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Virtue Victorious and the Mud Pie

Illustration by Rob Koo.

Making Offerings Sows Seeds in a Field of Fortune 

The following excerpts are from Ikeda Sensei’s novel  The New Human Revolution, vol. 4, pp. 116–118. Sensei appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto.  

In a letter addressed to Lord Matsuno, Nichiren Daishonin describes how a child named Virtue Victorious was reborn as King Ashoka and eventually attained Buddhahood because he offered a mudpie to Shakyamuni. For little Virtue Victorious, the mudpie had been the greatest offering he could make. Despite its humble nature, he had presented it to the Buddha with the utmost reverence. This was the cause that led to his being reborn as a great monarch in a future lifetime.

Shin’ichi Yamamoto next turned to “The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings.” He stopped at a passage near the end of the letter. He read it over and over, sensing its profound meaning:

Though one may perform meritorious deeds, if they are directed toward what is untrue, then those deeds may bring great evil, but they will never result in good. On the other hand, though one may be ignorant and make meager offerings, if one presents those offerings to a person who upholds the truth, one’s merit will be great. How much more so in the case of people who in all sincerity make offerings to the correct teaching! (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1134)

In short, Nichiren’s statement indicates that offerings can bring about either good or evil, depending on to whom or for what cause they are made.

In light of this passage, Shin’ichi thought about the offerings made within the Soka Gakkai. The offerings and financial contributions the organization solicited were exclusively to accomplish the Daishonin’s mandate to widely propagate the Mystic Law. Offerings made toward this end were equivalent to offerings made to the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. There was, then, no greater offering, no greater good. Certainly, nothing could bring greater benefit. This thought filled Shin’ichi with a sense of immeasurable good fortune and joy at having had the chance to make such offerings as a Soka Gakkai member.

Nichiren Daishonin concludes this letter by praising the spirit of this follower who had sent offerings to him at Mount Minobu: “Surely you are sowing good seeds in a field of fortune. My tears never cease to flow when I think of it” (WND- 1, 1134).

Dedicating oneself to kosen-rufu means “sowing good seeds in a field of fortune”—Shin’ichi had been strongly convinced of this since his youth.

October 20, 2023, World Tribune, p. 8

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