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[2] “Letter from Sado,” Part 2 The Direct Path To Attaining Buddhahood: Overcoming Great Obstacles Is the Key To Transforming Our Karma

As practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism, when we have problems, worries, or sufferings, we see them as an opportunities to challenge karma arising from the four universal sufferings— birth, aging, sickness and death. If we merely let ourselves be overwhelmed or just weep and lament over our situation, we cannot break through our karma, which exists precisely so that we can overcome it. From the standpoint of Buddhism, karma is an expedient means for us to prove the greatness of the Mystic Law.

(November–December 2009 Living Buddhism, pp. 71–72)

Cultivating One’s Life Is the Supreme Benefit

Iron, when heated in the flames and pounded, becomes a fine sword. Worthies and sages are tested by abuse. My present exile is not because of any secular crime. It is solely so that I may expiate in this lifetime my past grave offenses and be freed in the next from the three evil paths.

(WND-1, 303)

N ichiren Daishonin underscores the impor- tance of practicing Buddhism to transform our karma. Developing inner strength and fortitude is the supreme benefit of practicing Nichiren Buddhism. A thoroughly forged life ensures our eternal happiness. The Daishonin



says that his present ordeal “is not because of any secular crime” (WND-1, 303), even going so far as to assert that he was exiled solely so that he could change his karma in this lifetime.

We practice Buddhism to forge and transform our lives. Indeed, as the Russian author Mikhail Sholokhov states, each of us is “the blacksmith of our own happiness.”4 My disciples, become as strong as steel, as strong as finely tempered swords! Stand up as true worthies and sages!

Nichiren vigorously encourages his embattled followers as if shaking them by the shoulders: “You have to change your karma! The power to do so exists within you! Don’t run away from hardships! True victory means winning over your own weaknesses! Great suffering produces great character! Become an enduring victor!”

(November–December 2009 Living Buddhism, p. 81)

Shayna Peveler

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