Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 3: The Practice for Transforming Our State of Life [3.13]
3.13 Gongyo—A Ceremony in Which Our Lives Commune with the Universe
President Ikeda explains the significance of gongyo and daimoku from the profound perspective of the universe and life.
Gongyo—reciting portions of the Lotus Sutra and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo— is a ceremony in which our lives commune with the universe. It is an act through which, based on the Gohonzon, we can vibrantly draw forth the life force of the universe within the cosmos of our lives. We exist. We have life. The universe, too, is a giant living entity. Life is the universe and the universe is life. Each of us is a living entity, just like the universe. We are our own miniature universe.
One scholar, observing that the human body is made of the same elements produced by stars, has called human beings “children of the stars.” Our bodies are a microcosm of the universe. Not only are they made of the same matter as the universe, but they also follow the same process of generation and disintegration, the same rhythm of life and death, that pervades the cosmos. All physical laws—such as gravity and the conservation of energy—also affect and operate in the microcosm of each living entity.
The Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, and 48 minutes to complete one revolution around the sun. It, too, operates according to a rigorous order. The human body, meanwhile, is said to have more than 60 trillion individual cells. When they function each day in a well-ordered fashion, correctly carrying out their respective jobs, we enjoy good health. The complexity and precision of the human body are truly wondrous. Likewise, if the Earth were to veer even slightly from its present orbit around the sun, we would be in serious trouble. Everything hangs in a delicate balance, governed by the strict principle that life and the universe are one. The same is true of each individual life—of each microcosm.
Science has directed its attention to the investigation of real, yet invisible, natural laws. Such investigation has led to the invention of many machines and devices that apply those laws. An understanding of the principles of buoyancy, for instance, led to the development of seagoing vessels. Likewise, the discovery of the laws of aerodynamics led to the invention of aircraft, and insight into the workings of electromagnetic waves paved the way for the development of radio and television. These natural laws, however, are only partial laws of the universe.
Buddhism, on the other hand, developed out of the search for and discovery of the ultimate Law of life that is the source and foundation of all other laws and principles. This ultimate Law of life is the Mystic Law.
The Mystic Law is also invisible, yet it, too, exists without a doubt. Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon so that we could bring forth the power of the Mystic Law from within our own lives. That is why Mr. Toda said: “I apologize for using such a simplistic analogy, but the Gohonzon can be likened to a happiness-producing device.”
When we do gongyo—recite portions of the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo before the Gohonzon—the microcosm of our individual lives harmonizes seamlessly with the macrocosm of the universe. It is a sublime ceremony, an action through which we fully open the storehouse of treasures within. We can thereby tap into the wellspring of life force in the depths of our own beings. We can access the source of inexhaustible wisdom, compassion, and courage.
The universe, in its essence, is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo; our life is an expression of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo; and the Gohonzon is an embodiment of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Since all three are Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are essentially one and indivisible. Therefore, when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, our life and the universe are aligned around the Gohonzon—meshing together perfectly like cogs in a machine—and we begin to move in the direction of happiness and fulfillment.
We can be in rhythm with the universe 365 days a year—in spring, summer, autumn, and winter—and manifest the life force, wisdom, and good fortune that enables us to surmount any problem or suffering. When we rev up the powerful engine of life force that is Buddhahood, we can break through any impasse and keep moving forward, boldly steering ourselves in the direction of hope and justice.
From Discussions on Youth, published in Japanese in March 1999.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.