WHAT IS COMPASSION?
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WHAT IS COMPASSION?
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON NICHIREN SHOSHU BASICS OF PRACTICE

Removing suffering and giving pleasure
Are you familiar with the word “jihi” (mercy—compassion)? You might have heard it in a
lecture by the priest. According to the Japanese dictionary, it often means sympathy or pity. For
example, when we see a stray dog, we feel sorry for the dog and want to offer our help. These are
feelings of sympathy and pity. Contrary to these, in Buddhism the word jihi means to remove
suffering and give pleasure. Thus, in Buddhism, the principal of mercy or compassion (jihi) has a
much deeper meaning.
Parental Love
To better understand the principle of removing suffering and giving pleasure, let’s look at
the example of the parental love. “ji” in jihi means to give pleasure. This corresponds to a father’s
virtue. A father sometimes scolds his child strictly. He does this because he wants his son or
daughter to grow and develop into a virtuous person who truly is happy. Listening and responding to
a gather’s direction, a child can lead a happy and enjoyable life. The child think a father is frightening
sometimes, but later, he or she will realize that his strictness also is his kindness. “Hi” in jihi means to
take away suffering. This corresponds to a mother’s virtue. When a child is hurt, the mother is first
one to come and treat the injury. When on is in trouble, having fought with a friend, the mother
truly listens and gives advice on how to resolve the situation.
The most important point is that both your father and mother do not care about
themselves. They only care for your happiness, and they act accordingly. The idea “for the sake of
others” is a fundamental teaching of Buddhism. It signifies the heart of compassion. However, sad to
say, in society there are people who cannot be happy for others. it is very important to wish for
other people’s happiness and to be happy for them.
Compassionate Behavior
In these difficult times, terrible accidents and events are happening every day, and the mass
media is reporting them and showing the people who are suffering. The Daishonin explains the evil.
This is the reason why the benevolent deities have abandoned the nation, why sages leave and do
not return.

(Gosho, p.234; MW-2, pp.5-6)
The Daishonin revealed Nam-Myoho- Renge-Kyo, which is the foundation of happiness, so
that everyone can lead a happy life. He encountered many hardships while propagating his teaching.
However, the Daishonin stated:
If one sees and hears slander and does not denounce it, then one’s two virtues of correct
sight and hearing will immediately deteriorate, and one will become a merciless and heartless
individual.

(Gosho, p.906)
Even though he encountered severe hardships, the Daishonin propagated the true Law, in
order to lead the people to enlightenment. He taught with a father’s strictness, refuting erroneous

teachings, and a mother’s kindness. This truly is the Buddha’s compassionate behavior. It is
important for us to take compassionate action as a messenger of the Buddha, in order to advance
kosen-rufu.
The Daimoku that Nichiren Daishonin chanted is the Daimoku for oneself and for others.
Thus, he Daimoku chant every day contains great compassion of the Daishonin. It will save not only
us, but others as well. We have less than three years remaining before2015. Let’s exert ourselves to
do shakubuku, so that many people are able to encounter true Buddhism and attain happiness
through the power of chanting Daimoku.
NICHIREN SHOSHUMONTHLY, OCTOBER 2012, PP 10-11.