This month’s Harmony deals with the topic of overcoming complacency. We easily fall into this life state when we become accustomed, too familiar and comfortable with whatever situation we are in. Ironically, it is not only good times that may trigger this life state, but also misery. We may settle into a comfort zone and confuse complacency with contentment or patience. With a lack of a fighting spirit, not only do we get stuck ourselves, but we may even judge others who make an effort to get out of the situation as being dissatisfied or ungrateful. The “So, this is not good enough for you? You think you’re better than us?” line has stopped many from rising above their circumstances and unfolding their true potential.
In Buddhism, Chanting Nam=myoho-renge-kyo is the primary action we take for changing our karma and our circumstances in this lifetime for the better. However, even in the practice of Buddhism, we are in danger of becoming complacent. We may have the attitude of “I am chanting so many hours every day, of course I will win.” But the reality is, without taking concrete action in our daily life to reach our goals, we will not win. Buddhism is reason, not a miracle cure. We chant to express our desires and for the wisdom and courage to understand what needs to be done. Then we must follow through with action. Without chanting, our actions may be futile and misguided, but chanting without action will not bring results either.
Nor will a self-centered practice or chanting only for material goals bring us happiness or the desired long term goals. Buddhism is about opening our life so that we can become happy, contribute to world peace and help others to do the same.
November 18th is the anniversary of the establishment of the Soka Gakkai and has come to symbolize a day when each individual strengthens their own determination and sense of responsibility to contribute to the welfare of society and world peace, in the spirit of the three founding presidents of the Soka Gakkai.
So what better month to get off the couch and overcome our complacency and strengthen our determinations to reach our goals?
Let’s not be couch potatoes like our cover image, just thinking about doing something, let’s actually do it.
Quote of the Month:
“When you think, ‘I can’t do anymore. I need a break,’ that is the time to challenge yourself to keep going another five minutes. Those who persevere for even an extra five minutes will win in life.” ──www.ikedaquotes.org
In this issue, we look at the concept of Being in the Moment and what this means for practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism.
There are many articles, books, pod-casts available all telling us what it means and the best way to be “in the moment”. As our Special Features mentions, when we chant, it is important to “be in the moment”. As we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we should not dwell on the past but rather focus on the moment with strong determination for what we want to accomplish to create the best future possible. In order to achieve that, it is important for us to have a correct attitude while we chant. SGI President Ikeda says:
“To be bound by the causes of the past and lament their effects in the present makes for an unhappy life. While it is true in a certain respect that the present is the result of past causes, by elevating our life-state in the present, our negative past causes are transformed into positive ones. There is no need for us to be prisoners of the past; in fact, we can even change to past.
The moment our mind-set changes, we create a cause in the present that can definitely transform the effect manifested in the future. Nichiren Buddhism is the Buddhism of the sun. It is a philosophy of hope that enables us to transform the present and realize a bright future. Those who embrace this philosophy need never feel despondent or hopeless. They need never give in to complaint. What matters is our inner resolve right now.”
We trust that you will find the features article beneficial as it assists you in renewing your determination and becoming fully focused on this very moment of life.
We continue to publish the very inspiring guidance series The Wisdom For Creating Happiness And Peace.
President Ikeda has consistently emphasized the Daishonin’s teaching that “It is the heart that is important,” the philosophy that forms the basis for human revolution. What is the essence of the life state of Buddhahood that we are aiming to achieve? How do we reveal our Buddha nature? This installment presents valuable guidance about fundamentally transforming our state of life. We hope that you will read and re-read this chapter, embrace and understand it with your heart.
We hope that you will be inspired and enjoy your life, moment by moment in the now.
Quote of the Month:
“Invisible radio waves travel vast distances throught space. In the same way, our inner determination activates the forces in the universe.”
–Daisaku Ikeda - Buddhism For you -Determination p.40
Thank you once again for picking up this issue of Harmony.
As you will read in General Director Ng’s editorial, the month of July is traditionally regarded as the “month of youth”. It was in July of 1951that both the young men’s and young women’s divisions were established. Marking this occasion, the youth divisions of Hong Kong SGI will hold their respective commemorative meetings.
As President Ikeda reminds us in his editorial this month:
“The courage of youth is matchless—if fears nothing. The courage of youth is limitless—it never gives up.” Let’s all do our very best to support our youth division as they hold their much-anticipated meetings.
In this issue we explore the Lotus Sutra’s message that each and every one of us is the Treasure Tower. Nichiren Daishonin viewed the treasure tower as an allegory for human life in its enlightened state, achieved through the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
We are proud to reprint an excellent article, The Invisible Reflection, by the late Shin Yatomi, former SGI-USA Study Department Chief and author of the book Buddhism in a New Light. This insightful article touches upon the need for us to “better see ourselves in the mirror of the Gohonzon.” Shin reminds us that “When we pray to the Gohonzon, we must reach into our own lives for the hidden gem of Buddhahood”.
Our experiences this month are very inspiring and demonstrate that with strong faith, solid determination and lots of chanting, anyone can change poison into medicine and win.
Just a reminder to make sure you renew your subscription to Harmony, that way you will not miss any of the continuing series by President Ikeda, The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace. These installments are extremely encouraging and a must read for everyone, members and non-members alike.
We sincerely hope you will be inspired by the content in this issue, and that it will move you to tap into and reveal your own treasure tower!
