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Empowerment

A great human revolution in the life of one person can change the destiny of humankind and our planet. It is Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra, that encourages and enables people to become aware of their great power, to draw it forth and use it. Buddhism gives people the means to develop themselves thoroughly and opens their eyes to the limitless power inherent in their lives.

For the sake of people, and their empowerment—this is the starting point to which we must continually return. Only then will it be possible to fundamentally revive and renew the full spectrum of human endeavors, including the political, economic, scientific and religious spheres.

History is created by people. Each individual is a key protagonist in that endeavor. Instead of relying on others, we must enact our own great drama of creativity. Doing so, we can break through the shell of our limited self.

Praising others is not pampering them. In a stress-filled society, words that warm the heart are more significant than ever. They sustain and strengthen others, inspiring them to strive toward personal growth.

Some people say that the prevailing mood in the world today is one of powerlessness. Decisions about political, economic and environmental issues all seem to be made somewhere beyond our reach. What can the individual accomplish in the face of the huge institutions that run our world? This feeling of powerlessness fuels a vicious cycle that only worsens the situation and people’s sense of futility.

At the opposite extreme of this sense of powerlessness lies the Lotus Sutra’s philosophy that the inner determination of one individual can transform everything. It is a teaching that gives ultimate expression to the infinite potential and dignity inherent in the life of each human being.

The essence of Buddhism lies in developing oneself through one’s own determination and tenacious effort―not by depending on anyone or anything else. At the same time, neither is it to be confused with the arrogance to suppose, “I alone am correct and respectworthy.” To believe in the immense potential within oneself is at once to believe in the immense potential existing within all people. Buddhism teaches that we should treasure the lives of others just as highly as we treasure our own.

The Lotus Sutra teaches of the great hidden treasure of the heart, as vast as the universe itself, which dispels any feelings of powerlessness. It teaches a dynamic way of living in which we breathe the immense life of the universe itself. It teaches the true great adventure of self-reformation.

The teachings of Buddhism were expounded for the happiness of all people; there is no discrimination based on gender, race, education or social status. In fact, Buddhism was expounded precisely so as to enable the discriminated and oppressed, those who have experienced the bitterest sufferings, to attain supreme happiness.

The voice is alive. That is what gives it the power to move and stir others. The feeling in a voice enters through the ears, “the gateway to the spirit,” travels deep into the heart, rousing it and stimulating a reaction, which manifests as action.

To fear hardships and resent our environment is to live with the belief that the Law [Dharma], the power to change, is outside our own life. Buddhism starts with believing in the great power of the Buddha within your own life.

We are not merely passive pawns of historical forces nor victims of the past. We can shape and direct history. Renewing faith in the capacity of people―individually and collectively―to create the future, is the most pressing task facing us today.

We should never decide that something is impossible and buy into the belief, “I’ll never be able to do that.” The power of the entire universe is inherent in our lives. When we firmly decide, “I can do it!” we can break through the walls of self-imposed limitations.

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