Exert A 100 Million Aeons Effort in A Single Moment of Life

The irrepressible joy of shakubuku must be shared and here it is! Shakubuku is the noblest and unsurpassed action a person can undertake in life~ It is also the essential action needed for one to reveal the highest and unlimited potential inherent within one's life~ Let's learn about shakubuku together, take action, and do our best as youthful flagbearers of the 21st Century and true disciples of Ikeda Sensei!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our Courageous Propagation of Buddhism

SGI President Ikeda’s Essay Series
Thoughts on The New Human Revolution
By Ho Goku


Our Courageous Propagation of Buddhism

Propagation is the lifeblood of religion. A religion without propagation efforts has abandoned the basic function of religion—to reach out to people and help them. President Toda declared that the Soka Gakkai is an organization for propagating Buddhism. In doing so, he was declaring the Soka Gakkai’s mission: to spread the principles of true humanism and to realize happiness for all humankind and peace on Earth.

*

When I visited Soka University in the autumn of last year, I had an opportunity to talk at length with some of our student division members. One of them said to me, “I am having a hard time introducing Buddhism to my friends.” He was deeply troubled by this, and I was impressed by his seriousness. Here he was, worrying about how he could teach Buddhism to his friends and thereby plant the seed of happiness in their lives. What a fine, noble thing to be concerned about!

With the greatest respect for him, I encouraged him with all my heart:

“Everything is hard in the beginning. This is only more true of propagating Buddhism, which the Gosho describes as the most difficult of all difficult things.

“When I was young, my efforts were really just trial and error, but they became the foundation for future success. The important thing is to be determined, positive and optimistic, and to never stop challenging ourselves, no matter what the circumstances. Let’s be invincible optimists!”

I will never forget his face, as he nodded with a smile.

Five months later, he reported happily that he had been successful in introducing another person to Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. I was so happy to hear that; I was happy because of his sincerity.

*

When I look back, the first person who began to practice the Daishonin’s Buddhism through my introduction was a teacher at an elementary school in Ota Ward. This happened just a short while after I began working at Mr. Toda’s company. Up to then, I had spoken about Buddhism with several of my friends. Mr. Toda had even met with one of them and talked to him about Buddhism. But so far none had taken faith and begun to practice.

I was so frustrated that I searched very hard for the best ways to talk about Buddhism to others. I prayed wholeheartedly, and I continued to propagate the Daishonin’s teachings, each time with the firm resolve to bring one more person to this faith. I can’t begin to measure what valuable experience and training this gave me.

And how overjoyed I was when I finally was able to successfully convince someone to embrace the Daishonin’s Buddhism! I could never describe my elation in words. I decided that I would thoroughly look after them and make sure that they triumphed in life. I had the elementary school teacher come to my home every morning, and we did gongyo and read the Gosho together before going to work. I also remember fondly how I used to stop by after work to teach my friend gongyo.

The advance of kosen-rufu lies in the repetition of such patient, painstaking efforts to awaken one friend after another to faith in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. This is true Buddhist practice.

*

When Mr. Toda became the second president of the Soka Gakkai and made his vow to attain a membership of 750,000 households, I pledged: “Mr. Toda is my mentor in propagation; as his disciple, I vow to become a true champion of propagation.” And having made that pledge, I threw myself wholeheartedly into this challenge, creating the groundswell for unprecedented propagation in Kamata, in Bunkyo, in Osaka, in Yamaguchi.

I remember one discussion meeting at which all of the seven or eight young men in attendance decided to join the Gakkai. I told them that Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism was the only way to absolute happiness, and I earnestly assured them that I wanted them to accept those teachings only because I wanted each of them to have the best lives possible.

Such conviction and sincerity will open our friends’ hearts and make them receptive to our message.

*

Propagation must always take place in the context of deepening friendship and earning the trust of others. Today we live in an age in which there are superficial discussions, but true dialogue is lacking. Propagating the Daishonin’s Buddhism, however, is a true dialogue: a stimulating sharing, based on consideration and concern for our friends, as we invite them to walk with us on the path of true and complete happiness.

Genuine Buddhist dialogue is discussing such crucial matters as the true values of life, what is right and wrong, based on our daily lives and our personal experiences. This is the ultimate practice of humanism, and this is propagating Buddhism. At the same time, propagating the Daishonin’s Buddhism, which involves teaching others the most fundamental solution to sufferings, is the ultimate act of altruism, as well as the fastest way for us to do our human revolution and break out of the shell of our own ego.

