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Ikeda Sensei’s Lectures

Key Passages From The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings (Part 9)

Part 9: ‘Encouraging Devotion’ Chapter—The Soka Gakkai Spirit of Striving in Faith With the Conviction That ‘Hardships Are Badges of Honor’

Members at a kosen-rufu gongyo meeting in Detroit, March 2024. Photo by Molly Leebove.

For Soka Gakkai members united by the bonds of mentor and disciple, July is a month forever associated with the spirit of selfless dedication to kosen-rufu. 

On the morning of July 6, 1943, founding President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and his disciple Josei Toda were unjustly arrested by Japan’s militarist authorities on charges of high treason and violation of the Peace Preservation Law,[1] solely because of their tireless struggle for truth and justice. This day of their arrest, of their persecution for the sake of the Law, is a day that all of us as disciples must never forget. This year [2023] marks the 80th anniversary of that event. 

Even under harsh interrogation during his detention, Mr. Makiguchi’s spirit to share Nichiren Buddhism burned undimmed. He spoke confidently about its teachings and principles to his captors right up until his death in prison for his beliefs. 

Mr. Toda, his faithful disciple, survived two years behind bars, finally being released at 7 p.m. on July 3, 1945. He began to rebuild the Soka Gakkai, striving as an invincible champion of the Mystic Law determined to prove his mentor’s true greatness and integrity to the world. 

Just after 7 p.m. on July 3, 1957, exactly 12 years after Mr. Toda’s release from prison, I was arrested on completely baseless charges. This was the Osaka Incident,[2] in which the authorities revealed their malicious intent to destroy the Soka Gakkai. I was freed two weeks later, on July 17, and at the Osaka Rally[3] that evening, I vowed along with my beloved fellow members in Kansai that Buddhism would prevail. 

The first three presidents confronted persecution with a selfless commitment to kosen-rufu—a spirit expressed in the Lotus Sutra as “not begrudging one’s body or life”[4] (see The Lotus Sutras and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 229). That commitment exemplifies the very essence of the Soka Gakkai and the truth and justice of its cause. 

Because “selfless dedication to propagating the Law”[5] exists within the Soka Gakkai, we are certain to achieve the great vow for kosen-rufu, accomplish our personal human revolution and attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. 

Shakyamuni experienced a series of obstacles during his lifetime known as the nine great ordeals.[6]

Nichiren Daishonin experienced the Tatsunokuchi Persecution,[7] the Sado Exile[8] and numerous other persecutions. But he triumphed over them all and, as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, opened the way for ordinary people to attain Buddhahood. 

Encountering persecution and obstacles is an inseparable part of being a votary, or true practitioner, of the Lotus Sutra. As Nichiren writes, “Without tribulation there would be no votary of the Lotus Sutra” (“A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 33). When the votary spreads the Mystic Law for the sake of people’s happiness, great difficulties invariably arise. But those very difficulties serve to prove the votary’s correctness. 

Obstacles and attaining Buddhahood are two sides of the same coin. Strong and unwavering faith unlocks the life state of Buddhahood. As Nichiren put it, “The greater the hardships befalling him [the votary of the Lotus Sutra], the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith” (WND-1, 33).

When we selflessly dedicate ourselves to spreading the Mystic Law, the negative functions residing in our beings and lurking in the dark depths of society are driven out of hiding. We purposely call them forth so that we can conquer them, and in the process make our inner Buddhahood shine all the brighter.

In terms of our own practice, the hardships mentioned here refer not only to persecution and harassment by the authorities, but to the ignorant criticism we may encounter as we work to spread the Mystic Law. They also include various challenges, difficulties and sufferings resulting from karma, which together fall into the category of the “three obstacles and four devils.”[9] When we as disciples remember the Daishonin’s words that “the wise will rejoice” in encountering difficulties (see “The Three Obstacles and Four Devils,” WND-1, 637),[10] and emulate our mentors in striving with the conviction that obstacles are a springboard to enlightenment, we will advance unerringly to attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime.

In this installment, we will study selected passages from The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings relating to “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter[11] of the Lotus Sutra. Our focus will be the vow and mission of mentors and disciples to strive unsparingly to spread the Mystic Law and thereby achieve happiness and victory, dedicating their lives for the sake of Buddhism, other people and the world. 

[Chapter Thirteen: Encouraging Devotion
Thirteen important points]

Point One, concerning “encouraging devotion”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “encouraging” refers to the converting of others. The word “devotion” refers to one’s own practice. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo embraces both the converting of others and one’s own religious practice.

