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10 February 2015

Chapter Five: The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs
Five important points

Point One, concerning “The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs” chapter

On “The Words and Phrases,” volume seven, says, “The inborn Buddha nature that is without beginning or end is comparable to the earth, and arousing the heart and mind of seeking the Great Vehicle is comparable to the seeds. Arousing the heart and mind of seeking the two vehicles [of voice-hearers and pratyekabuddhas] is comparable to the sprouts and stalks of the plants. After that, when one enters the first stage of security [and arouses the aspiration for Buddhahood], this is comparable to developing in a similar fashion the sprouts and stalks of the Buddha vehicle.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Belief in the heart of the Lotus Sutra is the seeds. And when one enters the enlightenment of the true aspect of all phenomena, then one achieves the fruit of Buddhahood. “Medicine” represents the mind of the living beings in the nine worlds. The mind that is devoted to the provisional teachings is comparable to a poison plant. But when one encounters the Lotus Sutra, then the mind ground of earthly desires that is beset by the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness is planted with the seeds of the complete enjoyment of the three bodies of a Buddha, and awakening to this fact is what is meant by “medicine.”
p.63Now Nichiren and his followers apply this medicine of the Wonderful Law to the plants of earthly desires. This is in effect a way of saying in parable form that earthly desires are enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.
A commentary [volume five of Words and Phrases] says, “A parable is that which enlightens and instructs.” Thus the parable of the medicinal herbs is in fact about us, we who are votaries of the Lotus Sutra.

Point Two, on the fact that this chapter represents the stage of presentation and mastery.

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “presentation” pertains to Mahākāshyapa [to whom the teachings were presented]. The word “mastery” or completion pertains to Shakyamuni Buddha [who acknowledges Mahākāshyapa’s mastery of them]. Thus the two words “presentation” and “mastery” signify the fact that Mahākāshyapa and Shakyamuni Buddha have attained an identical level of understanding. In the end, then, presentation denotes the student’s acceptance and understanding of the teachings that have been presented to him, and mastery denotes the seal of approval that the Buddha grants to the student.
Now, in the case of Nichiren and his followers, presentation is the student’s acceptance of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and mastery is the praise that Nichiren bestows upon that acceptance. This chapter explains to the full how we can attain Buddhahood in our present forms. The fact that the presentation and the mastery of the teachings match exactly, like the two halves of a tally, indicates that presentation and mastery are not two different things; that is, that we can attain Buddhahood in our present form. This presentation and mastery that we are speaking of here is the presentation and mastery of the means whereby all the beings in the three thousand worlds of the Dharma-realm can master and attain the Buddha way.

p.64Point Three, on the passage “Though all these plants and trees grow in the same earth and are moistened by the same rain, each has its differences and particulars.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The principle of eternal and unchanging truth and the wisdom of the truth that functions with changing circumstances derive from this passage. The Great Teacher Miao-lo [in his Diamond Scalpel] says, “The doctrine of that which accords with changing circumstances and that which is unchanging derives from the great teaching. The assertion that trees and stones have no mind comes from the lesser tradition.” The words “great teaching” do not refer to the Lotus Sutra as a whole, but only to the seventeen characters that make up the passage quoted above. The words “grow in the same earth and are moistened by the same rain” present a simile for the state of being without differentiation. The words “each has its differences and particulars” present a simile for the state of possessing differentiation. Because the simile speaks of things as being without differentiation, this aspect of it corresponds to myō, or wonderful. And because it speaks of things as possessing differentiation, this aspect of it corresponds to hō, or phenomena [manifested and conditioned by the Law (hō)].
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are setting aside differentiation.
The twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra represent differentiation, but the five characters of the Wonderful Law are without differentiation. The “same earth” of the passage quoted above is the great earth of the theoretical teaching, and the “same rain” is the highest heaven of the essential teaching.
The “same earth” represents a teaching ‘from cause to effect,’ while the “same rain” represents a teaching ‘from effect to cause.’1 Now that the Latter Day of the Law has arrived, we are p.65propagating the “same rain” that represents the teaching ‘from effect to cause.’ This “same rain” or “single rain” is the daimoku unmixed with any other religious practice.
The “Introduction” chapter of the Lotus Sutra speaks of how the Buddha wishes “to rain down the rain of the great Law.” Now this chapter, “The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs,” speaks of the plants and trees that “are moistened by the same rain.” “Moistened by the same rain” indicates that the Buddha has continued to “rain down the rain of the great Law” as stated in the “Introduction” chapter.
The “same earth” or “single earth” represents the character kyō in the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. The “same rain” or “single rain” represents the character myō. The other three characters, hō, ren, and ge, are the ten thousand phenomena of the three thousand worlds, particularly the plants and trees. They are the three vehicles, the five vehicles, the seven expedient means, and the nine worlds.

