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faith

"Faith in Buddhism is not blind faith that rejects reason. It is in fact a rational function, a process of the cultivation of wisdom that begins with a spirit of reverent searching. The impulse of true reason is to continuously and eternally transcend the confines of the present self. It aims to reach beyond its grasp, always higher, always transcending itself. The source of energy and foundation for that constant search is faith in something larger than oneself. Faith purifies reason, strengthens it, and elevates it." - Daisaku Ikeda

In the opening decades of the 21st Century humanity faces tremendous challenges. In the face of global ecological, social and economic crises, goodwill, knowledge and effort are essential, but may not in themselves be enough. In order to address these challenges, we must also find ways to have "the faith that each of us has both the power and the responsibility to effect positive change on a global scale". This is because "Everything depends on what is in our hearts. If we decide to ourselves that something is impossible, then, consistent with our minds in thinking so, even something that is possible for us will become impossible. On the other hand, if we have the confidence that we can definitely do something, then we are already one step closer to achieving it in reality."

In the struggle for personal fulfilment and the creation of a just, equal and environmentally sustainable society - and one is not possible without the other - we must draw on all of humanity's cultural resources to support us. One of the greatest of these resources is the humanistic philosophy of Buddhism. Steve Harris and Sue Wakefield are members of SGI-UK, the UK branch of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a worldwide lay Buddhist organisation made up of ordinary people who practice the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin. Nichiren Buddhism teaches that the workings of the universe are an expression of a single principle or Law, expressed as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables all people to perceive this Law in their own lives and to bring themselves into rhythm with it. And by putting their lives in harmony with this Law, people can unlock their hidden potential and achieve harmony with their environment.

Myoho Renge Kyo
is the title of the Lotus Sutra which is the ultimate teaching of the first recorded Buddha, known variously as Siddhartha or Shakyamuni, who lived in India circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE. In the Lotus Sutra Shakyamuni teaches of the true nature of Buddhahood - the power of wisdom, courage, compassion and life-force - common to, although latent in, all living beings. Nichiren Daishonin (1222-1282), who founded Nichiren Buddhism in 13th Century Japan, taught that by chanting Nam (devotion to) Myoho Renge Kyo we can activate Buddhahood and, consequently, the power to affect our own destiny and that of our environment.

The practice that Nichiren Daishonin taught, over 700 years ago, has a profound and revolutionary impact on ordinary, everyday life: an impact which enables one to fully realise ones' unique potential, and by overcoming the negative impulses inherent in life, to develop the greatest possible value in any situation. This Buddhism does not offer a code of conduct or promote a particular lifestyle. Instead faith is built through regularly chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo morning and evening, learning the philosophy and true spirit of Buddhism by studying the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, and enabling others to do the same.

Those of us who practice Buddhism within the SGI believe that our lives inherently possess a boundless energy. Summoning this forth, we can break through the shell of the small self that constrains our lives. The process of revolutionizing our own lives and helping others to do the same, can transform society and ultimately elevate the state of humanity.

"The transformation from a self-centred way of life to one dedicated to the well-being of others is the process of “human revolution.” There are all sorts of revolutions: political, economic, scientific, artistic. Each has its own significance and, often, necessity. But no matter what one changes, the world will never get any better as long as people themselves--the guiding force and impetus behind all endeavours--remain selfish and lacking in compassion. In that respect, human revolution is the most fundamental of all revolutions, and at the same time, the most necessary revolution for humankind. This is a revolution that can start here, now--in the heart of every one of us... a great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind."

If you would like to know more about this Buddhism, please explore the links on this page or contact us.


All quotations on the page are from Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist leader, peacebuilder, writer, poet, educator and founder of a number of cultural, educational and peace research institutions around the world. Mr Ikeda is the third President of the Soka Gakkai and the founder of Soka Gakkai International. More of his words of wisdom can be found here.

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