Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 10:
Joy in Both Life and Death [10.9]
10.9 Ties Based on the Mystic Law Are Eternal
President Ikeda encourages a high school division member who asks if she will ever be reunited with her beloved grandmother, who has passed away.
Nichiren Daishonin says that we can be reunited with deceased loved ones. For example, he gently tells a mother who had lost her child1:
“There is a way to meet him [your deceased child] readily. With Shakyamuni Buddha as your guide, you can go to meet him in the pure land of Eagle Peak. . . . It could never happen that a woman who chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo would fail to be reunited with her beloved child.” (WND-1, 1092)
By saying that they will “meet in the pure land of Eagle Peak,” the Daishonin is in effect saying: “Your child has attained Buddhahood, and you can attain Buddhahood, too, with the result that you will both be together in the same realm of Buddhahood.”
This could mean that a life that has merged with the universe can feel at one with the life of another, or that two lives can meet in another Buddha land somewhere else in the universe.
Recently, it was estimated there are about 125 billion galaxies in the observable universe [according to observations with the Hubble Space Telescope by the American Astronomical Society in January 1999]. But compared to the Buddhist conception of the universe, that is still far from a large number. The “Life Span” (16th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra that we recite during gongyo offers an even grander view of the universe, on a scale that can only be conceived as infinite. At any rate, the Earth is not the only planet inhabited by life; countless others exist.
You may be reborn with your grandmother on one of the Buddha lands among those planets. Or you may be born together on a planet where kosen-rufu is still taking place, like the Earth, and work together to aid suffering beings there. The Lotus Sutra teaches that we can be reborn freely just as we desire.
Life is eternal. Though you may be separated by death, in actuality, it is as if one of you had just gone off for a time on a trip overseas, and you couldn’t meet for a while.
As a young man, Mr. Toda lost an infant daughter. Many years later, when encouraging someone who had lost a child and asked him whether it would be possible to forge a parent-child relationship with that child again in this lifetime, he said:
“I lost my infant daughter Yasuyo when I was 23. I held my dead child all through the night. At the time, not yet having taken faith in the Gohonzon, I was overcome with grief and fell asleep with her in my arms.
“And so we parted, and now I am 58. Since she was three when she died, she would now be a fine woman had she lived. Have I or have I not met my deceased daughter again in this life? This is a matter of one’s own perception arising from faith. I believe that I have met her. Whether one is united with a deceased relative in this life or the next is all a matter of one’s perception through faith.”2
After Mr. Toda lost his daughter, his wife also passed away. He grieved terribly over their deaths, but he said that because he had experienced such personal loss and various other kinds of hardships he was able to encourage many others and to be a leader of the people who could understand their feelings.
Everything that happens in life has meaning. If you press ahead undefeated, through the sadness, the pain, and the feeling you can’t go on, the time will come when you see its meaning. That’s the power of faith, and the essence of life.
From Discussions on Youth II, published in Japanese in September 2000.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.