) awaken to the true eternal nature of their lives.[16]

The “ship of Myoho-renge-kyo” is the great ship for freeing all people from suffering. Who can board this ship? Nichiren declares with absolute conviction that it is “the disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren” (WND-1, 34). He clearly promises that we who embrace the Gohonzon [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] are certain to reach the other shore of happiness and fulfillment. How wonderful this is!

• • •

A First in the History of Buddhism

The Soka Gakkai is the organization that has spread the Mystic Law throughout the world in accord with the Buddha’s intent. Its members shoulder the lofty mission of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. While squarely facing the fundamental problems of life and death, they chart a course across the dark sea with the light of their courage and wisdom. They serenely forge ahead on a grand voyage of mutual growth, joy and fulfillment. Today these awakened ordinary people have spread this great philosophical movement to 192 countries and territories.

In a recent interview, Harvard professor of social anthropology and Middle Eastern studies Nur Yalman commented: “One of the major contributions of the Soka Gakkai is to show how people can really better themselves and their societies and the people around them by being kind and gentle and good.” He also observed that the Soka Gakkai has brought forth from Buddhist philosophy its message of humanism and made it accessible throughout the world. He expressed his hopes for our movement, adding: “This is the first time in Buddhist history to raise the humanistic message of Buddhism to a universal message.”[17]

• • •

Prayers for Absolute Protection

I have already reported this to Brahma, Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, and other protective deities. They would never fail to pay heed. Please regard your situations as the design of the heavens.

With my deep respect,

(“Letter to Hoki and the Others,” Gosho zenshu, new edition, p. 1936)[18]

Next, let us study a passage from “Letter to Hoki and the Others,” which is included for the first time in the new edition of the Nichiren Daishonin Gosho zenshu (The Complete Works of Nichiren Daishonin) [published in November 2021].

Only a few lines of the end of the original letter survive, but the date and recipient are clearly indicated: “The twenty-sixth day of the ninth month [September 26] / To Hoki and the others.” Hoki, or Hoki-bo, refers to Nikko Shonin [Nichiren’s direct disciple and later successor]. The year 1279 is also written on the letter in Nikko’s hand. Given the date and recipients of the letter, it is likely that the subject Nichiren Daishonin speaks of reporting to the protective deities refers to the Atsuhara Persecution[19] or related matters.

Alarmed with the growing spread of the Daishonin’s teachings, the established religious powers joined forces with the political authorities to persecute his disciples, and they did so with particular intensity in Atsuhara. Nichiren taught his disciples, who were determined to win out over this unprecedented crisis, the importance of having the resolve of a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra.

His words “I have already reported this to Brahma, Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, and other protective deities” convey his spirit in praying that the protective functions of the universe thoroughly safeguard his disciples. “Reported” here implies a powerful prayer infused with the unshakable conviction to rouse those deities to action so they will unfailingly lend their protection. His wish for his disciple’s safety demonstrates his great compassion. The next sentence, “They would never fail to pay heed,” further stresses the Daishonin’s certainty of the heavenly deities’ protection.

• • •

Both Positive and Negative Functions Are Inherent in Our Lives

It is important to realize that life’s positive and negative workings—protective forces and devilish functions—both exist within us. They are like the two sides of the same coin. Nichiren writes: “The fundamental nature of enlightenment[20] manifests itself as Brahma and Shakra [the protective gods of Buddhism], whereas the fundamental darkness [or ignorance][21] manifests itself as the devil king of the sixth heaven”[22] (“The Treatment of Illness,” WND-1, 1113).

If we do not believe in our own and others’ innate Buddhahood, our lives become clouded by fundamental ignorance. Our environment will then act as a negative or devilish influence, which only the “sharp sword” of faith can dispel. When we have steadfast faith in the Mystic Law and dedicate our lives to kosen-rufu—the great vow of mentor and disciple—our lives will manifest the life state of Buddhahood from moment to moment, and all those around us will begin to act as protective functions. We will be staunchly protected. It is like “the Buddha entering our body” [in contrast to “evil spirits entering our body”] and the principle of “the Buddha nature manifesting itself from within and bringing forth protection from without”[23] (see “The Three Kinds of Treasure,” WND-1, 848).

