Let Us Transmit Our Joy
Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai
Sharing Our Joy
The way in which little children happily tell their mothers about something they have seen and heard warms the heart and eases the mind. Children, wanting to express their surprises and joys, make a wholehearted effort to do so. The parents who listen to them watch for signs that their children are growing up, and together they experience the joy of awareness and new discoveries.
I think we have all seen, with our own eyes, a scene like that.
Our fellow members, having awakened to gratitude as they studied and practiced the Buddha’s teachings, may be so eager to tell others about their joy in the Dharma that during a hoza session, for instance, their words burst forth: “I am thankful for being caused to live!” or “I thought of myself as being unlucky, but actually I have been very blessed!”
Not only in Buddhism, but in all religions, transmission of the faith from one person to another is important. In particular, in conveying the joy of having personally experienced the teaching, the humble honesty of being unable to stop ourselves from sharing it, sets in motion the functioning of the heart and mind of devotion.
Legend has it that soon after Shakyamuni attained enlightenment, he said, “Wonderful! Wonderful! All living beings possess the wisdom and the virtuous sign of the Tathagata.” This episode demonstrates the mental and emotional state of Shakyamuni as he gave voice to the joy in the Dharma, the Truth he had realized.
Transmitting our joy and deep emotion to other people is as perfectly natural to human beings as the way in which children try so hard to describe things to their parents. We can go even further to say that because we are the only living beings capable of putting our joy into words and sharing it with others and empathizing with others, we human beings lead lives with the realization that oneself and others are basically one and the same.
Transmitting Our Inspiration
Many people may think that joy—in particular, the rejoicing in the Dharma that we experience through faith—is something lofty and distant from their daily lives. What happens, though, when the phrase “rejoicing in the Dharma” is changed to “feeling inspired”? Inspiration is something everyone experiences to some extent. Of course, it does not have to be limited to major life events.
For instance, we feel happy and grateful when someone shows us kindness. Or we feel a closer affinity to someone with whom we did not get along when we discover that actually we have something in common. Such feelings are one form of inspiration. Indeed, it is hardly unusual to be impressed by a book one is reading or to be moved by another person’s experience.
Transmitting our inspiration and joy to other people frankly is directly connected with transmitting the Dharma to them.
Usually, when our hearts and minds are inspired by, for instance, something we read in Kosei magazine and we want to convey that to people we know, we might feel like bringing copies of the magazine to them and thereby share our inspiration with them. This itself is transmitting the joy. Recently, I heard the welcome news that the mayor of a certain town, in delivering a congratulatory address to local young people at an auspicious event, referred to some lines from an article in Kosei magazine. The person who sent the magazine to the mayor shared his or her inspiration, which in turn brought new joy to others.
When we see someone doing a good deed, we are inspired by it and praise such conduct as something admirable. In Buddhism, we say that praising others is a great merit. When such deep emotion is thereby transmitted from one person to another, the people who hear about it gain the even greater merit of rejoicing in doing so. In that sense, the power of the written word can be greater than we may think. Because it is said that the Dharma is spread by people, the inspiration and the joy in every one of us is of truly great importance.
“The Tathagata is able to distinguish all things, explain the teachings skillfully, use gentle words, and bring joy to the hearts of all”—I hope each of us is the kind of person who brings joy to the people around us, with a mental and emotional state of interacting so that both the one who is speaking and the one who is listening are able to deepen their sense of rejoicing.
From “Kosei” Translated by Kosei Publishing
Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.