Point Four, the passage “The Dharma King, destroyer of being, / when he appears in the world / accords with the desires of living beings, / preaching the Law in a variety of ways.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Being” (u)2 refers to those who slander the Law. “Destroyer of” (ha) refers to shakubuku, or refutation of the slander. “The Dharma King” means the votary of the Lotus Sutra. “The world” refers to the country of Japan.
Again we may say that the word “destroyer” stands for non-substantiality; “being” stands for temporary existence; and the p.66Dharma King stands for the Middle Way. Since this is so, this passage is describing the seeds that lead to the state of the Thus Come One Shakyamuni. In fact, the appearance in the world of all the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future comes about through this passage.
With regard to being, there are twenty-five realms of being or existence in the threefold world. To destroy means to destroy one’s attachment to these realms of being. The Dharma King is the mind-dharma of the living beings of the Ten Worlds. The word King means mind-dharma. When one gains enlightenment into the true aspect of all phenomena, this is what is meant by “the Dharma King, destroyer of being.”
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are putting an end to the attachment to being, or slander of the Law, and becoming [Buddhas like] Shakyamuni, the Dharma King. These two words “destroyer [of] being” are the seeds that lead to one’s becoming [a Buddha like] the Thus Come One Shakyamuni.
Again we may say that the “being” stands for the realm of earthly desires and of birth and death. The essence of the provisional teachings and the provisional doctrines is that one must cast aside the realm of earthly desires and of birth and death and enter a different realm, which is that of enlightenment and nirvana. But the essence of the present sutra, the Lotus, is that, while remaining right here in the realm of earthly desires and of birth and death, one can achieve a state of enlightenment and nirvana. This is what is termed “destroyer.”
“Being” represents earthly desires, and that which destroys it is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Being is that which is destroyed, and the destroyer is that which is capable of destroying it. Both the destroyer and the destroyed participate in the single principle of the true aspect of all phenomena.
The “Introduction” chapter of the Lotus Sutra speaks of those who “had put an end to the bonds of existence (u, or being)”; the present chapter speaks of “the Dharma King, destroyer of being”; p.67and the “Simile and Parable” chapter states that “this threefold world / is all my domain (u).”

Point Five, on the words “I look upon all things / as being universally equal, / I have no mind to favor this or that, / to love one or hate another. / I am without greed or attachment / and without limitation or hindrance.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The six lines of verse that make up this passage refer to the five levels of consciousness. The words “I look upon all things / as being universally equal” represent the ninth consciousness. The words “I have no mind to favor this or that” concern the eighth consciousness. The words “[I have no mind] to love one or hate another” concern the seventh consciousness. The words “I am without greed or attachment” concern the sixth consciousness. And the words “[I am] without limitation or hindrance” concern the other five consciousnesses. These five levels of consciousness constitute the basic nature of the way in which we living beings view things.
Now Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are practicing the ninth consciousness, that is, “I look upon all things / as being universally equal,” are they not? And because they do so, they have no mind “to favor this or that,” have they? They have no mind “to love one or hate another,” have they? They are “without greed or attachment,” are they not? They are “without limitation or hindrance,” are they not?
Chapter Six: Bestowal of Prophecy
Four important points

Point One, concerning the bestowal of prophecy

Words and Phrases, volume seven, says, “To bestow means to give something to someone.”

