Selected Lectures on the Gosho by SGI President Ikeda by chenboying

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Introduction to P. Ikeda’s Lecture on The True Aspect of All Phenomena P. Ikeda’s Lectures to the High School Division Pubs CD Search: President Ikeda quoting from WND, 385

Selected Lectures on the Gosho by SGI President Ikeda
1. The True Aspect of All Phenomena — Shoho Jisso Sho
Spirit of Buddhist Study SLG, 13 Seeing the sun of Nichiren Daishonin‘s Buddhism rise among each of us, I would like to speak to you about Shoho Jisso Sho (The True Aspect of All Phenomena) with prayers for the good health of each of you. First, let me recount a story that relates to the Soka Gakkai‘s study movement as it opens the way for the ―religion of man.‖ It concerns Kumarajiva (344-409 A.D.) of Kucha in Central Asia. He was responsible for great waves of Buddhist thought which flowed across China over a thousand years ago. As you know, he was a priest who completed the unexcelled translation of the Lotus Sutra from Sanskrit into Chinese, and he rendered the sutra‘s title and essence as Myoho-renge-kyo. However, what moves me more than his work is the passion with which he went to China and dedicated his entire life to the transmission of the true spirit of Buddhism. It is said that Kumarajiva was over fifty when he entered Ch‘angan, after long years of hardship. That was the starting point of his struggle to fulfill the purpose he had long cherished. From then on, the hard work of passing on the Buddhist teachings started. He carried out his translation work at a great pace, as if all the power pent up within him were released all at once. Hearing of his arrival, priests came from every district in China to form a great religious order under him. It is said that he ended his days eight or twelve years later, and that during this period more than three hundred volumes of sutras were translated at the tremendous speed of two SLG, 14 or three a month. His enterprise was a vivid movement of Buddhist study that went far beyond translation. According to the prefaces of various scriptures he translated, a large number of capable people — eight hundred on one occasion and two thousand on another — gathered around him to engage in the translation effort. Carrying the translated sutras with him, Kumarajiva unfolded his interpretation of Buddhism before these audiences. He elucidated each teaching clearly and thoroughly, explaining why the wording of a sutra had been rendered in such a way and wherein the true meaning lay. He patiently answered many questions from the people assembled under him until they truly understood the meaning of each sutra. One would think he had devoted decades to these difficult translations, confined to his study with nothing but dictionaries around him, but that was not the way he worked. He worked with the people, acutely sensing their innermost feelings as he carried on discussions about Buddhism with them. His translation of the Lotus Sutra was the fruit of this broad and sensitive approach. I am convinced this is why Kumarajiva was able to produce such a smooth and still accurate rendition of the sutra‘s original meaning. No matter how important or valuable the teachings of Buddhism may be, if they cannot be correctly understood, they will never become part of the lives of the people. Philosophy‘s true value can only shine through communication between people and in their daily experience. Without the work of Kumarajiva and his group to propagate the sutras, the development of Buddhism and its flowering with T‘ien-t‘ai in China and Dengyo in Japan could never have taken place. I do not want simply to praise the greatness of Kumarajiva and his mission, but to suggest what we can learn from the way he approached his mission and apply it to our own SLG, 15 study of Buddhism. He devoted himself to dialogue with the people, always remaining among them. In a sense we are the Kumarajivas of today. He helped introduce the Buddhist scriptures from India to China through translation, and the Kumarajivas of this day must bring to life the seven-hundred year-old scripture of the Latter Day of the Law by introducing it and propagating it to people of modern times.
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Our study movement follows the same pattern as Kumarajiva‘s. With the Gosho as our sutra, we use the forms each occasion requires — lectures, questions and answers, and personal guidance. And we unfold Buddhism through dialogue, keeping in direct touch with the hearts of the people. Shakyamuni Buddha also expounded his teachings among the people, sharing their joys and sorrows until he passed away. The teachings he left still shine, filled with the understanding that comes from direct confrontation with the suffering that is an inseparable part of every man‘s existence. One extremist Buddhist scholar goes so far as to say that Shakyamuni did not expound Buddhism. Of course there can be no question that Shakyamuni gave birth to Buddhism, but there is something significant in what that scholar said. When someone speaks of the many sutras taught by Shakyamuni or their classification by T‘ien-t‘ai into five periods and eight teachings1, it sounds as though Shakyamuni preached according to some detailed, prearranged system. The truth is that Shakyamuni taught in the form of encouragement to poverty-stricken people — to an old woman SLG, 16 afflicted with illness, as if he felt her pain as his own and carried her on his back, or warm encouragement to a youth in the grip of deep spiritual suffering. All his sutras were the natural result of his lifelong devotion to the people, the accumulation of every compassionate word he spoke to alleviate the pain of people oppressed by the cruel caste system. That is why the sutras consist of questions and answers throughout. The teachings of Shakyamuni sprang from his disciples‘ memories and records of his talks with the people and his behavior among them. These are what were finally compiled in the form of the sutras we have today. The same is true with Nichiren Daishonin. He carried on in the same spirit as Shakyamuni. The voluminous Gosho we study is the crystallization of the Daishonin‘s continuous struggle to save the people through hundreds of letters and thousands of dialogues. He did not confine himself to a library to write the Gosho but talked and wrote right at the site of his battle — among the people. He fought for the people, talking with them and writing them individual letters of encouragement. To think of Buddhism as a placid teaching expounded in a bucolic setting under the shade of a tree is a totally false image. Buddhism is intensely practical, not escapist. It lives in human society and has been handed down among the people — this is the true flow of Buddhism. The True Aspect of All Phenomena is a comparatively short Gosho, but it contains important elements of the Daishonin‘s Buddhism. In the postscript Nichiren Daishonin wrote, ―Those I have revealed to you in this letter are especially important.... By all means keep these matters to yourself. Nichiren has herein committed to writing the teachings of his own enlightenment.