"Gongyo is a practice which calls forth and activates the infinite power that the microcosm inherently possesses. It transforms your fate, breaks through any apparent dead end and converts sufferings into happiness. It creates a transformation, a revolution of the microcosm. It is a diagram in miniature of kosen-rufu in our lives."SGI President Daisaku Ikeda gave the following speech during a youth division training session held in the auditorium of the Soka University, Los Angeles, campus on February 19th. Some 200 SGI youth division members from various youth division support groups and eighty students from Soka Women’s Junior College who were attending SULA’s spring session participated in the meeting.
Law Leads You to Absolute Happiness
Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism teaches that our existence is identical to the universe as a whole, and the universe as a whole is identical to our existence. Each individual human life is a microcosm.
The practice of gongyo is a grand and noble rite to achieve the vital communication to the microcosm of each person’s existence with the universe, based on the Gohonzon.
The correspondence of each part of our bodies to parts of the universe is proof that our existence is a microcosm. Our heads are round like the heavens above us are round, and our eyes are like the sun and the moon. We close them and open them, like day and night. Our hair shines like the sparkling stars. Our eyebrows are like the seven stars of the Big Dipper.
Our breath is the wind, and the quiet breathing from our nostrils is like the still air of the valleys and dales.
There are some 360 joints in the human and they stand for the days of the year. The twelve major joints signify the twelve months.
The warm, front side of our body — our abdomen and stomach — is spring and summer. The cold hard back is fall and winter.
Our blood vessels and arteries are streams and rivers. When we suffer a cerebral hemorrhage, it is as if a dam or dike has burst. Our bones are stones, and our skin and muscle are like the earth. Our body hair is a forest.
Buddhist scriptures discuss in detail these correspondences including each of the internal organs, teaching that our body is indeed a universe in miniature.
There are clouds in the heavens. The wind blows, the stars twinkle. There are oceans on earth. The rivers flow. Volcanoes erupt. And great quantities of metals and minerals — gold, silver, copper, potassium, calcium — lie in the earth’s depths.
The activities and qualities of all these materials are also incorporated in our bodies.
The infinite elementary particles of the cosmos — atoms, protons, photons, electrons, neutrons, and all the rest — microscopic animals such as bacteria, the activities of good and evil, and the laws of gravity, the conservation of mass and energy, and all other laws of the universe also apply in almost the same fashion to the microcosm of our bodies.
A look at the operation of our bodies suggests that they are great pharmaceutical plants. They have the capability to produce the drugs we need to preserve our health. They take in food and transform it into nourishment and energy.
The human brain has the capability of a giant computer — even though we may not always be able to use it!
The sixty trillion cells of our bodies work together in their established order in a perfect biorhythm. This is the original order of things.
Law That Pervades Individual Existence and the Universe
That is how subtle the natural order is. And further, a firm and irrevocable law of the universe exists. This holds true for the microcosm as well.
It is science that pursues this invisible but truly existent law, and technology is the invention of machines and other devices based on the fruits of scientific research.
Nichiren Daishonin discovered and awoke to the great law of all existence that underlies all the partial laws governing all spiritual and physical phenomena, and it was he who revealed that law to humanity as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This Mystic Law applies equally to the universe as a whole and to each and every individual human existence. The universe and the individual are one in this Mystic Law.
Under certain circumstances, an invisible law takes form as a visible existence. The individual human existence, for example, emerges out of its state of fusion with the rest of the universe by taking shape in the womb and being born in the world.
A ship can be regarded as a tangible representation of the law of buoyancy, just as an airplane is a representation of the laws of aerodynamics, a radio or television program a representation of the law of electromagnetic waves. All of these objects give shape to invisible laws.
The fundamental law of the universe and individual existence is also invisible. The Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon as a visual representation of that Mystic Law for the people of the world. The Lotus Sutra and other Buddhist scriptures are the instruction manuals for the Gohonzon.
Josei Toda, my teacher and the second president of the Soka Gakkai, explained the Gohonzon in an easily comprehensible way as "a machine to produce happiness."
When we practice gongyo and chant daimoku before the Gohonzon, our individual existence is perfectly harmonized with the universe.
Both the universe and our individual existence are the concrete manifestation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as is the Gohonzon. That is why when we practice gongyo and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the Gohonzon, our existence and the universe mesh as perfectly as two gears, and with an initial creak begin to work together.
The single life-moment (ichinen) of the individual becomes one with the three thousand (sanzen) factors and realms of the universe and begins to produce great value. This is the concrete practice of ichinen sanzen.
