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Updated: Dec 5, 2022

Chapter 7 of the Lotus Sutra, “Parable of the Conjured City,” tells the story of a group of travelers traversing a long, difficult road to a mountain full of rare treasures. At a certain point in the journey, the caravan leader conjures forth a city on the road just ahead as a way to reinvigorate the weary members of the caravan by giving them hope.

On the contrary, if a leader tries to spur on team members only by upbraiding them (“The road ahead is difficult! How will you make it at this pace?”), no one will be willing to follow him or her. A leader won’t always feel one hundred percent certain about what lies ahead, but what’s important is the enthusiasm with which the leader confidently declares the group’s goal and how they will attain it, rallying them by saying something like, “Let’s move ahead in this way! This path will surely lead to the future we envision for ourselves.”

Hardships await you. To realize your dreams for the future, there will be times when you’ll have to be willing to resign yourself to inconveniences—you’ll even be forced to take detours in life on occasion.

But if you have a goal or a dream that you want to realize, you’ll have the courage to endure those hardships, accept them, and go on to overcome them.

The saying goes, “As long as you have hope, you’ll never waver. Those who live in hope never grow old.”

Nikkyo Niwano

Kaiso zuikan 9 (Kosei Publishing, 1997), pp. 200—201

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