*

Those who propagate Buddhism are the true disciples of the Daishonin, those who have inherited his spirit. Nikko Shonin praised all who courageously propagated the Daishonin’s teachings, declaring: “You should revere a teacher of the Law who engages in its propagation as a sacred priest, even though he may be your junior” (“Twenty-six Admonitions of Nikko,” Gosho Zenshu, p. 1618). And the benefits attained by those who propagate the Law are boundless and immeasurable.

Out of our single-minded concern for the happiness of others and our ardent desire to attain world peace, we have held high the banner of kosen-rufu and continued to shed the compassionate light of Buddhism throughout the world, undeterred by slander or abuse. This is the proud and noble history of the Soka Gakkai.

*

In the “Song of Indomitable Dignity,” there are the lines: “Today and again tomorrow / The march of propagation advances / Our ardor surges.” How true. Here, unbeaten by any trials or tribulations, lies the pulse of momentous vitality, the source of supreme joy.

Today once more, our great and lofty dialogue to propagate the Daishonin’s Buddhism rings through the clear autumn sky.

(From the October 7, 1998 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai daily newspaper)

SHAKUBUKU MEANS SPEAKING THE TRUTH

Saito: On the matter of propagation, I've recently received a number of questions from new Soka Gakkai members on the difference between shoju and shakubuku methods. Many people, it seems, have the impression that shakubuku means using strong words whereas shoju means assuming a gentle manner.

Ikeda: It is a great mistake to suppose that shakubuku means trying to force someone to take faith. Doing shakubuku essentially means speaking the truth. Since the Lotus Sutra explains the truth, it is called the "sutra of shakubuku".

Now, in the Latter Day of the Law, all our efforts to tell people about and spread Nam-myoho-renge-kyo -- the essence of the Lotus Sutra -- constitute shakubuku. In house-cleaning, for example, it doesn't matter whether one cleans vigorously or at a leisurely pace as long as the main objective of a clean house is realized.

Suda: People probably suppose that shakubuku had to be harsh because of the somewhat alarming image one gets from the Chinese characters with which the term is written [a combination of two ideograms meaning "break" and "restrain"].

Ikeda: Shakubuku does not mean going out to pick a fight. Shakubuku, sharing the teachings of the Daishonin's Buddhism with others, has to be thoroughgoing compassion. Josei Toda, the second Soka Gakkai president, once said:

We should do abundant shakubuku out of sincere conviction in the Daishonin's teaching. And in so doing, we should not harbour feelings of antipathy towards others. We should not get into angry disputes. All we need to do is teach people earnestly and gently. The important thing is that we have this spirit to teach. If someone opposes or attacks us, then that person will suffer the consequences of his or her actions. It is important to share Buddhism with a spirit of compassion. It's almost like being in love.

President Toda certainly had a way of putting things! When people are in love, they go all out. They go through many sheets of stationery writing and rewriting letters. They stay up all night thinking about the words they will use to invite the other person out on their next day off. If everything goes well, they might decide to get married. Unlike marraige sometimes, however, shakubuku will never cause one to have regrets!

Endo: I think we can say that Skakyamuni's method of preaching was to teach people gently. Shakyamuni first expounded the doctrine of the "true entity of all phenomena" in an attempt to help people grasp the truth that everyone can become a Buddha. When Shkyamuni revealed this teaching, Shariputra alone understood, while others did not.

And so Shakyamuni related various similes and parables. As a result, the four leaders of the voice-hearers came to understand. Because many still had not yet grasped his meaning, however, Shakyamuni next explained his profound relationship with them from the distant past. Through this revelation, all of the voice-hearers could finally accept and understand his teaching.

Thus, Shakyamuni racked his mind to find a way to clarify his teaching so that all people could comprehend it. He did not abandon people because they were slow to understand. He had the deep wish, and the tenacity of purpose, to enable all people to become Buddhas, no matter how much effort it required on his part.

Suda: That is the very spirit that motivates our practice of shakubuku today.

Ikeda: Yes. The key point is to pray that your sincerity will be understood by the other person. Wisdom arises from prayer. Prayer gives birth to confidence and joy.

