“Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is just such a ‘diligent’ practice.” This is a very profound statement. “Diligent” (or shojin in Japanese) here is composed of two Chinese characters. The Chinese character for sho means “pure” and refers to pure faith, while the character for jin means “ceaseless” and refers to uninterrupted advance. To diligently carry out this practice of pure faith and ceaseless advancement is the direct path by which we can attain enlightenment or Buddhahood. For us, to continually move forward while making efforts for the sake of kosen-rufu is what it means to “exert millions of kalpas of effort.”
Our determination in the present moment is the key to victory. The great Russian author Leo Tolstoy said to the effect that it is wise to live in the moment, to do our very best right now. In other words, our focused resolve now can open the way to a brighter future. Though our resolve is intangible, it is manifested as action. Nichiren writes that when confronted by obstacles, “the wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat” (“The Three Obstacles and Four Devils,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 637). Faith means having the resolve to take on all of life’s challenges with courage and joy. And chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the driving force that enables us to continue pressing ahead bravely.
Everyone experiences sufferings and problems. Sometimes we may face such things as financial difficulties or sickness. But those who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and strive tirelessly for kosen-rufu are able to attain Buddhahood. They can tap the wisdom and strength of that supreme inner life state and thereby overcome any obstacle. Through the course of this challenge, they can deepen their lives and become as strong as pure gold.