Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 16: Buddhism Is about Winning [16.4]

16.4 Winning Over Ourselves Today

Referring to the principle of self-mastery, which the eminent British historian Arnold J. Toynbee stressed in their dialogue together, President Ikeda explains that individual victories over ourselves are the foundation for the human revolution that is the key to transforming society and, ultimately, the history of humankind.

One point that Professor Toynbee stressed in our dialogue Choose Life was the principle of self-mastery—in other words, winning over ourselves. This entails transcending the lesser self that is dominated by egoism and bringing forth the greater self that is oriented to serving the welfare and happiness of others.

It was the keen observation of Professor Toynbee, one of the leading historians of the 20th century, that self-mastery is indispensable for resolving the crises confronting humanity. His conception of self-mastery is what we of the Soka Gakkai call human revolution.

He said: “The struggle to master one’s self is the personal action of an individual human being.”1 The inner victory of each individual will lead to great positive development in society, and eventually even change the course of human history itself.

What will be the key to winning on the new stage of the 21st century? It is, first of all, winning over ourselves today, changing ourselves for the better today. Let’s deeply take this point to heart.

Faith is the source of limitless strength. Religion is the earth from which culture flourishes. The Mystic Law is the wellspring of happiness. Our Buddhist practice gives us the strength to live, to grow, to win, and to surmount any kind of karma.

Nichiren Buddhism doesn’t use people as a means to an end. It empowers them to stand up courageously, win over themselves, and share their joy with others. This is the correct way of Buddhist practice followed by the Soka Gakkai.

Scientific progress is important, as of course are business, politics, and education. But there is something more important still, and that is life itself. Inner transformation is the foundation for everything. Both Shakyamuni and Nichiren Daishonin taught this.

The Daishonin revealed the fundamental law that pervades life and universe. He left a way for all people to live with compassion and enjoy happiness and peace.

The supreme law of life and the universe is the Mystic Law, and all of you who uphold it are treasures of the world.

The law of cause and effect in Buddhism is unerring. Please be reassured, therefore, that all who dedicate themselves to the Mystic Law will, in lifetime after lifetime, be outstanding leaders endowed with health, wealth, and attractiveness, who contribute to society, are praised and admired by all, and lead lives of deep fulfillment.

From a speech at a Hong Kong and Macao executive leaders conference, Hong Kong, December 4, 2000.

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

  • *1Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda, Choose Life: A Dialogue, edited by Richard L. Gage (London: I. B. Tauris and Co., Ltd., 2007), p. 324.