Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 1:
What Is True Happiness? [1.4]
1.4 Happiness Lies within Us
In this selection, President Ikeda outlines the Buddhist way of life—opening the palace of happiness within our lives instead of seeking it outside, and helping others do the same.
Where is the palace of happiness, the indestructible bastion of happiness, that so many are eagerly seeking? And how is it to be acquired?
In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin states: “Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is what is meant by entering the palace of oneself” (OTT, 209).
The indestructible life state of Buddhahood exists within us all. It could be described as an everlasting palace of happiness, adorned with countless glittering treasures. By embracing faith in the Mystic Law and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can enter this palace within our lives. In other words, the Daishonin teaches that we have the capacity to make the “palace of oneself” shine with supreme brilliance.
People seek all kinds of worldly “palaces of happiness.” Some seek wealth or social standing, while others wish for fame, celebrity, or popularity. But none of those things have the permanence of a steadfast mountain peak. In our ever-changing existences, they are like the light of fireflies, flickering beautifully but destined to fade and disappear all too soon.
A life spent in pursuit of the ephemeral, transitory glories of the world is also ephemeral and transitory. Chasing eagerly after forms of happiness that are insubstantial and impermanent is a sad and empty way to live.
As the Daishonin says, one’s own highest state of life is an eternal and indestructible palace, a true bastion of happiness.
People may live in fine houses or possess great wealth, but if their hearts are mean and their life conditions are low, they will not be truly happy; they will be dwelling in palaces of misery. In contrast, people who have beautiful, generous hearts and a high life condition, irrespective of their present circumstances, are certain to attain both material and spiritual happiness. This accords with the Buddhist principle of the oneness of life and its environment—that our lives and our surroundings are one and inseparable.
When we open the palace of our own lives, it will eventually lead to the “palace of happiness” opening in others’ lives and the “palace of prosperity” opening in society. There is an underlying continuity between the process of opening one’s own palace and others doing likewise. This is a wonderful principle of Buddhism.
In today’s complex society, where it is all too easy to succumb to negative influences, the wisdom to live mindfully and meaningfully is crucial. Our Buddhist practice enables us to open up our lives and become happy. By continuing to develop and deepen our faith and wisdom, we can become true champions as human beings and ongoing victors in the journey of life.
Supreme happiness is savored by those who, through practicing Nichiren Buddhism, make the palace of their lives shine eternally throughout the three existences of past, present, and future.
You are each building and opening your own palace of happiness day by day through your activities for kosen-rufu. You are certain, as a result, to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime and to become noble champions of happiness dwelling in a great palace of life as vast as the universe itself. I hope you will continue forging ahead on the great path of faith with confidence and optimism, filled with strong conviction and pride.
From a speech at a Nagano Prefecture general meeting, Nagano, August 12, 1990.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.