SJ/Buddhist Food for Thought 050515 SGI-UK/Japan

A translation of President Ikeda’s “To My Friends”
published in the Seikyo Shimbun and more.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
Please be very careful not to cause a traffic accident.
Don’t let your eyes be distracted from the road
or exceed the speed limit when driving!
Remembering never to be careless
or overconfident about your driving skills
let’s have a valuable and meaningful break*!

* Japan is currently in the middle of several back to back national holidays called Golden Week.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
“Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbour doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life.”

(The Opening of the Eyes
– The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin,
Vol. 1, page 283)
Selection Source: SGI President Ikeda’s essay,
Seikyo Shinbun, May 5th, 2015

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
“Various Buddhist scriptures give the Buddha similar names, such as ‘Victory in Battle,’ ‘Victorious Leader,’ ‘Triumphant Force,’ ‘Superior One,’ ‘Superior Banner,’ ‘Heroic Subduer of Devilish Forces,’ and ‘Ten Power–Wielding[1] Conqueror of Devilish Forces.'[2]

“In other words, the Buddha is the leader who triumphs in the struggle against devilish functions. Victory attests to the power of Buddhism, the power of faith.

“Referring to his battle with devilish forces, Nichiren Daishonin writes:

“’The devil king of the sixth[3] has roused the ten kinds of troops and, in the midst of the sea of the sufferings of birth and death, is at war with the votary of the Lotus Sutra to stop him from taking possession of and to wrest away from him this impure land where both ordinary people and sages dwell.[4]

“‘It has been twenty or more years now since I found myself in that situation and began the great battle. Not once have I thought of retreat. (WND-2, 465)

“The “ten kinds of troops” refers to various kinds of earthly desires or deluded impulses. The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom[4] lists them as follows:

(1) Greed. (Becoming attached to the five desires[5] and neglecting one’s Buddhist practice as a result.)

(2) Discouragement. (Being depressed and listless.)

(3) Hunger and thirst. (Being assailed by these desires.)

(4) Craving. (Decline resulting from desire or attachment. It includes attachments stemming from love or sexual desire, or addiction to substances such as alcohol or other forms of pleasure-seeking.)

(5) Sleepiness. (This doesn’t mean that we are supposed to give up sleep. It refers rather to a lazy and negligent attitude or way of life. It may also include not making any serious attempt to improve oneself and just getting by with the least possible effort.)

(6) Fear. (Succumbing to one’s anxieties and being cowardly.)

(7) Doubt and regret. (Devilish functions that try to lead practitioners astray and cause them to doubt or regret the path they are pursuing.)

(8) Anger. (Allowing angry thoughts to obstruct one’s practice.)

(9) Fame, fortune, and false glory. (Allowing attachment to material gain and worldly reputation lead one away from the path of attaining Buddhahood.)

(10) Arrogance and contempt for others. (Thinking highly of oneself and scorning others.)

“This last characteristic of arrogance, incidentally, has been exhibited by all who, until now, have abandoned their practice and attacked the Soka Gakkai. Indeed, they have allowed themselves to be defeated by all ten of the devil king’s armies, captured by them, and enlisted in their ranks.

“What is the weapon for vanquishing these ten armies? It is none other than the ‘sharp sword’ of faith.

“That’s why leaders of kosen-rufu need, first and foremost, to be courageous people of strong faith. Otherwise, no matter how excellent and accomplished they may seem, they will not be victorious in the battle against devilish forces at the fundamental level of life.

“Strong faith is the measure of a truly strong person.”

SGI Newsletter No. 9238, The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, Part 2: Human Revolution, Chapter 9: Buddhism Is about Winning, from the April 2015 issue of the Daibyaku-renge, translation released 30th April, 2015

[1] The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom: A comprehensive commentary on the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra, traditionally attributed to Nagarjuna (c. 150–250). Only the Chinese version translated by Kumarajiva exists today. The work explains the concepts of wisdom and of non-substantiality, and the bodhisattva ideal and the six paramitas, among others. It also incorporates concepts from the Lotus Sutra and other Mahayana sutras, and is considered an extremely important work of Mahayana thought in general.

[2] Five desires: The desires that arise from the contact of the five sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body) with their respective objects (color and form, sound, smell, taste, and texture).

[1] Ten powers: The powers of a Buddha. They are (1) the power of knowing what is true and what is not; (2) the power of knowing karmic causality at work in the lives of all beings throughout past, present, and future; (3) the power of knowing all stages of concentration, emancipation, and meditation; (4) the power of knowing the state of life of all people; (5) the power of judging all people’s understanding; (6) the power of discerning the superiority or inferiority of all people’s capacity; (7) the power of knowing the effects of all people’s actions; (8) the power of remembering past lifetimes; (9) the power of knowing when each person will be born and die, and in what realm that person will be reborn; and (10) the power of eradicating all illusions.

[2] These names are found in the Great Majesty Dharani Sutra (Chin. Daweide tuoluoni jing; Jpn. Dai-itoku darani-kyo) and other sutras.

[3] Devil king of the sixth heaven: Also, devil king or heavenly devil. The king of devils, who dwells in the highest or the sixth heaven of the world of desire. He is also named Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others, the king who makes free use of the fruits of others’ efforts for his own pleasure. Served by innumerable minions, he obstructs Buddhist practice and delights in sapping the life force of other beings, the manifestation of the fundamental darkness inherent in life. The devil king is a personification of the negative tendency to force others to one’s will at any cost.

[4] “This impure land where both ordinary people and sages dwell” refers to this saha world, where common mortals of the six paths (the realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human beings, and heavenly beings) and sages of the four noble worlds (the realms of voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas) dwell together. One of the four kinds of lands described in the doctrine of the T’ien-t’ai school of Buddhism.

* The Japanese kanji is available by clicking on Seikyo Shinbun’s
web-site address at


(Gosho Zenshu, page 234)

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