The Japanese word for mission (shimei) means to “use one’s life.” For what purpose do we use our lives? For what purpose have we been born in this world, sent for from the universe? ~Daisaku Ikeda
Some people spend years seeking, but never really finding, their mission. Others seem born understanding their place in the world. I believe each life, no matter how many breaths allotted on this this plane, is here to accomplish something. Perhaps some are more fortunate than others in being able to discern (and even work to fulfill) their mission early in life.
When you can’t perceive your mission, you may feel your life is meaningless. But this is false. Reflecting on the events and the nature of your life can provide a window.
Even when, or especially when, your overwhelming experience is pain, you can find a way to use the events of your life to create more peace – for you and for those around you.
This is I think is the key from the statement above. It says “For what purpose do we use our lives?” This implies choice and effort rather than a passive anointing.
You needn’t await permission or a special phone call. You can look at your current circumstances and ask yourself, what can I do where I am, as I am? How can I create value here and now? Your answer may evolve over time, and based on your capabilities. It can be as simple as creating a more hopeful environment at work, or as complex as finding ways to eliminate lupus.
The point is to use your life in a contributive way. In so doing, you can better discern what you can do best; how you can help best.
For what purpose do you use your life today? How will you develop yourself to do even more tomorrow?
In My Dear Friends in America, Daisaku Ikeda wrote:
“You are the playwright of your own victory. You are also the play’s hero. Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players” (As You like It, act II, scene vii, line 139).
Buddhism teaches us that the individual writes and performs the script for his or her own life. Neither chance nor a divine being writes the script for us. We write it, and we are the actors who play it.
Despite the fact that we can take responsibility for our lives and plot out the life we’d like to live, there’s no getting around the fact that some things are simply out of our control. Even in a real stage play, props fail, actors forget their lines, and any number of things happen that could disrupt the beauty of a carefully crafted script.
It’s a cliché to say attitude is everything, but it certainly does count for quite a bit.
When acting out the drama of your life, sometimes you have to improvise until the story gets back on track.
I attended a monthly Word Peace Prayer Meeting for my Buddhist sect yesterday. During the meeting, Alvin Munson shared a faith-based experience about personal development and living his dream of being a writer. He shared several meaningful quotes that struck a chord with me.
The essence of what he said is based on guidance from Daisaku Ikeda: Faith means setting goals. View faith as a process that leads to success. The resolve to accomplish your goal is what counts.
In Nichiren Buddhism, personal development, also known as human revolution, often hinges on the resolve to take action. The resolve to begin when circumstances seem daunting. The resolve to continue when things are tough. The resolve to begin again after a major setback. Faith, in essence, is about believing in your ability to persevere.
It’s not the belief that you can magically avoid obstacles. After all, Nichiren wrote, “No one can avoid problems, not even sages or worthies.” But striving onward, resolved to win over your own weaknesses is the crux of Buddhist faith. The question is, how can I develop my life and expand my capacity to accomplish my goals? It’s not about besting others, but ultimately about besting ourselves.
What are you resolved to accomplish this month? This year? This lifetime? How will you grow in order to be successful?