Oct 20, 2010

Winning Over Yourself

Author unknown 

The expressions "triumph" and "victory" are words that are part of a vocabulary that is often used in Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism as well in SGI activities and in our own vocabulary as practitioners. In general, in society at present we are constantly confronted with these concepts related to a policy of consumerism. To name just a few examples, phrases like "the woman 10", "Bio Bodies", cars, houses, cigarettes, positions at work and even clothes are associated with success in one's life.

However, quoting President Ikeda, the period of "El Senorito Satisfecho" that worried Ortega and Gasset more than 60 years ago, refers exactly to our days. The truth is that although the average person of a modern industrialized country carries on a life that not even the kings and aristocrats from the past would have dreamed of, in relation to material progress, this has not been enough, of course, to determine "triumph" or "victory" in life.

Even practicing Buddhism we can confuse are idea of "actual proof" with fantasy. We shouldn't expect the triumph over ourselves, for example, to be so striking as to leave everybody shocked and hallucinated. In daily life, even when our basic needs to live are satisfied or when the idea of success is measured by our material satisfaction, whether or not imposed by the environment, it is extremely hard to relate it to a true sense of 'triumph". The victory over oneself in Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is related to winning over the fundamental darkness, inherent in human beings themselves.

This fundamental darkness has two aspects: on the one hand it can manifest itself as a feeling of resignation, a low opinion of oneself that leads to seeking happiness in an external power. On the other hand, it manifests itself as a perverse pleasure in controlling others and exerting power over others. This last aspect is what Buddhism calls "the devil of the sixth heaven" 

The Devil of the Sixth Heaven - explains Daisaku Ikeda - can be viewed as lives fundamental tendency to use everything and everybody to attain one's own goals. In a way, this is a natural tendency, common to all human beings, whereas developing our compassion, love for human kind, the spirit of serving others and of improving the environment are great qualities, that are extremely difficult to develop. Whatever the reality of our lives might be at this very moment, as long as we chant Nam-myoho-rengue-kyo in order to find solutions to our problems, we get stronger and are able to see how our own map of the world is.

Little by little we turn the prism and that, which seemed heavy and difficult at the beginning, because we made it dependent on the external world, starts transforming through our own change, into an opportunity to grow in our own life and to create value in our environment. Fundamental darkness is when we do not deeply understand the "inseparability of oneself and the universe". Because of this ignorance about the real nature of life, people try to use any thing and any being in the universe, as a simple tool. This is the function of the "devil of the sixth heaven" of the evil nature of power.

The "me" lacking identification with the "other" is not sensitive to the pain, anguish and suffering of others. In this life state there is a tendency to confine him/herself to his/her own world either by feeling threatened by the smallest provocation and developing violent behavior or by trying to get through situations without taking responsibility or thinking of others. The Lotus Sutra teaches that the "me" equals the universe and its concrete practice is to show compassion, and to respect and honor everybody as if they were the treasure tower, and to make others happy because "me" and the "others" are the same thing.

In the same way that Buddhahood is not a goal but refers to the continuous and daily effort to make our enlightened nature emerge, we should never have a relaxed attitude towards our practice, thinking that we have won definitively over our fundamental darkness because of having many years of practice.

In the final analysis, victory over oneself is to win every day in one's circumstances and in the place where one is and over one's fundamental darkness, one's own negative tendency. The accumulation of each daily victory is what finally will become victory in life, the victory over oneself. 

Gosho Phrase
You must never seek any of Shakyamuni's teachings or the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the universe outside yourself. Your mastery of the Buddhist teachings will not relieve you of mortal sufferings in the least unless you perceive the nature of your own life. If you seek enlightenment outside yourself, any discipline or good deed will be meaningless. (On attaining Buddhahood. Main Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 1, Page 4 )
The accumulation of each daily victory is what finally will represent the victory in life, the victory over oneself. 

The victory over oneself is to win everyday in one's circumstances in the place where I am and to win over my own fundamental darkness

1 comment:

Artman2112 said...

very interesting post! makes it clear that Buddhism, like any other worthwhile endeavor, takes practice to be perfect :D

verification word: awagna

like, Natalie Woods husband was awagna