The fundamental cause of people’s unhappiness lies in their tendency to develop attachments of various kinds. Attachments are fetters on one’s heart—earthly desires, cravings and so on. In the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, Shakyamuni taught people the path for freeing themselves from such attachments. The spirit of the Lotus Sutra, however, is not to eradicate earthly desires. When we base ourselves on the Buddhist Law, we can transform earthly desires—just as they are—into enlightenment. This is the principle of “earthly desires are enlightenment.” It’s not a matter of eradicating attachments but of seeing them clearly. Rather than causing us to abandon our earthly desires and attachments, our Buddhist practice enables us to discern their true nature and utilize them as the driving force to become happy. The truth is that we could not in fact eradicate our attachments even if we so wished.

Stories of Hope

Opening the Door to a World of Dreams, Hope and Magic

Brian Wildsmith

Through his illustrations of children’s books—likened to “sunlight streaming from the page”—Brian Wildsmith has long striven to awaken the creativity of young readers.