Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 6: The Principle of “Cherry, Plum, Peach, and Damson” [6.3]

6.3 Live True to Yourself

In a speech at a gathering commemorating the anniversary of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda’s death, President Ikeda introduces President Toda’s guidance and stresses the importance of living true to oneself.

To know oneself, to know the nature of human beings, to know the preciousness of life—herein lies the important significance of religion.

President Toda remarked:

“Whether one is suffering because of poverty, a business failure, a bitter quarrel with one’s spouse, an injury caused by tripping over a hibachi [a charcoal brazier]—ultimately, all these things are a reflection of one’s life. That is, they are outward expressions of one’s inner state of being. When viewed in this way, everything in our lives occurs as a result of the changes unfolding within us. That’s why it is important for us to strive to change for the better and ceaselessly create our own happiness.

“You therefore have to be true to yourself and take responsibility for your own life. Indeed, it’s vital to recognize that you have no choice but to do so. It’s a mistake to blame others or things outside you for your circumstances, to constantly think: ‘If only he or she would do this or that’ or ‘I’d be happy if only the situation in society were such and such.’

“However, human beings are weak. They are easily controlled by others or their external circumstances, no matter how they may resolve to be true to themselves, to follow their own convictions. . . .

“This is why I believe the only way to make one’s life shine with supreme strength, brilliance, and happiness is to base one’s life on Buddhism, which teaches the principles of ‘three thousand realms in a single moment of life’1 and the ‘mutual possession of the Ten Worlds.’”2 3

People who have vibrant life force are happy. People with strong conviction are happy. They can lead positive, successful lives. Those who are weak, in contrast, are miserable. They create misery and unhappiness for themselves. Practicing Nichiren Buddhism enables us to become as strong as we possibly can. To live in such a way that we can perceive everything in terms of faith and are always determined to overcome everything through faith means to walk the path to eternal happiness.

You yourself are precious beyond measure—each and every one of you. The Daishonin taught this to his disciples while he himself was facing major persecution. And the Soka Gakkai’s first and second presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, faithfully embraced the heart of the Daishonin’s Buddhism and taught it to people from all walks of life.

With great conviction, let us continue to forge ahead powerfully along this path, which is directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin.

President Toda once gave the following guidance to members of the youth division:

“To believe in your own mind is especially important when you are young. Yet it is difficult to trust one’s mind. This is particularly true during one’s youth, a time of emotional turmoil and confusion. . . .

“I’ve seen the American cartoon ‘Popeye.’ The main character, Popeye, is so weak that he is constantly being beaten up by others. But when he eats spinach, he instantly acquires strength and easily triumphs over his adversaries. This is because he believes in the power of spinach. . . .

“We all need to have something we believe in. ‘I have the Gohonzon. Therefore, I will be able to overcome any problem. Everything will be fine.’— If you have such firm conviction, you can do anything. . . .

“If you feel that this is the path in life for you, that it’s the right way to go, then believe in the Gohonzon and make it the core of your convictions. You will definitely be able to overcome any obstacle, including illness and poverty. But it requires the essential ingredient of faith. . . .

“For youth, the stronger your faith, the more invincible you will be in any situation. Young people need to have something to believe in. You must trust your own hearts.

“Yet, because the human heart can be such an unreliable thing, it is important that you make the Gohonzon the foundation of your faith. If you do so, I am sure you will be able to lead your lives with confidence and ease. Please lead your lives that way and help others do the same.”4

Mr. Toda dearly loved young people and held the highest hopes for them. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than seeing the energetic endeavors of the youth division members who brimmed with powerful conviction in faith.

From a speech at a representatives gathering commemorating April 2, the anniversary of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda’s death, Tokyo, April 3, 1993.

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

  • *1Three thousand realms in a single moment of life: A philosophical system established by the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai of China based on the Lotus Sutra. The “three thousand realms” indicates the varying aspects that life assumes at each moment. At each moment, life manifests one of the Ten Worlds. Each of these worlds possesses the potential for all ten within itself, thus making one hundred possible worlds. Each of these hundred worlds possesses the ten factors and operates within each of the three realms of existence, thus making three thousand realms. In other words, all phenomena are contained within a single moment of life, and a single moment of life permeates the three thousand realms of existence, or the entire phenomenal world.
  • *2Mutual possession of the Ten Worlds: The principle that each of the Ten Worlds possesses the potential for all ten within itself. “Mutual possession” means that life is not fixed in one or another of the Ten Worlds, but can manifest any of the ten—from hell to Buddhahood—at any given moment. The important point of this principle is that all beings in any of the nine worlds possess the Buddha nature. This means that every person has the potential to manifest Buddhahood, while a Buddha also possesses the nine worlds and in this sense is not separate or different from ordinary people.
  • *3Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, “Mizukara no inochi ni ikiyo” (Taking Responsibility for Your Own Life), in Toda Josei zenshu (Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 1 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1992), pp. 183–84. (An editorial that appeared in the February 1956 issue of the Daibyakurenge.)
  • *4Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu, vol. 4 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1989), pp. 541–43. (A speech delivered at a young men’s division leaders meeting in June 1957.)