top of page


Private continuing education academies called “Cul-ture schools” are now all the rage. Culture in this sense indicates edification and refining oneself through contact with literature and the arts. This connotation of the word derives from its original meaning “to till” a plot of land.

Someone whose mind is tilled pliant and flexible is one who can truly be considered a cultured person.

Similar to well tilled land that will accept and nurture any crop planted in its soil, by equipping oneself with broad knowledge we free ourselves from bias and stereotypes, so that we become able to see things from many points of view. But there are those who, if careless, instead end up brandishing all that knowledge crammed into their heads like a weapon, wielding it to belittle people, and develop a disinclination to listen to others.

There is a phrase in the Lotus Sutra that speaks of “those who performs virtuous deeds, who are gentle and of upright nature.”

In order to become a truly cultured person it is necessary to practice serving others along with pursuing intellectual learning.

This is what the sutra means by accumulating “virtuous deeds.”

Without ever doing a single thing to work for the happiness of others, studying only to make oneself look erudite is, far from tilling the heart and mind, just turning into a self-righteous person armed with extensive knowledge. This brings to mind a proverb: “Change is the proof of a lesson learned.”

Nikkyo Niwano

From Kaisozuikan 9 (Kosei Publishing Co.), pp 42-43

22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page