Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 5:
Transforming Suffering into Joy [5.7]

5.7 Difficulties Are a Driving Force for Growth

The great life state attained by Nichiren Daishonin, who surmounted a succession of hardships and persecutions, teaches us the importance of turning adversity into the energy to advance.

Nichiren Daishonin’s life was a series of hardships and persecutions, including being exiled twice. Some of his disciples questioned where any peace and comfort was to be found in all this. But the Daishonin insisted that difficulties are in fact peace and comfort and in his writings repeatedly made such statements as: “What fortune is mine!” (WND-1, 402); “How delighted I am!” (WND-1, 402); “In future lives I will enjoy immense happiness, a thought that gives me great joy” (WND-1, 287); and “How can such joy possibly be described!” (WND-1, 396). He savored a state of life that he could only describe as “How fortunate, how joyful!” (WND-1, 642).

In the light of the Buddhist scriptures, difficulties are inevitable. The important thing is how we transform them, changing poison into medicine, and use them as the driving force for fresh growth and progress.

There is no point in feeling anxious or lamenting each time the harsh winds of adversity blow. If we have a powerful determination to change everything that happens into a strong “tailwind,” we can surely open the way forward.

We of the Soka Gakkai have been able to create a history of tremendous development based on faith that is focused on the present and the future—namely, always looking from the present moment onward and moving forward, ever forward.

Without hardships, there is no true Buddhist practice. Without struggle, there is no genuine happiness. And that would not be real life. There would be no attainment of Buddhahood, either. When we practice the Daishonin’s Buddhism with this understanding, we will never reach an impasse.

The power of one’s state of life is indeed wondrous. The power of one’s inner determination is limitless. In identical situations or circumstances, people can achieve completely different results and lead completely different lives depending upon their life state and their determination.

Those who have a strong resolve to promote our movement for kosen-rufu will see clear blue skies of good fortune appearing rapidly in their lives, stretching ever further and further, as if the wind were sweeping away every dark cloud.

From a speech at a Nagano Prefecture general meeting, Nagano, August 4, 1991.

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