Now Nichiren and his followers are encouraging others to adopt Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and to make it their own practice. (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, pp. 109–110)

We will begin with a passage from The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings explaining “encouraging devotion.” 

Nichiren Daishonin states that “encouraging devotion” has two aspects: “devotion”—or more literally, “embracing the teaching”—referring to one’s own practice, and “encouraging,” referring to sharing Buddhist practice with others. In other words, the phrase reflects the bodhisattva spirit of seeking not only one’s own happiness, but the happiness of others as well. Nichiren says we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the teaching for both oneself and others. 

Let’s start by reviewing the unfolding of events in the Lotus Sutra up to this chapter. The main focus so far has been on who will be entrusted with propagating the correct teaching after Shakyamuni’s passing, who will carry out kosen-rufu in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law. 

“The Teacher of the Law,” the 10th chapter explains that true bodhisattvas “have fulfilled their great vow, and because they take pity on living beings they have been born in this human world” (LSOC, 200). These bodhisattvas, though having fulfilled their great vow [and qualified to receive the pure rewards of Buddhist practice], nevertheless take on the karma to be born in this defiled world in the Latter Day of the Law to lead all living beings to enlightenment. This is the vow of “voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma.”[12] This vow of true bodhisattvas inevitably invites momentous difficulties. 

Chapter 10 also states, “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Thus Come One is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?” (LSOC, 203). In the Latter Day of the Law, only Nichiren Daishonin faced the fierce onslaughts of hostility and resentment this passage predicts. Next, in “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower,” the 11th chapter, Shakyamuni urges the bodhisattvas assembled at the Ceremony in the Air[13] to propagate the Lotus Sutra after his death. First, he voices his desire to entrust the sutra’s teaching to someone. Second, he clarifies that the wish of all Buddhas is to make the Law long endure for the enlightenment of all living beings. Third, he employs the teaching of the six difficult and nine easy acts[14] to underscore the difficulty of propagating the sutra after his death (see LSOC, 218–19). He also declares, “This is a difficult matter—it is proper you should make a great vow” (LSOC, 218), and urges, “Now in the presence of the Buddhas let [those who can guard and uphold, read and recite this sutra] come forward and speak their vow!” (see LSOC, 220). 

The following chapter, “Devadatta,”reveals the Lotus Sutra’s benefit of enabling all people to attain Buddhahood [including women and evil people who were previously denied enlightenment in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings]. This leads in to “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter, where the focus returns to propagating the Lotus Sutra after Shakyamuni’s death. 

The main significance of the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter is the bodhisattvas standing up to make a vow in response to the abovementioned urgings of Shakyamuni. The disciples take up the same vow as their teacher, the Buddha, and pledge to dedicate their lives to the difficult task of spreading the Mystic Law. That is the only way to realize kosen-rufu in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law.

The drama of the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter begins with a declaration by Bodhisattva Medicine King and other bodhisattvas who have sensed the Buddha’s wish. They realize that living beings in the age after Shakyamuni’s death will have accumulated few good causes, be extremely arrogant and therefore difficult to teach. Nevertheless, the bodhisattvas vow to courageously summon great patience and spread the Lotus Sutra, never begrudging their bodies or lives (see LSOC, 229).

At that time, the voice-hearers also make a vow. They declare that in the evil latter age after the Buddha’s passing, they will preach the Lotus Sutra in other lands, because the minds of people in this saha world[15] are confused and deluded. The sutra describes the saha world as filled with beings who have few good roots, are arrogant, muddled, wrathful, fawning and devious (see LSOC, 229–30).

In this way, it depicts how difficult it is to realize kosen-rufu in that evil age. The sutra’s conclusion—revealed later—is that the protagonists who take on the task of spreading the correct teaching in the Latter Day are none other than the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.[16]

Put another way, only with a grassroots network of people awakened to their mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, people ready to dive into this defiled world in accord with their original vow, will we realize worldwide kosen-rufu, which the Buddha calls for in the Lotus Sutra (see LSOC, 330).[17]

The focus in this section of the sutra is the practice of bodhisattvas, in sharp contrast to that of voice-hearers. No bodhisattva or Buddha takes the easy way out. Bodhisattvas actively go to the most challenging places, and that is why their noble lives shine with the light of Buddhahood.

