To fear death and cling to life is the way of living beings.
Nothing is more frightening than the shadow of death – the prospect of one’s own demise. This is as true for animals as for human beings. If, however, we do nothing but fear death and cling to life, we cannot savor a truly profound existence. Why are we born? What is the purpose of our lives? Why do we die? Only by earnestly contemplating our own existence can we lead lives of great depth and meaning.
Human beings give their lives for shallow, worldly matters but rarely for the Buddha’s precious teachings. Small wonder they do not attain Buddhahood. [WND-1 p. 301]
Rather than giving our lives – the most valuable possession of all – for “shallow, worldly matters,” we should dedicate them to “the Buddha’s precious teachings.”
How should we practice in order to dedicate this invaluable lifetime to “the Buddha’s precious teachings?” It is the Daishonin’s emphatic declaration that ordinary people of this age can, without having to sacrifice their lives in the manner of the boy Snow Mountains, attain the same benefit that accrues from such selfless dedication through their “earnest resolve.”
It’s a matter of exerting millions of kalpas of effort in a single moment of life for the sake of Buddhism, for the noble cause of kosen-rufu. Striving for the happiness of both oneself and others characterize such a way of life. President Makiguchi explained, “It is an ordinary way of life, a way of plain humanity – such that anyone who consciously experiences it and comes to realize that it is universally accessible will feel an overwhelming desire to embrace it, and, indeed, will feel compelled to do so. In other words, selfless dedication is found in a seemingly ordinary way of life open to anyone.
Excerpted from “Ikeda Wisdom Academy – 5th Class Study Guide” – Please download PDF file from the right sidebar or visit SGI-USA for more info.