Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 3: The Practice for Transforming Our State of Life [3.14]
3.14 Polishing Our Lives through Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
President Ikeda discusses the benefits of our daily practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reciting portions of the Lotus Sutra.
The Mystic Law is the key to polishing our lives. In “On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime,” Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena [Dharma nature] and the true aspect of reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” (WND-1, 4)
Our society today is rife with negative influences. People’s lives are easily clouded and sullied. That is why we need this fundamental method for polishing and purifying our lives.
A life that has been thoroughly polished by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo shines with wisdom, and this wisdom serves as a beacon guiding the way to victory in life. In “The Benefits of the Teacher of the Law” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the wisdom of those who uphold the Mystic Law is likened to “a pure bright mirror / in which forms and shapes are all reflected” (LSOC19, 303). Just as a bright, clear mirror reflects every object as it is, a life that has been well polished can discern the true reality of all things in the world.
In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin comments on this passage as follows:
“The sutra passage is saying that persons whose six sense organs are pure will be like lapis lazuli or like bright mirrors in which one sees the major world system (or the thousand-millionfold world).1
“Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they see and understand the ten thousand phenomena [i.e., all phenomena], as though these were reflected in a bright mirror.” (OTT, 149)
Lapis lazuli is one of the seven kinds of treasures.2 The purification of the six sense organs3 is one of the benefits achieved by practitioners of the Mystic Law that is outlined in the “Benefits of the Teacher of the Law” chapter. In other words, through Buddhist practice, we purify and enhance our mental and perceptual faculties as represented by our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind—that is, our life in its entirety.
The “bright mirror” of a well-forged and polished life fully reflects the universe, society, and human life. The “bright mirror,” fundamentally, is the Gohonzon—in other words, the life of Nichiren Daishonin. In a broader sense, it is the “bright mirror of the single mind [of faith]” (cf. OTT, 149) of all those who believe in the Gohonzon as disciples of the Daishonin.
This is the profound significance of faith in the Mystic Law. Through strong faith, we can elevate and transform our lives—spiritually and physically—to their purest and strongest possible state. The purification of our lives through faith is the driving force for our victory as human beings. That is why it is vital for us to persevere in faith until the very end of our lives.
From a speech at an Arts Division general meeting, Tokyo, May 10, 1987.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.
- *1Major world system: Also, thousand-millionfold world. One of the world systems described in ancient Indian cosmology.
- *2Seven kinds of treasures: Also, the seven treasures. Seven precious substances. The list differs among the Buddhist scriptures. In the Lotus Sutra, the seven are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian.
- *3Purification of the six sense organs: Also, purification of the six senses. This refers to the six sense organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind becoming pure, making it possible to apprehend all things correctly.