The strength of our faith ultimately determines the power of the protective functions. That makes it crucial to recognize devilish functions for what they are, defeat them and move the protective functions into action through resolute daimoku.

Mr. Toda explained this in an easily accessible way:

Our life force is the source of happiness, of leading a happy life. … If your life force is only strong enough to handle problems in your family, for example, you’ll be fine in that realm, but it won’t be strong enough to deal with issues in your neighborhood or community. And even if you can resolve problems in your neighborhood or community, you’ll be at a loss if you lack the life force to deal with such major issues as the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death, or natural disasters, and as a result you’ll become unhappy.”[24]

Mr. Toda concluded that only by bringing forth a life force as boundless as the universe can we remain unhindered in relation to all phenomena in the universe and confidently make our way through life.[25]

Happiness is taking problems, adversity and karma in stride with a strong life force and overcoming them triumphantly—turning them into fuel for growth, springboards for our human revolution and opportunities to transform our karma. That is the way to enjoy a vibrant, dynamic and genuinely fulfilling life.

• • •

Faith for Absolute Victory

“Please regard your situations as the design of the heavens” (GZ, new ed., 1936)—we should engrave these words in our hearts.

In other writings, too, Nichiren teaches us that even when things don’t go as hoped, we should regard it as “the design of the heavens” (“The Reconstruction of Hachiman Shrine,” WND-2, 950), “the workings of the ten demon daughters [guardian deities of Buddhism]”[26] (“A Warning against Begrudging One’s Fief,” WND-1, 824) or “the design of Shakyamuni Buddha” (WND-1, 824).

When Mr. Toda’s businesses were on the verge of collapse, he and I regarded it as “the design of the heavens” and faced the harsh winds of adversity head-on.

The heavenly deities are sure to protect us. Therefore, even if we sometimes do not see the results that we hoped for, we will win in the end and be able to look back with gratitude, realizing we were indeed protected and everything that happened had a profound meaning.

That’s why it’s important to advance with great confidence, “not harbor doubts in our hearts” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 283) and observe Nichiren’s counsel to “not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection” (WND-1, 283). By resolutely basing ourselves on “faith for absolute victory,”[27] “we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood” (WND-1, 283).

No matter how adverse the circumstances, by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and bringing forth abundant life force, we can create the right time or opportunity, expand our circle of support and friendship and forge ahead triumphantly.

Human beings are not prisoners of destiny. We possess the inherent life state of Buddhahood. Endowed with power and potential as vast as the universe, it can change the four sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death into the four noble virtues of eternity, happiness, true self and purity.[28] We all possess the unfathomable latent power of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

• • •

Nichiren Daishonin’s Lionlike Pledge

In “The Opening of the Eyes,” Nichiren declares: “I will be the pillar of Japan. I will be the eyes of Japan. I will be the great ship of Japan. This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!” (WND-1, 280–81).

Referring to these words, Mr. Toda said: “Misery! Where have you come from, and where are you going? Look up, and how many citizens do you see who care about the welfare of their country and the people? Either none exist, or the country is filled with selfish people. Out of my concern for this situation, I cannot help but cry out with Nichiren Daishonin’s great lionlike pledge.”[29]

• • •

The Pillar of Hope, the Eyes of the Spirit, the Great Ship of Humanity

Continuing today to spread Nichiren Buddhism widely, the Soka Gakkai is society’s pillar of hope, the eyes of the spirit illuminating the world and the great ship elevating the life state of humanity.

Let us step forward into a new age that shines with the bright smiles of the people!

Let’s raise the sails of Soka and proceed courageously and cheerfully on this sure course to happiness!

Let’s joyfully strive our hardest together, day after day and month after month, in the “two ways of practice and study” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” WND-1, 386)!

