Friday, June 28, 2013

I Am Practising. Then Why Don't I Feel Happy?

Gosho: On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime

“If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured throughout eternity and attain supreme enlightenment in this lifetime, you must awaken to the mystic truth which has always been within your life. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth within you.

In this brief passage, the Daishonin poses the fundamental problem of human existence and also points the way to its solution.

To escape suffering and seek happiness is the natural desire of human beings. Nichiren Daishonin teaches that we can overcome our sufferings by awakening to the truth that has always been within our life. In this way, he teaches that all people already have the gem of the Buddha nature (Myoho-renge-kyo) within. By discovering it, we can enjoy the supreme enlightenment right here in this mundane world.

But it is not enough for us merely to understand intellectually that our own life is the entity of the Mystic Law. The Daishonin teaches us that we must come to have deep faith in our own Buddha nature. Thus he admonishes us, “even though you chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the Mystic Law but some inferior teaching.” In practical terms, to “think that the Law is outside oneself” means to seek both the causes and solutions to one’s problems in the environment. In this sense, to think that others are responsible for our happiness, or that we cannot find fulfilment until someone else changes, or to measure our own self-worth solely in terms of our bank balance, the type of job we hold, or any other transient, external circumstance, might all be considered examples of “seeking the Law outside oneself.”

Whenever we think in this way, we forget the unlimited power we possess within to change our destiny for the better. Our Buddhist practice which should by rights be a source of boundless joy, starts to feel like an “endless, painful austerity.”

The Daishonin firmly negated any idea that points to external solutions as fundamental. The way to establish indestructible happiness is to manifest joy within our moment to moment existence through our Buddhist practice. We cannot find true happiness if we seem merely to escape and unpleasant situation. Rather when we resolve to face reality courageously, and change it for the better by our chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we will be charting a correct course toward a happy life.

Source: George M Williams, Vice President SGI

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