Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 4:
“It Is the Heart That Is Important” [4.8]

4.8 Devoting Ourselves to Our Mission

Devoting ourselves to our mission in our daily lives is the way to embody the principle that “It is the heart that is important.”

In life, not everything goes the way we hope from the very beginning. There are often cases where, for various reasons, we have to spend long periods of our lives in places we would rather not be. How do we deal with this? How do we lead a life of satisfaction and victory in a way that is true to ourselves in such situations? That is the challenge.

All too many respond to those kinds of circumstances by bewailing their misfortune, resenting their environment and the people in it to the end of their days. There are countless people like this in the world. There are also people who are driven to seek worldly success and honor and the praise and admiration of others. As long as such things remain their sole goals in life, they are bound to suffer endless dissatisfaction and anxiety.

Desire has no limits, and as long as selfishness prevails, it is impossible to satisfy everyone. Not everyone in a company can be president.

Of course, it’s natural to make efforts to change and improve our environment and circumstances. But it’s even more essential that we resolutely protect where we are now, our own “fortress,” or home ground, so to speak. We need to dedicate ourselves to our mission and, in that capacity, create a solid record of achievement in our own unique way.

Some people are never in the limelight, never in a position to receive praise and recognition from others. But “It is the heart that is important” (WND-1, 1000). A person’s greatness is not determined by social status. Our happiness isn’t determined by our environment. A vast universe exists in our hearts, in our lives. We practice Nichiren Buddhism to open up that boundless inner realm.

When we open that magnificent realm of the spirit, we will be champions wherever we might be. We will savor without end the wondrous delights of a truly profound existence.

Many people seek success and importance in the eyes of the world, but few aspire to become truly great human beings. Many wish to be showered with praise and attention, but few strive to build an inner happiness that will remain undiminished until the moment of their death and extend throughout the three existences of past, present, and future.

Death is the great final accounting of a person’s life. Fame, wealth, social position, learning—these in themselves are of no avail in the face of death. Death is a struggle faced with nothing but one’s life itself, stripped of all worldly trappings. It is a solemn moment, at which victory or defeat is impartially determined. Those who win in this struggle are true victors.

Our greatness and happiness as human beings are determined by the strength of our life force and our Buddhist faith and practice dedicated to kosen-rufu.

We are striving day after day for kosen-rufu, an unprecedented ideal in the history of humankind. It requires incredible perseverance and effort. Yet because of that, we are absolutely certain to build lives of true fulfillment.

How others view us is not important. Temporary successes or failures also do not matter. What counts is whether our faces shine with happy smiles at the very end of our lives. If we can look back and say, “My life was victorious. It was enjoyable. I have no regrets,” then we are victors.

You, my friends in the youth division in particular, may now find yourselves in extremely trying and challenging situations. It may seem that impressive honors are beyond your reach. But that’s fine. Just keep striving your hardest to realize your ideals, in the place of your personal mission. That’s the way to build an eternally indestructible “fortress” of victory within your heart.

From a speech at a leaders meeting, Tokyo, November 12, 1989.

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