Translated from the August 2022 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

From the May 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. Lessening karmic retribution: This term, which literally means, “transforming the heavy and receiving it lightly,” appears in the Nirvana Sutra. “Heavy” indicates negative karma accumulated over countless lifetimes in the past. As a benefit of protecting the correct teaching of Buddhism, we can experience relatively light karmic retribution in this lifetime, thereby expiating heavy karma that ordinarily would adversely affect us not only in this lifetime but over many lifetimes to come. ↩︎
  2. Voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma: This refers to bodhisattvas who, though qualified to receive the pure rewards of Buddhist practice, relinquish them and make a vow to be reborn in an impure world in order to save living beings. They spread the Mystic Law, while undergoing the same sufferings as those born in the evil world due to karma. This term derives from Miao-lo’s interpretation of relevant passages in “The Teacher of the Law,” the 10th chapter of the Lotus Sutra: “Medicine King, you should understand that these people voluntarily relinquish the reward due them for their pure deeds and, in the time after I have passed into extinction, because they pity living beings, they are born in this evil world so they may broadly expound this sutra” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 200). ↩︎
  3. Miao-lo (711–82): Also known as the Great Teacher Ching-hsi, after his birthplace. A patriarch of the T’ien-t’ai school in China. He is revered as the school’s restorer. His commentaries on T’ien-t’ai’s three major works are titled The Annotations on “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra,”The Annotations on “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra” and The Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight.” ↩︎
  4. The “opposite shore” represents nirvana, or enlightenment, while “this shore,” the realm where we live out this existence, represents illusion. ↩︎
  5. From The Annotations on “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra.” ↩︎
  6. Myoho-renge-kyo is written with five Chinese characters, while Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is written with seven (nam, or namu, being comprised of two characters). Nichiren often uses Myoho-renge-kyo synonymously with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in his writings. ↩︎
  7. Nichiren writes, “When I asked him about what you told me the other day, I found it to be exactly as you said. You should therefore strive in faith more than ever to receive the blessings of the Lotus Sutra” (WND-1, 33). ↩︎
  8. The simile “From the indigo, an even deeper blue” derives from a writing of the Chinese philosopher Hsün Tzu. The liquid extracted from the indigo plant is not a deep blue color, which is only obtained by repeatedly dipping the cloth into the dye until it attains a blue more intense than the color of the juice from the plant itself. The simile expresses the meaning of deepening one’s learning and knowledge through study. It is cited in T’ien-t’ai’s Great Concentration and Insight. Nichiren Daishonin often employs this simile of the indigo plant not only in the context of deepening one’s Buddhist practice but also the growth of successors. ↩︎
  9. In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni states: “This sutra can save all living beings. This sutra can cause all living beings to free themselves from suffering and anguish. This sutra can bring great benefits to all living beings and fulfill their desires, as a clear cool pond can satisfy all those who are thirsty. It is like a fire to one who is cold, a robe to one who is naked, like a band of merchants finding a leader, a child finding its mother, someone finding a ship in which to cross the water, a sick man finding a doctor, someone in darkness finding a lamp, the poor finding riches, the people finding a ruler, a traveling merchant finding his way to the sea. It is like a torch that banishes darkness. Such is this Lotus Sutra. It can cause living beings to cast off all distress, all sickness and pain. It can unloose all the bonds of birth and death” (LSOC, 327–28). ↩︎
  10. Nichiren writes: “The Lotus Sutra speaks of ‘someone finding a ship in which to cross the water.’ This ‘ship’ might be described as follows: As a shipbuilder of infinitely profound wisdom, the World-Honored One of Great Enlightenment, the lord of teachings, gathered the lumber of the four flavors and eight teachings, planed it by honestly discarding the provisional teachings, cut and assembled the planks, forming a perfect unity of both right and wrong, and completed the craft by driving home the spikes of the one true teaching that is comparable to the flavor of ghee” (WND-1, 33-34). ↩︎
  11. The Middle Way: The way that transcends extremes. Thus, the term “Middle Way” also indicates the true nature of all things, which cannot be defined by the extremes of permanence or impermanence, existence or nonexistence. ↩︎