While shakubuku us difficult, when we bear in mind that, through our actions, both the other person and we ourselves will definitely realize tremendous happiness and benefit, nothing could be more joyful. Mr Toda often said: "We should not agonize over doing shakubuku. We have to do shakubuku with a sense of joy."

In practice, while some will immediately believe and understand the Daishonin's Buddhism, there will of course be those for whom this will not e the case. But there is no need to be impatient. Whatever the immediate outcome of our efforts, there is absolutely no doubt about the benefit we receive from having offered earnest prayers and made the effort to conduct dialogue about our faith. And precisely because shakubuku is not easy, it affords us opportunities to tap our innate wisdom and grow. If we plant a seed, in time it will definitely flower.

The key point, it seems to me, is to talk to people with a sense of joy and exhiliration to be serving as the Buddha's envoy.

Endo: I think it's also important to warmly praise those doing shakubuku.

Ikeda: That's right. Those carrying out this practice are "envoys of the Thus Come One"; they should be respected as Buddhas. This is the spirit of the "Teacher of the Law" chapter. Those who have the spirit to praise others accumulate good fortune and strength and as a result can lead many to happiness.

SGI members who dedicate their lives to kosen-rufu should be treasured as Buddhas. When we understand this spirit, we understand not only "The Teacher of the Law" chapter but the entire Lotus Sutra.


(Source: The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra VOLUME II, World Tribune Press, pgs 192-195)

The Practice of Respecting Others: Shakubuku is a Struggle to Defeat the Devilish Nature Inherent in Our Own Lives and Those of Others (Part One)

Once again Sensei and the study department chiefs Mr Saito and Mr Morinaka went in depth into the importance of shakubuku ... i read these mind-blowing excerpts from the chapter that teaches us about (i) the 2 kinds of seed sowing, (ii) the poison-drum relationship, and (iii) what happens when our friends reject our efforts to shakubuku them. It has clear all my doubts and fears about rejection from friends when I shakubuku them. Let me share with you:

President Ikeda: Soka Gakkai 2nd president Josei Toda once commented on this as follows:

There are two kinds of seed sowing [in Buddhism]: sowing the seeds by letting people hear the teaching and sowing the seeds by leading people to arouse faith in the teaching. Let's say you meet someone for the first time and tell them about the Daishonin's Buddhism, but the person does not take faith. This is sowing the seeds by letting people hear the teaching. But suppose that later someone else who practises this Buddhism approaches that person and talks to them about faith in the Mystic Law again, and they decide to receive the Gohonzon. This is sowing the seeds by leading people to arouse faith in the teaching. Both of these are equally sowing the seed of Buddhahood, and the benefit is the same.

...

One should by all means persist in preaching the Lotus Sutra and causing them to hear it. Those who put their faith in it will surely attain Buddhahood, while those who slander it will establish a 'poison-drum relationship' with it and will likewise attain Buddhahood. (WND, pg 882)

A 'poison-drum relationship' is also known as a reverse relationship. This refers to the case in which a person, for instance, upon hearing about the Lotus Sutra, does not take faith at the time and instead disparages the teaching. Hearing about the correct teaching causes the person to form a relationship with it, and later on he or she will be to attain Buddhahood without fail.

...

Saito: When we talk to others and enable them to hear about the Mystic Law, the Buddha nature existing in the depths of theri lives is unmistakably activated. Whether a person reacts against what we are saying or arouses a mind of faith depends on that individual; but in either case, the person's dormant Buddha nature is stimulated without a doubt.

President Ikeda: For instance, though someone may not be able to believe in the correct teaching right away, the time will definitely come when that person -- in whose life the seed has been sown as a result of hearing about the Mystic Law -- embraces faith in the correct teaching. This is just as a seed once planted, given the right conditions, will eventually sprout.

Therefore, regardless of whether people take faith, the important thing is that we pray for their happiness, sincerely exert ourselves on their behalf, and courageously explain to them the greatness of Buddhism. The Daishonin continued to calmly proclaim the correct teaching without the least hesitation, even to those who treated him with enmity and brought political pressure and brute force to bear on him.

(Source: World of Nichiren Daishonin's Writings, either v3 or v4, pgs. 139-141)

AMAZING QUOTES FROM YMD SHAKUBUKU CAMPAIGN OCT 1- DEC 18, 1977

1. PROPAGATION IS ESSENTIAL FOR ANY RELIGION WHICH PURPORTS TO SHOW A WAY TO SOLVE THE SUFFERING OF MANKIND. A RELIGION WHICH VEERS AWAY FROM THIS POINT, IF NOT ALREADY "DEAD" , SOON WILL BE.

