Building a Kosen Rufu Library in Singapore

By Kia Piao

Ever since taking up faith, I read that Nichiren Daishonin prayed to be the wisest man of Japan in order to determine what is true Buddhism. As for myself, I wanted to read all literature on Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.

As a result, I took one year to complete reading the seven volumes of the Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, and another two years to complete reading seven volumes of Buddhism in Action by Ikeda Sensei. After these, I went on to read various other books and today, I am still hungry and eager for new literature. In Singapore where I am from, the Soka Association (which is the SGI-Singapore, though we name it Singapore Soka Association) holds a book fair every year at one of its culture centers. And I never fail to attend to purchase the books for my own reading programme for the next year.  

Over the years, I have accumulated quite a number of books, filling up a bookshelf, which I call my own kosen rufu library. Whenever I can encourage another member, I photocopy some articles from my books for this purpose.

In my contact with our General Director of Singapore Soka Association, I found that in his office, he also has a whole book shelf of literature on Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism just like mine.

I also have the opportunity to talk to our Soka Priest who works in our Singapore Soka Association (he belongs to the Reform Priests). Again, I find that he too has a shelf of similar literature.

I delight at the thought that in our faith, practice, and study, we should build our own kosen rufu library over the years of our diligent study.

Not only that, sometimes delightful discoveries can be found in such efforts. I have a book entitled "Creative Family" wherein our Ikeda Sensei wrote about his "love at first sight." He was in the Young Men's Division and his wife was in the Young Women's Division, and they met at a Gakkai meeting. Sensei took out a piece of paper and wrote a poem for her. The poem said that when he saw her, his heart had begun to beat faster. He folded the poem and handed it to her and told her to read it only when she had gone back. From then on, love blossomed!

Here's Sensei's words on his cupid pursuit (from "Creative Family"):

"One day in July, I arrived early at her house, where one of our meetings was to be held. No one else had arrived yet, and we were alone in the room. It was raining outside; there were occasional rolls of thunder. As we sat facing each other in silence, something like lightning struck my heart. I found myself picking up a stray piece of paper lying nearby, and I began to write a poem:
My heart in the midst of the storm,
My heart beats fast.
Does my heart beat fast because of the storm?
No, it is to a mysterious melody.
Oh, this throbbing heart!
I find in your heart a spring.
May flowers bloom within your heart 
"When she started to open the folded paper I had handed to her, I stopped her, saying, 'Please read it later.' Obediently, she put it in her handbag. After that we started to exchange letters."
Over the years, my readings from my kosen-rufu library have helped to nurture the growth of my faith and conviction in the correctness of our way of living. In times of uncertainty, especially when hoping for a good job to come when unemployed, passages from Gosho never failed to keep my confidence going to face the cold uncertainties in this present competitive world. Be a demon with an iron staff. Be courageous to wield the sharp sword of the mystic law. And go get the job.

In times of victory, such as having got the job I wanted, I feel complacent and tend to rest on my laurels in euphoria. Then, I feel lazy about gongyo, but I feel more willing to begin "Myo ho renge kyo. Ho ben pon" whenever I recall Sensei writing that we move in rhythm with the entire universe during gongyo. This recollection makes my gongyo feel more dignified and adds a sense of mysticism to the atmosphere of my altar for gongyo. Indeed, every gongyo session is a rare occasion to move with the entire universe, and I have treasured gongyo more ever since reading this guidance on gongyo.

And this passage from the Gosho "On the Treasure Tower," Major Writings, Volume 1, page 30, has kept me persisting in gongyo over the years, as I like the thought of being endowed with the seven jewels adorning our bodily Treasure Tower:

"You, yourself, are a true Buddha who possesses the three enlightened properties. You should chant Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo with this conviction. Then, the place wherein you dwell and chant daimoku is the place of the Treasure Tower. The Sutra reads: Wherever one teaches the Lotus Sutra, this Treasure Tower of mine will rise and appear before him."
I would also quote here from the Gosho "Repaying Debts of Gratitude" from Major Writings, Volume 4, page 171:
"What can we say, then of persons who are devoting themselves to Buddhism? Surely they should not forget the debts of gratitude they owe to their parents, their teachers and their country. But if one intends to repay these great debts of gratitude, he can hope to do so only if he studies and masters the Buddhist teachings, becoming a person of wisdom. If he does not, he will be like a man who attempts to lead a company of the blind over bridges and across rivers when he himself has sightless eyes."
So, continue building your kosen-rufu libraries, you will never know when what you have read will encourage a fellow child of the Buddha, just as my readings have kept me brave in the face of upheavals and have plodded me on with my practice in the comfort and complacency of victories.