‖ Nichiren Daishonin wrote this Gosho on May 17, 1273, a month after he wrote The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind (April 25, 1273). In the latter, he revealed the core of Buddhist SLG, 17 practice in the Latter Day of the Law by explaining the Dai-Gohonzon, the supreme object of devotion, in terms of the Law (Nam-myoho-renge-kyo), and the way for all people to attain enlightenment. The True Aspect of All Phenomena begins with a passage from the Expedient Means chapter — the heart of the theoretical teaching (shakumon) of the Lotus Sutra — which reads, ―The true aspect of all phenomena [can only be understood and shared between Buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature ... and] their consistency from beginning to end.‖ It then reveals the essence of the Lotus Sutra — Myoho-renge-kyo and its embodiment, the Gohonzon. Nichiren Daishonin, in other
T‘ien-t‘ai‘s classification of Shakyamuni‘s teachings according to the order and content of their preaching. The five periods are the Kegon, Agon, Hodo, Hannya and Hokke-Nehan periods. During the last period Shakyamuni expounded the Lotus Sutra, fully revealing his enlightenment. The eight teachings are subdivided into two groups: four teachings of keho (doctrine) and four teachings of kegi (method). The first are: 1) zokyo, Hinayana teachings; 2) tsugyo, lower provisional Mahayana teachings; 3) bekkyo, higher provisional Mahayana teachings; and 4) engyo, or true Mahayana, that is, the Lotus Sutra. The second, a division by method of teaching, are: 1) tonkyo, to reveal the teaching of enlightenment directly; 2) zenkyo, to reveal the teaching gradually; 3) himitsutyo, to reveal the teaching to some and keep it secret to others at the same time; and 4) fujokyo, to reveal the teaching to make it understood at various levels.
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words, clarified the significance of ho-honzon, explaining the Gohonzon from the viewpoint of the Law. After elucidating the ultimate teaching of the Lotus Sutra the Daishonin declares that only Bodhisattva Superior Practices, the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, can propagate it, and that the Daishonin himself was carrying out the mission entrusted to Bodhisattva Superior Practices. Superficially, Nichiren Daishonin suggests that he is the incarnation of Bodhisattva Superior Practices. But a deeper understanding lets us know that the Daishonin is the Buddha who is to establish the Dai-Gohonzon for the salvation of the people of the Latter Day and the original Buddha of kuon ganjo. Thus, in this Gosho the Daishonin also reveals nin-honzon, explaining the Gohonzon in terms of the Person. In terms of both the Person and Law, Nichiren Daishonin reveals the prime object of reverence to the people of the Latter Day. Thus, this Gosho contains the main points expounded in The Opening of the Eyes (ninhonzon) and elaborated on in The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind (ho-honzon). In the latter half of this Gosho, moreover, the Daishonin predicts that kosen-rufu will be attained in the future, and concludes by setting down the core of Buddhist practice throughout the Latter Day on into eternity — the way of faith, practice and study. In the final analysis, SLG, 18 this Gosho reveals clearly and concisely the profound essence and practice of Buddhism for the Latter Day of the Law. Because we in the Soka Gakkai stress the need for people to return to the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin as the prime point in their lives, this Gosho has continued to have special importance in deepening the members‘ faith, giving them guidance and working as the guideline for our activities. I have heard that our first president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, constantly gave guidance to people by referring to this Gosho. Then too, apart from his lectures on the Lotus Sutra, the first Gosho on which President Josei Toda lectured before a small group of disciples was The True Aspect of All Phenomena. I was one of those present at that time. I myself have given frequent lectures on The True Aspect of All Phenomena to the high school division and selected members of the headquarters staff. But every time I read this Gosho, I am always impressed and moved anew at the strength and depth of Nichiren Daishonin‘s conviction. In commemoration of the 46th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai‘s founding [1976], I revised my many lectures on this Gosho and set them in context of our era. With these comments as a brief introduction, let us go on to explore The True Aspect of All Phenomena in greater depth.
Note: The text boxes and nearby word in blue font are intended to identify the first word on the page indicated. The book Selected Lectures on the Gosho, Vol. 1, was originally published in 1977. The translation or use of Japanese words in the book reflects the conventions of that time. SF Research Group has chosen to make some edits to the text in this file to reflect conventions that are used in 2006. When you refer to the book, you will encounter the original wording, but if you are using this file as a resource for a presentation, we hope these edits assist in presenting the material in a more updated form.

High School Division Lectures on The True Aspect of All Phenomena Chapter 2 — Young Phoenixes On Jan. 8, two days after the high school division meeting, Shin‘ichi began lectures on Nichiren Daishonin‘s writings for representatives of the high school young men‘s and young women‘s division members. Shin‘ichi had been thinking of doing this for some time and had informed High School Division Leader Masaya Ueno of his intention the previous autumn. A majority of the high school division was made up of ―second-generation‖ Soka Gakkai members. They had become members almost unknowingly when their parents joined the organization. Consequently, very few of them had any personal experience of overcoming difficulties or illness through faith.

