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Even when I was a child, it was not my nature to sit back and watch people suffer.

I think this came naturally to me by watching the way my father and grandfather lived. When I became a young man, I embraced whatever I saw or heard that I thought would help me help people. Eventually, this led me to my encounter with the Lotus Sutra.

The opening verse for sutra recitation that is chanted in Nichiren Buddhism includes the phrase, “Everything that we see, hear, touch, and know brings us closer to awakening.”

But just experiencing life aimlessly will not bring you closer to awakening. Instead, you must live every day with a clearly defined goal for your life, and seek it in earnest. Then you will discover the answers you are looking for, one after another, in the books you read, within the words of those you meet, and in every single thing you encounter. I think this is similar to how a magnet attracts and scoops up iron sand out of regular sand.

In contrast, people who seek no higher purpose in life do not gain a single thing, even if they find themselves surrounded by a mountain of treasures.

Nikkyo Niwano

Kaiso zuikan 10 (Kosei Publishing, 1997), pp. 22-23

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