Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 14: “Be Good Citizens!” [14.4]
14.4 Kosen-rufu Starts from Actions in Daily Life
President Ikeda stresses that our human revolution takes place not on some distant stage, but is based on our everyday actions and behavior, and in our compassionate, caring interactions with those in our lives.
The French philosopher Voltaire wrote of happiness: “Be wise for your own sake. Be compassionate toward your fellow men. Build your happiness through the happiness of others.”1
“Build your happiness through the happiness of others”—these are profound words, words that resonate with our Buddhist practice of striving for the happiness of both ourselves and others. True happiness cannot be found in the egoism of pursuing one’s own happiness alone. Only in sincere practice motivated by a wish for the happiness of others can we attain our own happiness, which is why such action is the wisest course for ourselves as well.
Nothing is more important than our everyday efforts and conduct. This is where our true humanity shines.
And Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire’s contemporary, said: “Distrust those cosmopolitans who search out remote duties in their books and neglect those that lie nearest.”2
Deep philosophical discussions are fine, and high ideals are important. Inspiring lectures on the Daishonin’s writings certainly have their role. But we must never become hollow ideologues who make fine speeches about love for humanity while failing to cherish those around us. People who shirk hard work and are intoxicated by their own lofty rhetoric may have a high opinion of themselves, but they are, in fact, far from admirable.
It is easy to be attracted to abstract ideals, but difficult to challenge the realities of daily life. I hope that while upholding the magnificent ideal of kosen-rufu, you will spend your days in the actual practice of encouraging and motivating one person and then another and another to contribute to kosen-rufu. This is the practice, the hard work, of propagating the Mystic Law in the real world.
From a speech at a student division summer training course, Shizuoka, July 21, 1987.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.
- *1Translated from Japanese. Kenji Takeuchi, Juhasseiki no Furansu shisokai (Eighteenth-Century French Thought), (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1976), p. 421. Cf. Voltaire, “De la liberté” (Liberty), in “Discours en vers sur l’homme” (Discourse in Verse on Man).
- *2Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or, On Education, translated by Barbara Foxley (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1911), p. 7.