Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 6: The Principle of “Cherry, Plum, Peach, and Damson” [6.7]

6.7 Advancing Freely and Steadily

President Ikeda prefaced a question-and-answer session with Bharat [India] Soka Gakkai members by stating that “open discussion in which participants can speak freely and ask anything on their minds is a Buddhist tradition dating back to the times of Shakyamuni.” In this excerpt, he offers encouragement to a men’s division member who said he found it difficult to master the qualities of eloquence, wisdom, and compassion that the guidance of the Soka Gakkai suggests we aspire to.

Just be yourself. All you have to do is keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and advance freely in a manner that is true to yourself. That is what the Buddhist principle of “illuminating and manifesting one’s true nature” (cf. WND-1, 746) is all about. By practicing Nichiren Buddhism, we can bring our true self to shine. If this were not the case, we’d be frauds. Naturally, we should exert ourselves in our human revolution, but there is absolutely no need to resort to false or contrived eloquence, compassion, or wisdom.

What’s important is to continue making effort daily, chanting and praying for the happiness of others, doing your best to be kind and considerate to those around you, and polishing your own character. But, as Mr. Toda often pointed out, if you can’t treasure your spouse or those closest to you, you won’t be able to treasure others. Compassion, he said, doesn’t flow forth so easily.

Surely the correct path and most dignified way to live is to advance just as we are, as ordinary people, striving to improve ourselves even just by small increments based on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren Buddhism is a great teaching that is open to all people; it does not make irrational or unreasonable demands.

From a question-and-answer session on the occasion of a Bharat [India] Soka Gakkai gongyo meeting, India, February 16, 1992.

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