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In order for these young people to deepen their conviction in Buddhism, it was crucial that they study Buddhist doctrine. Understanding Buddhist principles gives rise to faith, and as faith increases, so does one‘s comprehension of the teachings. Shin‘ichi decided that to foster the real growth of the high school division members, he would hold monthly lectures on the Daishonin‘s writings for them, beginning in January. Ueno had participated in lectures on the ―Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings‖ by Shin‘ichi as a representative of the student division in the past. The experience had become a golden treasure of his life. Thinking of that, he was overjoyed when he heard that the high school division members would also have an opportunity to learn directly from Shin‘ichi. At the same time, though, he was worried that the lectures might be too difficult for them. Some 50 boys and 50 girls were chosen from among the members in the Tokyo metropolitan area to attend the lectures. Shin‘ichi selected ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena‖ as the writing they would study. The Daishonin wrote this letter to Sairen-bo Nichijo in May 1273, while in exile on Sado Island. [Sairen-bo was a former Tendai priest who was also exiled to Sado Island for some reason and became a follower of the Daishonin in February 1272.] Shin‘ichi realized that it might be a little difficult for high school students, but he felt it was a good choice because it presented the essential teachings of Nichiren Buddhism in a concise manner. The members put considerable effort into preparing for the lecture, but they found the content quite challenging. Many of them were stumped by the opening phrase, which seemed to refer to the ―Expedient Means‖ chapter of the Lotus Sutra as ―the first‖ [in the original Japanese text]. The confusion arose because they knew from reciting the sutra that the ―Expedient Means‖ chapter was actually the second chapter of the Lotus Sutra. They could not figure out why it was referred to here as ―the first.‖ It was a fairly rudimentary problem. But the high school division members, unaware even that the Lotus Sutra consisted of eight volumes, and that the ―Expedient Means‖ chapter was in the first of those, did not know that it was the volume number that ―the first‖ referred to. At the time, a complete lecture on ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena‖ had yet to be published. The only study material available was a portion of a lecture included in President Yamamoto‘s Collected Editorials and Lectures. One young woman who would be participating in the upcoming lecture series was eager to get her hands on that book, but none of the young women she knew had a copy. When she asked her mother what she should do, she received a surprising answer: ―We have a copy right here,‖ her mother said. ―We may be poor, but I have always tried to buy Soka Gakkai publications. I thought that even if we couldn‘t leave you anything of material value, we could at least leave you with books that would help deepen your faith. I‘m so happy that they‘ll now be of use to you!‖ With tears of gratitude for her mother, the young woman began to study in preparation for President Yamamoto‘s lecture. Jan. 8, the day of the first lecture, was a Saturday. It was also the day of the start of thirdterm classes, resuming after winter vacation. After the half-day of school typical on Saturdays, the high school division members gathered in the main hall on the third floor of the Soka Gakkai Headquarters with their school bags in tow. They were filled with a mixture of excitement, expectation and nervousness. President Yamamoto arrived just after 1:30. The energetic voices of the young phoenixes rang out with a resounding ―Hello!‖ ―Thank you for coming,‖ Shin‘ichi responded. ―Let‘s start by reciting the sutra.‖ After their sutra recitation, the lecture began. Shin‘ichi said to the participants: ―I could do everything myself, but I want to give you an opportunity to challenge yourselves. I want you to read the passage aloud first and then paraphrase what you‘ve read in modern Japanese. I‘ll follow up with my lecture as an explanation.‖
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When Ueno, who was acting as the moderator, asked for volunteers to read the passage, the hands of everyone in the room shot up. Ueno chose Shigeo Asada, a student at a prestigious Tokyo metropolitan public high school. He read the passage with ease, his voice strong and vigorous. He had practiced reading it aloud a total of 130 times in preparation. Others followed, and they all read with confidence. They were, in fact, more adept at reading the passage than the student division members Shin‘ichi had lectured on the ―Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings‖ and ―One Hundred and Six Comparisons‖ had been. Watching the students giving their all, Shin‘ichi could feel their pure seeking spirits and their determination to respond to his expectations. Listening to the high school division members read the passage and hearing their excellent paraphrasing, Shin‘ichi decided that there was no need to simplify his lectures for them. He addressed them as he had the leaders of the young men‘s and young women‘s divisions and representatives of the student division during their lectures. He did, however, make a conscious effort to link the teachings to the high school students‘ actual lives, so that they would acquire more than just a conceptual understanding. For example, when explaining the oneness of life and its environment (Jpn esho funi), he said: ―The e of esho refers to eho, or the environment that surrounds us. Sho is short for shoho, which is the subject, or oneself. The environment and oneself are inseparable, which means that by changing yourself, you can change your environment. ―When you study hard and achieve good grades in school, you return home in a good mood, which changes how you feel there, right? The way your parents look at you may also change, and they may even increase your allowance. Or you may find that you enjoy your meals more. If your inner reality — your life — changes, then the way you respond to your environment will also change, and the environment itself will change as well. This is what is meant by the oneness of life and its environment.‖ Shin‘ichi became more passionate as he spoke: ―If one person stands up with earnest faith and shines with strong life force and wisdom, they can transform their family, their community, or even the nation. War is essentially caused by the human mind. It stems from the desire to control and conquer others, to have power — and from hatred and antipathy. That‘s why human revolution is the foundation for world peace. Even the growing problem of environmental pollution is the product of greed of people in modern society. The relentless pursuit of convenience and wealth by people who have forgotten the importance of living in harmony with nature is a major cause of this issue. In light of the principle of the oneness of life and its environment, it is clear that the destruction of the environment leads directly to the suffering of human beings. ―This is why it is crucial that we establish a correct philosophy of life and strive to transform the way of life and thinking of humanity. This is human revolution.‖ The eyes of the pure-hearted young phoenixes sparkled with excitement as they learned about the profound philosophy of Buddhism. The 90-minute lecture seemed to end in an instant. Shin‘ichi closed by saying: ―Please do your best not only in studying the Daishonin‘s writings but in your school studies as well. I initiated this lecture series for the sake of your futures.‖ The New Human Revolution, Vol. 9, pp. 137-42 PubSearch President Ikeda quoting from WND, 385

[7] Many in Body, One in Mind: The Victorious Solidarity of Comrades in Faith Dedicated to an Eternal Vow Morinaka: The Lotus Sutra repeatedly teaches that after the Buddha‘s passing, in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law, the Lotus Sutra should be spread with a spirit of selfless devotion. It was the
