by Daisaku Ikeda
Those who are determined to win in the end, no matter what, are strong.
In the depths of our lives, we each possess a precious “jeweled sword” that is uniquely our own. This might sword of the spirit pierces negative forces and defends justice. As long as we realize we posses this inner sword and polish it continuously for the sake of good, we will never be defeated. We will win without fail. Such is the wondrous sword we possess within.
This jeweled sword is your own heart, your determination. Having strong faith and conviction in the Mystic Law is what’s known as the world of Buddhahood. If the sword of faith remains sheathed, it is useless in battling obstacles; if it is not polished, it will grow dull and weak. Those who neither unsheathe nor polish their inner sword lead fearful and timid lives. This magnificent sword is your own heart; it is your character. Thus, to polish the sword within means to study, develop friendships and build a solid self.
This sword I speak of is not a cruel and evil sword that harms others but a spiritual sword committed to good and to benefiting others. As such, it is an infinitely precious treasure.
I have met with Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa, on two occasions. President Mandela endured twenty-seven-and-a-half years-nearly ten thousands days- in prison for his anti-apartheid activities. He is an indomitable champion of human rights who brought an end to the inhuman policy of apartheid, or racial segregation, in his country.
South Africa maintained a state of harsh discrimination for a long time. Under apartheid, it was a crime for native Africans to ride a “Whites Only” bus, to use a “Whites Only” drinking fountain, to walk on a “Whites Only” beach, to be on the streets past eleven at night, to be unemployed or to live in certain places. in short, black South Africans were not treated as human beings.
Mr Mandela witnessed and experienced countless incidents of degradation and contempt under apartheid. Filled with outrage at the unforgivable discrimination he saw all around him, he resolved to do something about it. Such passion for justice was the “jeweled sword” wielded by Nelson Mandela. He stood up, determined to completely reform this inhumane society. He never yielded, even under the hellish conditions he suffered in prision, and he succeeded in defeating a tradition of discrimination in South Africa that had lasted since the seventeenth century.
Those who have suffered persecution for the sake of justice are truly noble. Mr. Mandela, who was mocked and humiliated at one time, is now respected all around the world.
From Discussions on Youth (World Tribune Press 2010)