Jul 19, 2010

Daimoku—A “Lion’s Roar” of Happiness and Victory

(President Ikeda's Editorial 
 Translated from the November 2007 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai monthly study journal)

a joyous song of life
let us vibrantly chant
invigorating daimoku.

The daimoku of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo serves as the hope-filled driving force for all people to realize their deepest wish of making the most of each and every day and leading a worthwhile and victorious life while brimming with the joy of being alive.
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings states: “Great joy [is what] one experiences when one understands for the first time that one’s mind from the very beginning has been the Buddha. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys” (OTT, 211–12).

The resonant chanting of daimoku is a supreme paean to human dignity and life, proclaiming that we ourselves are entities of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It is an invincible roar that fills our being with the immeasurable and unlimited power of the Buddha and the Law.

My mentor Josei Toda, who awakened to the essence of the Mystic Law during his imprisonment at the hands of the Japanese militarist authorities, gave the following guidance: “You must have this conviction: ‘I chanted with all my heart this morning. I’m going to do so again tonight. And I can chant right now. Therefore, whatever happens, I know everything will be all right.’ Chanting wholeheartedly through to the very end is the quintessential way to achieve the best possible outcome in all things.”

is an acclamation
of victory,
so chant confidently,
with the roar of a lion.

According to Indian philosopher Dr. Lokesh Chandra, with whom I have conducted a dialogue, Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) included Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in the prayers of his ashram. Gandhi, he said, recognized daimoku as the ultimate expression of the cosmic power that resides within each of us and a manifestation of life resonating with the ultimate rhythm of the universe.

In a letter to Gandhi, the French author Romain Rolland (1866–1944) wrote: “True prayer is [that] which, like yours, is offered in the midst of action.” Prayer leads to action. Prayer is the engine.

When Mr. Toda’s businesses were facing their direst crisis, I chanted resolutely to support my mentor and to build a new Soka Gakkai. I chanted and took action; took action and chanted. I prayed and exerted myself with all my being to transform the situation. There is no weapon more powerful than daimoku.

As Mr. Toda’s disciple, I strove all out in the spirit that the Daishonin describes as “diligent practice, exhausting the pains and trials of millions of kalpas in a single moment of life” (cf. OTT, 214). Through all these efforts, I was finally able to present my mentor with the accomplishment of total victory.

The prayers
of our great Soka women
are utterly fearless—
may they thoroughly
enjoy each day.

“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?” (WND-1, 412), writes the Daishonin. Whenever you face an obstacle or challenge in life, vigorously set to chanting daimoku until it has been surmounted. Daimoku is a lion’s roar. It is the fundamental means for vanquishing all devilish functions and eradicating all evil.

Speaking of the tremendous power of the Mystic Law to transform poison into medicine, Mr. Toda declared: “We are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and the followers of the Daishonin. We were born into this world as people who undergo various sufferings in order to demonstrate just how happy we can become through the power of the Mystic Law. Faith means leading a wonderful and meaningful life.”

In the history of the Soka Gakkai, in particular, we must never forget how the power of the earnest daimoku of our women’s and young women’s division members has enabled us to overcome innumerable trials and tribulations.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “But no matter how others may chant Nam-myoho- renge-kyo, if they are persons who show enmity toward Nichiren, then without fail they will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. And then, after countless kalpas have passed, they will become Nichiren’s disciples and will succeed in attaining Buddhahood” (WND-2, 457). This applies equally to those who seek to harm the Soka Gakkai, which practices in the true lineage of the Daishonin.

Speaking to a pioneering member practicing alone in the early days of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (lit. Value-creating Education Society; forerunner of the Soka Gakkai), founding president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi said: “When the Daishonin first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, he was completely alone. The fact that you are the only one in your community to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo right now means that—in accord with the principle of bodhisattvas emerging from the earth—a second, and a third, and then a hundred others and more, all sharing the mission for kosen-rufu, will eventually appear.” Here we find the eternal formula for increasing our ranks of capable people in the realm of faith.

In Moscow 33 years ago (in 1974), at the height of the Cold War, I said to those accompanying me: “Let’s imbue the rich earth of Mother Russia with our daimoku. Someday, a steady stream of bodhisattvas will emerge from the earth here, too.” And that is exactly what has happened, and will continue to happen into the future.

Dr. Lou Marinoff, founding president of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (APPA), with whom I have engaged in dialogue, said he was struck by the powerful sound of SGI members chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, a practice that, he noted, was open to all people and served as a means for attuning one’s life with the dynamic rhythm of the universe.

Those who base their lives on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are philosophers possessing complete inner freedom, shining with a wisdom and vitality that are one with the universe and creating value in the promotion of peace and justice.
Mahatma Gandhi declared: “Prayer from the heart can achieve what nothing else can in the world.”

With optimistic confidence,
chant powerful daimoku
and win again today.


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