Kenny and Jason were sipping coffee at Plan B in Mid Valley. Kenny is still a YMD leader despite being aware of the abuse of power and mismanagement of funds among the top leaders in the organisation. Kenny disagree with Jason’s decision to resign, though he respect his decision and they remain good buddies. They were debating on the topic of good fortune.
Kenny: We announced the achievement of 20,000 POH (professor of Happiness). Unprecedented. New history. While you can say all you want about the validity of the figure and the various means used to achieve it, you cannot deny that there are real cases of shakubuku. And shakubuku will certainly accumulate good fortune.
What are you doing here? You only focus on the wrongs and the injustice that was done to you, the evils of the top leaders. It doesn’t create any real value. I think you are losing out in terms of good fortune.
Jason: What exacttly is the meaning of good fortune? We attract people to this practice by telling them to pray for material things, like a job, a relationship, overcoming financial problem, successful business. When they get their prayers answered, conspicuous benefit, we say that is because they have accumulated good fortune.
While it is not wrong to describe good fortune as material well-being, but it is certainly not the whole picture. It is only a small part of what constitute good fortune that we derive from our practice in Nichiren’s Buddhism.
Also, when members got into trouble, we say that they have run out of their good fortune, and the solution is to chant more daimoku, do more kofu activities and contribute more money to accumulate good fortune. Perhaps, this has slowly been indoctrinated, or brainwashing, the members into thinking that this Buddhism is good because it brings a lot of ‘good fortune’, in the material sense per se.
But that is not the purpose of our practice, are they? Material benefits are good in showing actual proof of the validity of this practice, especially in a materistic society like us. But what is the true meaning of ‘good fortune’?
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.
Daisaku Ikeda (here)
In other words, it is a life that is full of courage, wisdom, hope, and life force.
Kenny: Never really thought of that before. One question, how is good fortune accumulated then?
Jason: We may draw some hints from Nichiren Daishonin’s words here.
Misfortune comes from one’s mouth and ruins one, but fortune comes from one’s heart and makes one worthy of respect. (New Year’s Gosho)
In the end, whatever we do, if it is out of sincerity, and expecting nothing in return (example good fortune), then, we will certainly develop that inner strength that Mr Ikeda is talking about in the quote above.
This is how you CANNOT have good fortune:
- Doing shakubuku with the sole intention of accumulating good fortune for oneself.
- Doing shakubuku with the main intention to get people to sign the stupid form 18 so that you have some ‘victory’ to report. Never mind what happen after that. Must hit the number. That’s all important.
- Achieving grand shakubuku target for the sake of sticking it up to the ‘trouble makers’ of the Johore and some KL leaders. And whoever who oppose the General Director.
This is how you CAN have good fortune.
- Introducing Buddhism to a friend because we sincerely wants that person to be happy.
- Encouraging and taking care of existing members and friends, ensuring that they are practising correctly and sharing all their joys and pains.
These are noble actions of a Bodhisattva because it comes from the heart.
Kenny: The heart is what matters most.