Part 2: Human Revolution
Chapter 20: Encouragement for Youth [20.9]
20.9 True Happiness Is Having Good Friends
Having good friends and seniors in faith is the key to leading lives of genuine happiness, President Ikeda says, sharing important guidance for young women’s division members.
Today, I’d like to discuss something important with you, the young women’s division members: true happiness.
Does getting married mean you’ll be happy, and does not getting married mean you’ll be unhappy? The answer to these questions is no. Life is not that simple. It is extremely complex and subtle. A person who has been happy until now may fall into the depths of despair tomorrow. A person whose life has been a series of unhappy events may suddenly experience a complete change of fortune. Moreover, people who may appear to enjoy the happiest of circumstances may in fact be miserable inside. And likewise, people whose circumstances seem unfortunate may actually lead the most fulfilling and vibrant lives.
Happiness is a matter of the heart. Our hearts are precious vessels endowed with the treasure of Buddhahood. When we strive in faith and practice and reveal our Buddhahood, we can walk the sure and steady path to happiness and attain a state of complete fulfillment and satisfaction. Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Fortune comes from one’s heart and makes one worthy of respect” (WND-1, 1137). I hope that all of you will follow this correct course in life. To do so, it’s crucial to continue advancing in the pure realm of faith that is the Soka Gakkai.
In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin states:
“Nichiren and his followers, those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, one and all will ‘together reach the place where the treasure is.’ This one word ‘together’ means that, as long as they are together with Nichiren, they will reach the treasure land [the realm of Buddhahood]. But if they are not together with him, they will fall into the great citadel of the Avichi Hell [the hell of incessant suffering].” (OTT, 77–78)
The Soka Gakkai has striven in faith, practice, and study in complete accord with the Daishonin’s teachings. It has fought resolutely against the three obstacles and four devils1 and the three powerful enemies.2 We have exerted ourselves “bravely and vigorously” (LSOC2, 56) for kosen-rufu as a harmonious community of practitioners united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind,” just as the Daishonin instructs. Therefore, to live out our lives with the Soka Gakkai is the only path by which we can walk together with the Daishonin and “reach the place where the treasure is.”
In concrete terms, it is essential for you, our young women’s division members, to have good seniors in faith and good friends—people you can talk with about anything. Don’t separate yourselves from such good people. Please don’t suffer alone with your problems, making reckless choices and ending up on the wrong course.
If you allow bad friends to influence you, you’ll head in a negative direction. But if you form connections with good people, you will experience positive growth. This is human nature, and it is my conclusion after observing countless people over the years.
There’s no need to be preoccupied with getting married either. Whether to get married or when to get married are minor issues from the perspective of life’s eternity. Marriage by no means decides the outcome of your life. If you persist in your faith, you are sure to attain happiness. My wish is that all our young women’s division members will advance confidently along the path of Soka filled with hope and courage.
At the same time, I call on the members of the women’s and men’s divisions to warmly and sincerely advise the young women’s division members, offering them wholehearted support and encouragement.
Your youth is incredibly precious, an extremely important period when you lay the foundation for the rest of your life. While you are young, I hope you will seek out good mentors, learn from good seniors, foster mutually supportive relationships with good friends, and raise good juniors. I also hope you will be daughters who treasure your parents.
I’d like to present our young women’s division members with these words of Hryhory (Gregory) Skovoroda, often called the “Ukrainian Socrates”: “I pity the wealthy: Let them rule over what they want. As for me, as long as I have friends, I consider myself not only fortunate, but most fortunate.”3
The young women of Soka cherish a true philosophy and work alongside true comrades in faith to expand our circle of true friendship. They are walking a path to genuine happiness far superior to any enjoyed by those who seek only wealth or power.
From a speech at a young women’s division and women’s division joint conference, Tokyo, February 14, 2006.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.
- *1Three obstacles and four devils: Various obstacles and hindrances to the practice of Buddhism. The three obstacles are (1) the obstacle of earthly desires, (2) the obstacle of karma, and (3) the obstacle of retribution. The four devils are (1) the hindrance of the five components, (2) the hindrance of earthly desires, (3) the hindrance of death, and (4) the hindrance of the devil king.
- *2Three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described in the concluding verse section of the “Encouraging Devotion” (13th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The Great Teacher Miao-lo of China summarizes them as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests, and arrogant false sages.
- *3Hryhory Skovoroda, The Complete Correspondence of Hryhory Skovoroda: Philosopher and Poet, translated by Eleonora Adams and Michael M. Naydan, edited by Liliana M. Naydan (UK: Glagoslav Publications, 2016), p. 59.