Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 5:
Transforming Suffering into Joy [5.6]
5.6 Both Suffering and Joy Are a Part of Life
As Nichiren Daishonin explains in a letter to his disciple Shijo Kingo, who was facing many difficulties, we should strive calmly to overcome every obstacle, unswayed by immediate events, and develop a state of supreme happiness.
I would like to share a Gosho passage that I’m sure all of you are very familiar with. It is from a letter of encouragement the Daishonin sent to Shijo Kingo, who found himself in difficult circumstances. Kingo had incurred his lord’s disfavor by trying to convert him to the Daishonin’s teaching, an act that also invited hostility from his fellow samurai retainers. The Daishonin writes to him:
“Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than [experiencing] the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever.” (WND-1, 681)
Right now, your life may be filled with suffering. But just as pleasure never lasts forever, neither does suffering. In life, there is both suffering and joy. Sometimes we win, and other times we lose. Both suffering and joy are a part of life; this is life’s reality. That is why, whether experiencing suffering or joy, we should keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, just as we are, says the Daishonin. If we do that, we will attain a state of supreme happiness through the wisdom and power of the Mystic Law. We can lead a life in which nothing will defeat us.
The Daishonin uses the phrase “experiencing the boundless joy of the Law.” “Experiencing” here means that we obtain and savor this joy ourselves. It comes down to us, not others. This joy is not bestowed on us by someone else or something outside us. Creating our own happiness and experiencing that happiness for ourselves; developing the inner strength and capacity to serenely enjoy life, regardless of its ups and downs—this is the meaning of “experiencing the boundless joy of the Law.” The power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to do this.
For that reason, we don’t need to compare ourselves with others. We should simply live in a way that is true to ourselves, based on faith in the Gohonzon.
Please advance in good health and with clear goals, while cultivating positive, harmonious relations with those around you. By conducting yourself in this way, you will naturally become the kind of person others admire, are drawn to, and want to get to know. The Mystic Law enables you to utilize your potential to the fullest. When that happens, you can go anywhere and face anything with a sense of confidence and ease. You’ll be able to do what you need to do, unswayed by immediate events and circumstances, and lead a life of deep satisfaction, without regrets. That is the mark of a true victor in life.
From a speech at a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, April 21, 2005.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.