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Daishonin who practiced in this exact manner. We must also strive to make the heart of the Lotus Sutra and the Daishonin‘s spirit our own. Saito: Those who carry on Nichiren Daishonin‘s spirit and practice and exert themselves for kosen-rufu are genuine disciples. In ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena,‖ the Daishonin says: ―Now, no matter what, strive in faith and be known as a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and remain my disciple for the rest of your life. If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth. And if you are a Bodhisattva of the Earth, there is not the slightest doubt that you have been a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha from the remote past. The sutra states, ‗Ever since the long distant past I have been teaching and converting this multitude.‘2 There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women. Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku. At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well. Does this not signify ‗emerging from the earth‘?‖ (WND, 385). Morinaka: The Daishonin asserts that all those who exert themselves in their practice with the ―same mind‖ as himself, no matter who they are, are Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Ikeda: Prior to this passage, the Daishonin describes his compassionate spirit to spread the teaching while fearlessly enduring persecution by the three powerful enemies. It is an exhortation that to be ―of the same mind‖ as the Daishonin means to make this spirit our own. Those who, in this evil age of the Latter Day of the Law, continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the happiness of themselves and others, no matter what hardships they encounter, are Bodhisattvas of the Earth who have been entrusted with propagation. The Daishonin teaches that the act of spreading the teaching while enduring persecution constitutes proof. Nichiren Daishonin stood alone as the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. While enduring a succession of persecutions of various kinds, he persisted in sharing the teaching with two people, three people, a hundred people and so on. It was these efforts that led to the existence of the harmonious community of practitioners of ―disciples of Nichiren.‖ The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Vol. 1, pp. 142-3 [LB1002, 21-2] [16] The Daishonin‘s ―Three Instances of Gaining Distinction‖ and the Fulfillment of His Predictions Morinaka: So far in our discussion, we have confirmed the content of the Daishonin‘s ―three instances of gaining distinction‖ based on ―The Selection of the Time‖ and other writings. At this point, I‘d like to discuss the significance of the Daishonin‘s reference to his accurate predictions as a ―distinction.‖ 3 Saito: The Japanese term here translated as ―distinction‖ generally means fame or honor, or the meritorious deeds and achievements whereby fame and honor are earned. Ikeda: Most prized in the warrior culture of the time were achievements leading the way in battle and the honor gained thereby. On that model, ―distinction‖ might also connote a vanguard or forerunner. In many of his writings, Nichiren Daishonin uses terms such as the first and the lead in reference to his efforts to lead the way for the enlightenment of all people as the forerunner of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In ―The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,‖ he writes: ―Now at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, I, Nichiren, am the first to embark on propagating, throughout Jambudvipa, the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, which are the heart of the Lotus Sutra and the eye of all Buddhas.... My disciples, form your ranks and follow me,
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Lotus Sutra, chapter 15. ―Three times now I have gained distinction by having such knowledge [of future events]‖ (WND, 579).
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and surpass even Mahakashyapa or Ananda, T‘ien-t‘ai or Dengyo!‖ (WND, 765). In ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena,‖ he says, ―Nichiren alone took the lead in carrying out the task of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth‖ (WND, 385). The term distinction includes a sense of pride in leading the way for the enlightenment of all people. The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Vol. 3, pp. 91-2 [LB0903, 34-5] [17] The Practice of Respecting Others <Part 1> Ikeda: Fundamentally, shakubuku may be thought of as a battle between the inclination to respect human beings and the tendency to diminish them. Buddhism enables people to develop a solid character and self-identity. Both Shakyamuni and Nichiren Daishonin ultimately taught that a single individual can save the world. Buddhism strongly proclaims that there is nothing greater than the human being. It sets forth the ―behavior as a human being‖ (WND, 852) indispensable for pursuing the highest and most humane way of life, a life filled with compassion and courage. Buddhism enables people to develop their capacity for good actions and to defeat the fundamental ignorance that scorns the sanctity and dignity of human life. That is the substance of Buddhist practice in the Latter Day. Saito: We could say that shakubuku is the specific action necessary to achieve these ends. President Ikeda: Nichiren Daishonin urged all his followers to pursue this lofty course, just as he had. He knew, however, that if they did so, they were also likely to encounter persecution, as he had. Nevertheless, the Daishonin boldly called on them to practice shakubuku, for only by following this noble path could true happiness be found. Another key reason was that he wanted to foster disciples who would actively champion the cause of kosen-rufu, an undertaking to enable each person to bring forth his or her inherent Buddha nature. Only when there are disciples ready to take action with the same spirit as their mentor can kosenrufu be accomplished. Each practitioner has to become a courageous ―lion king.‖ To elevate the lifestate of humankind, it is vital that such genuine disciples emerge. Saito: The Daishonin wrote many important treatises and letters, including ―The Opening of the Eyes‖ and ―Letter from Sado,‖ at a time when he and his followers were experiencing harsh persecution. Even while oppressed by the ruling powers, he proclaimed that this was precisely the time to undertake shakubuku. Ikeda: The realization of kosen-rufu is not possible without the passing of the torch of the Mystic Law from mentor to disciples. In any age, the polluted current of the Latter Day of the Law cannot be stemmed unless the Daishonin‘s disciples stand up with the ―same mind as Nichiren‖ (WND, 385). This is as the Daishonin indicates in ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena‖ when he says: ―At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well. Does this not signify ‗emerging from the earth‘?‖ (WND, 385). The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Vol. 3, pg 118-20 [LB1003, 37] [19] The Westward Transmission of Buddhism Ikeda: In a word, the most important thing is to reach out and inspire others to share our aspiration for world peace, forging an alliance of good dedicated to realizing that cause. We have to tenaciously expand our circles of dialogue and understanding, based on our efforts to dispel fundamental ignorance and to enable all people to bring forth their enlightened Dharma nature so that they can transform the inner realm of their lives. The Daishonin says with regard to the meaning of ―Bodhisattvas of the Earth‖: ―At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well. Does this not signify ‗emerging
