Power of the Heart
“The heart is what is important.” There is nothing more vulnerable, nothing more corruptible than the human mind; nor is there anything as powerful, steadfast and ennobled.
As the Buddhist teacher Nichiren states: “More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all.” “Treasures of the storehouse” refer to money and other forms of material wealth. “Treasures of the body” are skills and abilities, as well as physical health. “Treasures of the heart” are the riches that we build within our lives. This indicates the kind of inner strength that cannot be defeated by any tribulation. It refers to the power to live out our lives in a creative way, with constant joy, fulfillment and vitality.
Buddhism teaches that the mind encompasses the entire universe. When we change our innermost state of mind, our whole being changes, and this affects the world in which we live. This is the teaching of the oneness of life and its environment, and the principle of a single life-moment possessing three thousand realms. . . . Everything starts with a strong determination.
Buddhism teaches that when we change the “single element of mind”―our fundamental way of thinking―we transform ourselves and our environment changes.
My mentor would often tell me, “So much about a person can be learned from their voice.” Treasure your voice. It is a powerful force that can give courage and comfort to others. That is why we should strengthen and refine the inner core of our lives from which our voice emanates.
One’s true worth as a human being is not a matter of outward appearance or title but derives from the breadth of one’s spirit. Everything comes down to faith and conviction. It is what is in one’s heart and the substance of one’s actions that count.
The human spirit is as expansive as the cosmos. This is why it is so tragic to belittle yourself or to question your worth. No matter what happens, continue to push back the boundaries of your inner life. The confidence to prevail over any problem, the strength to overcome adversity and unbounded hope—all reside within you.
The quality of our lives ultimately depends upon our state of mind. As Milton famously wrote, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n."
To lead a life in which we are inspired and can inspire others, our hearts have to be alive; we have to be filled with passion and enthusiasm. To achieve that, we need the courage to live true to ourselves. Rather than borrowing from or imitating others, we need the conviction to be able to think for ourselves and to take action out of our own sense of responsibility.
We need to cultivate a state of life where we can thoroughly enjoy ourselves at all times. We should have such joy that even at the time of death we can declare with a happy smile: “That was wonderful! Where shall I go next?” Faith enables us to attain the kind of generous and all-embracing state of mind where we enjoy everything in our lives.
We often use the expression, “strike a chord in one’s heart.” The heart is like an instrument. It is the richness of the heart that determines the richness of our life experiences. Given the same circumstances, a person with a single-stringed heart might only produce and experience a monotonous music of life, while a person with a hundred-stringed heart can create and enjoy an immensely rich and deep symphony of life.
Whatever your circumstances, whatever your past, the forces that determine your future are nowhere but within your own heart and mind. It is here that the star of your destiny shines.
When the doors of your heart are shut and you feel dark and isolated, look up to the sky and greet the clouds. Let the blue expanse open wide the window to your heart and let in beauty and light. Climb upon the clouds and let your heart soar freely in the open air!