Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 22: The Mission and Vow of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth [22.6]

22.6 Action Is the Hallmark of Practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism

President Ikeda explains that the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are people of action, and that the driving force of kosen-rufu lies in actively practicing and spreading the Mystic Law in the real world.

Life is not theory; it is action. The heart of Buddhism, which teaches the essence of human existence, is also found in action.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being” (WND-1, 852). This familiar passage tells us that Buddhism sought to teach proper human behavior or conduct. Right action leads to right living and embodies the correct teaching of Buddhism.

The Daishonin also states: “Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism” (WND-1, 386). In other words, Buddhism does not exist apart from our efforts to practice its teachings ourselves and share them with others. He implies that fine words alone are not Buddhism. This is a very important, fundamental point.

In another writing, the Daishonin cites the words “You should base your mind on the ninth consciousness, and carry out your practice in the six consciousnesses”1 (WND-1, 458). This means we should base our minds in the purest, most fundamental life state but practice Buddhism in the real world, polishing and forging our inner selves. It stresses the importance of engaging in Buddhist practice amid the realities of this world.

The Lotus Sutra describes the appearance of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.2 Their emergence from the earth is deeply significant on many levels, but the most essential point is that they are bodhisattvas with an inherent mission from the remote past who willingly and joyously take their place among the multitude of living beings. This takes place on the deepest level of life, having nothing to do with outward authority or form.

Those who propagate the Mystic Law in the real world are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth: none other than we members of the Soka Gakkai.

The four leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are known as Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure Practices, and Firmly Established Practices. The word practices is a part of each of their names. All of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth are people of action, not mere theory. Taking action with one’s whole being is proof that one is a Bodhisattva of the Earth.

Without action, nothing can be built; no success or happiness can be achieved. This applies to every aspect of life and society. Criticism without action is just complaining. Complaining destroys our faith and causes us to veer off the path to happiness.

All life is in motion. The earth and the universe are in motion. Plants, animals, and all living beings are in motion. To live is to be active, to be engaged in something. And a good life is the result of good actions. A wonderful life is realized through steady right action day after day. That’s why those who keep making effort, who always press on under any circumstances, are victors.

Attending meetings for kosen-rufu with an eager seeking spirit to learn something new, engaging in warmhearted dialogue with family members and people in our communities with the aim of becoming happy together—the true essence of Buddhism is alive in our daily efforts of this kind, which also shine with the benefit of the Mystic Law.

From a speech at a nationwide women’s division leaders meeting, Tokyo, April 17, 1992.

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

  • *1The source of this quotation is unknown. Concerning the nine consciousnesses, the first five relate to the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The sixth consciousness integrates the perceptions of the first five and renders them into a coherent image. The ninth, or amala-consciousness, free from all karmic impurity, is the fundamental purifying force that is the Buddha nature.
  • *2Bodhisattvas 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.