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Rissho Kosei-kai
International of North America
Buddhism for Today
Phone: (323) 262-4430
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President's Message

Becoming Happy Together with People in the Community


RKINA Pres. Nichiko Niwano

Town Where Many Bodhisattvas Live

Thanks to many people, this year, Rissho Kosei-kai is marking the eightieth anniversary of its founding. Our history is still relatively short, but thirty years ago, when our organization observed its fiftieth anniversary, Founder Nikkyo Niwano reflected on the aims and activities of the organization and told us in the pages of the monthly magazine, Kosei, that:

"Although our ultimate goal is to liberate all humanity, we absolutely must not neglect what is closest to us. We must first liberate the person before our eyes, harmonize with our own families, and then move forward to transforming our own community into a Pure Land. We must never forget to be sure and steady with each of these steps."
(March 1988)

I am deeply reflecting on the significance of the resolve demonstrated by the Founder on the fiftieth anniversary of our founding as we now welcome this milestone year and take new steps forward.

I have said before that, "If everyone (in the community) is happy, we members of Rissho Kosei-kai are also happy." Transforming our community into a Pure Land means that all people living there are not merely satisfied with their own happiness, but direct their consciousness toward the security and happiness of the community, that is to say, the public good, and, without neglecting any element of their daily lives, build a cheerful home. Even this saha world that is our real world will thereby become the Land of Eternal Tranquil Light.

As the Founder often told us to "gladly do your duty to the community," we should make our best efforts for the sake of the community we live in, draw near the people around us who have troubles, and when we hear that people are worried, listen carefully to what they have to say. Eventually, the community will become a place inhabited by a number of such bodhisattva-like people, and that is the ideal of Rissho Kosei-kai members, who hope for the happiness of everyone, isn’t it? In this sense, if you see people who are depressed and have a dark expression, light a lamp of hope in their hearts so that they can regain a smiling face and shine a bright light on the entire community. That is the diligent practice and the mission of Rissho Kosei-kai members who are living the faith.

bodhisattva village

Sharing the Warmth of the Home with the Community

Once I watched part of a film, shot from atop a hill, of a town in the evening. As the sun went down, one house, then another, turned on its lights, and gradually, the entire town became a floating light beneath the dark mantle of night. It was like happiness spreading across the community, if such a sight could be described. This scene was of light pouring out of a window and, although the night was cold, smiles and warmth filled the homes to which everyone was eager to return—this image of such warm family life was spreading from one house to the next.

And, that first house could be your home. Everyone in the family gets along well, they are all connected to each other by respect and affection, and have peace of mind. Making your house such a home is the starting point for the happiness of the entire community.

Why is this? Because the sentiments of all of you who care about the people in your neighborhood and your community are being expressed through such actions as, for instance, when you sweep the street clean and you naturally go on to sweep in front of your neighbors’ houses, or when you go out for a walk and you take the initiative in greeting the people you see, even if you do not know them, with a cheerful "good morning" or "hello." I think that by doing so, you are, little by little, harmonizing with other people and cultivating your own mind and others’ minds and becoming, little by little, the like-minded people—bodhisattvas—who shine together the light in your community.

Furthermore, Rissho Kosei-kai has Dharma centers in every area. It is desirable that they serve not only as oases for all of our members, but also as places of physical and spiritual peace for everyone. However, in order to make them so, it is important that we take the lead and appeal to our communities. As indicated by de-iri-guchi (a Japanese composite term meaning both "exit and entrance" or literally, "way out and way in"), if we ourselves do not first step out, no one else will step in. With this in mind, I want all of you to definitely become as one with everyone in your communities and make your entire towns into oases. Making the happiness of your home the starting point, getting along well with everyone in your community is a large step forward toward peace.

From Kosei, March 2018


Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.

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Rissho Kosei-kai International of North America
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