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from the earth‘?‖ (WND, 385). He also says: ―‗Earth‘ refers to the life of us human beings. ‗Emerging‘ indicates that at the time of kosen-rufu all people in the entire world will become votaries of the Lotus Sutra‖ (GZ, 834). Anyone can cause the flower of Myoho-renge (lotus of the Mystic Law) to blossom in the soil of his or her heart. And anyone can become a votary, or practitioner, of the Lotus Sutra. It is important that we believe this, and that we possess an open mind and take action to engage others in dialogue. To widely spread the Buddhism of the sun to dispel the darkness of fundamental delusion — this is our mission. In the depths of their lives, all people eagerly long to encounter the Buddhism of the sun. The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Vol. 4, pg 37 [LB1203, 37] [20] Disciples Encounter Persecution for the Sake of the Law — The Path of Mentor and Disciple Ikeda: The Daishonin identifies not only himself but all of his followers as these practitioners. This is an immense honor. He clearly indicates that all believers who emulate his struggle are votaries of the Lotus Sutra who practice in perfect accord with the Buddha‘s teaching. These words must have profoundly inspired the more conscientious among his followers to renew their determination to propagate the Lotus Sutra with the same spirit as the Daishonin. Saito: ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena,‖ which the Daishonin also wrote while on Sado, contains the following well-known passage: ―Now, no matter what, strive in faith and be known as a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and remain my disciple for the rest of your life. If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth. And if you are a Bodhisattva of the Earth, there is not the slightest doubt that you have been a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha from the remote past‖ (WND, 385). He unequivocally declares that those who devote themselves to propagating the Law with ―the same mind as Nichiren‖ are Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Ikeda: In the writing ―On Jambudvipa‖ (GZ, 1589–90), the Daishonin even calls on his disciples to follow his example and never begrudge their lives. The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Vol. 4, pp. 46-7 [LB0104, 38-9] [20] Disciples Encounter Persecution for the Sake of the Law — The Path of Mentor and Disciple Ikeda: After his exile to Sado, the Daishonin clarified the principle of emerging from the earth — how bodhisattvas would appear one after another — as the way in which widespread propagation would unfold and lead people to enlightenment. In other words, the Daishonin himself stood up alone and then went on to awaken first one person and then another to their mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. For example, in ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena,‖ he writes: ―At first only Nichiren chanted Nammyoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well‖ (WND, 385). He says much the same thing in ―The Selection of the Time,‖ which he wrote while at Mount Minobu.4 The Daishonin went to Minobu to dedicate himself to fostering full-fledged disciples and building a current of kosen-rufu that would endure for the ten thousand years and more of the Latter Day of the Law. The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Vol. 4, pp. 55 [LB0104, 42]

The Daishonin writes: ―Little streams come together to form the great ocean, and tiny particles of dust accumulate to form Mount Sumeru. When I, Nichiren, first took faith in the Lotus Sutra, I was like a single drop of water or a single particle of dust in all the country of Japan. But later, when two people, three people, ten people, and eventually a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, and a million people come to recite the Lotus Sutra and transmit it to others, then they will form a Mount Sumeru of perfect enlightenment, an ocean of great nirvana. Seek no other path by which to attain Buddhahood!‖ (WND, 579-80).
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[21] The Atsuhara Persecution — Part 1 Ikeda: The correct path of kosen-rufu lies in reciting and transmitting the Lotus Sutra. In other words, first one person stands up and begins chanting the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra with the spirit to continue, no matter what; then that person transmits it to another. This itself is the path to attaining Buddhahood for oneself and others. Morinaka: The Daishonin says that this propagation from one person to another represents the principle of ―emerging from the earth‖5 (WND, 385). Ikeda: That‘s right. Kosen-rufu advances when the courageous Bodhisattvas of the Earth arise, dedicated to spreading the Mystic Law. The earnest struggles of individuals of powerful determination serve to awaken and inspire those around them and cause those people in turn to awaken many others. Bodhisattvas of the Earth do not simply appear out of nowhere. When people we encounter begin to practice Buddhism and teach others to do the same, based on an unwavering belief that everyone can attain Buddhahood, they reveal themselves as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Kosen-rufu is the struggle to increase the ranks of these champions of humanism, these Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The principle of ―emerging from the earth‖ thus indicates the effort to transmit this spirit from one person to the next. Kosen-rufu means more and more people rejoicing: ―I am a Buddha! And you are a Buddha, too!‖ It is the unfolding of a great movement of inner awakening, where we cannot help extolling this wonderful path of happiness and good and cannot help denouncing arrogance and evil. Saito: It could be said that the Atsuhara Persecution epitomizes this dynamic of kosen-rufu — in other words, of expanding good and eliminating evil. The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings, Vol. 4, pg 94-5 [LB0204, 28] [16] ―I and My Disciples‖ — Attaining Buddhahood Through Steadfast Faith at the Crucial Moment As we have seen so far in ―The Opening of the Eyes,‖ the Daishonin indicates that he is: (1) the true votary of the Lotus Sutra, who battles the fundamental evil of slander of the Law; (2) the pillar of Japan, who forestalls the loss of the correct teaching and the ruin of the nation; and (3) the Buddha of the Latter Day, who illuminates the darkness of the age long into the distant future by revealing the supreme Law for the enlightenment of all people. Ready to brave all consequences, he declares his resolve: ―This I will state. Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assail me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law‖ (WND, 280). Then, with an indomitable lion‘s roar, he makes the powerful pledge: ―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, 280–81). Here, he reveals the core of his own spirit. While these passages constitute declarations of his personal resolve and commitment, the intent of the passage ―I and my disciples…‖ (WND, 283) is clearly to underscore the importance of having faith that responds to the spirit of the mentor, the Daishonin. It is as if he were saying: ―Follow my example! Cast aside your doubts and laments as befits cubs of the lion king! Don‘t foolishly discard your faith at the crucial moment!‖ The Daishonin indicates that his true disciples are those who, sharing his resolve, stand up to struggle alongside him and work energetically for kosen-rufu. All who become genuine ―disciples of Nichiren‖ (see ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena,‖ WND, 385) by making his spirit and commitment their own — no matter who they are — have in fact already opened wide the path to attaining

In the ―Emerging from the Earth‖ (15th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni calls forth from the ground the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, his disciples from the remote past, and entrusts them with the mission to propagate the Mystic Law after his passing. In the ―Supernatural Powers‖ (21st) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, their leader Bodhisattva Superior Practices vows to accomplish this mission.
