Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 2:
Developing a Life State of Happiness [2.1]

2.1 Living with Optimism

Nichiren Buddhism teaches that the supremely respectworthy life state of Buddhahood, replete with the highest wisdom, courage, and compassion, is inherent in the lives of all people. When we reveal that life state, our perspective is transformed and we can build a state of unimpeded, absolute happiness. This chapter presents President Ikeda’s teachings concerning that inner transformation.

In this selection, he explains how those who embrace the Mystic Law can lead lives of optimism, in which life is in itself a joyous experience.

Let’s lead vibrant, enjoyable lives. We have the Gohonzon. We have the Mystic Law. That means that each of us is an embodiment of the Mystic Law, an embodiment of infinite good fortune, and a majestic treasure tower. As a result, we will not be defeated; we have nothing to fear.

When we firmly believe that our life is the treasure tower and that we each embody Buddhahood, we come to find life itself enjoyable and pleasant. Attaining and savoring such a wonderful state of mind is the purpose of our Buddhist faith and practice.

Those who live their lives in the realm of the Soka Gakkai, in the realm of kosen-rufu, will enjoy such a joy-filled state of life eternally, throughout the three existences of past, present, and future.

Do we live our lives as optimists or pessimists?

Pessimists focus on the sad, painful, gloomy side of things. “What will I do if my husband dies?” “What will I do if my wife falls ill?” “What if I can’t achieve my goals?” “What if my daughter falls in love with someone who is no good for her?”

If you’re always thinking pessimistic thoughts, pessimism will taint your mind. You will never be able to be happy. If you’re always seeing things in a negative, gloomy light, bemoaning your situation and worrying—“I never have any money,” “Oh, no, another meeting!” or “What if I’m scolded again today?”—then life will be nothing but a painful austerity!

On the other hand, you can look at the bright side of everything. You can take what happens and view it in a positive, hopeful, and cheerful light. This is optimism, the ultimate form of which is faith in the Mystic Law. For example, if you get sick, you can say: “Now I can get some rest! It’ll give me a chance to ponder the three existences!” And with hope in your heart you can declare that you won’t let this sickness defeat you, that you will survive it, and thus vanquish the “devil of illness.”

Optimists are strong. They see the positive in everything and decide to make it a reality for all to see.

I hope you will live with optimism, remaining undefeated by whatever happens in life, transforming hardship into joy, and laughing off adversity like the famous comic actor Charlie Chaplin.

From a speech at an SGI-Canada Vancouver general meeting, Canada, October 1, 1993.

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