Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 20: Encouragement for Youth [20.3]

20.3 You Are Each a Precious Individual with a Special Mission

President Ikeda stresses that we are all precious beings, each born with our own unique mission.

Everyone has a mission. We were born because we have a mission. That’s why we must live our lives and persevere through all.

The Japanese word for mission means to “use one’s life.” For what purpose do we use our lives? For what purpose have we been born in this world, sent forth from the universe?

Buddhism views the universe as one giant life. If we compare it to a vast ocean, each individual life is like a wave on that ocean. When a wave rises from the ocean, that is “life”; when it merges back into the ocean, that is “death.” In both life and death, each individual life is one with the universe.

The whole universe supports and assists in the birth of a single life. All of you have been sent here with the blessings and congratulations of the entire universe!

All life is equally precious. There is no hierarchy among living beings. Each being has a unique nature. Each person’s life is as precious as the universe in its entirety—it is one with the universe and just as important.

Nichiren Daishonin writes in this regard: “Life is the foremost of all treasures” (WND-1, 1125); “The Buddha says that life is something that cannot be purchased even for the price of an entire major world system” (WND-1, 983); and “One day of life is more valuable than all the treasures of the major world system” (WND-1, 955).

This is why we must never take our own lives, why violence, too, is wrong, and why we mustn’t harm or bully others. It is because none of us has the right to inflict harm on life, which is so precious.

Youth is a time when we ponder the meaning of our existence. It is like a “second birth.” Our first birth is our physical birth. The second, our youth, is the time of our “birth” as human beings in the real sense. That’s why it’s painful. It requires the same kind of struggle and exertion as a chick breaking out of its egg.

The crucial thing is to never give up in that process. As you struggle and strive to find your way, please chant, think, study, talk with friends, and tackle the things you need to do now. If you continue to challenge yourself without giving up, you will come to see the mission that is yours and yours alone to accomplish.

From Discussions on Youth II, published in Japanese in September 2000.

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