Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 4:
“It Is the Heart That Is Important” [4.7]
4.7 When Our Life State Changes, the World around Us Changes
The Buddhist principle of inner transformation means that when we achieve the great life state of Buddhahood, we cause ourselves, those around us, and the place we are to shine.
Nichiren Daishonin writes:
“Hungry spirits perceive the Ganges River as fire, human beings perceive it as water, and heavenly beings perceive it as amrita.1 Though the water is the same, it appears differently according to one’s karmic reward from the past.” (WND-1, 486)
How we perceive things differs according to our state of life. When our state of life changes, the realm in which we reside also changes. This is the essence of the doctrine of the “actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life”2 found in the Lotus Sutra.
Referring to the unending persecution he experienced throughout his life, the Daishonin says:
“Day after day, month after month, year after year I have been subjected to repeated persecutions. Minor persecutions and annoyances are too numerous even to be counted, but the major persecutions number four.”3(WND-1, 240)
Yet even while exiled to Sado Island, the harshest of his persecutions, he still serenely declares: “I feel immeasurable delight even though I am now an exile” (WND-1, 386). The Daishonin calmly gazes down on his situation from the lofty heights of a life condition as vast and boundless as the universe.
Soka Gakkai founding president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi endured his wartime imprisonment for his beliefs with a similar state of mind, writing in letters from prison: “What I am going through is nothing compared to the sufferings of the Daishonin on Sado”;4 and “Depending on one’s state of mind, even hell can be enjoyable.”5 This last sentence was censored and blacked out by the prosecutor.
Establishing such a towering state of life is the highest aim of humanity.
A single flower can completely transform a bleak atmosphere. The important thing, therefore, is to have the spirit, the determination, to improve your environment, to change it for the better, if even just a little. Especially as practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism striving earnestly in faith, we cannot fail to vibrantly transform our lives. We will definitely enjoy happiness and prosperity. This is an unchanging principle of Buddhism.
Our attitude changes everything. This is one of the great wonders of life, and at the same time, an undeniable reality.
A proverb says: “Do not complain that the rosebush has thorns, but rejoice that the thornbush has roses.” Our perception changes depending on our outlook, becoming bright, beautiful, and expansive.
Nichiren Daishonin speaks of the “wonderful workings of one mind” (OTT, 30). The focused mind of faith in the Gohonzon has power and functions that are truly immense and wondrous. When the fundamental engine of our “one mind”—our inner attitude, or resolve—starts running, the gears of all phenomena of the three thousand realms are set in motion. Everything starts to change. We move everything in a bright and positive direction.
When embraced by the great life state of Buddhahood, we ourselves, those around us, and the land in which we live will all shine with the light of happiness and hope. This is the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the “actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life.” At work here is the Buddhist principle of dynamic transformation.
From Lectures on the “Expedient Means” and “Life Span” Chapters of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 3, published in Japanese in June 1996.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.
- *1Amrita: A legendary, ambrosia-like liquid. In ancient India, it was regarded as the sweet-tasting beverage of the gods. In China, it was thought to rain down from heaven when the world became peaceful. Amrita is said to remove sufferings and give immortality. The word amrita means immortality and is often translated as sweet dew.
- *2Actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life: The doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which is the fundamental teaching for attaining enlightenment, is classified into two as the theoretical principle and the actual embodiment of this principle. These are respectively termed “theoretical three thousand realms in a single moment of life” and “actual three thousand realms in a single moment of life.” The theoretical principle is based on the theoretical teaching (first half) of the Lotus Sutra, while the actual principle is revealed in the essential teaching (latter half) of the Lotus Sutra. However, in the Latter Day of the Law, these are both theoretical; and the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that Nichiren Daishonin revealed is the actual teaching of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
- *3The four major persecutions are: the Matsubagayatsu Persecution (1260), the Izu Exile (1261), the Komatsubara Persecution (1264), and the Tatsunokuchi Persecution and Sado Exile (1271).
- *4Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), vol. 10 (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1987), p. 282.
- *5Ibid., p. 285