Kosen Rufu comprises of 3 characters:
Kosen + Ru + Fu
widely declare current like that of a great river spread out like a bolt of cloth
Kosen means to “widely declare.”
“Widely” implies speaking out to the world, to an ever-greater number and ever-broader spectrum of people.
“Declare” means to proclaim one’s ideals, principles and philosophy.
Ru (flow) of rufu means “a current like that of a great river,” and
Fu (cloth) means “to spread out like a bolt of cloth.”
Like a cloth unfolding, it spreads out and covers all. So rufu means to flow freely, reaching all.
Kosen rufu thus implies that the Mystic Law flows out freely to all of humanity the world over. The term is more literally translated as “widespread propagation,” but it means more than simply spreading or propagating a religious doctrine. It is not the end point of a process but rather the process, the flow, itself. There is no particular destination, no completion of kosen rufu.
The term kosen-rufu expresses more than propagating a religious teaching. It also means communicating the Buddhist philosophy of enlightened humanism at the core of Nichiren’s teachings; it means broadly conveying a spirit of compassion and a deep respect for the dignity and noble potential of human life. It is the process by which people who live this philosophy promote its ideals through dialogue and through their behavior and example at home, at work, in their communities and throughout the various realms of society. It involves living, sharing and promoting an understanding of the philosophy that we believe is most correct and valid with as many people as possible.
KOSEN RUFU = HUMAN REVOLUTION + SHAKUBUKU
Buddhism’s sole purpose is to help humanity recognise and use this inherent endowment of Buddhahood to bring peace and happiness to oneself and one’s environment.
Human Revolution is polishing ourselves just as we are. It is the work of transforming our lives at the very core and involves identifying and challenging those things which inhibit the full expression of our positive potential and humanity. For, as Daisaku Ikeda writes, “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.” Taking responsibility for transforming our own lives is the first step toward creating a human society based on compassion and respect for the dignity of all people’s lives.
The wish to share the truth with others, to share the means for achieving happiness with others, is the hallmark of Buddhism. And in our practice, this act is referred to as Shankubuku. If we were to keep the means we have found for attaining happiness to ourselves and not share it with others, it would mean that we have succumbed to the state of Animality (selfishness), and of Hunger (greed).
Taking the example of Mr. Ikeda, it was on a friend’s insistence that he attended the meeting on “the philosophy of life” where Mr. Toda spoke. At first, he couldn’t grasp what was being talked about, but then Mr. Toda discussed topics that resonated with him. Sensei Ikeda asked various questions about the nature of life and society to which Mr. Toda’s responses were completely frank and straightforward, suggesting the working of a very sharp mind. Ten days later he became a member of the Soka Gakkai and is now leading it spreading the message and means of attaining peace within oneself and in one’s environment.
Kosen rufu is a movement to spread the philosophy of ultimate happiness and peace, from mentor to disciple, from parent to child, from one generation to the next. It transcends all distinctions and divisions, including nationalities and classes.
Just like a cloth, kosen-rufu is woven from vertical and horizontal threads.
The vertical threads represent the passing on of the Daishonin’s teaching from mentor to disciple, parent to child, senior to junior.
The horizontal threads represent the impartial spread of this teaching, transcending national borders, social classes and all other distinctions.
There is bound to be mismatch of ideology. With each person on their journey of discovering their innate Buddhahood swinging between the nine worlds, there are bound to be times when we disagree with one another. Every piece of matter in the universe is in conflict with another. Our plant is so ideally located for life to bloom because of its gravitational conflict with the sun and the moon. Conflict is inevitable.
Kosen-rufu does not mean “no” conflict but peaceful resolution of these conflicts- by way of dialogue, without harming another life.
Peace comes from the actions we make in our lives to become genuinely happy. To be happy we need to grow. Growth can only come about through interactions with others. The only perfection is embracing each challenge to the best of our ability.
Since the practice gives us an increased sense of control over ourselves and our environment, the effect will be seen in the society in terms of contentment and happiness of its members which will in turn manifest as lowering crime rates, divorce rates, etc. As such, we move towards world peace by inspiring a dialogue on the possibilities for positive progress of humanity as a whole through the inner transformation of each individual.