As difficult as it is for me to believe, every time I read a letter of encouragement or a piece of guidance from SGI President Ikeda, I find the following words,
Whether we become happy or unhappy is not determined by other people or our environment. It is decided by our own inner determination or resolve.
Living Buddhism, September 2015 p. 31
I’ve always thought to myself, how can I be happy when I live day-to-day surrounded by madness and crazy people? How can I be happy when I am constantly faced with a seemingly never-ending nightmare that I have no control over? Certainly this seems to be an insurmountable obstacle. Yet according to Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and President Ikeda’s guidance, my happiness isn’t determined by external factors. My happiness is only determined by me. How difficult is this?
It is human nature to seek happiness outside ourselves, but the key is to bring it forth from within. I constantly need to refocus my thoughts in order to draw my attention and my energy away from the people in my environment and keep it focused on my own life and its more positive aspects. This is a big challenge – to bring forth happiness, wisdom and enlightenment from within – but it is the key to advancing in life and winning over obstacles.
Our minds are more powerful than we know. When we are able to control our minds, our thoughts, and our emotions, we become empowered over our own lives. We also become stronger, and are able to positively influence other people.
When our minds change, we and our world also change. The Lotus Sutra teaches this as the “wonderful workings of one’s mind.” (OTT, 30) One’s mind, the innermost realm of life, is vast and boundless; it is dynamic…by changing the innermost orientation of our minds, we change both ourselves and our world…Everything is determined by our “earnest resolve.”
Living Buddhism, September 2015 p. 37-38
This is what I was taught many years ago when I first started practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. I clearly remember being told, “Everything is determined by your ichinen, meaning “everything is determined by my earnest resolve.” This is difficult to believe, but our faith and our prayer play a very important role. Every day I work on strengthening my faith and my determination so that I can persevere and see this fight through to a victorious end.