Part 1: Happiness; Chapter 7: Happiness for Both Ourselves and Others [7.5]
7.5 We Are Enriched by Helping Others
Buddhism is the way to happiness for both self and others, and to victory for all. Serving others as we pursue that aim enriches us as human beings and becomes a precious personal treasure.
While sowing the seeds of happiness in the life of one person after another may seem like a long, roundabout process, it is actually the most fundamental groundwork for changing our planet as a whole.
Although it takes a long time for a tree to grow from a tiny seed, when it does grow big and tall, it will bear abundant flowers and fruit, and people will find rest in its cool shade. Each of us must strive to become such a tall tree.
Nichiren Buddhism is the path for attaining happiness for ourselves and others. It advocates neither sacrificing others nor sacrificing ourselves. It may be noble to sacrifice oneself for others, but it is not something we can expect of everyone. If we did, it would lead to a very unnatural situation.
Our real aim is the happiness of both ourselves and others. We need a path that empowers everyone to be a victor in life. That means, while we strive for others’ happiness, we do so with a deep sense of appreciation for them—“All of my struggles to help him have made me into a much better person. How wonderful!” “The efforts I made to support her have made me so much stronger. How grateful I am!” The fact is, the harder we strive for kosen-rufu, the greater the good fortune and wisdom we will acquire. Soka Gakkai activities benefit others and ourselves at the same time.
For example, you meet and talk with someone, you chant for someone’s happiness, or you write a postcard or letter to someone. Perhaps someone you arranged to meet didn’t show up, but you continue to stay in touch and meet with them again and again. These may seem like small things, and you may sometimes feel you’re not getting anywhere. But when you look back later, you’ll see that none of your efforts were wasted. You’ll see that going to meet others and encouraging them has made you a stronger, bigger person. You’ll discover that chanting for a friend’s happiness has enriched your own life enormously. The more time passes—10 years, 20 years on—the more you’ll see that your every action has become a precious treasure for you.
And the day will come when those you have reached out to will show their appreciation. Someday they will happily tell others that you helped them stand up in faith or become the people they are today.
Your aim is to play that role in the lives of as many people as you can. There is no greater treasure in life than this.
From Discussions on Youth II, published in Japanese in September 2000.
The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works under key themes.