How can I know I am a Buddha?

Buddha, as defined in The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism, is "one enlightened to the eternal and ultimate truth that is the reality of all things, and who leads others to attain the same enlightenment" (p. 57). It is important to know that the whole idea of the term Buddha is to define the state of life that every person can experience.

In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni's highest teaching, the true message of Buddhism becomes clear: Every person can live this great life of a Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha, then, represents each of us.

The second Soka Gakkai president, Josei Toda, once said that in the sutras of the future, the Soka Gakkai's name would be recorded as Soka Gakkai Buddha. This is because the Soka Gakkai is a gathering of ordinary people who, through fulfilling the true intent of Buddhism, will reveal themselves to be Buddhas.

So is it appropriate that we call ourselves Buddhas? Though Buddhahood is inherent in our lives, identifying ourselves as Buddhas only truly befits us when we act as Buddhas, when we live as Buddhas.

Nichiren Daishonin declares, "If Nichiren's compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for all eternity" ("On Repaying Debts of Gratitude," WND-1, vol. 1, p. 736). He is speaking to each of us when he says this, calling us to join him in widely sharing Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which has the power to save all people. This is what qualifies us as Buddhas.