Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 13: “Faith for a Harmonious Family” [13.3]

13.3 Showing Appreciation for Our Parents Is the Heart of Buddhism

In encouraging a young women’s division member who was concerned about her father not practicing Nichiren Buddhism, President Ikeda said this was an expression of her father’s compassion, that her father was teaching her to be compassionate. In the following excerpt, President Ikeda warmly encourages members in similar situations, calling on them to be openhearted and accepting, and to respect their parents and treat them well.

I’m sure that many of you have parents or other family members who are not practicing Nichiren Buddhism, but there is no reason to feel anxious or worried on that account. When you as an individual stand up with genuine faith, you can lead all of your loved ones to the path of eternal happiness. Such is the limitless power of the Mystic Law.

When the sun rises, it illuminates everything on earth. When a single lighthouse shines out to sea at night, countless vessels can navigate safely. When a family has one person who acts as a strong pillar, all of its members can lead secure, tranquil lives.

You are suns that shine and illuminate others with happiness. You are lighthouses that guide people to attaining Buddhahood. You are the solid central pillars of good fortune and benefit that bring happiness to your families. Those who have formed a connection with Buddhism will eventually come to accept and practice it. Please live your lives in a cheerful, positive manner, embracing everyone around you with an open heart and broad-minded humanity.

In a letter to the young Nanjo Tokimitsu, Nichiren Daishonin says that if one wishes to give something nice to one’s parents, but has nothing at hand, then one should simply give them a smile two or three times a day (cf. WND-2, 636).

Parents are delighted by their children’s smiles, which brighten their hearts like rays of sunshine. Showing appreciation for one’s parents is the heart of Buddhism. Nothing makes parents happier than pleasant, loving interactions with their children that fill them with pride and joy at having raised such fine human beings. They’ll even be ready to listen to whatever such children have to say.

If every time you see your parents, you insist they start practicing Buddhism, saying they will suffer unless they do, you’ll only make them unhappy and resentful.

It’s only natural that you will sincerely chant for your parents to attain Buddhahood, but I also hope that your conduct toward them will always be pervaded by wisdom, warmth, and common sense. Showing how you have grown as a human being is the best way to communicate the truth of Buddhism to those around you. Doing so will increase both your own and your family’s good fortune and benefit.

From a speech at an SGI general meeting, France, June 16, 1991.

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