Bringing Happiness to Others
Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai
Responding to the Call of Life
When we get up in the morning and see the members
of our families, it gives us a pleasant feeling to
greet them with a cheerful “good morning.” In a
single greeting, joy is produced that echoes from one
heart to another.
Some people even say that this phenomenon is not
limited to human beings; they say that if we continue
to tell plants they are beautiful or that they are growing
well, they will produce more beautiful flowers or
bear better fruit, so perhaps plants also respond to the
This calling and responding—“responding to the
call of life”—does not only occur between living
beings. For example, the reason people are moved by
music played on sanukite, a rock known for the beautiful
sound it emits, is that we can sense the emotion
being transmitted between inanimate rocks and
In other words, in the relationship of all things
continuing to change without ever ceasing (all
phenomena are impermanent) and that nothing exists
independently (all phenomena are devoid of self),
Buddhism sees everything that is present in the
world, inorganic things as well as organic things, as
In the world before our eyes, things appear in
many ways indeed, and as expressed in the words of
the great priest Nichiren, “One heaven and the four
seas are attributed to the Wonderful Dharma.” In
their aspect of change and interconnectedness all
animals, plants, and minerals are manifestations of
the one great life force.
And so what is common to all of them is that they
exist in order to support the lives of other things. In
terms of human relationships, this means that bringing
happiness and peace of mind to others is the key
to leading a happy life.
The reason is that Shakyamuni taught us this by
providing examples from his own life.
Rejoicing in the Joy of Others
Shakyamuni was not satisfied only to be enlightened
himself, and set out to share his teaching
because of his wish that all people be liberated from
suffering. He experienced great joy in the fact of
liberating all people.
We also have, in the stories venerating Shakyamuni, the tale of a prince who saved the lives of a
starving mother tiger and her cubs by offering them
his own body, and this parable about one of the
former lives of Shakyamuni, too, demonstrates that
the true purpose of human existence is to find one’s
greatest joy in bringing happiness to others.
In concrete terms, then, what form of practice
brings joy to others, what type of action gives us real
As I have already mentioned, one such act is to
take the initiative in greeting other people. There is
no one who does not feel pleasure in being greeted.
When others respond to our greeting, both their
hearts and ours are warmed by happiness.
Another act is to cheerfully do something that we
are asked to do, which pleases both parties.
When I think back, I realize that many times I
myself have experienced happiness just because
others were happy when I was able to agree to do
something they asked of me. I believe that many
people experience a happiness that nothing could
replace when they feel fulfilled as a result of doing
their utmost for others with total dedication, and then
sharing their joy.
In other words, when we become aware of the
desire that is already within us to become the kind of
human being who can make others happy, who can
lead a life that brings joy to others, then the wisdom
and compassion to help others begin to operate naturally.
Put another way, being a person who is able to
bring happiness to others is the most basic and direct
way to perfect ourselves.
From “Kosei” Translated by Kosei Publishing
Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.