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­"Fighting for Peace"

[From the book of poetry Fighting for Peace, by Daisaku Ikeda]

The bright light of peace!
All the world
advancing in joyful harmony,
a world lit
by the bright cheer of peace!

In such a world,
our spirits grow and expand
with each passing day,
there is no lonely isolation.
For you and for me,
so powerless and alienated
on our own,
the dazzling allure
of a life fully free from
frustration and defeat.

But in a world filled with lies
genuine peace cannot be found.
True happiness or peace
can never exist where
hearts merge
in dark fusion.

The creeping approach
of devious authority,
its bombast and strife,
can never give rise
to a sure and certain peace.

In order to live
true to your sincere convictions
create a world
where many share
your earnest view of life.
Here you will find
a world of peace.

Only by confronting,
exposing, breaking open
the pompous, poison-scented hearts
of those who wield power--
only in this way
will genuine peace
be given the chance
to live and breathe,
in seen and unseen ways.

When people are ignorant
of their purpose in life,
the deadly disruptions of war
continue without cease.

Peace pledged
in sad, grim treaties
is empty and meaningless.
There must be mutual
understanding of the soul
and bonds that link the heart.

In the words of one statesman:

Peace is not found
in the interval
between one war
and the next.

Where there is no peace,
happiness is unthinkable.
Thus Buddhism teaches the ideal that
"This, my land, is safe and tranquil."

                         *     *     *

We will struggle relentlessly
against those who would destroy peace.
We will struggle relentlessly
against those who force
their evil on others.
We will struggle relentlessly
against those who author
secret wrongs,
inflicting these
with callous abandon.

For such people are cowards.
They reside in demonic gloom
hissing venomous sighs
as they undermine
humanity and justice,
turning all
to nightmare and misery.

Whatever lies and slander
they may spread,
we remain unmoved,
secure in the knowledge
of the justice of our cause.

Doubtless they
will leave this world
crazed with anguish.

Our flourishing and triumph
shine with the brilliance of the sun.
And we know we will adorn
the final stages of this life
as the setting sun
paints the heavens
a deep and perfect crimson.

For their part,
the inner outcome
of cheap and superficial acts
will be endless distress.
Their hearts remain clouded
in pitiable angst--
desperately struggling
to maintain their façade,
they are tormented by the vanity
of their minds.
Savage brutes--
the frail and fleeting nature
of their inner being
is plain for all to see.

People who stain
the honor of their own life
suffer ultimate loss.
They are fated to misery,
pathetic and dangerous,
never to know the friendly,
welcoming gaze of others.

Each time they catch
a glimpse of their lives
they find their ugly inner conflict
mirrored straight back at them.

Family background, for example,
a source of constant boasting…
One such friend takes
endless pride in wealth.
Another overbearing friend
brags of position and rank.
Yet another has been overtaken
by the charms of rich attire
and treads proudly toward
misery's depths.

Others, caught up in
rude amusements,
wreak suffering on others
even as they give over
their abject souls
to the daily process of decay.

Ah, the stupidity that spews
its sad and ugly spell
over heaven and earth!

Those constantly
drunk on toxic draughts.
Those ignorant
of sane humanity
who know only night.
Directionless and flailing,
they fall tripping
into murky swamps,
sinking into forms of
fearsome bestiality
from which all light
has been denied.

I raise my voice
and call out to them:
Do not lose yourself in the maze.
Do not succumb
to the allure of squander.
Do not sink in bogs
of destruction and vanity!
Beware of all that
warps your humanity!

The purpose of living is happiness,
an outcome only determined
in the full and final measure
of a person's life.

This is why I urge:
Avoid blind belief!
Do not be trapped by arrogance!
Don't end up a tragic figure!
Live out your life
as a person of justice!

The Buddhist term kosen-rufu
signifies lasting, eternal peace.
It points to those dynamic realms
where individual happiness
and the flourishing of society
come together in perfect accord;
where all people,
--the living, breathing
whole of humankind--
savor genuine happiness;
where songs
that praise and glorify
life's innermost essence
are shared in conditions
of security and contentment.

                        *     *     *

No matter how the call
for vengeance
may justify it,
people must never kill
their fellow human beings.
For to do so is
hellish and brutal,
true tragedy
forever without redemption.

Where life is cherished,
there peace is found.
Where people are united
in the richness of their hearts,
there peace exists
as a tangible reality.

The advances of science
have increased
the convenience and ease
of all aspects of life.
And yet they have failed to realize
humanity's dream of happiness,
absolute and indestructible.

In its primordial essence
life is precious and
of infinite worth.
Where all is viewed
from the perspective of
life's precious dignity,
where this is the basis
for all actions and interactions,
there arises and is proved
the truth that guides
our universe.

The constant longing
of humanity's drumming heart
is for unbroken peace,
for peace without end,
embraced by eternities
of love and warm benevolence.

It is for days filled
with the joy of living,
the pleasures of friendship
and conversation.

