Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 19: Making the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Our Foundation [19.8]
19.8 Make Study Your Foundation!
Discussing the second of the five eternal guidelines he presented to the young women’s division—“Study the world’s foremost life philosophy”—President Ikeda stresses the importance of studying the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin in one’s youth.
Nichiren Daishonin clearly states: “If the Law [teaching] that one embraces is supreme, then the person who embraces it must accordingly be foremost among all others” (WND-1, 61). What makes a person truly great? Not wealth, fame, or physical beauty. There are many cases where people enjoy fame for a time, but end up leading unhappy lives. True greatness is determined by the teachings we embrace, the philosophy we study, and the extent to which we put these into practice in our daily lives.
All of you who uphold the world’s foremost life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism are leading the most triumphant, meaningful lives, spending your youth in the most noble and fulfilling of ways.
Perhaps it is natural for people to be drawn to bright lights and glamour. It is often thought that fame makes a person somehow special, and those with high social status are often regarded as great. But that is an illusion.
Each of you is the most precious treasure of all. Happiness does not exist outside of you. There is nothing more wonderful than you. This is what Buddhism teaches. It enables you to bring your most precious treasure—you yourself—to shine. That is what makes it a genuine philosophy.
People tend to compare themselves to others. Of course, it is important to try to learn from others’ good traits. But it’s petty to envy what appears to be their happiness and good fortune. Nothing comes of that. Those who focus on polishing themselves and living with a sense of purpose are the winners in life. Please bear this point deeply in mind.
Through its teaching of the enlightenment of women, the Lotus Sutra embodies a life philosophy that can transform human history, opening the way for the equality, dignity, and happiness of all humanity. The Daishonin writes: “The enlightenment of women is expounded as a model [for the enlightenment of all living beings]” (WND-1, 930), and “Among the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, that of women attaining Buddhahood is first” (WND-1, 930).
The earnest prayers and unflagging efforts of your noble predecessors have ushered in an age of women. The stage for your activities now extends throughout the world.
In the Daishonin’s treatise “The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” we find the important passage:
“Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism. You must not only persevere yourself; you must also teach others. Both practice and study arise from faith. Teach others to the best of your ability, even if it is only a single sentence or phrase.” (WND-1, 386)
I hope you will all experience for yourselves, and demonstrate to others, just how sublime is a youth spent exerting oneself in the two ways of practice and study.
The Daishonin also writes:
“Others read the Lotus Sutra with their mouths alone, in word alone, but they do not read it with their hearts. And even if they read it with their hearts, they do not read it with their actions. It is reading the sutra with both one’s body and mind [as you have by encountering this hardship] that is truly praiseworthy!” (WND-1, 204)
Encountering life-threatening persecution as a result of speaking out to proclaim and defend the correct teaching in exact accord with the Daishonin’s spirit, and battling dauntlessly against all manner of obstacles—this is the proud history of our Soka movement based on the mentor-disciple relationship. I hope that you, our young women’s division members, will continue along this honorable path.
“Young women, make study your foundation!”—this is an eternal guideline set forth by President Toda. Nichiren Buddhism is the ultimate philosophy of happiness and peace. Through its wisdom, we can transform our lives on a fundamental level, bring people together, and change the destiny of the world.
Mr. Toda observed: “No matter how much humanity may come to understand the physical world, it won’t lead to inner happiness.” He also said: “The Daishonin sought to find a way to enable all people to attain happiness. When we earnestly study and put into practice the life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, it will shine as the ultimate teaching for becoming absolutely happy.”
Speaking of the importance of philosophy, Mr. Toda declared:
“Why do we need philosophy? Why do our lives need the Daishonin’s Buddhism? If it were enough to just do as we pleased, there’d be no need to go to school and study or have religious faith. But if we follow that course, we’ll only come to regret it later. On the other hand, by studying philosophy, by studying Buddhism, we gain access to the most profound depths of life. What incredible joy there is to be found in seeking and attaining—with an open heart and deep emotion and inspiration—true and lasting happiness! What an immeasurable delight it is to know the deeply wondrous nature of life and experience our own beings brimming with limitless joy!”
He further stated:
“With the Gohonzon as our foundation, we of the Soka Gakkai are advancing toward the lofty goal of kosen-rufu. And we are carrying out our practice based on studying the teachings of the world’s greatest life philosophy, the quintessence of all Buddhist teachings.”
The karmic ties we share as fellow members, working together for kosen-rufu with the Soka Gakkai, are profound indeed.
Mr. Toda also made the following remarks to the young women’s division:
“Closely examining human existence, Nichiren Buddhism solidly brings together the four viewpoints of self, life, society, and the universe.”
“Read the Daishonin’s writings more intently. Everything you need is written there.”
“If you make the Daishonin’s writings your foundation, you will never be swayed by any problem.”
“If you base yourself on the supreme value of the Mystic Law, you’ll always know how to proceed.”
If we look at things from the perspective of faith, the way forward will become clear to us. Do not be deceived by pretense or hypocrisy. The time of youth is one when we are easily swayed by our emotions and environment. Establishing an unshakable foundation of Buddhist study in your lives while you are still young, therefore, is profoundly meaningful.
From a speech at a young women’s division commemorative gathering, Tokyo, June 4, 2009.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.