2. THOSE WHO KEEP THE LAW TO THEMSELVES ALONE ARE GUILTY OF SELFISHNESS. FURTHER, NICHIREN DAISHONIN STATES, "THE LAW DOES NOT SPREAD BY ITSELF. BECAUSE PEOPLE PROPAGATE IT, BOTH THE PEOPLE AND THE LAW ARE RESPECTWORTHY." PEOPLE CANNOT BE SAVED, NO MATTER HOW VALUABLE THE LAW MIGHT BE, UNLESS THERE IS A PERSON TO PROPAGATE IT.

3. ACTUALLY, TODAY THERE ARE GREAT NUMBERS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE PRESSED BY UNEASINESS AND IMPATIENCE BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO RELIGION OR PHILOSOPHY WHICH TRULY SUPPORTS THEM AND ALLOWS THEM TO DEVELOP THEIR LIVES. IT IS THE SPIRIT OF OUR ORGANIZATION TO LET THEM KNOW ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF TRUE BUDDHISM SO THAT THEY CAN LEAD A LIFE FULL OF HOPE AND CONVICTION. THIS IS THE PRACTICE OF BODHISATTVA - THE MOST RESPECTWORTHY OF ALL HUMAN BEHAVIOUR - WHICH AWAKENS THE HUMAN SPIRIT AND HEIGHTENS THE DIGNITY OF LIFE.

4. OUR PROPAGATION IS THE MOST MERCIFUL DEED WE CAN DO, AIMING AT AN ERADICATION OF ALL EVIL SOURCES WHICH TORMENT PEOPLE. THEREFORE, ONE NEEDS TO BE SENSITIVE ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO SHARE OTHERS' PAIN AND SORROWS. WE DO SHAKUBUKU BECAUSE WE FEEL SORRY FOR UNHAPPY PEOPLE. THERE ARE MANY YOUTHS WHO DO NOT EVEN LOVE THEIR PARENTS. HOW THEN WILL THEY EVER BE ABLE TO LOVE OTHERS? ONLY BY OVERCOMING THEIR OWN MERCILESSNESS.

5. SHAKU MEANS TO CORRECT A PERSON'S EVIL THOUGHTS OR MISTAKEN VIEW OF LIFE, WHILE BUKU STANDS FOR AWAKENING OTHERS TO THE TRUE LAW, NICHIREN DAISHONIN'S BUDDHISM. THEREFORE, IT IS ONLY NATURAL THAT YOU CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT STRONG COURAGE AND CONVICTION. IF SHAKUBUKU WERE EASY, IT WOULD NOT BE SHAKUBUKU. YOU WILL EXPERIENCE GREAT JOY WHEN YOU HAVE TRIED EARNESTLY AND FINALLY HAVE CONVINCED ANOTHER PERSON TO PRACTISE. IT IS THE TRUE SPIRIT OF BUDDHISM TO DO YOUR UTMOST IN YOUR OWN SITUATION. THE COMPASSION AND COURAGE YOU NEED WILL COME THROUGH YOUR CONTINUOUS PRACTICE OF GONGYO.


AMAZING QUOTES FROM YMD SHAKUBUKU CAMPAIGN OCT 1- DEC 18, 1977 (SOURCE: ETERNAL AURORA NOV/DEC 1977)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How to Do Shakubuku?

1) Firmly state the "justice or truth" of Buddhism
No matter how the other person may react, only through your firmly stating the truth of Buddhism can you enable him or her to establish a connection with Buddhism, and that is the most important thing. In other words, to create a link to Buddhism with this other person. Our holding back doesn't benefit our friend in the least.
In order to firmly state the justice of Buddhism, we must first defeat the negativity of our own lives, our fear, our weakness in our hearts. Only in this way, can we courageously, in the most natural way conduct a joyful dialogue. A truly sincere courageous mindset will determine the outcome.
E.g. of stating the justice or truth of Buddhism, "I have absolute conviction that this Buddhist practice is good for you, and will definitely bring absolute happiness to your life." Or "As a friend, I want you to be happy. Please try to chant and see the benefits of this practice." Or for those with no problems, "Buddhism doesn't only mean solving your problem, it is meant for you to live out all your dreams. Buddhism is to live an existence of the greatest meaning."