  12. Three thousand realms in a single moment of life (Jpn ichinen-sanzen): A philosophical system established by the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai of China based on the Lotus Sutra. The “three thousand realms” indicates the varying aspects and phases that life assumes at each moment. At each moment, life manifests one of the Ten Worlds—from hell to Buddhahood. Each of these worlds possesses the potential for all ten within itself, thus making one hundred possible worlds. Each of these hundred worlds possesses the ten factors and operates within each of the three realms of existence, thus making three thousand realms. In other words, all phenomena are contained within a single moment of life, and a single moment of life permeates the three thousand realms of existence, or the entire phenomenal world. ↩︎
  13. True aspect of all phenomena: The ultimate truth or reality that permeates all phenomena and is in no way separate from them. Through the explanation of the ten factors, “Expedient Means,” the second chapter of the Lotus Sutra, teaches that all people are inherently endowed with the potential to become Buddhas, and clarifies the truth that they can tap and manifest this potential. ↩︎
  14. The four leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth described in “Emerging from the Earth,” the 15th chapter of the Lotus Sutra: Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure Practices and Firmly Established Practices. The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are the innumerable bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the earth and to whom Shakyamuni Buddha entrusts the propagation of the Mystic Law, or the essence of the Lotus Sutra, in the Latter Day of the Law. ↩︎
  15. Nichiren writes: “Thus he launched the ship upon the sea of the sufferings of birth and death. Unfurling its sails of the three thousand realms on the mast of the one true teaching of the Middle Way, driven by the fair wind of ‘the true aspect of all phenomena,’ the vessel surges ahead, carrying aboard all people who can ‘gain entrance through faith alone.’ The Thus Come One Shakyamuni is at the helm, the Thus Come One Many Treasures takes up the mooring rope, and the four bodhisattvas led by Superior Practices row quickly, matching one another as perfectly as a box and its lid. This is the ship in ‘a ship in which to cross the water’ [LSOC, 328]. Those who are able to board it are the disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren. Believe this wholeheartedly” (WND-1, 34). ↩︎
  16. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 3 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1983), p. 28. ↩︎
  17. From an interview published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun on February 1, 2020. The English is from the original interview transcript. ↩︎
  18. Tentative translation. ↩︎
  19. Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji District, Suruga Province (present-day central Shizuoka Prefecture), starting in around 1275 and continuing until around 1283. ↩︎
  20. Fundamental nature of enlightenment; Also, Dharma nature. The unchanging nature inherent in all things and phenomena. It is identified with the fundamental Law itself, the essence of the Buddha’s enlightenment, or ultimate truth, and the Buddha nature inherent in life. ↩︎
  21. Fundamental ignorance: Also, fundamental darkness. The most deeply rooted illusion inherent in life, said to give rise to all other illusions. The inability to see or recognize the ultimate truth of the Mystic Law or the negative impulses that arise from such ignorance. ↩︎
  22. Devil king of the sixth heaven: Also, devil king or heavenly devil. The king of devils, who dwells in the highest or the sixth heaven of the world of desire. He is also named the heavenly devil Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others, one who makes free use of the fruits of others’ efforts for his own pleasure. Served by innumerable minions, he obstructs Buddhist practice and delights in sapping the life force of other beings, the manifestation of the fundamental ignorance inherent in life. The devil king is a personification of the negative tendency to force others to one’s will at any cost. ↩︎
  23. This term derives from the Great Teacher Miao-lo’s Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight.” ↩︎
  24. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 3 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1983), pp. 39–40. ↩︎
  25. Ibid., p. 40. ↩︎
  26. Ten demon daughters: The ten female protective deities who appear in “Dharani,” the 26th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, as the “daughters of rakshasa demons” or the “ten rakshasa daughters.” They vow to the Buddha to guard and protect the sutra’s practitioners. ↩︎
  27. One of the five eternal guidelines of the Soka Gakkai, which are: 1) Faith for a harmonious family, 2) Faith for achieving happiness, 3) Faith for overcoming obstacles, 4) Faith for health and long life and 5) Faith for absolute victory. ↩︎
  28. Eternity, happiness, true self and purity are known as the four virtues. Describing the noble qualities of the Buddha’s life, they are explained as follows: “eternity” means unchanging and eternal; “happiness” means tranquility that transcends all suffering; “true self” means true and intrinsic nature; and “purity” means free of illusion or mistaken conduct. ↩︎
  29. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 1 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1981), p. 127. ↩︎

District Discussion Meeting Material

Mining Our Inner Treasure