We all have roles to play in our lives – whether parents or partners, workers or students. Faith in Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings enables us to fulfill those roles and realize the human potential unique to each of us. The more we strive to apply the Buddhist practice, we uncover its validity and thus further deepen our faith. Nichiren Buddhism is rooted in reality and stresses the inseparability of faith and daily life. We are not Buddhist only when praying or attending meetings. As we utilize the inner strength, wisdom and compassion from our practice at home or work, we can truly experience the value of Buddhism. Therefore, if we neglect the responsibilities and challenges we find in our families, communities or society, we cannot be said to have a proper understanding of faith. Faith permeates daily activities, and our homes and offices are the very places to show the Daishonin’s teaching of humanism and compassion.
We all have many challenges in life. Sometimes we use our faith as an excuse for inaction or as an escape from harsh realities. If we take the easy-going attitude, "The Gohonzon will take care of all my problems for me," we are being irresponsible and disguising it as faith. Or, if we use our practice as a license to cause suffering – whether to Buddhist or non-Buddhists, thinking, "I can do whatever I please because I chant," then such an attitude must be considered arrogant. As we pray to the Gohonzon we should take concrete action, challenging ourselves each step of the way. As we know more about the Daishonin's teachings, we should practice what we learn. Action without prayer is like a spinning wheel, but prayer without action is merely wishful thinking.
When we pray to the Gohonzon "as earnestly as though to produce fire from damp wood, or to obtain water from parched ground," (WND, pg 444), we can definitely make possible what previously seemed impossible. Buddhism flourishes only when it takes deep root in the midst of reality.
(From the March 200 issue of Living Buddhism, the SGI-USA's monthly publication)