Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 6: The Principle of “Cherry, Plum, Peach, and Damson” [6.1]
6.1 “Still I Will Bloom”
Buddhism teaches the principle of cherry, plum, peach, and damson—that every being is beautiful and valuable as it is, without trying to be something else.
Everyone possesses the seed of a precious mission. The purpose of our lives is to make that seed sprout, flourish, and blossom.
On a visit to Yamagata Prefecture, President Ikeda explains this principle and urges us to dedicate our lives to our mission.
This is my first visit to Yamagata in nine years. Wishing to see you all as soon as possible, I took the train here from Niigata. From the train window, I could see blue streams and green forests amid the lingering mountain snow. Golden forsythia, bridal veil, daffodils, and cherry blossoms were in beautiful bloom.
Observing the scenery, I was reminded of how, in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin states that the cherry, plum, peach, and damson each embody the ultimate truth just as they are, without undergoing any change (cf. OTT, 200).1 This teaching provides us with a basic model for the way we should live our lives.
The cherry tree blossoms as a cherry tree, living to fulfill its own unique role. The same is true of the plum, peach, and damson trees. Each of us should do likewise. We each have a unique personality. We have a distinct nature and character, and our lives are each noble and respectworthy. That’s why we should always live with a solid self-identity, in a way that is true to ourselves.
Each of us has a mission and a way of life that is ours alone. We don’t need to try to be like anyone else. The cherry tree has its own life and inherent causes for being a cherry. The plum, peach, and damson also each have their own inherent causes. And in the same way, from the viewpoint of Buddhism, we each have a mission we were born to carry out in this world, and each one of us has our own inherent causes to be who we are. Practicing the Mystic Law enables us to experience the joy of discovering this.
The most fundamental happiness in life is to bring forth our inner Buddhahood through the power of faith in the Mystic Law.
Some of you may envy those who live in bustling cities such as Tokyo. Others might wish to have a glamorous job, or live in a big luxurious house. But in Tokyo, you can’t enjoy this natural environment [of Yamagata] with its pure, clean air, the bright moonlight or the twinkling stars at night, or beautiful mountains draped softly in their white mantles, like Mount Zao standing out against the morning sky. At the same time, our happiness in life does not depend on the land or environment in which we live, our workplace, or the size of our homes.
The grass always seems greener on the other side. To those living in Yamagata, life in the big city might seem appealing, but city dwellers long for the beautiful natural environment of Yamagata. The key is to give full play to our capabilities and carry out our mission in our own communities, wherever we are, without being swayed by immediate circumstances or events.
A writer once remarked: “Whether seen by others or not, still I will bloom.”2 The Gohonzon is aware of all our actions. It is important to live in our own unique way, always embraced by the Mystic Law, whether or not anyone is watching. This is what the principle of cherry, plum, peach, and damson teaches.
From a speech at a Yamagata Prefecture general meeting, Yamagata, April 18, 1983.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.
- *1The Daishonin says: “Each thing—the cherry, the plum, the peach, the damson—in its own entity, without undergoing any change, possesses the eternally endowed three bodies [of the Buddha]” (OTT, 200).
- *2Translated from Japanese. Saneatsu Mushanokoji, Mushanokoji Saneatsu zenshu (Collected Writings of Saneatsu Mushanokoji), vol. 11 (Tokyo: Shogakukan, 1989), p. 81.