p.68The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “prophecy” [of enlightenment] refers to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The word “bestow” refers to all the living beings in this country of Japan. But it is not bestowed on those who are without faith, nor do they receive it. Now Nichiren and his followers receive the prophecy that is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Again we may say that the bestowal of prophecy is a bestowal of prophecy given to the entire Dharma-realm. If one receives a bestowal of prophecy destining one to hell, that means that a bestowal of prophecy of evil karma is given to evildoers. And you can surmise from this how the same pattern will apply to the others of the Ten Worlds.
Where there is a prophecy of life there is certain to be death, and where there is a prophecy of death, there will also be rebirth. This is a bestowal of prophecy that is constant and unchanging throughout all the three existences of past, present, and future.
In effect, then, we may say that the four great voice-hearer disciples of intermediate capacity, Mahākāshyapa, Kātyāyana, Maudgalyāyana, and Subhūti, represent the four phases of birth, aging, sickness, and death that we pass through. Mahākāshyapa is the phase of birth, Kātyāyana is the phase of aging, Maudgalyāyana is the phase of sickness, and Subhūti is the phase of death.
When the Lotus Sutra appears, then these four phases of birth, aging, sickness, and death manifest themselves as the four great voice-hearer disciples. They are like the eight phases of a Buddha’s existence.
A prophecy is bestowed concerning the activities of the true aspect of all phenomena [the activities of birth, aging, sickness, and death]. It is a bestowal of prophecy concerning myōhō, the Wonderful Law, and therefore it is a bestowal of prophecy indicating the Dharma-realm. It is a bestowal of prophecy concerning renge, the lotus, and therefore it is a bestowal of prophecy indicating the purity of the Dharma-realm. It is a bestowal of prophecy concerning kyō, the sutra or continuance, and therefore indicating that the words and voices of living beings are constant and unchanging throughout the three existences of past, p.69present, and future. It is a bestowal of prophecy that is conveyed in a single utterance, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Point Two, concerning Mahākāshyapa, Light Bright, in the passage “This disciple of mine Mahākāshyapa . . . will be able to become a Buddha named Light Bright Thus Come One.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The name Light Bright refers to the countenances and aspect of all living beings. The light is the burning of the fierce fires of hell. It is none other than the wisdom fire of the originally enlightened Buddha of limitless joy. The same applies to the others of the Ten Worlds, all the way up to the fruit of Buddhahood.
Now in the midst of the murk and darkness of slanders of the Law, when Nichiren and his followers shine forth the light brightness of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, this is in fact Mahākāshyapa, Light Bright Thus Come One.
Mahākāshyapa was outstanding for his devotion to dhūta, or ascetic practices. The word dhūta means to shake off or cast away. Now that we have entered the Latter Day of the Law, Nichiren and his followers cast away all other religious practices and devote themselves solely to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is what is referred to in the passage [in the “Treasure Tower” chapter] that reads, “This sutra is hard to uphold; / if one can uphold it even for a short while / I will surely rejoice / and so will the other Buddhas. / A person who can do this / wins the admiration of the Buddhas. / This is what is meant by valor, / this is what is meant by diligence. / This is what is called observing the precepts / and practicing dhūta.”

Point Three, on the words “when he has cast off his present body” in the passage “This disciple of mine, / the great Maudgalyāyana, / when he has cast off his present body, / will be able to see eight thousand, / two hundred ten thousand million / Buddhas, World-Honored Ones.”

p.70The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: From this passage arises the question of whether one casts off one’s present body or does not cast it off. To cast off means to do so temporarily or provisionally but not to cast off for all time. Casting off temporarily is representative of the essential teaching, while casting off for all time is representative of the theoretical teaching. But to assert that one must cast off one’s present body in fact goes against the principles that earthly desires are enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. In the end, however, we may say that, when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they have already “cast off” their present bodies. This is because, in doing so, they have shown that they do not hesitate to give up their lives.
Again, if we take the word sha (“to cast off”) in the sense of “to offer up,” then we may say that one offers up the five elements that make up one’s body to the Dharma-realm. But this is not the same thing as casting one’s body away.
To assert that one must cast off one’s present body before one can attain Buddhahood is a doctrine of the provisional teachings. The true meaning of “casting off one’s body” consists in casting aside one’s feelings of attachment to such doctrines.
This passage on casting off the body is an expression of the concept of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. “Casting off one’s body” means returning to and embracing the fundamental principle, which is the three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is what the Great Teacher Miao-lo means when he says in his commentary [On “Great Concentration and Insight,” volume five], “You should understand that one’s life and its environment at a single moment encompass the three thousand realms. Therefore, when one attains the Buddha way, one puts oneself in accord with this fundamental principle, and one’s body and mind at a single moment pervade the entire realm of phenomena.”

Point Four, on the words “Concerning the causes and conditions of past existences . . . I will now preach” in the p.71passage “Concerning the causes and conditions of past existences / as they pertain to me and you / I will now preach.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The words “causes and conditions of past existences” refer to events that took place major world system dust particle kalpas ago. The Buddha here is preparing to explain these causes and conditions of past existences for the sake of the voice-hearer disciples of inferior capacity.
In the term “causes and conditions,” the word “causes” refers to the sowing of the seeds of Buddhahood. The word “conditions” refers to the conditions that prevailed in that time long ago; it may be interpreted to mean the conditions in which the seeds were grounded. Thus the term “causes and conditions” here refers to the sowing of the seeds of Buddhahood through association with [Shakyamuni in the age of] the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence.
Now when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, this action is grounded upon and conditioned by causes in the past. This is why the Great Teacher Miao-lo [in his commentary, volume eight of On “The Words and Phrases] says, “You should understand that the fact that now, in this latter age, one is able to hear the Law, and, having heard it, to take faith in it, is due to the seeds planted in a past existence.” The “past existence” in the present case is the far off time of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, and the seeds are the seeds of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that were planted then. It is the planting of these seeds and the conditioning of them that is meant by the term “causes and conditions.”
The core of the essential teaching refers to the planting of the seeds of Buddhahood numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago and the conditioning surrounding it. That is, through the conditioning of the true cause, which is the Wonderful Law, one is able to attain Buddhahood.