2. Possessing the spirit of "Strong Determination to Shakubuku this person for his/her happiness!
At the end, it is we our hearts that receive the benefit of such training. As long as we have the spirit and strong determination "to enable this person to become absolutely happy", have boundless compassion, unshakable patience and immense courage, we will be able to touch the heart of anyone. (As long as we do it compassionately, no one will be offended. More often than not, they will be touched by our concern and sincerity for them)
E.g. Sensei even led by example, by inviting a hawker outside a Zadankai house to attend the 4 Div Discussion meeting. And he don't even know him. When he came in, he turned around and told the Kamata members, "This is Shakubuku." It must be Sensei embodying a strong courageous heart, deep compassion and sincerity of this person's happiness that enable even a stranger to be able to attend this meeting even when he is meeting Sensei for the first time.

3. Daimoku is the source of all victories (Fen Zhan Zhu Ji).
Chanting for the Absolute Happiness of this friend of yours. GD Mr. Ong once shared, " Why does a person start chanting? It's simply because his Buddhahood has opened. How does his Buddhahood open? It can only be opened by the Gohonzon. And this can only be done, through your chanting of this friend's absolute happiness to the Gohonzon. Only then can your friend's Buddhahood open up and he begins to take up this practice."


(by Seet Teck Kiang, YMD from Alexandra Chapter, Singapore)

I, Toda, will do kosen-rufu by all means

"I see. Please don't cry. Why should you be sad when you are practising shakubuku, or propagation, the most sublime dedication one can pursue in this lifetime? You are somewhat obstinate, I take it. No Buddha or bodhisattva can be obstinate. Shakubuku is the action of the Buddha. It is the practice of mercy itself. In performing it, you may feel that you are being ridiculed. You may be angered over the argument that your subject did not dare state: 'Your fine words cannot be justified by what you are now.' You may become vexed and sad all at once. Naturally, you then become obstinate. You are thereby, however, replacing the practice of the Buddha with that of a common mortal. We ordinary human beings can attain Buddhahood only when, donning the armor of perseverance, we perform shakubuku for the salvation of the people in the Latter Day of the Law.

"The Daishonin identified shakubuku in this age as being the most difficult act of all. It is only our Soka Gakkai that is translating this most difficult act into practice in the turbulent age of the Latter Day, is it not? However people may ridicule and scorn us at present, you will never deserve to be called a disciple of the Daishonin if you are upset by these people. The time will surely come when they will repent. This will be the precise moment of kosen-rufu. The Daishonin stated that kosen-rufu can be attained 'as surely as an arrow aimed at the earth cannot miss the target.' We are making the greatest contribution to the future of our society, Japan, and the world. You must have more confidence in yourself - for the sake of your own human revolution in the future.

"I, Toda, will do kosen-rufu by all means, no matter what people may say. If you practise shakubuku sincerely to the limits of your abilities, then you are doing fine in shakubuku. You will no doubt obtain prodigious good fortune. Whether the other person will take up faith or not depends on his own will. You are not in the least responsible for it. In any case, you should not become obstinate. The Daishonin promised that you will obtain the same benefits whether or not the other person is converted. There are, in fact, two types of shakubuku - to tell others of true Buddhism, and to make them believe in it. You must have much more confidence in shakubuku, the most sublime practice of our day. In the ten thousand years of the Latter Day of the Law, at present and in the future, the only way for the people to attain Buddhahood is through the practice of shakubuku."

The Human Revolution Vol. 5 (World Tribune Press), pgs. 54-55 (Overwhelming Joy Chapter)

Exert A Hundred Million Aeons Of Effort In A Single Moment Of Life

The "great desire for widespread propagation," is the heart of the Gosho. It is also the spiritual pillar of the Daishonin's life.

'Great desire' refers to the boundless wish arising from the Buddha's enlightenment...

In any event, the life-state of Buddhahood and the great desire for widespread propagation are one and the same. It therefore follows that this vast state of life is only manifest in those who strive to actualise kosen-rufu. If we remove ourselves from the struggle to "exert a hundred million aeons of effort in a single moment of life," (Gosho Zenshu, pg 790), towards the realisation of this noble cause, we won't be able to reveal our highest life potential. That 'single moment of life' is what is called 'Buddha' or 'Thus Come One'.

(World of Nichiren Daishonin's Writings Vol 1 pg 7)