Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 10:
Joy in Both Life and Death [10.11]
10.11 Clear Proof of Attaining Buddhahood
With reference to the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, President Ikeda describes the final moments of those who have remained fully committed to their faith throughout their lives.
Accompanied by a group of French youth division members, I once visited [in 1993] the château where Leonardo da Vinci’s life came to a close.1 These words of the Renaissance giant were engraved on a bronze plaque in the bedroom where he died: “A fulfilling life is long. As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a well-spent life brings happy death.”
Those who have lived a good life without regrets do not fear death. How much more certain it is, then, that a life spent striving tirelessly for others and for truth and goodness, in accord with the eternal Law pervading life and the universe, will reach the summit of true joy.
Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“Continue your practice without backsliding until the final moment of your life, and when that time comes, behold! When you climb the mountain of perfect enlightenment and gaze around you in all directions, then to your amazement you will see that the entire realm of phenomena is the Land of Tranquil Light. The ground will be of lapis lazuli, and the eight paths2 will be set apart by golden ropes. Four kinds of flowers3 will fall from the heavens, and music will resound in the air. All Buddhas and bodhisattvas will be present in complete joy, caressed by the breezes of eternity, happiness, true self, and purity. The time is fast approaching when we too will count ourselves among their number.” (WND-1, 761)
This describes the state of life—brimming with “the greatest of all joys” (OTT, 212)—found in the worlds of Buddhas and bodhisattvas that move in rhythm with the universe.
The Nanjo family made a lasting contribution to kosen-rufu during the Daishonin’s lifetime. Nanjo Shichiro Goro, Nanjo Tokimitsu’s youngest brother, died suddenly at the young age of 16. He was a youth of fine character and handsome appearance, and the Daishonin had high hopes for his future. His mother was pregnant with him when her husband died, and she loved him deeply.
Intensely grieving Shichiro Goro’s sudden death, the Daishonin repeatedly assured the Nanjo family that the deceased young man would attain Buddhahood without fail. In the postscript to one of his letters, he writes: “He had devoted himself to Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra, and he died in a fitting manner” (WND-2, 887).
Though someone may seem to have died prematurely or unexpectedly, there will be clear proof that they have attained Buddhahood. One manifestation of this is the fact that they are deeply mourned and missed by so many people. Another is the way in which the surviving family members go on to enjoy protection and prosperity. When a family carries on courageously with their lives after a loved one has passed away, the deceased continues to live on in their hearts.
The Daishonin encourages Shichiro Goro’s mother:
“I hope that, if you, his loving mother, are thinking with longing about your son, you will chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and pray to be reborn in the same place as the late Shichiro Goro and your husband, the late Nanjo.
“The seeds of one kind of plant are all the same; they are different from the seeds of other plants. If all of you nurture the same seeds of Myoho-renge-kyo in your hearts, then you all will be reborn together in the same land of Myoho-renge-kyo. When the three of you are reunited there face-to-face, how great your joy will be!” (WND-1, 1074)
Based on the profound teaching of the Mystic Law, the Daishonin offers a vision of the wondrous realm of happiness stretching out before us.
From an essay series “Thoughts on The New Human Revolution,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, November 3, 2000.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.
- *1Le Clos-Lucé, formerly the castle of Cloux, near Amboise, France; it is now a Leonardo da Vinci museum.
- *2The eight paths lead in eight directions, that is, toward the eight points of the compass..
- *3Four kinds of flowers: Mandarava, great mandarava, manjushaka, and great manjushaka flowers. Fragrant red and white flowers that, according to Indian tradition, bloom in heaven.