To My Friends February 5

To My Friends – from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda on 2/5/17

“Youth” is another name for “hope.”
Those who walk together with
young people with the 
heart of a youth will also

The wording of this in English is a bit awkward, but the message is nonetheless an important one. There was a time when every generation of parents believed that their children’s lives would be easier and better. But I think if you polled people around the world today, the number and percentage of optimistic folks like that will be significantly lower than in years’ past.

I think that most people no longer see “youth” and think of hope. That makes the rest of the encouragement important — the impetus is on non-youth to “walk together” and support the youth. In fact, it is up to you and me to be youthful and to protect (even restore) the hope for the future.

Now I just need to understand what it means to have a heart of a youth…

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door

Daily Encouragement February 4

February 4 – from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

Please never turn your back on your faith. Courage is crucial. There is no room for faintheartedness in faith. The timid doom themselves to ridicule–from their partners, from their children, from their friends, from the world at large. Nichiren declares that there is no place for cowards among his disciples. President Toda said the same.

An unexpectedly strict daily guidance from President Ikeda this February 4th. I’ve read elsewhere that strict guidance only works if you care enough about the person receiving the guidance for he/she to understand the kind heart behind the words.

I feel that the most important line is “Courage is crucial. There is no room for faint-heartedness in faith“. What would the point of faith be if it crumbles like a house of cards in the face of a large obstacle? Without courage, you can find yourself paralyzed and/or overwhelmed by difficult circumstances. But with Buddhism and clear faith, you can see difficulties for what they are — opportunities to turn poison into medicine.

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door

Daily Encouragement February 3

February 3 – from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

I can declare with confidence that each of you who bravely exerts yourself in doing Gakkai activities and taking leadership for kosen-rufu, calmly overcoming every obstacle along the way, will enjoy immeasurable benefit. I can state with certitude too that each of you is in perfect accord with Nichiren’s spirit. Your efforts win his unrestrained applause and approval.

I know a lot of people that have been or are leaders in the SGI organization, so I’m sure this encouragement means something profound to them. From afar I’ve seen how “leaders” actually are people working behind the scenes to support members. I know a woman who drives 100 miles each way every weekend to meet with members and to chant together. There’s no obligation or reward for doing so, but when you feel the room while they’re chanting, there’s a real sense of shared mission there. I think that’s what it means to be a “leader” – it’s to share responsibility for someone’s happiness or success. But what does Dr. Ikeda mean by immeasurable benefit for leaders?  Treasures of the heart?

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door

Daily Encouragement February 2

February 2 – from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

Because life is long, you should not be impatient. What matters most is that you embrace the Gohonzon throughout your life. It is vitally important to continually challenge yourself to chant even a little more daimoku and to pray before the Gohonzon for the fulfillment of your desires.

I read this encouragement a second and third time because the first sentence seemed odd to me. What did impatience have to do with the Gohonzon and daily practice?

Then I thought about all the different things I’ve chanted about over the years: clarity, rent money, understanding, wisdom, relationships… While sometimes my mind was engaged and clear, sometimes I was almost commanding the universe and my life to produce an immediate result. That usually doesn’t work.

Now that I know better, I just need to take my practice one day at a time, enjoying each minute I sit before the Gohonzon and look into my own life. My desires no longer are just about money or status, but now I desire the wisdom and courage to create more value in my life.

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door

To My Friends February 1

To My Friends – from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda on 2/1/17

Kosen-rufu means
cultivating friendships.
Let’s create bonds of trust
through sincere efforts to
get to know our neighbors and
steady contributions to
our communities.

Kosen-rufu is an especially important concept in Nichiren Buddhism because it’s ultimately the worldwide goal that Nichiren set out. It surely has many different meanings but typically you’ll hear someone explain it as “world peace” or “widespread adoption of Buddhist humanistic principles”. Without writing a full essay, Dr. Ikeda distills world peace into actionable items for everyday people.

You don’t have to practice Buddhism to cultivate friendships, and to be a good neighbor that contributes to the community. And yet you would still be contributing to the ultimate goal of Nichiren Buddhism. Isn’t that interesting?

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door

Daily Encouragement January 30

January 30 – from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

Buddhism teaches that “all phenomena in the universe are manifestations of the Law”. I hope you will, with this understanding, engage in broad-ranging studies with vigor and determination. The brain has a potential as vast and boundless as the universe. How then do we manifest the brain’s full creative powers? There is only one way to bring out our full intellectual capacity: by constantly putting our minds to work.

One way to read this encouragement is that Buddhist practice enables one to perceive all phenomena as they truly are, and the way to develop that ability is through a spirit to learn about all kinds of subjects. It reminds me of a meeting written about in the Human Revolution where 2nd SGI President Josei Toda declares to a group of young men something along the lines of, “Buddhism permeates all aspects and fields of study. You may consider yourself an expert in mathematics or science, but I can confidently say that with Buddhist practice, I would be able to perceive the foundation of any field of study”.

Both SGI Presidents are emphasizing the vastness of one’s innate potential, and ultimately the power of this Buddhism to draw out more and more of that amazing capacity. It’s like chanting for 15 minutes a day and studying for another 15 minutes allows me to scratch the surface of my potential. But if I open my life to the reality that I have so much more capacity, and challenge myself accordingly, I’ll truly be able to accomplish great things.

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door

Daily Encouragement January 29

January 29 – from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

Practicing Buddhism means being victorious. In advancing one step at a time amid the realities of our daily lives, in showing concrete actual proof, in becoming victors and successes, we are demonstrating with our very beings the validity of Nichiren Buddhism and serving as a source of hope and inspiration for those who will follow us on the path of faith.

One thing that has consistently drawn me to this Buddhism is the importance of advancing “amid the realities of our daily lives”. I don’t have any plans to retreat to a tranquil place and/or remove myself from the trials and tribulations of the workplace, so I need to run directly towards my struggles.

But even that is not enough in one sense, the purpose is to be victorious so I can share these triumphs with people in my life and empower them as well. How wonderful is that!

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door

To My Friends January 25

To My Friends 1/25/17 by Daisaku Ikeda

 

Let’s pour our heart and soul into

fostering our Future Division members!

Discover their strengths and praise

them for their efforts!

The growth and development of

these treasured successors will

determine the destiny of humankind.

 

Note: To My Friends is encouragement sent out daily by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.

 

My thoughts

I love the idea of empowering the youth of the world. The daily news that I find saddest is when I see youth feeling hopeless and committing irrational acts (feeling that the future is bleak, lashing out against others, hurting oneself, etc.)

It’s no joke to say that the youth are the future, and in addition to normal growing pains, the effects of technology and 24/7 media aid this accelerated pressure on youth.

Tweens act like teens, teens act like young adults, and young adults think they know everything.

Today I want to encourage at least one person in my life, and I hope you can take a moment to do the same.

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door