The Key to Happiness is in Ourselves
Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai
Obeying the Rules
On the one hand, most of us have certain rights and freedoms, but in leading social lives we also have responsibilities and duties. We are apt to think that the regulations
and rules in effect restrict our activities. In religion, too, there are precepts,
which some people may feel are even more restrictive than the rules of general society.
If we really think about it, however, we can accept that social conventions and rules, as well as religious precepts, actually provide us in the truest sense with freedom and peace of mind.
This is quite apparent when we think of simple traffic rules—when a traffic light is green and vehicles are moving, we do not cross the street.
When the light is red and cars are stopped, we know that it is safe to cross the street. But how do we feel about ignoring a green light and rushing across a street just
because we see no cars coming? We may worry that someone will see us breaking the rules, and may not realize that a bicycle or a
car could suddenly appear from around the
After all, following the rules is the right
thing to do, and it also helps us feel at ease.
If we can accept that what makes us feel
restrained or restricted actually helps us
reflect upon our behavior, obeying the rules
will naturally become easy.
Everyone is United
Religion always stresses the importance of first asking ourselves if we are not at fault
instead of quibbling over other people’s behavior, blaming society, or accusing the
world of being unfair.
Shakyamuni said, “Do not observe other people’s faults. Look only at what you
yourself have done and not done.” Jesus
Christ, when asked if a woman should be
stoned for committing adultery, replied:“He that is without sin among you, let him
cast the first stone.”
No matter what others may be doing, it is
important that we continue to reflect upon
ourselves and always ask ourselves whether
our own feelings and actions are in agreement
with our conscience and with common
sense. The basis for doing so is an attitude
that accepts every phenomenon as a divine
voice describing our shortcomings and
faults. The teaching “All living beings have
the buddha-nature” informs us that everything
existing in this world is a manifestation
of the life of the Original Buddha, and
that each of us leads a life that is one part of
it. This can be understood to mean that
everything that happens involves us.
Some people, though, may assume that
because everything involves them, they
must shoulder the responsibility for everything occurring around them, consider only
their shortcomings and failures, and eventually
become self-negating and depressed.
Putting the Buddha’s teaching into practice
is similar to obeying the traffic rules.
Doing so always puts our minds at ease and
allows us to lead our lives with a sense of security. Therefore, even if we do think that
everything that happens involves us, it is
important that instead of allowing events to
become a heavy burden on our hearts, we
accept them positively—for instance, by
assuring ourselves that anything and everything
can make us happy—and that we lead
our lives looking forward.
Even more important is the realization
that we are united as one with all people,
things, and phenomena, and that we should
make a regular habit of looking from this
perspective at the people we encounter and
the events that transpire before our eyes.
Once we have made a habit of regarding
everything from the viewpoint that all are
united as one, we will feel compelled to be
in harmony with our surroundings. We
enjoy happiness when we get along with
others, and we feel glad to perform such
practice. The realization of true happiness
that springs from our hearts is born from a
lifestyle in tune with the rhythms of being
united with the original source of life.
From “Kosei” Translated by Kosei Publishing
Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.