A. It is difficult to inspire oneself, especially in isolation. Therefore, we need to stay in close communication with our fellow members and continue to seek encouragement from Ikeda Sensei through our publications. Let’s see what Sensei says about our spirit and mission as Many Treasures Group members in The New Human Revolution:
Since life is eternal, old age is not simply a period of waiting for the end. It is the time for us to put the finishing touches on this life and to prepare for our next life.
It is important to continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and dedicating ourselves to the great vow of kosen-rufu to the last moment of our life together with our mentor and our sincere fellow members. In this way, we can polish and elevate our life and joyfully bring this existence to its culmination, glowing with a magnificent brilliance like the setting sun. This state of boundless hope will become the life condition we carry into our next existence. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 26, p. 65)
“Faith is a lifelong endeavor. It requires immense effort and perseverance to surmount one summit of kosen-rufu after another. When you reach the top of one peak, you discover an even higher peak is awaiting you. But the path of kosen-rufu lies in rousing our faith and surmounting each one. This will eventually take us to the ultimate goal of attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime.
“There are bound to be times when your situation seems so tough that you wonder why you have to work so hard. But at such times, please bring forth courage and advance one step after another. Use such struggles as opportunities to overcome your personal problems and transform your karma. The important thing is to demonstrate actual proof of benefit in faith through each challenge.
“As we rouse even stronger faith, we can courageously face the most treacherous path with resilience and optimism.
“Those who continue to practice Nichiren Buddhism to the end of their lives are people who have grasped the true essence of faith.” (NHR-26, 336–37)
Let us wave the banner of victory in the clear skies! “Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat” (“The Hero of the World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 835). As genuine Buddhists, we have a mission to become victorious champions. My friends, awaken to your mission in this existence and the meaning of life. We weren’t born to spend our days in despair, lamenting our sad fate.
We weren’t born to waste our lives in self-indulgence and sloth, our days eventually filled with regrets. We were born to dance in joy and happiness in a great drama of the victory of the people, overcoming innumerable trials and tribulations, and dispelling the clouds of darkness. As Bodhisattvas of the Earth, there is no struggle we cannot win. The final victory is already assured. Be brave!
Though we may encounter adversities resembling blizzards, angry waves or raging storms, these cannot hold us back. Through our own efforts, let us vibrantly make the impossible possible, confounding all expectations to the contrary. That is the great and noble Soka path of the oneness of mentor and disciple. Stand up with firm resolve. Advance with vigor.
The spirit of indefatigable challenge is the spirit of youth. To achieve success in our own lives and open a new age of Soka, let us valiantly uphold the banner of victory! (NHR-22, 56–57)
“Having stepped down from your position on the front lines, you’re at a very important point in your life. You mustn’t think ‘I’ve completed my mission, and now I can just relax and enjoy myself.’ If you do, your faith will begin to crumble. Your struggle is just beginning.
“Recently I asked a prefecture guidance leader, ‘In the last seven years, how many people have you introduced to Buddhism?’ He had previously introduced Nichiren Buddhism to several hundred people. ‘These last seven years, I haven’t been able to introduce anyone,’ he said.
“I said to him, ‘Let’s once again strive with the pioneering spirit of the early days. It’s vital to continue advancing and encouraging others as long as you live, whether you’re in your 80s or 90s. Please live your life with an eternally youthful spirit.’” (NHR-25, 38)