Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 12: Transforming Karma into Mission [12.5]

12.5 Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Holds the Key to Changing Poison into Medicine

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo gives us the power to transform our karma into our mission. President Ikeda explains that when we persevere in chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can positively transform all of our struggles and sorrows into happiness, in accord with the Buddhist principle of “changing poison into medicine.”

We live in the saha world—a world requiring forbearance and endurance.1 There are always things in this life that we have to endure and persevere through. Nichiren Buddhism and faith as taught and practiced in the Soka Gakkai enable us to calmly overcome every form of sadness, suffering, and karma, and attain a state of supreme happiness.

Life is filled with all sorts of struggles and sufferings—our own illness or that of loved ones, death, financial hardship, relationship problems, the frustration of not being able to have what we want, and the list goes on. Problems are unavoidable. They are an inescapable reality of life.

Practicing Nichiren Buddhism, and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, enables us to positively transform all of those sufferings, in accord with the principle of “changing poison into medicine.”2 The poison of suffering is transformed into the medicine of joy.

Because of the principle that “earthly desires lead to enlightenment,” suffering becomes enlightenment and happiness. The greater our problem or sorrow, the greater the happiness we can change it into. This is the power of daimoku. That’s why those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo do not fear anything. There is no need to.

Young saplings are buffeted easily by the slightest wind, but when they grow into sturdy, tall trees, they stand unshaken by even the fiercest storm. People, similarly, when their life force is weak, are easily disturbed by the “winds” of even minor problems or worries.

Living in this saha world, it is impossible to stop the winds of suffering from blowing. Our only alternative is to become strong. When we develop dauntless fortitude, like mighty trees, we will be untroubled by even the most powerful gales. In fact, we can even find them exhilarating. The aim of our Buddhist practice is to carry out our human revolution so that we can lead such lives and develop such inner strength.

Though we may not notice it, a tree grows every day. In the same indiscernible way, our daimoku nurtures our growth day after day into people of unshakable strength who abound with good fortune. After 10 or 20 years of practicing with the Soka Gakkai, the great benefit we have accumulated becomes clearly visible.

The Mystic Law is the supreme treasure in the universe. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo allows us to accumulate that treasure in our lives on a daily basis. At the same time, it functions to cleanse our lives of negative karma from past actions, just as pure water flushes out dirty water.

The process of purification takes time. At the start, we have to struggle with the slightly dirty water of our negative karma. The power of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, however, lightens this task, too. That’s why it’s so important that we continue chanting. When our lives are eventually purified, everything will start improving dramatically.

We will definitely attain an indestructible state of absolute happiness brimming with good fortune and benefit. We will then enjoy whatever happens. We will be content, even if we do not have fame or fortune. Each moment will be deeply satisfying. Joy will fill our hearts, and everything will appear beautiful to us. We will be able to swiftly discern right and wrong, the true essence of all things. Whatever our own circumstances, we will be able to give thought to the welfare of others. That’s the kind of people we will become.

The way to happiness is not complicated. Those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo consistently in the realm of kosen-rufu triumph in the end. They are certain to attain a state of absolute happiness—in other words, the life state of Buddhahood. If you remember this single important point, your life will always be solid and secure.

From remarks on his first visit to the SGI-Brazil Auditorium in São Paulo, Brazil, March 3, 1993.

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.

  • *1In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin says: “Saha means a world in which one must exercise forbearance and learn to endure” (OTT, 169).
  • *2Changing poison into medicine: The principle that earthly desires and suffering can be transformed into benefit and enlightenment by virtue of the power of the Mystic Law. This phrase is found in a passage from The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom, which mentions “a great physician who can change poison into medicine.”