Quote of the Month:
“We have both a weak self and a strong self; the two are completely different. If we allow our weak side to dominate, we will surely be defeated.” –www.ikedaquotes.orgDear Members and Friends of SGI,
Every year, since 1983, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda writes and publishes a peace proposal that is presented to the United Nations. Each proposal has a key theme that focuses on global issues affecting politicians, policy makers and individuals alike. Overall these proposals explore the interrelation between core Buddhist concepts and the diverse challenges global society faces in the effort to realize peace and human security. In addition, President Ikeda has made proposals touching on specific issues affecting society such as education reform, the environment, the United Nations and nuclear abolition. The proposals frequently illustrate the crucial importance of dialogue as a means to break through deadlock in world affairs.
This month we are pleased to present a synopsis of President Ikeda’s 2015 Peace Proposal – A Shared Pledge for a More Humane Future: To Eliminate Misery from the Earth. We hope you will enjoy reading this overview and that it will inspire you to read the entire Peace Proposal, which can be found at http://www.sgi.org/sgi-president/proposals/peace/peace-proposal-2015.html.
As President has stated “The key to solving all our problems—whether it be building a secure and lasting peace, protecting our environment, or overcoming economic difficulties—is to cast off apathy and preconceived notions that lead us too view a situation as unsolvable or unavoidable. Problems caused by human beings can be solved by human beings.”
“Peace is not simply the absence of war; it is a state in which people come together in mutual trust and live with joy, energy, and hope. This is the polar opposite of war—where people live plagued by hatred and the fear of death.”
We hope you will enjoy and be inspired by this month’s issue of Harmony.
Quotes of the Month:
“Prayer entails an intense challenge to believe in yourself and stop diminishing yourself. To belittle yourself is to disparage Buddhism and the Buddha within your life.” -www.ikedaquotes.org
This month we are pleased to present you with a great special features regarding the long awaited upcoming exhibition “The Lotus Sutra – A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence” that will be held in May of this year at the HKSGI Culture Center.
This exhibition, organized by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy and the HKSGI, highlights the history of the importance given to the Lotus Sutra and explains why it has been widely accepted by various cultures over time.
In addition to the texts, visitors will be able to see reproductions and replicas of various artifacts related to the transmission of the Lotus Sutra.
As explained on page 26 in this months Buddhist Concepts column, “A core theme of the sutra is the idea that all people equally and without exception possess the ‘Buddha nature.’ The message of the Lotus Sutra is to encourage people’s faith in their own Buddha nature, their own inherent capacity for wisdom, courage and compassion.”
We hope that everyone, members and non-members alike, will have a chance to visit the Lotus Sutra Exhibition.
Also this month we celebrate the establishment of Nichiren Buddhism. On April 28, 1253 Nichiren Daishonin first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Having widely studied all the Buddhist sutras, Nichiren concluded that the Lotus Sutra contains the ultimate truth of Buddhism: that everyone without exception has the potential to attain Buddhahood.
The title of the Lotus Sutra in its Japanese translation is Myoho-renge-kyo. But to Nichiren, Myoho-renge-kyo was far more that the title of a Buddhist text, is was the expression, in words, of the Law of life which all Buddhist teachings in one way or another seek to clarify.
Because of his compassion for all humanity, Nichiren provided a means by which all people could fundamentally change their lives, that of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
As President Ikeda reminds us: “Life is an everlasting struggle with ourselves. It is a tug of war between moving forward and regressing, between happiness and unhappiness. Outstanding individuals didn’t become great overnight. They disciplined themselves to overcome their weaknesses, to conquer their lack of caring and motivation until they became true victories in life. One reason Buddhist chat Nam-myoho-renge-kyo each day is to develop strong will and discipline and, along with those, the ability to tackle any problem seriously with the determination to overcome it.”
We hope that you will enjoy this issue of Harmony as you deepen your faith and understanding of this great Buddhism.
Quotes of the Month:
“Metal has the power to cut down trees and plants, and water has the power to extinguish any kind of fire. In like manner, the Lotus Sutra has the power to bring all living beings to the state of Buddhahood.” –WND, p.512
You will also find within our pages a number of excellent lectures and guidance’s by President Ikeda.
Our Special Features this month is a great address he gave at the First SGI-USA Youth General Meeting held in San Francisco, titled “The Key to Humanity’s Fundamental Problems”. In it you will find some inspiring words on how to cultivate a never give up spirit, be victorious in life and raise the next generation.
Also in this issue we continue with the sixth chapter of the fantastic series “The Widom for Creating Happiness and Peace”, in which President Ikeda talks about “The Path to Absolute Happiness”.
Our Youth Study Session continues this month with the second part of “Youth and the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin-Advancing with the Spirit of Many in Body, One in Mind”. In this dialogue, President Ikeda talks with some Youth Division Leaders in Japan about our organization, promoting worldwide kosen-rufu and how to overcome all obstacles. This is a very insightful discussion that should be read by all members, not just the youth division.
In the SGI, youth is not exclusive to the young. We are constantly encouraged to develop and maintain a youthful spirit in our daily life and Buddhist practice, no matter what our age. Keeping curious and open to new experiences, continuously studying and making sure that we are not set in our ways are all qualities of being a youthful person.
Fostering the youth is an idea that is held not just by the Soka Gakkai.
President Ikeda reminds us of this when he says: “Rosa Parks, the highly respected civil rights activist, said that she derived her greatest pleasure from working with and for youth. Let us, too, joyfully and wholeheartedly exert ourselves in the task of nurturing the messengers of the future, our precious youth.”
We hope that your find this issue of Harmony inspiring as we all cultivate a youthful spirit.
Quotes of the Month:
“What is youth? It is the inner strength not to stagnate or grow resistant to change but to stay open to new possibilities. It is the power of the spirit that refuses to succumb to complacency and strives ever forward.”