Your Buddha nature makes winning in life possible

Part two of a five-part series on university spirituality

Sept. 11, 2001; unjustified wars; meaningless death; fundamentalist groups raiding libraries; racial discrimination; children sold as slaves across borders – the list goes on. How does one make sense of a world that has turned on its head? The queue outside the psychiatrist’s chamber grows longer each day. How do we, as students, make a difference in a world gone crazy?

Basing our practice on the Buddhist principles propagated by Nichiren Daishonin, a Japanese priest from the 13th century, we challenge this apparently moribund situation. As members of Soka Gakkai International, a lay-body of Buddhists, we attempt, through our constant efforts, to bring about our own human revolution.

If someone wants to change the world, they need to first challenge their inherent weaknesses. Only then can they aspire toward the lofty goal of world peace. Human revolution, for us, is to believe in the unlimited potential within ourselves. Every human has the potential of the lotus flower: to bloom in the murkiest of waters.

Soka Gakkai is a grassroots movement of humanistic activism. Basing our philosophy in the acceptance of the Buddha nature – the potential of goodness – in everybody, our life is a constant struggle to manifest indomitable potential within us, our family, neighbors and friends. We believe there can be no inherent evil in the world, merely misguided frustration.

The desire to help others becomes an abstract goal if we do not put it in concrete actions. The concrete action, for us as Buddhists, is to touch that ray of light – the possibilities of the lotus bloom, the Buddha nature – that gets lost in the murky waters of despair and frustration. No matter what happens, the important thing is to pray with unwavering belief in people’s Buddha nature. To take action based on such a state of life is proof of one’s Buddhist humanity.

How do we take action? On one hand, we are building a support system of committed Buddhists at a grassroots level with activities at universities and community centers nationwide. On a global level, Soka Gakkai is trying to intervene in conflict through associating itself with various peace-promoting organizations, initiating dialogue through thought-provoking traveling exhibitions at universities, and supporting local peace-building efforts such as the Earth Charter Community Summits held simultaneously nationwide last year.

The youth are the ones who will inherit this world. Our life is eternally a contest between the right and wrong, and good and evil inherent in us. It is imperative we expand our alliance of capable people dedicated to bringing out the good in themselves and people around them. To do that, it is also imperative we win today to secure the future of the world tomorrow.

No dream is unachievable if you believe in yourself. Buddhism is concerned with winning in life, and winning over our negativity and evil in our lives. When people are unable to believe in their own Buddha nature and inherent dignity, they lose confidence in themselves. To be a Buddhist is to confidently say: We will win, each in our own special way and time; we will win.

Sugata Ray and Takeshi Yanagiura are University students. Send comments to [email protected]