If you are unwilling to make efforts to heal yourself, it will be very difficult to cure your illness. One day of life is more valuable than all the treasures of the major world system, so first you must muster sincere faith. This is the meaning of the passage in the seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra that states that burning a finger is an offering to the Buddha and the Lotus Sutra is better than donating all the treasures of the major world system. A single life is worth more than the major world system. You still have many years ahead of you, and moreover you have encountered the Lotus Sutra. If you live even one day longer, you can accumulate that much more benefit. How truly precious your life is!
Nichiren Daishonin sent this letter in 1279 to the lay nun, Toki, the wife of Toki Jonin. When this letter was written, Toki was suffering from an illness. Upon receiving report on her illness, Nichiren Daishonin encouraged her in this letter by stating that the power of the Mystic Law can transform even fixed karma and prolong one’s life.
Nichiren Daishonin taught the preciousness of life in the light of Buddhism, that even a single day of life surpasses all the treasures in the entire universe. The Lotus Sutra explains that because life is a treasure surpassing all others, dedicating one’s life for the good of others is a cause for creating one’s eternal good fortune. Since life is that precious, the Daishonin encouraged us to try to live even one day longer.
Lay nun, Toki, recipient of this letter, had been suffering from illness. Upon hearing this, the Daishonin penned this letter, encouraging her to first and foremost summon up courage and take action to confront her illness.
People tend to resign themselves to their circumstances, especially when faced with pain and suffering. The Daishonin urged us to challenge such a passive mindset and sense of resignation. He told Toki to keep fighting her illness with profound conviction in the words of the Lotus Sutra that expounds that “one’s life can be prolonged”.
He went on to tell Toki that because she encountered the Lotus Sutra (Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism) in her present lifetime, she could accumulate that much more benefit. Upholding this teaching is itself accumulating good fortune. Furthermore, despite their adverse circumstances, those who uphold the Mystic Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are already teaching others through their lives, the greatness of the Law.
Therefore, the Daishonin was encouraging Toki, “You must never be defeated by your illness. You must live out your life to the fullest by dedicating it to the happiness of others and to the Mystic Law.”
SGI President Ikeda once said, “So long as we live, while ceaselessly chanting the daimoku of the Mystic Law, let us continually blaze with passionate determination and take action for kosen-rufu. The strong mind of faith forged thereby is the sole driving force which can enable us to confidently overcome the sufferings of birth and death.”
With passionate faith devoted to kosen-rufu, let us forge ahead with power and strength.