Through that practice we can acquire wisdom and good fortune, and glow with the energy to overcome any obstacle throughout the four seasons, three hundred sixty-five days a year; we can enter the way to the eternal happiness and attain eternity, joy, true self and purity (jo raku ga jo).
Gongyo is a practice which calls forth and activates the infinite power that the microcosm inherently possesses. It transforms your fate, breaks through any apparent dead end and converts sufferings into happiness. It creates a transformation, a revolution of the microcosm. It is a diagram in miniature of kosen-rufu in our lives.
The kosen-rufu that is our aim is a movement to transform the universe, the Earth and human society into a world of peace, comfort and harmony in accord with the rhythm of the Mystic Law.
of Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime, Which Leads to Eternal Happiness
Gongyo and chanting daimoku are like starting the automobile’s engine every day and driving in the direction of happiness and truth.
By doing so day after day, you will gradually attain perfect unity with the universe and the Law. That state is the state of the Buddha.
Once that has happened, you will be able to enjoy yourself with complete freedom for all eternity. Your existence will be a diamond that will never perish throughout the three existences.
To attain Buddhahood in this life, the Daishonin warns us with firm concern that we must never retreat in our practice.
Even though we may experience a period of sadness or depression, the principle that earthly desires are enlightenment teaches us that great sufferings are bound to be transformed into equally great joy, progress and value. There is nothing to fear, since the Gohonzon possesses the infinite power of the Law and the Buddha.
We often say that strong faith, valiant and untiring practice and courageous acts are important. This is an expression of the truth that without a strong will and courageous practice it is impossible to achieve great things.
You will not be able to communicate in a discussion with another unless you are clear and direct. If you lack the courage of your convictions and mumble vague things, you won’t make any impression on your listener. Nor can you strike a chord in his heart. And of course you will not be able to move or convince him. To do that you need to be very determined and sure.
Isn’t the same thing true of love?
It’s certainly true in a job interview. Unless you present your thoughts clearly and forcefully, you won’t make any impression on the interviewer. In other words, mental determination and courageous actions can change any situation and they possess a critical capability to produce happiness.
Song of Life Is to Be Found in Action
Whatever you do, to achieve something better, to reach a higher level, you need a push.
Buddhism teaches practice for oneself and practice for others. If either one is lacking, you cannot practice properly.
The Gohonzon is the concrete manifestation of the very existence of Nichiren Daishonin, who taught kosen-rufu. Because of that, if you only practice gongyo and chant the daimoku and don’t take any other action for the sake of kosen rufu or improving your own life, the Gohonzon will not have its true, full effect.
If, however, you take actions to achieve kosen-rufu, they will serve as that extra push for your own life and help you leap to higher and higher states of mind in your gongyo and chanting as well.
And it is only natural that the energy you acquire through the gongyo practice for yourself will be channeled back into your activities for others, for kosen-rufu.
The fact is that the practice of gongyo and your actions in service of kosen-rufu will become one, and together they will unlock the infinite power of the Mystic Law in your life.
In Buddhism, practice is faith. That means action is faith, and without action there can be no true faith. The action I speak of is the way of practice for oneself and for others that is taught in Nichiren Daishonin’s writings.
Action is the source of blessings and merits. In propagating the teachings, for example, whether the person you are presenting the teachings to arouses faith or not is his problem. The effects of our action of propagating will vary, depending on the person’s capacities and other conditions.
There is no need at all to rejoice or lament over each effect. You can be proud that you have practiced the truest, most wonderful law of life in the universe to the best of your ability and go forward with your head held high. One who has acted for the sake of kosen-rufu is already a great victor in life.
The words "the heads of those who cause affliction will be split in seven pieces" are written on the Gohonzon.
This is a warning that it is wrong to seek to harm this law of your own being.
Abandoning the teachings or slandering them are self-destructive actions that are bound to split you apart.
We also find the words "those who make offerings will acquire blessings surpassing the Buddha’s ten names."
This forceful statement tells us that the merits of one who make offerings to the Gohonzon and spreads the teaching will be far greater than the magnificent merits of the one who makes offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha. This is a promise that our personal microcosm will absorb the nourishment of all the blessings in the macrocosm, the whole universe, and be elevated to a state of existence of the highest happiness itself.
Thus we know that the children of the Buddha who strive for kosen-rufu are each guaranteed to attain the ultimate degree of happiness. There is no one who will be more blessed.
Present and Future
When we worship the Gohonzon, the eternal life of time without beginning wells up within us. Our faith is that every day, every instant begins from time without beginning.
We are always setting out, full of hope, from today to the future, from this moment to eternal happiness. We are always young, always beginning.
My message to
you is that you must be absolutely certain of this and live your wonderful
lives without regret, with joy and brightness, always moving forward.