Chapter Seven: The Parable of the Phantom City
Seven important points

Point One, concerning “the phantom city” (kejō)

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word ke, or “phantom,” refers to the element of form or the body. The word jō, or “city,” refers to the element of the mind. The provisional teachings declare that these two elements of body and mind are characterized by impermanence. But the message of the Lotus Sutra is the assertion that this impermanence is in fact a state of permanent abiding. That is, the phantom city is identical with the treasure land, the place where the treasure is to be found. In effect, now Nichiren and his followers, people who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, gain enlightenment into the fact that our bodies and minds are the Wonderful Law itself, namely, that the phantom city is identical with the treasure land. The Ten Worlds are all of them phantom cities, and each of these Ten Worlds is a treasure land.
Or again, the phantom city is the nine worlds [other than Buddhahood], and the treasure land is the state of Buddhahood. From the phantom city to the treasure land is a distance of five hundred yojanas. This distance of five hundred yojanas is symbolic of the illusions of thought and desire, of the dusts and sands that impede religious practice, and of darkness or ignorance. To understand that these five hundred yojanas of earthly desires are the five characters of the Wonderful Law means to realize that the phantom city is identical with the treasure land. In this statement that the phantom city is identical with the treasure land, the single word “identical” is symbolic of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Each moment of life in the phantom city is a moment of life in the treasure land.
The provisional teachings assert that the elements of our p.73bodies and minds are characterized by impermanence. But the Lotus Sutra asserts that they are permanently abiding. To wipe out all attachment to this concept of impermanence means to wipe out the phantom city.
Again, the phantom city is our skin and flesh, and the treasure land is our bones. To gain enlightenment into the fact that these two elements of our bodies and minds are the Wonderful Law is to grasp the essential substance of the statement that the phantom city is identical with the treasure land. That essential substance is the realization that impermanence and permanence are simultaneous and inseparable, that that which accords with changing circumstances, that which is unchanging, these are tranquil and shining in a single moment of life.
Each of these moments of life is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, a moment of life in which one exercises a faith that is free of doubt. One should give particular thought to the word “identical” in the statement that the phantom city is identical with the treasure land.

Point Two, concerning the Buddha Daitsū-chishō or Great Universal Wisdom Excellence1

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: Daitsū, or Great Universal, represents the mind king or the core of the mind, while chishō, or Wisdom Excellence, represents the distinctive functions of the mind. Great Universal is the theoretical teaching, and Wisdom Excellence is the essential teaching. Great Universal Wisdom Excellence is this body that each of us possesses.
Now, Nichiren and his followers, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are Great Universal; the act of chanting the daimoku is Wisdom Excellence. The wisdom of the votaries of the Lotus Sutra is a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand times more excellent than the greatest wisdom of the schools of the provisional teachings. Hence it is called Wisdom Excellence.
The “Great” of Great Universal represents the element of the p.74body, while the “Universal” represents the element of the mind. Our [lives that undergo the cycle of] birth and death are Great Universal. The thoughts that occur in our bodies and minds that repeat birth and death are Wisdom Excellence. When we look at it in this way, we see that the votaries, who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, are the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, and the sixteen princes, who are his sons, are the functions of our minds.

Point Three, on the words “Their mothers, weeping, followed after them” in the passage “Before this Buddha left the householder’s life, he had sixteen sons, the first of whom was named Wisdom Accumulated. These sons each had various kinds of rare objects and toys of one kind or another, but when they heard that their father had attained anuttara-samyak-sambodhi [supreme perfect enlightenment], they all threw aside their rare objects and went to where the Buddha was. Their mothers, weeping, followed after them.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: “Their mothers” are mothers of the sixteen sons. But in its true meaning “mother” represents fundamental darkness or ignorance. The obstacles of illusions that arise from this ignorance may be termed “mothers.”
While one is transmigrating through the realm of birth and death, one is journeying in company with this mother that is ignorance. But when one turns away from that realm and reaches a state of nirvana, then one kills the mother, ignorance. The mother ignorance is embodied in persons such as those who follow the Nembutsu, Zen, or True Word teachings.
When the sutra says that the mothers “followed after them,” it means that the mothers represent slanderers of the Law [who are trying to impede the progress of the sixteen sons]. Nevertheless, in the end, when the teachings of the Lotus Sutra have been p.75widely propagated and made known, then they and all others alike throughout the world will become votaries of the Lotus Sutra. This is what the sutra means when it says that millions of people “followed them [that is, the sixteen sons] to the place of practice, all wishing to draw close to [the Great Universal Wisdom Excellence Thus Come One].”

