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International of North America
Buddhism for Today
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Like a Mother’s Love

Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai

President Nichiko NiwanoKindness Is Being Forgotten

As I may have already mentioned many times, the world today thinks highly of having things streamlined and efficient. Of course, achieving this requires a great deal of planning and effort so as to benefit the largest number of people. It is a fact, however, that in putting economic interests first, the act of showing others consideration and empathy—kindheartedness—is at times being ignored and abandoned. Also, with so many people prepared from infancy to compete in various qualification tests to the point that their ultimate goal of landing a good job excludes all other interests, there is no denying that for kindhearted people who are not able to adapt to such a situation, modern society can be an increasingly difficult place in which to live.

In other words, the relentless pursuit of the profit goal can result in casting aside the important mindset of respect for other human beings, and this leads to an increase in people who are harmed spiritually or even are afflicted by illness. I think that the key phrase in putting the brakes on this trend, and the way of thinking that will resolve it, is “like a mother’s love.”

In considering what a mother’s love is and how it functions, we can see the way to healing other human beings.

Kindness Has No Gender

Last June, the soccer World Cup tournament was held in the Republic of South Africa. I think most of you may know about the participation of the Japanese national team, and how one member of that team missed a kick in the penalty shootout and lost the game for Japan. After the match there was someone’s suffering and putting the person at ease—even in such small acts we can recognize the working of something like a mother’s love.

It is written in the Shrimala Sutra that “[One] will become the unsummoned friend of all living
beings, give comfort to the multitude with great compassion, and empathize with the world like a Dharma-mother.” This basically means that one should become a person who, when other people are suffering, accepts their suffering as one’s own, and without asking goes to them as a deeply compassionate friend and extends a hand and comforts them with the selfless love that a mother bestows on her child.

To realize a world in which that type of kindness and compassion is valued and consideration is shown to everyone, we members of Rissho Koseikai, who strive to lead our lives according to the teachings of the Buddha, cannot simply and thoughtlessly turn each page of our daily lives, but must practice showing consideration to the people around us. In order to recognize what is important, however, occasionally there may be the need for a kind of paternal strictness, too.

In the Parable of the Burning House in chapter 3,“A Parable,” of the Lotus Sutra, an elderly father does not carry his children out of the house when it is engulfed in flames, but instead devises a plan to have them leave the house of their own accord. He does not directly use his own hands to save them, but instead gives them advice and warning that causes them to become aware of the danger and reach safety on their own. Naturally, such fatherly
thoughtfulness is also an example of parental love.

Let us determine to show kindness and consideration wherever and whenever people are suffering physically or spiritually, whatever the conditions.

October 2010
From “Kosei” Translated by Kosei Publishing


Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.



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