5

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Buddhahood. And, as long as they follow this path to the end, they will attain Buddhahood ―as a matter of course‖ (WND, 283). Living Buddhism, March-April 2006, pg. 72 Chapter 4 — At The Helm After touching on the roles of women as wives and mothers, Shin‘ichi talked about the mission of women in a broader sense: ―The Daishonin further states: ‗There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women‘ (WND, 385). This is a statement of democracy, of equal rights for men and women.... ―My earnest wish is that you, the women‘s division members who are striving for kosen-rufu, will, in accord with your individual circumstances, abilities and personalities, work to develop yourselves and freely contribute in the field of your choice, be it the media, science, the arts, education or medicine. ―It also goes without saying that your tireless efforts to care for your families, your close attention to details that men may tend to overlook and your sincere support of your fellow members are all noble activities in the struggle for kosen-rufu.‖ The New Human Revolution, Vol. 7, pg. PARTS 21–22 The Importance of Telling Others, 17th HQ Leaders Meeting, 05/31/2002, Tokyo The benefit of those who share the Mystic Law with others is boundless and immeasurable. This is clearly stated in the Lotus Sutra. In regard to this, the Daishonin writes: ―Shakyamuni Buddha will enfold in his robe those who [even though they encounter great persecution by the three powerful enemies] persevere in propagating [the Mystic Law]. Heavenly gods will make them offerings, support them with their shoulders, and carry them on their backs. They possess great roots of goodness and deserve to be great leaders for all living beings‖ (WND, 385). The Daishonin asserts that those who engage in propagation with the same spirit as he are far more respectworthy than the ruler of the nation. Genuine leaders, he says, are those who guide others to the correct path. The Daishonin also promises us that those who teach people about the Mystic Law will, in the true sense, enjoy peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences. [The Daishonin states, ―It is by propagating the Lotus Sutra that people can enjoy ‗peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences‘‖ (GZ, 825).] World Tribune, 06/21/02, pg. 6 Rise Up With Absolute Determination, Representatives Conference, August 11, 2000, Nagano, Japan According to astronomers, the solar system is hurtling toward the constellation Hercules at a speed of 12 miles a second. The universe, as vast and infinite as it is, has a strict order. The law that governs the universe and all life is the Mystic Law. There are billions of planets like Earth in the universe. Among all those planets, we have chosen to be born here. And it is here that we are now spreading the Mystic Law. ―Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku‖ (WND, 385), says the Daishonin. As these words underscore, we each have a profound mission. I hope you will all work together in unity and friendship. We must widely propagate the Mystic Law. If we do, we will create a world that ―remains safe and tranquil‖ and ―where living beings enjoy themselves at ease‖ (LS, 230). And when we have accomplished that, we will move on to some other land or planet in the universe and carry out kosen-rufu there. Such is the grand mission we possess. World Tribune, 10/06/00, pg. 1, 8

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President Ikeda on The True Aspect of All Phenomena: Page 11

Nationwide Executive Conference, August. 2, 2004, Nagano, Japan Words of truth can transform the times. I am reminded of the valiant French poet Victor Hugo, with his indomitable fortitude and love of the people. Hugo once wrote to the 19thcentury champion of Italian independence Giuseppe Mazzini, calling out to the Italian people on the eve of their nation‘s unification: ―Brothers…. Do not forget your fine and solemn Roman ideal. Be true to it. In that is your liberty, in that is your happiness.‖ These are stirring words. I hope all of you will also treasure your ties with your fellow members. If problems or difficulties are getting someone down, encourage them heartily. Remind them of their ideals, of their promise to carry out kosen-rufu, of their vow or their past dedication. The effort, the practice, to realize one‘s ideals is where true freedom and happiness are found. Hugo also declared, ―Material prosperity is not spiritual happiness.‖ So many people are unhappy and miserable despite having material wealth and social recognition. True happiness lies in strength of spirit; it is found only amid the struggle to carry out one‘s unique mission in life. Mr. Toda once said to me sternly: ―Our lives are short, but what we achieve for kosen-rufu endures. Be a person who, in the short time allotted to him, joyfully writes, through valiant actions, a magnificent history that will live on forever, a history won through the workings of cause and effect.‖ He also said, ―No matter how innumerable the waves of malice and insult, never be defeated!‖ I hope all of you, people of profound mission, will inscribe your names in the golden annals of kosen-rufu. The crowning brilliance of the benefits that will adorn your lives through your unceasing dedication will shine on forever, unfailingly illuminating your descendents for generations. The French writer and social activist Simone Weil stressed the importance of transmitting the treasure of religion to youth, to the people, saying, ―Religious thought is genuine whenever it is universal in its appeal.