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Rissho Kosei-kai
International of North America
Buddhism for Today
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Rissho Kosei-kai President Nichiko NiwanoJoyfully Accept All Encounters

Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai

Accept What Occurs

In Japan, April traditionally is the month in which many people enter a new school or work environment because this month marks the start of the nation’s academic year as well as its fiscal year.

Sometimes, however, even when things start off in a positive way as we had hoped, after a while some people may find that they do not fit in so well in their new environment, especially where relations with other people are concerned. When this happens, many of us feel ready to give up, thinking that there is not much we can do about our situation, and finally decide to just endure and put up with conditions. According to one survey, on average nearly forty percent of Japanese university graduates who find work after finishing their education quit their jobs within three years. They give various reasons for doing so, but it is not difficult to imagine that experiencing a stressful workplace environment is a major factor.

From the point of view of Buddhism’s doctrine of dependent origination we can see that in some way we ourselves are responsible for whatever happens to us. In other words, we accept what takes place before our eyes, learn from it, and increase and improve our spiritual capacity. For example, how our relationship with someone who speaks harshly to us develops depends on whether we have a negative outlook and wish the person would just go away, whether we take a positive outlook and decide that even such unkind words can give us the opportunity to improve our imperfect selves, or even feel a sense of gratitude for the precious chance to further improve our spiritual capacity.

View Things Objectively

This doesn’t mean that saying we ourselves are responsible for what happens to us means that we should reproach ourselves or blame ourselves. Rather, we should keep in mind to look at things from a neutral point of view, modifying our narrow and self-centered attitude that seeks to attribute to others the causes of difficult situations that we face.

Things are not by their nature imbued with good or evil; they merely exist. It is our viewpoint that colors them, judges them as something to like or dislike, as advantageous or disadvantageous. Because we pass judgments on the things we see, the result can be many kinds of suffering.

Seeing things from a neutral, objective point of view, a world that is entirely new from the one we previously knew will open up to us. Founder Niwano taught us, “If I change, the other person also will change.” I understand his words to mean, “Change your perspective and you change yourself. Change yourself, and the world changes, too.”

Follow Through on Decisions

Greetings are one fundamental element of pleasant human relationships. Some people, however, do not respond when we say, “Good morning.” Once or twice may be accepted, but when they continue not to respond, we may have reason to believe that they are avoiding us. If worse comes to worst, we may simply be forced to stop extending a greeting since no response is forthcoming.

If we concentrate only on what has already taken place, then we ourselves may be closing off future possibilities. What> matters most is that we lead our lives by caring for the people and things that are right in front of us. Because when we live by making the most of the present, the future will open up and we> will be able to go on greeting people in the usual way, no matter who they are. As long as we do not view others negatively and have the will to accomplish what we have decided on doing, our relationships with those around us certainly will improve.

By changing our point of view we will change ourselves, and can enjoy building upon our encounters—and thereby experience one of the great mysteries of life.

April 2009
From “Kosei” Translated by Kosei Publishing

Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.

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