Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 18: Buddhism Is a Teaching of Dialogue [18.5]

18.5 Perseverance and Compassion

President Ikeda discusses essential aspects of sharing Buddhism to help guide people to happiness.

Conveying his powerful conviction as the votary of the Lotus Sutra, the Daishonin states: “When it comes to understanding the Lotus Sutra, I have only a minute fraction of the vast ability that T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo possessed. But as regards my ability to endure persecution [or difficulties] and the wealth of my compassion for others, I believe they would hold me in awe” (WND-1, 242).

Though the great Buddhist teachers T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo may surpass him in terms of their depth of understanding of the Lotus Sutra, asserts the Daishonin, he outdoes them in terms of his perseverance and compassion.

Naturally, in spreading the Mystic Law in the Latter Day, it is important to talk to others based on “understanding the Lotus Sutra”—in other words, to present the sutra’s teaching and doctrines in a logical and coherent fashion. So, in conceding that T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo provide lucid and rational theoretical explanations, the Daishonin is by no means rejecting the need for these things.

More important, however, are perseverance (that is, the ability to endure difficulties) and compassion. These are indispensable to actually spreading the Law in the evil age of the Latter Day and helping even those experiencing the greatest suffering attain genuine happiness. Perseverance and compassion are like two sides of the same coin. Profound compassion based on a wish to free all people from suffering gives one incomparable strength to endure difficulties and spread the Law.

To endure difficulties, to persevere amid obstacles, does not mean a state of passive acceptance. The Latter Day is an age when evil is rampant. Those aware of their mission to overcome such evil and awaken people to life’s ultimate truth must be prepared to continue fighting through any obstacle or difficulty. Their actions are essentially motivated by a solemn, rigorous compassion not to let anyone in the Latter Day lead a life in which they disrespect or slander the Law, the essence of life itself. This unwavering compassion leads directly to the enlightenment of all people in the Latter Day.

Compassion is the driving force behind perseverance, while perseverance is proof of deep compassion.

From Lectures on “The Opening of the Eyes,” published in Japanese in June 2006.

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