Sutras and Commentaries:
  Be a Lamp (Nirvana Sutra)
  World Honored One Flicks Dirt with His Toe (Vimalakirti Sutra)
  Order of Enlightenment (Maka Shikan)
  Calming and Contemplation of Anger (Maka Shikan)
  Blind Heir of a Wealthy Merchant (Maka Shikan)
  Mongolian Wisdom (ancient sayings)
  Mighty Bodhisattva Warriors (13th Dalai Lama)
  Seeing Ourselves as Suchness (Shinnyo kan)
  Wu-lung and I-lung (Writings of Nichiren Daishonin)

  The Spider Thread
  Mr. Makiguchi and Fudo Myo-o
  Taishaku and the Fine Feathered Bird
  A Little Priest Fable
  Shakyamuni and the Lovers
  The Parable of the Zither
  SuShi and the Buddhist Monk
  Wo and Jah
  Stonecutter (Tao of Pooh)
  The Dancing Monk and the Self-Denying Monk
  24 Hours To Die

  The Jewel and the Genome
  Mantras of Kitties
  The Mantras of Other Beings
  The Wave Theory of Karma
  Water Karma
  Gandhi on Anger
  Buddhas' Footprints
  The Great Wish, the DaiGohonzon, and the SGI
  The Gakkai Spirit

  The Daimoku Parrot
  The Excommunicated Newlyweds

The Effect of Thunderbolts on Ivory 
(or Are You Enlightened?) 

How can you tell when you reach enlightenment? 

The Nirvana Sutra teaches: 

"For example, when in the sky thunderbolts flash and clouds arise, flowers [seem to] appear on all ivory. Without thunderbolts no flowers would appear, nor would there even be names for them. The Buddha nature of animate beings is like this, for being constantly obscured by defilements, it cannot be seen. This is why I teach that animate beings are without self. If one can hear this marvelous scripture called Mahaparinirvana*, then he perceives [his own] Buddha-nature, like flowers on ivory. Even if he has heard all the samadhis** of the [Hinayana] sutras, he will not understand the subtle marks of the Tathagata*** if he has not heard this sutra, just as no flowers can be seen on ivory without a thunderbolt. But having heard this sutra, he will understand the secret treasury of the Buddha-nature preached by all the Tathagatas, just as flowers may be seen on ivory by the light of a thunderbolt. Having heard this scripture, he will immediately understand that all the numberless animate beings have a Buddha-nature." 
The Nirvana Sutra quoted in Great Calming and Contemplation
(an English translation of the Maka Shikan), p. 126
The thunderbolt is our own awakening, allowing us to see the enlightenment (flowers on ivory) of all others. 

Nichiren Daishonin wrote: 

"Once you realize that your own life is the Mystic Law, you will realize that so are the lives of all others."  from "On Attaining Buddhahood" 
If you see the Buddha-nature in all things, then you are enlightened. 


*   Mahaparinirvana The Great Nirvana Sutra. 
** Samadhis Meditations. "Sanmai" in Gongyo (the SGI recitation of portions of the Lotus Sutra). 
***Tathagata "Thus come one." "Nyorai" in Gongyo (see note above). 


This image is from
it is an ivory mirror from Turkey.