I met a young woman a few days ago at my Buddhist center. After chanting, she showed me the first few pages of an essay written by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda about one of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings – a writing titled Happiness In This World. She only had a portion of the essay and wanted to know where she could obtain the remaining few pages. I mentioned that I had a copy of the essay collection and would bring it to her next week. I returned home and reflected on the writing’s title, Happiness In This World.
What does this mean? Happiness in this world. How are we supposed to be happy in the present? In this lifetime? In the here and now? How can we be happy without longing for the past, without waiting for a better tomorrow, without regret or wondering what might have happened if we had done everything differently. Where is happiness in this world? All too often we are looking for it in the wrong place. As President Ikeda states, “In every case, whether we feel happy or unhappy ultimately depends on us. No one else can make us happy.”
– Learning From the Gosho: The Eternal Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin
I read the writing this morning before taking my dog for a walk. It’s a fairly short writing, and the key message to take from it is the idea that no one can avoid problems or sufferings in their lives. No one has a perfect life. Nichiren writes, “Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, no matter what happens.”
Although many days, my problems seem unbearable and never-ending, I try to keep hope alive through my Buddhist faith, my friends and my family. I’ve resolved to start writing on a regular basis. After I completed my memoir, I didn’t have a reason to write every afternoon. Over the past few weeks, I realized that I need to keep writing on a regular basis. This helps give me a feeling of accomplishment and I don’t feel like I’m just sitting around waiting for things to change. I have a lot of “works in progress,” so it’s not as if I’m lacking topics to write about. It’s kind of like the old Nike ad, “Just Do It!” Sometimes I just have to open up the laptop, get off the internet, and write.
Writing is definitely part of my happiness in this world.