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Daily Life

Our Attitude Toward Life Makes Us Young

Teaneck, N.J. Photo by Meghna Damani.

The following excerpts are from Ikeda Sensei’s guidance in The Third Stage of Life, where he speaks about how we can live our lives to the fullest. 

Trials Enrich Our Life

If we triumph at a crucial moment, then in accord with the Buddhist principle of consistency from beginning to end, we will enter a sure path of victory in life. In fact, doing so determines whether or not we enter the path of good fortune and benefit throughout eternity. It all depends on our resolve and determination to emerge victorious. Nichiren writes, “The character myo [of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] means to open” (“The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 145). Each time we face a trial in our lives, we must strive to further “open” and develop our state of life. By repeating that process through the years, we can experience an absolute and indestructible happiness.

The purpose of our lives, to the very last moment, is to achieve something of value. There is no life more noble than that of individuals who dedicate themselves to something they believe in and fight for it wholeheartedly; individuals who give their lives selflessly to their beliefs.

When you reach old age, you know in your heart if you are satisfied with your life or not. No one else can know this or decide it for you. The great challenge we face in our rapidly aging society is whether we can honestly say at the end of our days on this earth that our life was well spent. (p. 30)

Enjoying a ‘Third Youth’

It’s one thing to know, on an intellectual level, that each moment of your life may be the last. But it’s much harder to actually live and act, on a practical level, based on that belief. I have lived these last 50 years of my life with an absolute determination to triumph in life. Whenever I meet with one of our members, I try to extend myself to them to the utmost, for that may be our last encounter. I never leave room for regret. That is why each meeting I have with others remains vivid and fresh in my mind forever, transcending the passing of the years. I concentrate my entire being, an eternity of thought and feeling, in each moment of each encounter.

When Anatoly Logunov, the Russian nuclear physicist and director of the Institute of High-Energy Physics, was rector of Moscow State University, we spoke together about the way his own family had evolved over the years. According to Dr. Logunov,
his family changed as his children grew older. When his son and daughter had become adults, Mr. Logunov and his wife enjoyed what he called “a second youth.” Then, after reaching the age of 50, they experienced “a third youth.” He wanted to make the point that our lives are never static; we are always changing, and we must always continue to pursue self-development and self-improvement.

I hope that everyone can experience a third stage of life that is like a “third youth.” Youth is not something that fades with age. Our attitude toward life is what makes us young. As long as we have a forward-looking, positive attitude and spirit of challenge, we will gain depth as people and our lives will shine with a brilliance that is ours alone.
(pp. 80–82)

Purchase your copy of Ikeda Sensei’s The Third Stage of Life: Aging in Contemporary Society at your local SGI-USA bookstore or online at (soft cover for $9.95). The e-book is available for $7.99 on and other online booksellers.

September 8, 2023, World Tribune, p. 10

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