Point Four, on the words “Their grandfather, who was a wheel-turning sage king” in the passage “Their grandfather, who was a wheel-turning sage king, along with a hundred chief ministers, as well as a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million of his subjects, all together surrounded the sons and followed them to the place of practice, all wishing to draw close to the Great Universal Wisdom Excellence Thus Come One.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In this passage we learn about the Buddha of the original state [that is, the Buddha of limitless joy]. “Grandfather” is another name for the Dharma-realm. The first three of the ten factors listed in the “Expedient Means” chapter, the factors of appearance, nature, and entity, are referred to as “grandfather.” Outside of these three factors, there is no wheel-turning sage king.
The word “wheel-turning” refers to the phases of birth, abiding, change, and extinction. The words “sage king” refer to the element of the mind. These three factors, appearance, nature, and entity, are the father and mother of all the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future.
Now, when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are acting as father and mother of the Buddhas of the three existences, as their grandfather, the wheel-turning sage king.
With regard to the four kinds of wheels possessed by the wheel-turning sage kings, wheels of gold, of silver, of copper, and of iron, the gold ones represent birth, the silver ones the white p.76bones of death, the copper ones the appearance of aging, and the iron ones sickness. These correspond to the four types of actions relating to the Buddha wisdom, namely, opening the door of Buddha wisdom, showing it to living beings, causing them to awaken to it, and inducing them to enter its path.
To go round and round unendingly in the cycle of birth and death, birth and death, throughout the three existences of past, present, and future, is what is called being a wheel-turning sage king. The wheels that the wheel-turning sage kings possess when they make their appearance in the world, their “wheel treasures” are the words and sounds that we ourselves utter. And these sounds, our “wheel treasures,” are Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This is what is called [in chapter eleven, Treasure Tower] “the great wisdom of equality.”

Point Five, concerning the sixteen sons of the king

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: In the number “sixteen” [“ten and six” in Japanese], the ten represents the Ten Worlds, and the six represents the six sense organs. The “king” is the mind king, and the “sons” are the functions of the mind.
These then are the sons of the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, the single principle that constitutes the true aspect of all phenomena. Now, when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are acting as the sixteen sons of the king.
The sutra states that these sixteen sons all became Buddhas in one or another of the various lands in the eight directions. This means that we will come to realize that our earthly desires, with the eight sufferings that they entail, are none other than enlightenment.

Point Six, on the words “wipe out the phantom city” in the passage “At that time the leader, knowing that the people have become rested and are no longer fearful or weary, p.77wipes out the phantom city and says to the group, ‘You must go now. The place where the treasure is is close by.’”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: These entities or bodies of ours are wiped out, and in this sense it is a phantom city. That is, if we take this wiping out as a true wiping out or extinction, then our bodies are a phantom city. But if we have the wisdom to see that this wiping out is not a true wiping out or extinction but only an aspect of eternal life, then it is a place of treasure, a treasure land. This is what the “Life Span” chapter means when it says, “But in truth I do not pass into extinction.”
To wipe out the concept of wiping out itself is the true wiping out. This is the doctrine embodied in the assertion that the three vehicles expounded in the provisional teachings are in fact the one vehicle of the true teaching.
Again, we may say that the words “wipe out the phantom city” refer to the wiping out of the temples of the slanderers of the Law.2 Now, when Nichiren and his followers chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they are revealing that the phantom city is none other than the treasure land. These mountain valleys and broad plains where we live are all, every one of them, treasure lands of Eternally Tranquil Light.

Point Seven, on the passage “Now you must press forward diligently / so that together you may [all] reach the place where the treasure is.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings says: The word “all” refers to the Ten Worlds. The word “together” refers to the words [of the Buddha in chapter two, Expedient Means] “hoping to make all persons / equal to me, without any distinction between us.” The word “reach” means to arrive at the level of the highest effect, the state of Buddhahood. “The place where the treasure is,” the treasure land, is the holy mountain, Eagle Peak.
Nichiren and his followers, those who chant p.78Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, one and all will “together reach the place where the treasure is.” This one word “together” means that, as long as they are together with Nichiren, they will reach the treasure land. But if they are not together with him, they will fall into the great citadel of the Avīchi hell.

