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Gosho Study

‘What Matters Is Our Resolve Right Now’

Denver. Photo by Rayna Tedford.

The Contemplation of the Mind-Ground Sutra states: “If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present.”

—“The Opening of the Eyes,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 279

Nichiren Daishonin began writing his treatise “The Opening of the Eyes” in November 1271, early in his exile on snowbound Sado Island, completing it in February 1272. 

In it, he famously declares: “Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assail me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law. … 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). Despite harsh conditions, Nichiren maintained a towering, unfettered vow to lead all humanity to enlightenment. 

He urges the people of Japan to “open their eyes” to free themselves from distorted views and instead develop the ability to recognize life’s truth. He cites the above passage from the Contemplation of the Mind-Ground Sutra to teach his disciples that the present is what matters most. 

We have the power to overcome anything. Rather than blame the environment or the people around us for our troubles, we can take responsibility for our past causes while making positive causes right now for the future. The key to a bright future lies in chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to take the wisest actions possible at each moment. 

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department

Ikeda Sensei’s Encouragement

1. No Need to Be Prisoners of the Past

Faith in Nichiren Buddhism illuminates the path to happiness extending from the past to the present, and from the present to the future. To be bound by the causes of the past and lament their effects in the present makes for an unhappy life. While it is true in a certain respect that the present is the result of past causes, by elevating our life state in the present, our negative past causes are transformed into positive ones. There is no need for us to be prisoners of the past; in fact, we can even change the past.

The moment our mindset changes, we create a cause in the present that can definitely transform the effect manifested in the future. Nichiren Buddhism is the Buddhism of the Sun. It is a philosophy of hope that enables us to transform the present and realize a bright future. Those who embrace this philosophy need never feel despondent or hopeless. They need never give in to complaint. What matters is our inner resolve right now. That is the key to building a deep and solid path to an eternally triumphant life, to putting an end to the sufferings of the cycle of life and death and to creating the causes for victory and honor. …

Prayer to the Gohonzon, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is not abstract or theoretical. It is a burning inner flame to be victorious. If that flame of resolve blazes in our heart, the instant we chant, we have already won. (Oct. 1, 2021, World Tribune, p. 3)

2. ‘Make Every Instant a Cause for the Future’

Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda … used to say: “If people live their lives thinking only of what’s happening to them now, focusing solely on the present effects of past causes, humankind would never grow or develop. Practicing the Buddhism of true cause means bearing in mind that every instant of our lives is a cause for the future; it means having the firm resolve to make every instant a cause for the future.” He also said: “Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the way to transform our karma for the better. Through chanting, we are able to clean our slate of past causes and effects and reveal our true selves as ordinary people enlightened since time without beginning.” 

No matter what happened in the past or what has taken place up to now, we can make a new cause in the present—a true cause based on the Mystic Law, which is the strongest of all causes—and redirect the current of our lives. Our faith empowers us to continue moving forward victoriously into a bright future. (Oct. 8, 2021, World Tribune, p. 2)

May 19, 2023, World Tribune, p. 10

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