That is the reason for the Daishonin’s words “Now Nichiren and his followers are encouraging others to adopt [or embrace] Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and to make it their own practice” (OTT, 110). Our practice is to courageously reach out to others and leap in among the people to share Buddhism. 

Today, we of the Soka Gakkai alone have steadfastly engaged in this practice of “encouraging devotion” while experiencing all kinds of hardships and adversity. Chanting and teaching others about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for our own and others’ happiness is our noble mission as Soka Gakkai members directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin.

After the Buddha’s interaction with the voice-hearers, the sutra describes the bodhisattvas who have reached the stage of non-regression[18] once more expressing their wish that Shakyamuni order them to shoulder the propagation of the Lotus Sutra after his death, but he remains silent. The bodhisattvas then “roar the lion’s roar” and make a vow to comply with the Buddha’s will and fulfill their mission to spread the Law (see LSOC, 231–32).

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin explains the significance of the phrase “to roar the lion’s roar” (Jpn sa shishi ku): 

The first shi [which means “teacher”] of the word shishi, or “lion,” is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi [which means “child” or “disciple”] is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The [lion’s] “roar” (ku) is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison. 

The verb sa, “to make” or “to roar,” should here be understood to mean to initiate or to put forth. It refers to the initiating of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law. (OTT, 111)

It is essential for disciples to initiate action. Taking the initiative in sharing the mentor’s vow, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo together and speaking to others about the teachings with all one’s might is “to roar the lion’s roar.” 

In the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter, Shakyamuni interacts with the voice-hearers, but he says nothing to the bodhisattvas. He simply looks at them. This is profoundly significant.

Kosen-rufu isn’t something we undertake because we’re ordered to. Without a pure initiative of our own, we cannot break through the obstacles and devilish functions in our path or attain the life state of Buddhahood. Even such terms as the “Buddha’s decree” or “Buddha’s wish” only have meaning if there are disciples willing to stand up with the same vow as the Buddha. Our own will and initiative are the essence of Buddhist faith and practice. The Buddha’s wish is realized when disciples filled with determination and commitment stand up and overcome all obstacles. The ultimate expression of this is stand-alone faith. 

This is also the meaning of Mr. Toda’s heartfelt cry during one of his lectures on the Lotus Sutra: “I will achieve kosen-rufu!” When ever-growing numbers of Soka Gakkai members stand up and declare “I will achieve kosen-rufu!” it will become a great lion’s roar for the propagation of the Mystic Law. 

Point Thirteen, on the passage “We care nothing for our bodies or lives / but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The “unsurpassed way” is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Now Nichiren and his followers are even more anxious with regard to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo than they are with regard to their own lives.[19] That is why at the conclusion of this chapter we find the words “The Buddha must know what is in our hearts.” That is, Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, must know and understand what is in the hearts of the votaries of the Lotus Sutra.

The “Buddha” referred to in the conclusion of the chapter is Shakyamuni, and “our hearts” refers to the hearts of Nichiren and his followers, who now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. (OTT, 114)

Next, let us study The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings section commenting on the Lotus Sutra passage “We … are anxious [or care] only for the unsurpassed way” (LSOC, 233). 

The concluding verse section[20] of the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter states that those who have faith in, practice and propagate the Lotus Sutra after Shakyamuni’s death will encounter the three powerful enemies.[21]

In this section, the bodhisattvas express their determination as follows: 

In order to preach this sutra 
we will bear these difficult things.  
We care nothing for our bodies or lives 
but are anxious [or care] only for the
unsurpassed way. (LSOC, 233)

In other words, they endure all kinds of hardships because they value the unsurpassed way above all. 

Regarding this passage, Nichiren says the unsurpassed way refers to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (see OTT, 114). He highlights the importance of having a strong commitment to cherishing the Mystic Law, the fundamental Law of the universe, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

The statements “We care nothing for our bodies or lives” (LSOC, 233) and “never begrudging our bodies or lives” (LSOC, 229) do not mean that we take our lives lightly. Rather, they stress how much we value and treasure the Law. 

The great teaching we should prize is the Mystic Law, a teaching of respect for the dignity of life. There is not the slightest element of disregard for life in Nichiren Buddhism. Not begrudging our lives is completely different from disrespecting or devaluing them—which is clear from this passage in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings as well. Not allowing a single life to be sacrificed in advancing kosen-rufu is the creed of the first three Soka Gakkai presidents, including myself. It is also my firm resolve. 