Voices ringing with sincerity, voices filled with conviction are a powerful force for good. 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 to view a situation as unsolvable or unavoidable. Problems caused by human beings can be solved by human beings. We must build a society that has more than its short-term profit as its goal. To do that, the first step is to respect ourselves and to live with dignity, self-confidence and pride. Such people are then able to treat others with respect. War normalizes insanity–the kind that does not hesitate to annihilate human beings like so many insects, and tears all that is human and humane to shreds, that destroys nature itself. One person inspiring another, transcending all differences—this is the basis of changing society at the most fundamental level. Our world continues to be threatened by more than 20,000 nuclear warheads–the capacity to kill or grievously injure all people living on Earth, and to destroy the global ecosystem many times over. We are impelled to ask what it is, exactly, that is being protected by this unimaginable destructive capacity. Sincerity is the key to transforming distrust into trust, hostility into understanding, and hatred into compassion. Friendship and trust are indispensible to true peace, and they cannot be cultivated strategically.

Nuclear weapons, which jeopardize the very existence of humanity, epitomize the tragic truth that our development as human beings has not kept pace with our scientific advances. All human endeavors must have as their point of origin a concern for people’s welfare and a desire to contribute to human happiness. Otherwise, the human race will ultimately just continue to stumble aimlessly, from darkness into darkness. For both victor and vanquished, war leaves only a sense of endless futility. 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. The idea that nuclear weapons function to deter war and are therefore a “necessary evil” is a core impediment to their elimination; this idea must be challenged and dismantled. It is vital that humankind develop a shared consciousness that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil whose existence can never be justified—for any reason or under any circumstance. Today, many people have given up on the possibility of nuclear abolition. But peace is always a competition between resignation and hope. Indifference and acquiescence in the face of the negative, destructive functions of life is, ultimately, to side with the forces of destruction.

Crying out in opposition to war and nuclear weapons is neither emotionalism nor self-pity. It is the highest expression of human reason based on an unflinching perception of the dignity of life. Just as fire is extinguished by water, hatred can only be defeated by love and compassion. Faced with the horrifying facts of nuclear proliferation, we must call forth the power of hope from within the depths of each individual’s life. We need a revolution in the consciousness of countless individuals—a revolution that gives rise to the heartfelt confidence that “There is something I can do. Each of us, no matter how weak or ineffectual we may feel ourselves to be, must build deep within our hearts a stronghold for peace, one that will be capable of withstanding and in the end silencing the incessant calls to war. This is the only way humanity’s tragic predilection for violence can be reformed and its energies channeled in new directions. Hell is by no means a figment of the imagination. It exists in our very lives, right here on earth. Hell, indeed, is the agony we suffer during life, and there is no man-made hell worse than war. From a healed, peaceful heart, humility is born; from humility, a willingness to listen to others is born; from a willingness to listen to others, mutual understanding is born; and from mutual understanding, a peaceful society will be born. Nonviolence is the highest form of humility; it is supreme courage. Nothing is more precious than peace. Nothing brings more happiness. Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.

Peace is not found somewhere far away. Peace is found where there is caring. Peace is found when you bring joy to your mother instead of suffering. Peace is found when you reach out and make an effort to understand and embrace someone who is different from you. Peace is a competition between despair and hope, between disempowerment and committed persistence. To the degree that powerlessness takes root in people’s consciousness, there is a greater tendency to resort to force. Powerlessness breeds violence. The human spirit is endowed with the ability to transform even the most difficult circumstances, creating value and ever richer meaning. When each person brings this limitless spiritual capacity to full flower, and when ordinary citizens unite in a commitment to positive change, a culture of peace—a century of life—will come into being. We need to awaken to a common consciousness of being all inhabitants of Earth. This consciousness is not to be found in some distant place. It will not be found on a computer screen. It lies in our hearts, in our ability to share the pain of our fellow human beings. It is the spirit that says: “As long as you are suffering, whoever you are and whatever your suffering may be, I suffer also. It was human beings who gave rise to nuclear weapons. It cannot therefore be beyond the power of human wisdom to eliminate them. Buddhism asserts that human life contains within it wisdom and compassion powerful enough to rise above any threat or any temptation to resort to violence. Dialogue and education for peace can help free our hearts from the impulse toward intolerance and the rejection of others. No one is born hating others. Prejudice and discriminatory attitudes are ingrained during the process of growing from childhood into adulthood. It is the younger generations who hold the key to creating peace. Since the ultimate enemy is dehumanization, the ultimate solution must be a revitalization

Everyone can be engaged in education for peace. It can be as simple as taking the time to talk with the children and young people in our lives—in our homes and communities—about the dignity of life and the equality of people. We must never underestimate the impact of such seemingly small efforts. Peace is not simply a matter of living a quiet, detached or carefree life. Peace exists in action—courageously, nonviolently fighting against the injustice that makes people suffer. It is only in such action that we find peace. No matter what the state of society or the times, each of us can contribute to peace in our immediate environment. We can do this by encouraging even one young person and enabling them to tap into their potential. When human beings live together, conflict is inevitable. War is not. “We are in conflict” can be interpreted to mean “we share a problem.” A shared problem can best be met and resolved through shared efforts. Rather than facing off in confrontation, we should turn together to face our common future, united in a shared commitment to the flourishing of youth. If we dig deep enough within the great earth of each person’s life, we find flowing there the same underground channels of empathy and compassion. This source gives rise to an immense range of human diversity, a symphony of life, in which each of us is endowed equally with a unique role and purpose. Human rights start with recognizing the importance of every individual. Peace starts from fostering friendship with others. Peace is the universal wish of humankind. But where is the key to peace to be found? The American peace scholar Elise Boulding once remarked to me that peace is not only about taking action in times of danger, it is also about assisting each other in daily life, and that the family and the local community are key starting points.

Every war, when viewed from the undistorted perspective of life’s sanctity, is a “civil war” waged by humanity against itself. – IKEDAQUOTES.ORG

Peace

1. “It is not my purpose to debate matters of victory or defeat in war or the pros and cons of policies and ideologies; rather, I grieve at the thought that war causes countless people to lose their husbands or wives, and leaves countless people seeking for lost children or parents. There will be people who are killed without warning, and people who lose everything they own and are turned adrift. There will be youths who are killed without understanding why they had to die. There will be old women who cry, ‘I never did anything wrong!’ as they perish. There will be children who wonder if they have any relatives left in this world, including their parents and siblings. And there will be housewives who are convinced it is normal to live with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

2. “If you want to realize peace for all humankind, you must make concrete proposals and take the lead translating them into concrete action.”

3. “Although a movement calling for a ban on the testing of atomic or nuclear weapons has arisen around the world, it is my wish to go further, to attack the problem at its root. I want to expose and rip out the claws that lie hidden in the very depths of such weapons.
“I wish to declare that anyone who ventures to use nuclear weapons, irrespective of their nationality or whether their country is victorious or defeated, should be sentenced to death without exception.
“Why do I say this? Because we, the citizens of the world, have an inviolable right to live. Anyone who jeopardizes that right is a devil incarnate, a fiend, a monster.” – JOSEITODA.ORG

There are basically three different types of people: those you wish to have around you; those whose presence doesn’t make a difference one way or the other; and those whose mere presence disturbs others. Whether at home or in our workplace, we should strive to be the kind of people who are truly necessary and appreciated. -TMAKIGUCHI.ORG

Value Creation for Global Change: Building Resilient and Sustainable Societies (2014)

2014 Peace Proposal (Synopsis)

Download the full 2014 proposal in pdf format

To commemorate January 26, the anniversary of the founding of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), I would like to offer thoughts on how we can redirect the currents of the twenty-first century toward greater hope, solidarity and peace in order to construct a sustainable global society, one in which the dignity of each individual shines with its inherent brilliance.

In light of the increasing incidence of natural disasters and extreme weather events in recent years, as well as severe humanitarian crises caused by international and domestic conflicts, there has been growing stress on the importance of enhancing the resilience of human societies. In the broadest sense, resilience can be thought of in terms of realizing a hopeful future, rooted in people’s natural desire to work together toward common goals.

Reforming and opening up the inner capacities of our lives can enable effective reform and empowerment on a global scale. This is what we in the SGI call human revolution. Its focus is empowerment that brings forth the limitless possibilities of each individual. The steady accumulation of changes on the individual and community level paves the path for humanity to surmount the common issues we face.

The challenge of value creation is that of linking the micro and the macro in ways that reinforce positive transformation on both planes.

The Buddhist philosophy embraced by members of the SGI urges people to live with a sense of purposefulness that can be expressed as a commitment to fulfilling a profound pledge or vow. It encourages people to regard their immediate surroundings as the arena for fulfilling their mission in life, even when beset by great difficulties, and to aspire to create personal narratives that will be a source of enduring hope.

Education for global citizenship

I would like to offer specific proposals focusing on three key areas critical to the effort to create a sustainable global society. The first relates to education with a particular focus on young people.

