Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 22: The Mission and Vow of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth [22.4]

22.4 Stand-Alone Faith Infused with a Vow for Kosen-rufu

This selection features a scene from The New Human Revolution, in which the novel’s protagonist Shin’ichi Yamamoto (whose character represents President Ikeda) prepares a lecture on Nichiren Daishonin’s writing “The True Aspect of All Phenomena.” For publication in the Seikyo Shimbun at the beginning of 1977, the Soka Gakkai’s Year of Study, the lecture emphasized that stand-alone faith infused with a vow for kosen-rufu is the defining characteristic of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

Shin’ichi wrote: “Because we are Bodhisattvas of the Earth,1 because we are the original disciples of Nichiren Daishonin from the remote past, we have appeared on the grand stage of kosen-rufu in the Latter Day of the Law. We have a profound mission and are directly connected to the Daishonin. When we really take on problems and challenges, chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and make efforts based on a great sense of responsibility for kosen-rufu, the life state of Buddhahood, of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, embodied by the Daishonin cannot fail to manifest itself in our lives. I have held fast to this belief, even at times in my own life when there was no one to turn to for help, when I had to decide myself what to do and press forward courageously.”

Shin’ichi had the firm conviction, as immovable as Mount Fuji, that the Soka Gakkai had always followed the path of faith directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin.

Delving deeper into the true nature of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, he wrote: “The defining characteristic of bodhisattvas is their vow. The vow of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth is to propagate the Lotus Sutra. That’s why it is important for us to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with this vow for kosen-rufu, resolving with all our hearts to help those around us become genuinely happy. From a strict point of view, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo without that vow is not the prayer of Bodhisattvas of the Earth.”

The vow for kosen-rufu brims with the powerful life force of the Buddha, which can vanquish all negative influences.

Shin’ichi wanted every single member to enjoy great benefit. He wanted them to overcome illness, financial hardship, and every other kind of adversity and become truly happy. Their prayers to triumph over such obstacles needed to be infused with a vow for kosen-rufu.

We all have our own problems and sufferings. To surmount them, it’s important to have the determination to do so for the sake of kosen-rufu. If we are suffering from illness, for example, then vowing to overcome that illness and gain the strength and life force we need to freely take action for kosen-rufu and demonstrate the validity of Nichiren Buddhism to others will become a tremendous impetus for our recovery.

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in itself, of course, brings us benefit. But when our prayer to overcome our illness meshes with a deep sense of mission for kosen-rufu, it powerfully sets in motion the wheels of change toward a fundamental inner transformation, a transformation of our state of life and our karma. When we chant earnestly based on a vow to achieve kosen-rufu, the noble life state of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth emerges within us, the enlightened life state of Nichiren Daishonin begins to pulse within us, and we can bring forth our innate Buddhahood. This is a revolution of our state of life, and it makes possible a dramatic transformation of our karma.

In addition, when we struggle with and chant about how to share Buddhism with others and to realize our goals for kosen-rufu, we are already expressing the life state of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Through such efforts, therefore, we can overcome and solve our individual problems as well.

When the bright sun of the noble life state of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth rises within us, the darkness of sufferings is dispelled, and we can walk boldly and bravely along the sure path to happiness.

Discussing the passage “At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others” (WND-1, 385), Shin’ichi emphasized the importance of courageous stand-alone faith.

He said: “Whatever the age, standing alone, or self-reliance, is a fundamental and unchanging principle of kosen-rufu. The Daishonin as well as Presidents Makiguchi and Toda all resolutely stood alone. This is the spirit of Buddhism and the heart of champions of Soka.

“To stand alone, practically speaking, means for each of us to take full responsibility for the mission of spreading the Mystic Law in all our personal realms of influence, including in our families and communities.

“We all have relationships—with family members, relatives, friends, and others—that are particular to each of us. From the perspective of the Mystic Law, those relationships constitute the true realm of our mission, and each of these people shares a profound karmic connection with us. Each of us alone is responsible and qualified to propagate the Mystic Law exactly where we are.

“That’s what makes the principle of standing alone so important. We need to be aware that we are here now as emissaries of Nichiren Daishonin. And it is the mission of Bodhisattvas of the Earth to stand up and take action in their own respective spheres. Never forget that this is the only way kosen-rufu is realized.”

Spreading the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism in our immediate environment is an unglamorous and exceedingly challenging endeavor. Because those around us know us so well, pretense won’t work. The only thing is to keep striving to improve ourselves, while taking action with sincerity, integrity, perseverance, and great passion and showing actual proof of our faith. But in such efforts lies the true essence of Buddhist practice.

From The New Human Revolution, vol. 24, “Vigilant Safeguarding” chapter.

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

  • *1Bodhisattvas of the Earth: An innumerable host of bodhisattvas who emerge from beneath the earth and to whom Shakyamuni Buddha entrusts the propagation of the Mystic Law, or the essence of the Lotus Sutra, in the Latter Day of the Law.