Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 12: Transforming Karma into Mission [12.7]
12.7 A Triumphant Drama
In this essay, President Ikeda recounts the story of an SGI-USA member who, through changing her karma into mission, achieved a life of great human revolution. Praising her, he says that the Soka Gakkai is a gathering of bodhisattvas who have stood up to shoulder their own unique, noble missions.
Throughout Japan and the world, our women’s division members—the mothers of kosen-rufu—are leading their lives with confidence, determination, and fortitude.
One such woman is an SGI-USA pioneer member. After marrying an American in Japan, she went to the United States with her husband and their young son in 1966. Her husband was in the military and was sent to Vietnam. Left alone in the United States with her son and not yet fluent in English, she performed hard menial work to earn extra money to make ends meet. Even after her husband’s return from the war, the family’s financial difficulties continued.
Eventually the couple had another son, but he was born with serious disabilities. Doctors said he would never walk or talk and advised them to commit him to an institution, but the mother fiercely resolved to raise her son herself.
To survive, she sold virtually everything she had—her clothes, including the precious silk kimono she had brought from Japan, her pots and pans—but the family still didn’t have enough to live on. Why did she experience all this suffering? The harsh waves of karma seemed to pound her relentlessly.
Having been an active district-level leader in the Soka Gakkai in Japan, however, this member squarely faced the challenges before her; she refused to run away from reality. She held down a job during the day and exerted herself tirelessly on the front lines of kosen-rufu in the evenings.
One evening, she was seated before the Gohonzon as usual. As she was chanting in a clear, resounding voice, the hour grew late; suddenly, she felt as if a brilliant light illuminated her mind: “I am a proud member of the Soka Gakkai. I have the Gohonzon. I have nothing to fear. There is no way that I won’t become happy.” Tears of unsurpassed joy fell from her eyes.
The sun of happiness rises brightly in the lives of those who valiantly take on, here and now, the challenges presented by their circumstances, their lives, and the struggle for kosen-rufu.
In a letter addressed to a woman follower, the Daishonin writes: “There is nothing to lament when we consider that we will surely become Buddhas” (WND-1, 657).
The Lotus Sutra teaches the profound principle of “voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma.”1 According to the sutra, bodhisattvas, of their own free will, seek to be reborn into an evil age because they empathize with those who are suffering and wish to lead them to happiness.
Each of us, no matter what hardships we may face or what circumstances we may find ourselves in, has a noble mission that only we can fulfill. When we deeply recognize this, everything changes.
We have been born in this world, at this time, to accomplish the great vow we made in the remote past. Our karma is our mission; it is the stage upon which we play out our magnificent drama of transforming adversity into triumph. No matter how difficult or challenging the reality of our lives may be, there is no other separate place where we can achieve happiness.
This pioneer member’s elder son grew up watching his mother’s courageous example. He went on to graduate as a top student of his class at Yale University.
Her younger son, whom doctors had said would never walk, can even run now, and he also participates in SGI meetings.
This January , this wonderful woman, at 79, declared proudly: “I don’t feel old at all. For kosen-rufu, I will continue speaking out to defend the truth and justice of the Soka Gakkai as long as I live!” She is a woman who has triumphed brilliantly.
The resounding music of our women’s division members’ unceasing efforts fills the air day after day in every community and locale. Truly, they are the driving force of kosen-rufu, and no praise, no matter how eloquent, can fully do them justice. Every day, my wife and I pray earnestly and sincerely that all of these admirable women who work for and devote themselves to kosen-rufu will enjoy lives of boundless happiness and fulfillment.
Mothers of kosen-rufu, who shine like the sun, let your joyous voices ring out even more powerfully with courage, truth, and victory!
I will pray all my life for your wonderful development, and that your strong, happy, and wise voices may resound ever more vibrantly.
From an essay series “The Light of the Century of Humanity,” published in Japanese in theSeikyo Shimbun, January 19, 2004.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.
- *1Voluntarily 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.