Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 5:
Transforming Suffering into Joy [5.8]
5.8 Polishing Ourselves through Adversity
President Ikeda explains the significance of hardships we encounter in spite of practicing Buddhism to attain happiness.
Why do we have to endure hardships? The purpose of our Buddhist practice is to attain Buddhahood. Buddhahood is the state of absolute happiness. Though we are practicing Nichiren Buddhism to become happy, why then do we have to overcome obstacles? The reason is that we need to undergo the trials of difficulty to forge and strengthen within us the diamond-like and indestructible “self” of Buddhahood.
The diamond is regarded as the king of gemstones. It is the hardest of all minerals, possessing unmatched brilliance. A symbol of purity, its name derives from the Greek word adamas meaning “unconquerable” or “invincible.”
How are diamonds formed? I’m not a scientist, but it is widely known that diamonds, like graphite, are made of carbon. Deep in the earth, this material is subjected to intense heat and pressure until it is transformed into the crystalline structure of a diamond.
This is similar to how we develop ourselves. Only when subjected to the concentrated pressure of hardships and the fierce heat of great adversity will the core of our lives, our deepest self, be transformed into the diamond-like and indestructible life state of Buddhahood. In other words, it is through experiencing hardships that we acquire the “diamond-like body,” or the Buddha body—a brightly shining state of absolute happiness as indestructible as a diamond that cannot be crushed by any amount of suffering or delusion.
A smooth and uneventful kind of Buddhist practice without any difficulties cannot truly help us polish and forge our lives. It is only when we withstand the intense heat and pressure of great hardships that we can shine as “champions of life,” sparkling like the most perfect of diamonds.
Such a diamond-like state of life shines with a pure, beautiful, and imperishable light. It is solid and indestructible when buffeted by the turbulent tides of society and the obstacles of corrupt and ill-intentioned forces. We can achieve this state of life through earnestly chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and dedicating ourselves to kosen-rufu. Then our lives will forever be one with the Mystic Law, and we can strive for kosen-rufu with complete freedom throughout eternity. By correctly embracing and upholding the Gohonzon, we can become our greatest possible selves, continuing in this supreme state of Buddhahood in lifetime after lifetime.
Please lead brilliant lives that are diamond-like and indestructible. Indeed, may you all become “diamonds” of happiness that sparkle with the radiance of your beautiful hearts. To do so, please never fear hardships. Don’t allow yourselves to be defeated by unfounded criticism. Rather, be grateful for all obstacles, because they help you polish and develop yourselves.
Those who show even stronger conviction in faith and engage even more joyfully in Buddhist practice the greater the hardships they encounter will truly live as diamond-like champions.
Please magnificently adorn this precious life with beautiful faith and beautiful friendship. Live out your days spreading the sublime diamond-like light of life far and wide and demonstrating the truth of the teachings and principles of Nichiren Buddhism.
From a speech at a Funabashi leaders meeting, Chiba, July 13, 1987.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.