Struggling to cope? Learn how to challenge instead with this guidance from Kazuo Fujii

I love this quote by SGI-UK Buddhist leader Kazuo Fujii (pictured here in 1993) who outlines the huge difference it makes when we learn to challenge ourselves instead of just coping with life’s difficulties:

Kazuo Fujii (1993) cropped

“There are two ways of approaching life. The first is coping and the second is challenging to change a situation. The situation is the same but the results are different. Coping is linked to the past and our past knowledge and experiences. It is a conservative attitude, limited, restricted, passive, defensive, dependent. There is no vision and no hope. This is not Buddhism. Buddhism is about change. Changing ourselves, society and humanity for good. The way to change is determination based on wisdom. Change is a projection towards the future. It is positive, creative, independent, attacking and seeking. It is an attitude of great hope and vision. Coping is the past projecting to the present. Changing is the present projecting to the future. We can choose. The difference between ordinary and great lives is up to us.”

I have read and re-read this advice dozens of times over the last 16 years because when I am struggling it helps me develop the big-hearted winning attitude that a sustained Buddhist practice brings.  So, what does a ‘challenging’ mindset look and feel like – feel free to tick any of these if they apply to you…

On the days when I manage to embrace my bigger awakened self and challenge instead of just coping and surviving, I:

  1. am strong enough to know that it’s OK to feel vulnerable
  2. take risks without needing to know exactly what will happen next
  3. trust the Universe to give me just what I need, just when I need it, rather than trying to ‘force’ things to happen
  4. understand that life is eternal, so there is no need to worry and no need to hurry
  5. am as happy about other people’s success as I am about my own
  6. have the courage to be myself
  7. have the compassion to share others’ suffering
  8. am able to graciously accept defeat in an argument and feel secure enough to change my point of view
  9. systematically and instinctively look for the best in everyone else, all of the time
  10. realise that we all share the same life force

I am not saying that coping in itself is always bad – at the darkest times in our lives (such as loss of a loved one), coping might genuinely be the best we can do, for a while at least. And the 10 point list above is not a code of conduct or a list of behaviours to copy. Nichiren Buddhism doesn’t do commandments. They are just examples of my own feelings when I chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and of insights my fellow Buddhists have taught me as they learn to challenge instead of just coping and in doing so make huge breakthroughs in their lives.

So, as Kazuo said: “We can choose. The difference between ordinary and great lives is up to us.”

11 thoughts on “Struggling to cope? Learn how to challenge instead with this guidance from Kazuo Fujii

  1. “On The Subject Of Kazuo”

    I hadn’t seen my friend Kazuo for some time. I was at Taplow recently, there was an influx of Bodhisattvas from all over UK doing some course or other – there must have been around 150 of them – I was there in the canteen doing some volunteering to help serving lunches to everyone.

    Kazuo strolls in and as I am serving him I say “Hi Kazuo, great to see you – now I’m trying to remember when I last saw you . . . . .” and without missing a beat he replied “Yesterday”

    So I gave him some extra custard on his apple crumble. . . . .

  2. I met Kazuo Fujii at our summer seminar in 2013.Still feel his warm hearted guidance to the men’s group,about having a great vision and how to apply this in everyday life.
    Imagine holding on to your vision with both hands and no hands in your daily life?
    Dangling in the air? Imagine holding both hands in your everyday life struggle with no vision in mind.

    He told us to have one hand in the air, holding on to our vision, and the other hand in our daily life´s reality and use our faith and passion to make these two forces meet in our heart.
    What an inspiring man 🙂

    1. Hi Roxana, thank you for your comment & pleased this guidance helped. 🙂 Like I said, I have referred to Kazuo’s warm and wise words many times in the last 16 years of Human Revolution! He is a great leader, and very humble with it… Best, D

  3. Thank you, this is an inspiring way of viewing challenges and difficulties in our lives. I chant to reveal the true potential of my life and of those around me to really feel the positive attitude that can transform all obstacles to becoming truly happy and living a life of meaning and compassion.

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