Q: I have a question. I have heard and experienced that if you a cause toward someone, the absolute strict law of cause and effect will automatically cause them to return the cause as an effect in your life. But does that mean I have drink their poison and pray in their religion in order to open them up to trying my health beneficial drink and chanting Nam myoho renge kyo?
A: Yes it is true that the law of cause and effect is strict and absolute. But you also have to look at the motivation for your cause because that is where the law of cause and effect operates. If your motivation for giving is to get something in return, that is very different from giving to increase the good causes in your life and attain enlightenment. Even though your mouth may not say you expect quid pro quo (something in return), it is what is in your heart that will be communicated to the other person and they will feel your pressure on them and that is what you will get back despite the fact that you want their happiness and good health. So it is not a good idea to drink an unenlightened man’s poison in order to get them to drink your life saving potion. Rather it is enough to talk to them with sincerity about what you know to be true and communicate your sincere concern for their life. That is all they will feel, not the particulars of what you are saying. When President Ikeda met his mentor, Josei Toda, Buddhism was the last thing he was interested in and he did not like religion at all. But he felt Sensei Toda’s concern for his life which was communicated through his sincere and always honest words. As a result, 11 years later, March 16, our Sensei inherited his Sensei’s mission, along with several thousand youth, to spread the amazing teaching, practice and philosophy of enlightened living throughout the world and show that as dire as things may be, there is a true alternative to how to live happily amd sustain our fragile world. You don’t have trade a church visit to get back your friend to an SGI meeting. That will only sew confusion in your heart and their heart. You just have to speak sincerely and with conviction and joy about Buddhism and let them do what they want. People are definitely listening up now to those who befriend them with sincerity and conviction. The desperate clinging to old ways that they were brought up in that has prevailed until recently has given way to a feeling on the part of so many people, especially young people, that the old and established ways are not working and fully satisfying their thirst for something meaningful. The fields for shakubuku are now ripe and fertile for planting. But a jihadist suicide killing terrorist has the same chance to win the hearts of these seeking people as we life loving Buddhists do. Therefore, if we hold back, we are potentially responsible for mass violence and mega-death. We must bravely and boldly speak out as much as we can and leave no stone unturned. We must find these young people ripe to receive answers to the troubled slate of reality they’ve been presented. Let us use this 59th anniversary of our Sensei’s receiving the mission of happiness spreading to firmly grasp this weighty yet so fulfilling baton in our own hands and pass it on to so many youth who are hungry for it. Come on, don’t be stingy with your life. The world is a Titantic moving ever closer and more quickly to that iceberg of climate change and nuclear armaggedon than we can even imagine. This is no time to relax.