Like the Lotus Blossom
Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai
What the Symbol of the Lotus Teaches
The Japanese poet Saigyo (1118-90), know
for such works as his Sankashu (Mountain Cottage
Collection), left us this verse:
The lotus blooming,
The waves beating
On the shore -
My mind hears them
As the preaching of the Dharma.
The poem means that from the sound of waves
and the lotus, which pushes up its stem from within
muddy water and puts forth with a slight popping
sound a beautiful blossom unsullied by the mud,
we can learn the Buddha’s teaching.
The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful
Law (the Lotus Sutra) is one of the sutras that
preaches the Dharma through the symbol of the
lotus blossom. As representative of such sutras it
has given people encouragement and joy in life
since ancient times by a verse that cites the lotus as
an example of being untainted by worldly things.
Chapter 12 of the sutra (“Devadatta”) contains
the profound verse, “If they are born into the presence
of buddhas, they will be born from lotus flowers,”
which teaches us that even bad people who
have the opportunity to hear the Buddha’s teaching
can reach a state of purity untainted, like the lotus
From this, we can also receive a powerful message
from the Buddha, teaching us that, even if we are experiencing severe circumstances in which
many things seem almost unbearable, once we
believe in and accept the Dharma, the negative
aspects of our lives will be transformed into positive
The life of the lotus blossom lasts a mere four
days. It opens with an audible sound in the early
morning and between late morning to midafternoon
it closes (depending on the day’s temperature).
It repeats this for three days, and on the
fourth day its petals drop off.
From “Kosei” Translated by Kosei Publishing
Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.