‖ As we demonstrate the universality of Nichiren Daishonin‘s humanistic Buddhism, let us make even greater efforts to globally expand our movement for peace, culture and education. You are all outstanding leaders of kosen-rufu. Please live out your lives spearheading the way for countless members who follow behind you in the great struggle for world peace and the happiness of all humankind. Please adorn your noble lives with victory, celebrating and rejoicing over the Soka Gakkai‘s victories and progress along the way. The Daishonin writes: ―Now, no matter what, strive in faith and be known as a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and remain my disciple for the rest of your life. If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth‖ (WND, 385). Advancing with the same mind as the Daishonin and with the conviction that you are Bodhisattvas of the Earth, please lead vigorous lives dedicated to kosen-rufu. Stay well, and do your best as leaders of our great movement for kosen-rufu! World Tribune Special Pullout, 10/01/04, pg. IV Faith Equals Limitless Hope, Soka Gakkai prefecture leaders conference, 12/10/2003, Tokyo The Daishonin frequently spelled out his vision of the limitless expansion of kosen-rufu. In ―The Selection of the Time,‖ he writes: ―Little streams come together to form the great ocean, and tiny particles of dust accumulate to form Mount Sumeru. When I, Nichiren, first took faith in the Lotus Sutra, I was like a single drop of water or a single particle of dust in all the country of Japan. But later, when two people, three people, ten people, and eventually a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, and a million people come to recite the Lotus Sutra and transmit it to others, then they will form a Mount Sumeru of perfect enlightenment, an ocean of great nirvana. Seek no other path by which to attain Buddhahood!‖ (WND, 579–80). And in ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena,‖ written during his exile on Sado Island, the Daishonin proclaims his unshakable conviction that the Mystic Law would spread widely in the future: ―At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed,
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chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well. Does this not signify ‗emerging from the earth‘? At the time when the Law has spread far and wide, the entire Japanese nation will chant Nam-myoho-renge- kyo, as surely as an arrow aimed at the earth cannot miss the target‖ (WND, 385). Kosen-rufu begins with one person. It begins with us. No matter how the times or society may change, this fundamental formula will hold true. Likewise, in ―The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,‖ the Daishonin solemnly exhorts his followers: ―Now, at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, I, Nichiren, am the first to embark on propagating, throughout Jambudvipa, the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, which are the heart of the Lotus Sutra and the eye of all Buddhas…. My disciples, form your ranks and follow me, and surpass even Mahakashyapa or Ananda, T‘ien-t‘ai or Dengyo!‖ (WND, 764-65). The Soka Gakkai, an organization that has inherited the Buddha‘s intent and decree, has risen into action in response to this lion‘s roar of the Daishonin. Through the all-out efforts of our noble members, we have now entered a time of unprecedented opportunity for enabling increasing numbers to form a connection with Buddhism. Let us once again deeply recognize our proud mission in this lifetime as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Blazing with the Soka Gakkai spirit and brimming with such fresh energy and vitality that others will notice the difference, may you open new frontiers of kosen-rufu in your respective areas and pave the way for the eternal perpetuation of the Law. World Tribune, 05/14/04, pg. 3 Toward Victory in 2004, 28th SGI General Meeting, 09/10/2003, Tokyo Spreading the Mystic Law is a task only for Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In one of his famous writings, ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena,‖ the Daishonin writes, ―Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku‖ (WND, 385). The Latter Day of the Law is an age of conflict, an age of unceasing quarrels and disputes. The Daishonin teaches that spreading the Mystic Law across the globe in such an age is a task utterly impossible for any but genuine Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In exact accord with the Daishonin‘s teachings, you are chanting and spreading the Mystic Law, actualizing the goal of kosen-rufu in order to bring peace and happiness to all humanity. You are undisputedly Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The heavenly deities — the benevolent forces of the entire universe — will protect all of you working to advance kosen-rufu. The Daishonin will protect you. Each of you will be praised and safeguarded as people worthy of supreme respect not only by Brahma and Shakra (the two main protective Buddhist gods), but also by the sun and moon and myriad stars in the universe. Moreover, the Daishonin tells us that the sun, moon, and stars all reside within the depths of our own lives. We who embrace and uphold the Mystic Law can live our lives freely, as our hearts desire, in accord with the law of the universe. This is the teaching of Buddhism, which expounds the principles of three thousand realms in a single moment of life and the indivisibility of our lives and the universe. World Tribune, 10/10/03, pg. 2 A Magnificent Drama Begins With One Person, 7th HQ Leaders Meeting, January 7, 1997, Hachioji Mr. Makiguchi never did anything halfway. When he spoke, his powerful determination to kindle the flame of mission and hope in the hearts of those listening pervaded his words. To this woman in Kyushu he declared, ―In light of the principles of Buddhism, your receiving the Gohonzon will eventually liberate the lives of all people in Kyushu from misery!‖ He drove home to her the profound mission she had to fulfill. He was urging her to advance with the stand-alone spirit. Wherever it may be, the spread of the Daishonin‘s Buddhism always begins with one person.