Both the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin teach that dedicating ourselves to the great vow for kosen-rufu is the way to make our lives shine with supreme dignity, transcending the bounds of birth and death. That’s why unwavering faith to persevere throughout life on the path of our Buddhist practice is so important.

Mr. Makiguchi, despite his advanced years, made long journeys to Kyushu and Tohoku to share Nichiren Buddhism with others. Mr. Toda, too, though battling the devil of illness, lead our movement to the very end, passing the torch of kosen-rufu to his young successors at the ceremony held on March 16, 1958.[22]

In the light of the concluding verse section of the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter, kosen-rufu is a never-ending struggle between the Buddha and devilish functions. It is inevitable that the three powerful enemies will emerge to obstruct our gathering of great good dedicated to spreading the Mystic Law. 

Mr. Makiguchi wrote: 

We must not dread the words “As practice progresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form, vying with one another to interfere” (“Letter to the Brothers,” WND-1, 501). Those who are oblivious to the Daishonin’s vast compassion and fixated on immediate petty gain are ignorant people truly to be pitied.[23]

In other words, the difficulties and obstacles that arise in the course of our Buddhist practice, he says, are actually manifestations of the Buddha’s great compassion. That is because they provide us with the perfect opportunity to attain the indestructible life state of Buddhahood. Mr. Makiguchi feels sorry for anyone who would miss such an opportunity. His words shine with the proud conviction that “Difficulties will arise, and these are to be looked on as ‘peaceful’ practices” (OTT, 115).

From the time Nichiren first proclaimed his teaching [on April 28, 1253], he was beset by countless persecutions “as mountains pile upon mountains and waves follow waves” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 241). Yet despite that, he declared: “I, Nichiren, am the richest man in all of present-day Japan. I have dedicated my life to the Lotus Sutra, and my name will be handed down in ages to come” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 268). Encountering hardships and obstacles because of spreading the Mystic Law is the greatest honor.

The verse section closes with the words “The Buddha must know what is in our hearts” (LSOC, 234). Concerning this, the Daishonin states: “Now Nichiren and his followers are even more anxious [or devoted] with regard to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo than they are with regard to their own lives. That is why at the conclusion of this chapter we find the words ‘The Buddha must know what is in our hearts’” (OTT, 114).

The Buddha “must know” the hearts of ordinary people striving in their Buddhist practice with the selfless spirit “We care nothing for our bodies or lives” (LSOC, 233).

That is because Shakyamuni—who in “Life Span,” the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, says, “Originally I practiced the bodhisattva way” (LSOC, 268)—also attained enlightenment through practicing the Mystic Law, the ultimate cause for attaining Buddhahood. That is why the Buddha deeply “knows” just how noble are the lives of those who dedicate themselves to the Mystic Law. And in the evil age after Shakyamuni’s passing, Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, revealed the one fundamental Law as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The life of the eternal Buddha beats in the hearts of those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 

The lives of those who dedicate themselves to the vow of kosen-rufu are completely at one with the Buddha. They can bring forth from within compassion as deep as the ocean, wisdom as vast as the sky and courage as dauntless and unshakable as a towering mountain. 

The struggle to patiently propagate Buddhism makes the life state of Buddhahood shine brilliantly; it is the ultimate height to which we can soar as human beings. 

Mr. Toda said that problems and sufferings deepen and strengthen our faith, and cause flowers of happiness to bloom in the future. 

When I was traveling to Osaka to appear before the police for questioning at the time of the Osaka Incident, Mr. Toda presented me with a just-published copy of his novel Human Revolution, which he had composed under the pen name Myo Goku. In the book’s afterword, titled “The Essence of Human Revolution,” he wrote: “True human revolution still lies ahead of us. My cherished wish is that you fight courageously against the three powerful enemies, vanquish the three obstacles and the four devils, and experience the essence of human revolution that is the true great benefit of faith.” 

He was telling us to confront all obstacles and win over them to lead a life of triumphant human revolution. 

On July 17, 1976, the 19th anniversary of my release from custody during the Osaka Incident [in 1957], I worked on composing “Song of Human Revolution”[24] as a tribute to my mentor. 

A stone monument engraved with the song’s lyrics stands in the northern courtyard of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu, which was completed 10 years ago [in 2013].

Just as I wrote in the lyrics to that song, “We have a mission to fulfill in this world.” 

Together, let us regard obstacles as honors and confidently face all challenges. Let us advance boldly along the path of our vow to spread the Mystic Law and create a victorious drama of human revolution that will light the way for a brighter future!

