“The lion king is said to advance three steps, then gather himself to spring, unleashing the same power whether he traps a tiny ant or attacks a fierce animal. In inscribing this Gohonzon for her protection, Nichiren was like the lion king. This is what the sutra means by ‘the power [of the Buddhas] that has the lion’s ferocity.’” (“Reply to Kyo’o,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 412)

Background

Here Nichiren Daishonin speaks of the attitude with which he inscribed the Gohonzon and teaches us how to live with the courage of a lion king. The lion king attacks with all his might, whether he’s after a tiny ant or a fierce beast. The symbol of the lion plays an important role in Buddhism. In the Lotus Sutra, the power of the Buddhas to save people is likened to the “lion’s ferocity” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 258).

Nichiren says here that he put everything he had into inscribing the Gohonzon, with a fierce wish to enable all people to attain enlightenment. When we chant in front of the Gohonzon, it is important that we, too, summon this lion’s ferocity and face all our challenges, small or large, with everything we have.

Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance

To live like a lion king, therefore, means to challenge each problem or task at hand with all one’s might and resolutely triumph over each one. Great progress and resounding victory can come only from the steady accumulation of such daily effort. Only by winning today, here and now, can we enjoy a bright, successful future and ultimate victory in life. (A Foundation for Your Life, pp. 140–41)