Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 4:
“It Is the Heart That Is Important” [4.1]

4.1 Living with an Awareness of the Importance of the Heart

Our inner transformation through revealing our inherent Buddhahood will transform not only our own lives, but also our environment and the entire world. President Ikeda has always stressed this philosophy for achieving unshakable happiness, and this chapter introduces many important teachings on that subject.

I was talking with someone yesterday, and our conversation turned to the question of what is the ultimate message of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings. We concluded that the first essential message is to base ourselves on the Gohonzon. It is to make the foundation of our faith “only Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (WND-1, 903)—that is, to sincerely chant and practice the Mystic Law alone. The second essential message is that “It is the heart that is important” (WND-1, 1000). These two points, we agreed, are the crucial cornerstones of the Daishonin’s writings.

The reason why the second is important is that faith is not just a matter of embracing the Gohonzon and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but also a matter of our heart, or the attitude with which we practice. Is our heart directed toward kosen-rufu? Our innermost heart, the attitude in the depths of our being, determines everything.

Whether we become happy, attain enlightenment, move in the direction of Buddhahood, or wind up in a state of suffering—everything is the exact result of the wondrous workings of our heart or mind. This point cannot be overemphasized.

Just like us, the universe, too, has a nonmaterial aspect. Our heart of faith is communicated to the universe. The workings of our heart or mind are truly amazing.

Selfishness, complaint, doubt, deviousness, conceit, arrogance, and so forth are all causes of unhappiness for both ourselves and others. When we allow ourselves to be ruled by such negative attitudes, we are like a plane that has lost its direction in a heavy fog. We can see nothing clearly. The distinction between good and bad, right and wrong, becomes blurred. We plunge not only ourselves but our passengers—our friends and others around us—into misery.

When afflicted by arrogance, our minds run amok, like a crazed horse galloping wildly in circles, unable to stop, until we lose all self-awareness and do harm to those around us. This is not a normal human state. And though we may think ourselves better than others, the exact opposite is true. In fact, in Buddhism, the conceited and arrogant are the most dangerous people.

In contrast, a sincere concern for others, a dedicated commitment to our beliefs, a sense of responsibility toward fulfilling our mission for kosen-rufu, a wish to wholeheartedly encourage and support our fellow members, a feeling of appreciation, gratitude, and joy—these attitudes are causes that will produce boundless good fortune, not only for ourselves but also for our family and loved ones as well as our descendants. They give rise to strong protection by the heavenly deities—the positive forces of the universe—and enable us to advance directly along the path to attaining Buddhahood.

Let us therefore live with the Daishonin’s words “It is the heart that is important” engraved deeply and indelibly in our lives.

From a speech at a divisional representatives conference, Tokyo, February 25, 1988.

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