Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 12: Transforming Karma into Mission [12.2]
12.2 Fulfilling Our Vow as Bodhisattvas of the Earth
Speaking to youth division members, President Ikeda says that awakening to our mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth, who vow to realize kosen-rufu in the Latter Day of the Law and boldly take action toward that end, is to understand the innermost essence of our lives.
In “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth,1 they could not chant the daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo]” (WND-1, 385). Being able to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is in itself proof of a deep karmic connection from the past.
The Daishonin also writes: “If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth” (WND-1, 385). Young people who dedicate their lives to kosen-rufu and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are all supremely respectworthy Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
You are chanting daimoku for the happiness of others and the realization of kosen-rufu. You are engaging in Soka Gakkai activities and striving to share Nichiren Buddhism with those around you. Such prayers and actions are themselves expressions of your vow for kosen-rufu.
In the “Emerging from the Earth” (15th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth emerge from beneath the earth and vow to propagate the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law. In accord with that vow, we have been born in this world and are working for the sake of kosen-rufu as Soka Gakkai members. We are deeply and strongly connected to one another through our prayers based on our shared vow.
The Soka Gakkai is an organization carrying out the Buddha’s intent, its members standing up with an awareness of their mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth. How noble this is. Without this profound commitment, we cannot repel the attacks of the three powerful enemies2 and advance kosen-rufu in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law.
Bodhisattvas of the Earth always emerge courageously in the most challenging times and the most challenging places.
The difficulties you may now be facing are, from the perspective of faith in Nichiren Buddhism, part of your chosen mission. Forging ahead with that conviction is proof that your prayers are infused with the vow for kosen-rufu.
If you have some pressing problem—be it work, money, health, a relationship, or some other challenge—it is important that you chant earnestly to triumph over it. Your own clear proof of victory will become a source of hope and inspiration for others experiencing the same kind of problems.
We can transform karma into mission through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the recognition that we have voluntarily assumed the appropriate karma3 in order to show others the power of the Mystic Law in this lifetime.
Therefore, summon up your courage and chant for the happiness of yourself and others. That is an expression of deep compassion. When you chant not just for your own happiness but also for that of others, you will attain a life state in which you can gaze down calmly and serenely upon the struggles you are facing.
You will still have problems, but they won’t overwhelm you. Viewing difficulties as peace and comfort (cf. OTT, 115), as the Daishonin teaches, please continue chanting earnestly for kosen-rufu and courageously taking part in efforts to share Nichiren Buddhism with others. Prayers for kosen-rufu are the prayers of Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
When we take on big problems and chant abundantly to find a way to solve them, we can expand and elevate our life state. Before we notice it, our minor, petty problems will all have been resolved. This is the ultimate essence of the Buddhist teaching that the sufferings of earthly desires lead to enlightenment.
Chanting about challenges in our life and chanting for kosen-rufu, the aspiration to help all people become happy, are essentially one and indivisible. Both propel us forward.
Our personal victories are actual proof of kosen-rufu. When we chant strongly for the development of the Soka Gakkai, which is advancing kosen-rufu, we forge invincible inner strength and attain the towering life state of champions.
Describing the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, the Lotus Sutra states: “Their minds know no fear” (LSOC15, 263). “Rejoicing in their hearts” (cf. LSOC15, 255) at all times, they exert themselves freely as though performing a dance.
Awakening to one’s mission as a Bodhisattva of the Earth is to come face-to-face with the innermost essence of one’s life. It is finding the answers to the questions, “Why was I born?” and “What is the purpose of my life?” There is no greater joy, fulfillment, or pride than that which comes from awakening to our eternal mission.
While in exile on Sado Island, the Daishonin declared, together with his disciples, that he felt “immeasurable delight” (WND-1, 386).
Manifesting our true identity as Bodhisattvas of the Earth enables our limitless, inner human potential to blossom fully. Ours is a momentous endeavor for peace that aims to fundamentally transform the consciousness of humankind, lifting humanity to unsurpassed heights and uniting people everywhere.
From Youth and the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, published in Japanese in September 2012.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.
- *1Bodhisattvas of the Earth: An innumerable host of bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the earth and to whom Shakyamuni Buddha entrusts the propagation of the Mystic Law, or the essence of the Lotus Sutra, in the Latter Day of the Law.
- *2Three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described in the concluding verse section of the “Encouraging Devotion” (13th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Miao-lo of China summarizes them as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests, and arrogant false sages.
- *3Voluntarily 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.