Take your stand, and I will take mine, too …
Forge ahead, and I will forge ahead, too[25]

Together with our fellow members around the world, let us forge ahead on the great path of Soka—with the spirit of oneness of mentor and disciple and the solid unity of “many in body, one in mind”—to make the Law long endure!

From the May 2024 Living Buddhism


  1. Peace Preservation Law: Enacted in 1925 and completely revised in 1941, this law was used to suppress thought in the name of protecting the Japanese “national polity” and preserving peace. The law provided for harsh punishment of persons found to be in violation, including the death penalty. ↩︎
  2. Osaka Incident: The occasion when Ikeda Sensei, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, was arrested and wrongfully charged with election law violations in a House of Councillors by-election in Osaka in 1957. At the end of the court case, which continued for more than four years, he was fully exonerated of all charges on January 25, 1962.  ↩︎
  3. Osaka Rally: A Soka Gakkai rally held to protest the unjust detention of Sensei, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, by the Osaka District Prosecutor’s Office in connection with the Osaka Incident. It was convened at Nakanoshima Civic Hall in Osaka on July 17, 1957, the day of Sensei’s release after two weeks of interrogation by the authorities. Attended by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda and Sensei, the rally is regarded as the starting point of Ever-Victorious Kansai. In his speech, Sensei declared that those who are completely committed to their Buddhist faith and practice will always triumph. ↩︎
  4. Not begrudging one’s body or life: This refers to a phrase that appears in “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, indicating that we should seek the Law and spread the Lotus Sutra wholeheartedly, without sparing our lives. The sutra states, “Although it will be difficult to teach and convert [people in the age after the Buddha’s passing], we will summon up the power of great patience and will read and recite this sutra, embrace, preach and copy it, offering it many kinds of alms and never begrudging our bodies or lives” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 229). In terms of our Buddhist practice today, it means devoting our lives to the Mystic Law, the ultimate teaching of respect for the dignity of life. ↩︎
  5. Selfless dedication to propagating the Law: This term appears in Great Teacher Chang-an’s Annotations on the Nirvana Sutra and describes the proper spirit of teaching and propagating Buddhism. ↩︎
  6. Nine great ordeals: Also, nine great persecutions. The major hardships that Shakyamuni Buddha underwent. They are listed in The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom and in other Buddhist works, but they differ slightly according to the source. They include such incidents as an assassination attempt by Devadatta, who pushed a boulder from a cliff hoping to crush Shakyamuni but succeeded only in injuring the latter’s toe, causing it to bleed; and a group of Brahmans instigating a beautiful woman named Sundari to spread scandalous rumors about Shakyamuni in order to damage his reputation. ↩︎
  7. Tatsunokuchi Persecution: On September 12, 1271, the authorities arrested Nichiren Daishonin and took him to a place called Tatsunokuchi on the outskirts of Kamakura, where they tried to execute him under cover of darkness. When the execution attempt failed, he was held in detention and then, about a month later, exiled to Sado Island, which was tantamount to a death sentence. However, when his predictions of internal strife and foreign invasion were fulfilled, the government issued a pardon in March 1274, and he returned to Kamakura. ↩︎
  8. Sado Exile: Nichiren Daishonin’s exile to Sado Island off the western coast of Japan from October 1271—immediately following the Tatsunokuchi Persecution on September 12, 1271—through March 1274. ↩︎
  9. Three obstacles and four devils: Various obstacles and hindrances to the practice of Buddhism. The three obstacles are 1) the obstacle of earthly desires, 2) the obstacle of karma and 3) the obstacle of retribution. The four devils are 1) the hindrance of the five components, 2) the hindrance of earthly desires, 3) the hindrance of death and 4) the hindrance of the devil king. ↩︎
  10. Nichiren writes, “The three obstacles and four devils will invariably appear, and the wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat” (“The Three Obstacles and Four Devils,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 637). ↩︎
  11. At the opening of “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva Medicine King and others summon “the power of great patience” (LSOC, 229) and vow to carry out kosen-rufu in the evil world after Shakyamuni’s death, “never begrudging our bodies or lives” (LSOC, 229). After this, the voice-hearers commit to broadly preaching the Lotus Sutra in other lands, and then the Buddha goes on to predict the attainment of Buddhahood by various nuns. In the second half of the chapter, in its concluding verse section, the bodhisattvas once again proclaim before the Buddha their vow to propagate the sutra after his death. They declare their resolve to endure all persecution and adversity and to never be deterred even if repeatedly banished or cursed and reviled by those possessed by evil demons. The following chapter, “Peaceful Practices,” describes the method for propagating the Lotus Sutra, and the provisional teaching of the Lotus Sutra comes to an end, shifting to the essential teaching with the emergence of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.  ↩︎
  12. 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” (LSOC, 200). ↩︎
  13. Ceremony in the Air: One of the three assemblies described in the Lotus Sutra, in which the entire gathering is suspended in space above the saha world. It extends from “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower,” the 11th chapter, to “Entrustment,” the 22nd chapter. The heart of this ceremony is the emergence of the treasure tower from the earth and Shakyamuni entrusting the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, led by Bodhisattva Superior Practice, with the propagation of the essence of the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after his passing. ↩︎
  14. Six difficult and nine easy acts: Comparisons expounded in “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower,” the 11th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, to teach people how difficult it would be to embrace and propagate the sutra in the Latter Day of the Law. The six difficult acts are 1) to propagate the Lotus Sutra widely, 2) to copy it or cause someone else to copy it, 3) to recite it even for a short while, 4) to teach it even to one person, 5) to hear of and accept the Lotus Sutra and inquire about its meaning and 6) to maintain faith in it. The nine easy acts include such feats as teaching innumerable sutras other than the Lotus Sutra, walking across a burning prairie carrying a bundle of hay on one’s back without being burned and kicking a major world system into a different quarter.  ↩︎
  15. Saha world: This world, which is full of suffering. Often translated as the world of endurance. In Sanskrit, saha derives from a root meaning “to bear” or “to endure.” For this reason, in the Chinese versions of Buddhist scriptures, saha is rendered as endurance. In this context, the saha world indicates a world in which people must endure suffering. ↩︎
  16. Bodhisattvas of the Earth: The innumerable bodhisattvas who appear in “Emerging from the Earth,” the 15th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, and are entrusted by Shakyamuni with the task of propagating the Law after his passing.  ↩︎
  17. In “Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King,” the 23rd chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha states, “After I have passed into extinction, in the last five-hundred-year period you must spread it [the Lotus Sutra] abroad widely throughout Jambudvipa [the entire world] and never allow it to be cut off” (LSOC, 330).  ↩︎
  18. Stage of non-regression: Also, stage of non-retrogression. One of the stages of bodhisattva practice. One who reaches this stage never backslides, always advancing in Buddhist practice toward the goal of Buddhahood. In the stage of non-regression, a bodhisattva neither retreats to a lower stage of bodhisattva practice nor regresses to the stages of voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones or to the four evil paths. ↩︎
  19.  “Anxious with regard to” here means “to prize or treasure.” In other words, Nichiren and his followers prize Nam-myoho-renge-kyo more than their own lives. ↩︎
  20. Also called the “twenty-line verse section” because it comprises twenty lines in Kumarajiva’s Chinese translation. In this section, countless multitudes of bodhisattvas vow to Shakyamuni Buddha to propagate the sutra in the evil age after his passing, enduring the attacks of the three powerful enemies: arrogant lay people, arrogant priests and arrogant false sages. ↩︎
  21. Three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death. 1) Arrogant lay people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra, assaulting them with slander and abuse and attacking them with swords and staves. 2) Arrogant priests who, “with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 273), are unable to grasp the true teachings of Buddhism, are attached to their own beliefs and believe they are superior; and 3) Arrogant false sages—in other words, high-ranking priests who are revered as sages living apart from the world but are actually greedy and malicious. With slanderous falsehoods, they persuade the authorities to persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin declared that the fact that his actions had called forth all three powerful enemies was proof that he was the votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law. ↩︎
  22. In early March 1958, President Toda suggested to his young disciple Daisaku Ikeda that they hold a ceremony that would serve as a trial run or dress rehearsal for kosen-rufu in preparation for the future. On March 16, 6,000 young men and women gathered for the ceremony, which the latter moderated. During the ceremony, President Toda passed the baton of kosen-rufu to his youthful successors. Later, March 16 came to be known as Kosen-rufu Day. ↩︎
  23.  Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 10 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1987), p. 46. ↩︎
  24. The process of composing and performing the song is described in detail in The New Human Revolution, vol. 23, “Courage” Chapter. ↩︎
  25. Lyrics from “Song of Human Revolution.” ↩︎

Inner Change—Volume 28, Chapter 3