Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 12: Transforming Karma into Mission [12.1]

12.1 The Principle of “Voluntarily Assuming the Appropriate Karma”

President Ikeda constantly urges us to lead lives of vigorous human revolution, transforming karma into mission.

Everyone faces unexpected challenges in life. But when we have the positive attitude that we can transform karma into mission, then life’s winters will always give way to spring—or rather, we will be able to experience life’s winters, just as they are, as spring.

For what purpose will we use our precious lives? From the moment we awaken deeply to our mission, the drama of changing our karma and accomplishing our human revolution begins to unfold on a grand scale.

In this selection, through the principle of “voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma” taught in the Lotus Sutra, President Ikeda explains that, regardless of the adversities we may encounter in life, when we base ourselves on the Mystic Law, we can transform all negative karma into our mission.

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, said: “Suffering is a part of life. Without suffering, we wouldn’t be able to savor true enjoyment or pleasure. When we fully grasp this, being alive in itself becomes enjoyable. That is the ultimate purpose of our Buddhist practice.”

He also said: “Any organization or group, as it grows, will experience various problems and mishaps. This is inevitable. But the power of the Mystic Law enables us to solve such issues and ensure that our organization continues to develop. This is the way of value creation.”

The driving force for changing suffering into joy and adversity into the energy for dynamic development is our Buddhist practice and Soka Gakkai activities.

The more challenging the obstacles we overcome, the more dramatically we can transform our karma and the bigger, better people we can become.

Day after day, many people share with me that they have come to enjoy good health and well-being through practicing Nichiren Buddhism. Nothing makes me happier.

Mr. Toda encouraged a member suffering from illness: “When you trip over a stone and fall, you place your hands on the ground and push yourself up again. In the same way, please transform your karma of illness into mission and overcome it through practicing Nichiren Buddhism.”

He also said: “The Lotus Sutra teaches that the Buddha, too, suffered from sickness. In one of his commentaries, the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai says that all living beings are subject to illness, so it would be difficult to relate to the Buddha if he didn’t also experience illness.”1

The Lotus Sutra teaches the principle of “voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma.”2 Bodhisattvas vow to free people from suffering, and to fulfill their vow they deliberately choose to be born into this world of suffering and evil (cf. LSOC10, 200, 202).

When we base our lives on faith in the Mystic Law, we can always change our karma into mission, however daunting the problems we face.

In the Soka Gakkai, we have fellow members we can strive together with. We have encouragement and hope. The vibrant heart-to-heart interaction we share is a truly wonderful source of vitality for living long, healthy and fulfilling lives.

The Soka Gakkai is an unsurpassed haven of eternity, happiness, true self, and purity.

From a speech at a Yamanashi Prefecture executive conference, Yamanashi, September 3, 2006.

  • *1Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 2 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1982), p. 335.
  • *2Voluntarily 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” (10th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra.