Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
Stories and reflections on the Buddhist approach to life
One of the core concepts of Buddhism is "the oneness of life and its environment" (Jpn esho funi). This describes the inseparable relationship between the individual and their surroundings.
The effects of one's karma, both good and bad, manifest themselves in one's life and also in one's environment. Inevitably, in life, we will find ourselves in an environment which reflects our inner life state--whether that be our family, our workplace, our society, and so on.
Whichever of the Ten Worlds an individual manifests internally will be mirrored in his or her environment. A person in the state of Rapture will perceive the environment to be a cause for extreme joy, while a person in the world of Animality will perceive the same environment as a jungle where only the strong survive.
From this standpoint, the impact of our life is not confined to ourselves, but exerts an influence on our families, communities, nations and ultimately all humanity. The oneness of life and the environment explains how people can influence and reform their environment through inner change, or the elevation of their state of life.
Wherever we are, under whatever circumstances, we can bring forth our innate Buddhahood through the practice of Buddhism, thus transforming our environment into the Buddha's land.
As Nichiren writes, "if the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds" (WND p. 4).