We long for lives of freshness,
smiles and advancement,
consistently extending
over each event and facet
of humanity's long history--
from the past to the present
from the present into the future.

It is up to those senior
in life's experience
always to strive
to ease and requite
the sufferings of their juniors.

It is up to those who wield power
always to consider
how best to respond
to the fears and worries
of the people.

Every person's heart is regal,
yet also shares
a common humanity.

Into the precious, enduring heart
of a mother who has never
flinched or fled,
a warm light begins to flood,
cheering and revitalizing.

Crowds gather
in the morning mist
hailing, calling out their praise
for mothers and for peace.
Shining eyes,
directed at human happiness
and at peace,
filled with ageless wisdom.

I offer my solemn tribute
to you who have embraced
so many desperate people,
who have grown to become
proud and gifted teachers
of the soul's eternal songs.

In your life is inscribed
a monument to wisdom,
to victory and glory,
which no angry wind can topple,
no silted hostile torrent undermine.

Ah, the power you possess
as you resolutely rebuff
whatever storm assails you!
Your soul's sublimity
breaks open the dank and
hate-filled heart
where plots fester
and schemes breed.

We live in a society
filled with plaintive attempts
to escape responsibility.
Armed with conviction
you offer all people,
equally and without distinction,
your warm encouragement,
inspiring them
to elevate their lives
to strive for beauty,
for the noblest heights
of the human spirit.

                        *     *     *

As Socrates declared:

What is important
is not simply to live,
but to live well.

As Victor Hugo cried:

Young people, take heart.
If there are those who would make
the present difficult,
our future will be beautiful.

However much some may
be showered in renown
and receive the heated cheers
of the multitude,
this is of little concern.

For the value and significance
of a person's life
must be assessed in its entirety.
We must ask:
Has this been a life
which brightly cast the light
of conviction and justice
over past, present and future--
like a jewel whose facets
mutually capture and reflect?

No matter how those
in positions of influence
may seek to deceive,
putting on the airs
of great statesmen,
we are not intimidated
in the least.

For there are many
wise citizens who
sense and respond acutely
to such subtle and
underhanded moves.
Their skin crawls
as if caterpillars were
creeping over their bodies.

My friend!
Sharing a celebratory toast,
let us envision the immense
scale of our future,
free from sorrowful sighs,
lit by ten million sparkling
points of light.

My dear friend,
in the midst of this demented era
you advance boldly, youthfully, powerfully
along the freshly open path
of the new century,
laughing grandly with
your friends and fellows.
Sounding the bell of conviction
you gather strength and empower
one another.

There, the sun's
pleasant, lively light awaits.
There line up
the adornments
of numberless stars.
And there await
friends passionately
sharing our convictions,
who peer with calm and easy smiles
into the deepest reaches
of our heart.

Most noble and precious
are such friends;
changeless, undiminished friends,
our eternal treasure.

Even if,
for the sake of truth,
we are together forced
to drain the bitter cup,
the time will surely come when
--now bathed in honor
and having shed all failure
or exhaustion--
we will address to all humanity
a proud acceptance speech
for the victory that is ours.

                        *     *     *

Emperors are human.
Ordinary citizens are human.
So are the powerful.
All people are.

Our true human worth
is determined by the state
of our inner life.
It is determined by
what we achieve.
And it is determined by
the nobility of the goals
toward which we strive.

In life, there are those
who are fortunate,
those who are unlucky;
there are the clever and sly,
the simple and honest.

Whatever one's rank or standing,
in an era of humanity,
it is utterly irrelevant.

Buddhism teaches that
if you want to understand
the causes made in the past,
look at the results
as they are manifest in the present.
And if you want to know
what results will be
manifest in the future,
look at the causes that exist in the present.

Life is eternal.
The workings of the law
of cause and effect
mean that the "you" of the past
is strictly reflected
in the actuality of your present.
And the reality of your future self
is forged by current action,
in your behavior now.

Each individual's heart
--various and extensive,
capable of evil and of good--
propagates and spreads
its influence like ringlet waves
overlapping on multiple dimensions.
The result can be an era of peace
or a world of conflict and war.

My friend,
my dear and treasured friend!
Pay no heed
to threats made by those whose
hearts are fractured and split,
who spin out words
of insane fabrication.

For you are in your dawning future,
and have no need
for mad and mercenary language.

My friend!
Upholding the dignity of life
maintain the calm
and confident manner
of one eternally victorious,
of one whose spirit sprints
swiftly ahead.

You who fight on
in resolute triumph,
never forget the vow
made that day
in the ancient depths
of your being!

Mouth and lips set
like sculpted stone,
together with
gentle friends
of firm faith
let us cross
the numberless crags
that stand before us.

With splendid effort
let us win and gain
the crown
of inner victory!
No matter what,
please win!
I also, am most assuredly
determined to win.

Salute this procession,
this triumphant march toward peace!

--June 2, 2001

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