Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 2:
Developing a Life State of Happiness [2.5]
2.5 Happiness Is Found Where We Are
The writings of Nichiren Daishonin show us we can build a state of unshakable happiness in our own lives here and now.
In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin explains the following passage from the “Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, “Before long this person will proceed to the place of enlightenment” (LSOC28, 364), stating:
“The words ‘this person’ refer to the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. The place where the person upholds and honors the Lotus Sutra is the ‘place of enlightenment’ to which the person proceeds. It is not that he leaves his present place and goes to some other place. The ‘place of enlightenment’ is the place where the living beings of the Ten Worlds1 reside. And now the place where Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, ‘whether . . . in mountain valleys or the wide wilderness’ [LSOC21, 316], these places are all the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. This is what is meant by the ‘place of enlightenment.’” (cf. OTT, 192)2
“This person” refers to the practitioner, or votary, of the Lotus Sutra. In the specific sense, it indicates Nichiren Daishonin himself, while in the more general sense, it refers to all people who embrace and practice Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws. The place where people embrace and practice the correct teaching of Buddhism is the “‘place of enlightenment’ to which the person proceeds,” in other words, the place where we strive to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime.
There is no need to leave this trouble-filled saha world for some otherworldly pure land or ideal paradise. The “place of enlightenment” is none other than the dwelling place of living beings of the Ten Worlds. Now, the place where Nichiren Daishonin and his disciples who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo reside is the land of Eternally Tranquil Light, or the Buddha land, whether it be “in mountain valleys or the wide wilderness” (LSOC21, 316). It is the “place of enlightenment,” the Daishonin asserts. The place where each practitioner lives becomes the Land of Tranquil Light. This passage alludes to the profound transformative power inherent in a single life-moment.
People often tend to think of happiness as something abstract and removed from their present realities. They imagine, for example, that they would be happier if they could move to another place, or that they would enjoy more comfortable and pleasant lives if they could change jobs. They always feel that the grass is greener on the other side and place their hopes on a change of external circumstances. Young people are particularly susceptible to this tendency.
However, we all have different missions to fulfill in life and different places where we need to live to fulfill them. Those who decide to put down solid roots where they are and continue to live their lives with perseverance and hope while struggling with reality will be victors in life. It’s important not to live aimlessly, lacking any clear purpose. I therefore say to you: “Dig beneath your feet, there you will find a spring,” and “Live in a way that is true to yourself.”
In short, a real sense of happiness and deep satisfaction in life can only be found within us. The Mystic Law is the fundamental law of life. Through our Buddhist practice, we can tap the power of the Mystic Law to propel our lives forward. This is why the place where we carry out our Buddhist practice and also society become the Buddha land. We are able to transform where we live right now into a place of victory and happiness.
From a speech at a university groups and Toshima Ward joint training session, Tokyo, December 7, 1986.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.
- *1Ten Worlds: The realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human beings, heavenly beings, voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. They are also referred to as the ten life states of hell, hunger, animality, anger, humanity, heaven, learning, realization, bodhisattva, and Buddhahood.
- *2This translation of The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings has been updated to reflect a revised English translation of the Lotus Sutra as it appears in The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras.