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DAISAKU IKEDA ON HOPE

8 April 2015

No matter what kind of difficult situation one may find oneself in, some opening, some opportunity to fight one’s way out, can always be found. What’s most important is to hold fast to hope, to face the future with courage. Resolve to be the “sun.” Then no matter what problems you may face, the dawn will always break, fine weather will always return, and spring will never fail to come. Even in the face of the severe crisis confronting humanity today, I cannot side with the advocates of apocalypse. Rather than the spurs and promptings of fear, we can best negotiate the challenges we face when guided by a vision of hope. When we limit ourselves with low expectations, the growth of the tree of happiness ceases. The power of growth, of improvement, the power to overcome all stagnation and break through every obstacle and transform a barren wasteland into a verdant field—that unstoppable power of hope resides right within your own heart. Hope transforms pessimism into optimism. Hope is invincible. Hope changes everything. It changes winter into summer, darkness into dawn, descent into ascent, barrenness into creativity, agony into joy. Hope is the sun. It is light. It is passion. It is the fundamental force for life’s blossoming. Material wealth does not necessarily make for happiness. Nor does fame. Hope is life’s greatest treasure. A life without hope is bleak and gray. If you have no hope, create some. When we change, the world changes. The key to all change is in our inner transformation—a change of our hearts and minds. This is human revolution. We all have the power to change. When we realize this truth, we can bring forth that power anywhere, anytime, and in any situation.

Hope is the secret to a robust life force. When we possess the treasure of hope, it gives rise to other treasures, too. Hope draws forth our inner potential and strength. Hope is a magic weapon that enables us to make our dreams come true. As long as one has hope, there is nothing one cannot achieve; everything is born from hope. No matter how hopeless or bleak things appear, the moment always comes when suddenly our spirit revives, and hope is reborn. That is why we must never give up. Age is not an excuse for giving up. Allowing yourself to grow passive and draw back is a sign of personal defeat. There may be a retirement age at work, but there is no retirement age in life. Our life force, our fundamental energy, is fueled by hope. “Hope,” Beethoven cried, “you forge the heart into steel.” Hope is confidence. Hope is determination. Hope is courage. And faith is the ultimate expression of hope. Belief fortifies the heart.

No matter what may have happened yesterday, a new day of fresh possibility has dawned. You are not the same person today as you were yesterday! Our hopes, desires and ambitions are powerful forces existing within us for the shaping of the future. They are the generating forces that create the future. To lose hope or give up one’s goals because of the setbacks of the moment is to diminish one’s own life potential. Hopes, dreams, faith and sense of mission enable us to open up our lives. No matter how long the cold, bleak days of winter may continue, winter always turns to spring. This is the law of the universe and the law of life. As long as we hold on to hope, spring is sure to come. Where there’s life, there’s hope. Hope only disappears when you decide something is hopeless. Effort and hard work construct the bridge that connects your dreams to reality. Those who make steady efforts are full of hope. And hope, in turn, arises from steady efforts. Embrace your dreams and advance as far as they can take you.

 

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