Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Guidelines on Personal Wishes

I am starting with a 'Guidelines' series. These will basically consist of excerpts from this wonderful book called 'Guidelines in faith' by Mr Satoru Izumi. It is an official Soka Gakkai book that is no longer in print. My mother and I were fortunate enough to get a copy long back when we started practising and found it extremely helpful to develop a correct attitude towards our practice of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism. This book has been vetted by Sensei Ikeda.

Personal Wishes

I am sure that each and every one of you has some thing or other which worries you. Worry arises when your wishes are not realized. You feel happy when your wishes are fulfilled, and you find yourselves troubled when they are not.

Some people are concerned only with their own personal wishes and desires. It is important to remind these people that one should pray, not only for personal matters, but also for kosen-rufu. On the other hand, some members take too casual an attitude toward their everyday lives, believing that since they are praying for the realization of kosen-rufu, their own problems will all be solved automatically. Such people often begin to harbour doubts and ask, “I am always praying for kosen-rufu. Why doesn’t my personal situation improve?”

President Toda used to teach us in the following way: “Suppose you put rice and water in a pot, and then chant to the Gohonzon that it will cook. No matter how long you chant, you ‘ll never get boiled rice.” By this he was refuting the mistaken Idea that benefits will come our way of themselves, if we only chant daimoku and make no further effort. We chant in order to gain wisdom- the wisdom which tells us to light the stove first and which helps us adjust the amount of water and the strength of the fire so that we can boil rice which is neither too hard nor too soft.

True, we should sincerely pray for kosen-rufu. However, as long as we take an easy-going attitude, thinking that things will improve automatically, they rarely will. If we are to work for kosen-rufu, our own lives must be established on a firm foundation, which we must do our utmost to construct. It is necessary, then, that we pray both for the attainment of kosen-rufu and for the solution of our own personal problems when we face the Gohonzon.

Source: Guidelines of Faith by Satoru Izumi

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