Journey Vs. Destination


There is a Buddhist quote from Nichiren (13th century Buddhist priest) that points to the importance of continuing faith until victory is achieved by using the analogy of a twelve-day trip to the capitol; “The journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you stop on the eleventh day, how will you see the moon rise over the capitol?”

I’ve used my personal version, “Today is the eleventh day” to remind me of this concept to never give up on reaching my goals. However, I’ve discovered that the eleventh day is more important than the twelfth because the process and inner journey I undergo on the eleventh day involves the critical point of human revolution. Without human revolution, the external benefits of the twelfth day cannot be activated.


The human revolution I need to lead to and acquire tangible results is the inner struggle to battle fundamental darkness such as doubt, fear, selfishness, ignorance, slander and other weakness.  Through this internal fight to defeat fundamental darkness with my focus on strengthening my vow for the greater goal of kosen-rufu (world peace through individual happiness), I polish myself.

Through this process, I raise my life-condition, demonstrating the qualities of a Buddha (i.e., wisdom, compassion, confidence, cheerfulness and courage).  This inner process of human revolution is the unbreakable foundation for proof of outward effects, based on the Buddhist concepts of the oneness of life and the environment*, and the simultaneity of cause and effect**.

My willingness to wholly commit to continue until the twelfth day is reached entails an amplified process to develop, deepen and expand my prayer, and myself. This experience of wrestling against the lower worlds of doubt, fear and limited intellectual strategy is the key to transforming destiny. 


This inner revolution of inconspicuous prayer results in both inconspicuous and conspicuous benefit.  The inconspicuous effects are such things as patience, compassion, the taming of ego and the ability to forge a long-range view. An additional inconspicuous effect is the good fortune gained through the accumulation of good causes (prayers to become a better person and for the well-being of others). Conspicuous benefits are set in motion in the outer world by these inner world shifts in attitude, thought and life-state.

Destiny begins with karma; thoughts, words and deeds. Though I have accumulated karma from past causes, I actively change karma and bring new karmic patterns to life through my present causes. The most noble cause is prayer based on a vow to contribute positively for the sake of humanity and peace (kosen-rufu). Challenging my personal growth through this strengthened vow is the key to manifesting external evidence.


So the twelfth-day culmination is actually less significant than the eleventh day process because becoming a more capable, expansive, compassionate, stronger human being leads to the ability and power to remain undefeated by obstacles and to positively change the environment. Though it’s imperative to set goals, reaching those milestones is less critical than the work I do along the way. Winning in life is about polishing myself, always moving forward, while developing unshakeable faith in both my own potential and that of every individual.

Sometimes in order to learn what I personally need for this process, my eleventh day takes more time than expected. Time, as understood by the limitations of my intellect may differ from the time-table of the vast, unbounded truth of the universe. But through the Buddhist concepts of the simultaneity of cause and effect, and the interconnectedness of life, my victory is guaranteed, regardless of the specific timeframe within which it manifests.

What’s most valuable is that I continue my trek without giving up faith, and especially with joy and confidence, until I reach the twelfth day, and that I do so with my full, resolute commitment and absolute conviction in my unique mission as an irreplaceable person significant toward creating a happier world for myself and others.

Today is the eleventh day.


*The oneness of life and the environment describes the inseparable relationship between the individual and their surroundings. More Details of Oneness of Life & Environment

**The simultaneity of cause and effect: “The principle that both cause and effect exist together simultaneously in a single moment of life. It contrasts with the concept of non-simultaneity of cause and effect, or cause and effect as they appear in the phenomenal world, where there inevitably seems to be a time gap between an action and its result. From the viewpoint that all phenomena exist in a single moment of life, there is no time gap between cause and effect; in other words, cause and effect are simultaneous”. Source: SGI Nichiren Library


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