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You absolutely must not throw away your precious lives. To our young men and women, I say: No matter what painful or difficult challenges you may be facing, you must never disrespect or harm your own lives or the lives of others. Each of you is endowed with the wondrous and supremely noble Buddha nature.

In specific terms, how should we practice in order to dedicate this invaluable lifetime to “the Buddha’s precious teachings”? In another writing, Nichiren says with regard to ordinary people attaining Buddhahood in the Latter Day of the Law: “As for the matter of becoming a Buddha, ordinary people keep in mind the words ‘earnest resolve’ and thereby become Buddhas” (“The Gift of Rice,” WND-1, 1125). These words express the spirit of “not begrudging one’s life” in its supreme and highest form. It is the Daishonin’s emphatic declaration that ordinary people of this age can, without having to sacrifice their lives in the manner of the boy Snow Mountains, attain the same benefit that accrues to such selfless dedication through their “earnest resolve.”

As Nichiren writes, “It is the heart that is important” (“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 1000). It’s a matter of exerting millions of kalpas of effort in a single moment of life for the sake of Buddhism, for the noble cause of kosen-rufu. For us, not begrudging our lives ultimately means steadfastly chanting Nam- myoho-renge-kyo without any fear, and whole- heartedly dedicating ourselves to showing actual proof of faith—for the sake of the world, for the sake of the future and for the sake of others.

President Makiguchi described this as “a selfless way of life of great good.” Overcoming both selfishness and fear, and striving for the happiness of both oneself and others characterize such a way of life. He explained, “It is an ordinary way of life, a way of plain humanity—such that anyone who consciously experiences it and comes to realize that

it is universally accessible will feel an overwhelming desire to embrace it, and, indeed, will feel compelled to do so.” 2

Therefore, he asserted that the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-creating Education Society; fore- runner of the Soka Gakkai) “was itself living proof of a life of great good.” 3

In other words, selfless dedication is found in a seemingly ordinary way of life open to anyone. A true example of such dedication can be seen in our daily efforts for kosen-rufu, exerting ourselves body and soul to encourage others and sincerely sharing the greatness of Buddhism with those around us.

(November–December 2009 Living Buddhism, pp. 54–55)



Shayna Peveler

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