A summit slated to take place in September 2015 will adopt a new set of global development goals, widely referred to as sustainable development goals (SDGs). I urge that targets related to education be included among these: specifically, to achieve universal access to primary and secondary education, to eliminate gender disparity at all levels and to promote education for global citizenship.

An educational program for global citizenship should deepen understanding of the challenges facing humankind; it should identify the early signs of impending global problems in local phenomena, empowering people to take action; and it should foster the spirit of empathy and coexistence with an awareness that actions that profit one’s own country might have a negative impact or be perceived as a threat by other countries.

Another area that should be a focus of the SDGs along with education is empowering youth. Specifically, I suggest the following guidelines be included in establishing the SDGs:

For all states to strive to secure decent work for all;
For young people to be able to actively participate in solving the problems facing society and the world; and
For the expansion of youth exchanges to foster friendship and solidarity transcending national borders.
Youth exchanges, in particular, help nurture friendship and ties that serve as a bulwark against the collective psychologies of hatred and prejudice. As such, their inclusion in the SDGs would be of great significance.

Strengthening resilience

Second, I would like to propose the establishment of regional cooperative mechanisms to reduce damage from extreme weather and disasters, strengthening resilience in regions such as Asia and Africa.

Disaster preparedness, disaster relief and post-disaster recovery should be treated as an integrated process. To this end, I would like to suggest that neighboring countries establish a system of cooperation for responding to disasters. Through such sustained efforts to cooperate in strengthening resilience and recovery assistance, the spirit of mutual help and support can become the shared culture of the region.

I urge that the pioneering initiative for such regional cooperation be taken in Asia, a region that has been severely impacted by disasters. A successful model here will inspire collaboration in other regions. A foundation for this already exists in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which has a framework for discussing better cooperation. I call on countries in the region to establish an Asia recovery resilience agreement, a framework drawing from the experience of the ARF.

Further, efforts to strengthen resilience through sister-city exchanges and cooperation provide an important basis for creating spaces of peaceful coexistence throughout the region. I strongly urge that a Japan-China-South Korea summit be held at the earliest opportunity to initiate dialogue toward this kind of cooperation, including cooperation on environmental problems.

Abolition of nuclear weapons

The third area I would like to discuss regards proposals for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.

The Final Document of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held in Oslo, Norway, last year have helped encourage efforts by a growing number of governments to place the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons at the center of all discussions of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

Since May 2012, these governments have repeatedly issued Joint Statements on this topic, and the fourth such statement, issued in October 2013, was signed by the governments of 125 states, including Japan and several other states under the nuclear umbrella of nuclear-weapon states.

The shared recognition that nuclear weapons fundamentally differ from other weapons, that they exist on the far side of a line which must not be crossed, and that it is unacceptable to inflict their catastrophic humanitarian consequences on any human being–this recognition holds the key to transcending the very idea that nuclear weapons can be used to realize national security objectives.

I have repeatedly called for a nuclear abolition summit to be held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki next year in 2015, the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of those cities. Specifically, I hope that representatives of the countries that signed the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons, as well as representatives of global civil society and, above all, youthful citizens from throughout the world, will gather in a world youth summit for nuclear abolition to adopt a declaration affirming their commitment to bringing the era of nuclear weapons to an end.

Concurrent with this, I would like to make two concrete proposals. The first is for a nuclear weapons non-use agreement. This would be a natural outcome of placing the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons use at the center of the deliberations for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, and it would be a means of advancing the implementation of Article VI of the NPT under which the nuclear-weapon states have committed to pursuing nuclear disarmament in good faith.

The establishment of a non-use agreement, in which the nuclear-weapon states pledge, as an obligation rooted in the core spirit of the NPT, not to use nuclear weapons against states parties to the treaty, would bring an enhanced sense of physical and psychological security to states that have relied on the nuclear umbrella of their allies, opening the way to security arrangements that are not dependent on nuclear weapons.

The 2016 G8 Summit is scheduled to be held in Japan. An expanded summit dedicated to realizing a world without nuclear weapons could be held in conjunction with this and would provide an opportune venue for making a public pledge to early signing.

My second specific proposal is to utilize the process that is developing around the Joint Statements on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use to broadly enlist international public opinion and catalyze negotiations for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.

It is important that we remember that even a non-use agreement is only a beachhead toward our ultimate goal–the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. That goal will only be realized through accelerated efforts propelled by the united voices of global civil society.

The members of the SGI are determined to continue our efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons and all other causes of misery on Earth, to further our efforts for value creation, working with the world’s youth and all those who are committed to a hopeful vision for the future.

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