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President Ikeda on The True Aspect of All Phenomena: Page 13

On that occasion, President Makiguchi shared the following passage from ―The True Aspect of All Phenomena‖: ―At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well‖ (WND, 385). With great feeling, Mr. Makiguchi was said to have explained: ―When the Daishonin chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the first time at Kasagamori in Chiba, he was all alone. In light of the principle of bodhisattvas emerging from the earth to propagate the Law, the fact that you, one person, will now chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to this wondrous Gohonzon means that in the future there will definitely appear two, three and a hundred others in Kyushu who embrace the Gohonzon.‖ And just as he predicted, the seeds of the Mystic Law that he planted have now splendidly borne fruit as the great Soka Gakkai of Kyushu. Let‘s hear it for indomitable Kyushu, land of pioneers! Advancing With ‘the Same Mind as Nichiren’ The Daishonin declares, ―If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth‖ (WND, 385). We do not become ―of the same mind as Nichiren‖ merely by praying. Those whose hearts are aflame with the passion to introduce others to the Daishonin‘s Buddhism, to widely propagate the Law for the happiness of all, are ―of the same mind as Nichiren.‖ In that respect, presidents Makiguchi and Toda truly fought with the same spirit as the Daishonin. Only the SGI is, and will forever remain, ―of the same mind as Nichiren.‖ The Daishonin surely praises most highly those who protect and work to develop the SGI. I sincerely hope that this year the members of Chiba, making the Daishonin‘s heart and President Makiguchi‘s spirit their own, will accomplish a magnificent ―Chiba Revolution.‖ Let‘s advance boldly as genuine comrades who are truly ―of the same mind as Nichiren.‖ I pray that my beloved Chiba will develop into a flourishing new center of a value-creation based civilization in the 21st century. I sincerely thank the Chiba members for the beautiful blossoms that adorn the stage today. At present, a magnificent Chiba Training Center is under construction in Tateyama. And plans are also in the works for a new culture center. Chiba will play an increasingly important role in the future. Chiba is vast, so members often travel by car to do activities. Please take utmost care to avoid traffic accidents. You each have a great mission; each of your lives is a precious treasure. When driving long distances, please be careful not to overdo it. I hope you will exercise wisdom and common sense and be sure to take regular breaks along the way. World Tribune, March 14, 1997, pg. 10 5 — A Revolutionary View of Buddhahood: ‗Embracing the Gohonzon Is in Itself Enlightenment‘ The reason for this, the sutra explains, is that spreading the correct Buddhist teaching in the Latter Day of the Law is the most difficult undertaking there is. Accordingly, the great achievement of those who actually spread the Lotus Sutra cannot fail to be known to the beings in the worlds of the ten directions. Therefore, all Buddhas, bodhisattvas and Buddhist gods in the three existences and the ten directions are sure to protect the courageous men and women who propagate the Mystic Law. In ―Emergence of the Treasure Tower,‖ the eleventh chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni says: ―This sutra is hard to uphold; if one can uphold it even for a short while [after I have entered extinction] I will surely rejoice and so will the other Buddhas. A person who can do this wins the admiration of the Buddhas‖ (LS11, 180– 81) And Nichiren Daishonin says: ―But now you must build your reputation on the Lotus Sutra and give yourself up to it‖ (WND, 385); and, ―Bring forth the great power of faith, and be spoken of by all the people of Kamakura, both high and low, or by all the people of Japan, as ‗Shijo Kingo, Shijo Kingo of the Lotus school!‘‖ (WND, 319). The Daishonin‘s intent is for each person to shine as a ―celebrity of the Mystic Law‖ in the community and in society. By making dedicated efforts in faith, we are certain to develop such a reputation.
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President Ikeda on The True Aspect of All Phenomena: Page 14

To win a name for oneself through dedication to the Lotus Sutra is the highest honor. The names of those who struggle for kosen-rufu alongside the original Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, bloom with an eternal fragrance. They are definitely known to all Buddhas in the ten directions. The ideals and the movement of the SGI have now spread throughout the world, and as a result, voices far and wide are extolling the worth of Buddhism. This might be seen as corroborating the words, ―his name is universally known.‖ This propagation, which has brought the Mystic Law to as many as 115 countries and territories, is certainly without precedent in the history of Buddhism. You, the millions of friends who have emerged from the earth, have accomplished this sacred undertaking. No other individuals or groups have dedicated themselves to spreading Buddhism and elevating the Law with such earnestness. Your names and the name of the SGI will definitely shine with a golden light in the human history, and also resound throughout the universe, reaching the ears of all Buddhas in the ten directions. This is clear in light of the principle ―his name is universally known.‖ Lectures on the Expedient Means & Life Span Chapters, Vol. 1, pp. 62-3 New Year‘s representatives‘ conference, January 2, 2005, Hachioji, Tokyo A Teaching of Equality The Lotus Sutra preached by Shakyamuni is a great teaching of gender equality. The Daishonin states, ―There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women‖ (WND, 385). Praising the strong faith of a female disciple, he also states, ―Only in the Lotus Sutra do we read that a woman who embraces this sutra not only excels all other women, but also surpasses all men‖ (WND, 464). The Daishonin had the highest respect for women who upheld the Mystic Law and dedicated their lives to kosen-rufu. Teaching respect for women and true human equality was a revolutionary concept at the time. Individuals and groups that follow the Daishonin‘s instructions to respect and value women, enabling them to give full play to their potential will triumph. This is a profound and incontrovertible truth. We must never forget that it is the hard work of the women‘s and young women‘s division members that has supported the remarkable growth the Soka Gakkai has achieved today. 2005 Publications CD, Bonus Speeches Nationwide Executive Conference, Aug. 2, 2005 — third session A position of authority doesn‘t make a person important, and there‘s no justification for looking down on people. Everyone is equal. This naturally means that men and women are equal. In a resounding declaration of gender equality, the Daishonin writes: ―There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women. Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku‖ (WND, 385). This is the fundamental spirit of Buddhism. World Tribune, September 23, 2005, Special Pullout pg. II 9 — ―I Am a Bodhisattva of the Earth‖: The Discovery of the Eternal Self The purpose of faith is to realize a state of eternal happiness. This existence is as fleeting as a dream. We practice faith in order to awaken from this dream and firmly establish a state of eternal happiness in the depths of our lives during this lifetime. That is what it means to ‗attain Buddhahood in this lifetime.‘ And that‘s why, as I always say, we must exert ourselves to the utmost in faith. What, then, is necessary to achieve Buddhahood? Nichiren Daishonin says, ―If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth‖ (WND, 385). Those who struggle for kosenrufu with the same spirit as the Daishonin are the true Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Everything in the cosmos moves along its own path in exquisite harmony. Just as the earth naturally follows its own orbit,
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so too is kosen-rufu like the revolution of a planet around the sun. In the same manner, our individual human revolution is like the rotation of a planet on its axis. These two motions are inseparable. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol. 3, pg. 253

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