The Treasures of the Heart are the Most Valuable of All
“Fortune comes from one’s mind (heart) and makes one worthy of respect.” [“Mind” or ‘Heart’ here refers to the “mind of faith”]
This is the probably one of the most important and profound teachings of Nichiren Daishonin
In a letter written to his most trusted disciple Shijo Kingo, at a time when Shijo Kingo was in the midst of a tough struggle against mistreatement by the lord of his clan and his colleagues, Nichiren Daishonin cautions and instructs him to stay on the best course of behavior. Shijo Kingo was facing dire circumstances, where he had lost his income and was on the verge of losing his land. He had also lost the trust of his lord and his reputation amongst colleagues.
Daishonin urged him to remain steadfast in preserving the “Treasure of the Heart”, reminding him that ultimately it is the Treasure of the Heart that will win.
Let’s try to understand what each of these treasures are and why is the ‘Treasure of Heart’ so important.
We value many things in life, particularly those which enhance the quality of our lives. According to Nichiren Daishonin, “life’s treasures” can be bundled into three main categories: (i) the Treasures of the Storehouse (ii) the Treasures of the Body (iii) the Treasures of the Heart.
“Treasures of the storehouse” are material treasures – money / financial wealth; assets like land, buildings, and jewelry.
“Treasures of the body” mean attributes one possesses as a person. i.e. things like physical health, educational background, personality, knowledge, skills, and talents, position at work and social standing etc.
Though “treasures of the body” are generally considered to be on a higher level than “treasures of the storehouse”, people usually desire fulfillment in both these respects and feel happy when these desires are satisfied. And many of us spend our whole lifetime trying to obtain such treasures. And why not! Isn’t it better to have enough treasures of the storehouse and body than to have none or too little. However, when we go in pursuit of the treasures of storehouse and body and ignore to cultivate the treasures of our heart, we drift away from enlightenment. One must remember that the treasures of storehouse and body are transient and without exception, will make us fall into the three evil paths (greed, anger, and delusion) and make us wander from one condition to another. On the other hand, “the treasures of the heart” are permanent and stay with us across several eons.
“More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all. Strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart!” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1 p. 1170)
How do we expand and accumulate “the treasures of the heart”?
Regularly doing Gongyo and chanting Daimoku with a mind and heart filled with belief in the Gohonzon is the way to accumulate the treasures of the heart and this is the way to go.
We should be aware that we can attain Buddhahood in our present form through this practice of chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo, with a resolve (ichinen) of faith and belief in the Gohonzon and aligning one’s life with the universe. This is what makes our “mind of faith” expand and leads to accumulation of “the Treasures of the Heart”.