Lotus Buddhism / FAQ / What is TrueSelf?

What is TrueSelf?

The TrueSelf is the perception of one’s existence based on the truth.   The basic truth in life is that one’s existence in inseparable from others and the environment. This what is meant by the Truth of Interconnectedness.

In contrast to the TrueSelf is one’s mistaken perception of EgoSelf for one’s sense of identity. The EgoSelf is based on self-centeredness (rather than on interconnectedness)..

While the EgoSelf leads to narrowmindedness, misery and sufferings, the TrueSelf offers expansiveness, broadmindedness, and resonates with a feeling of inner harmony, clarity of mind, security and happiness.

The TrueSelf and the spectrum of the human nature

Our human nature is a spectrum of various states. Some of the states we experience are filled with limitations and negativity, others display confidence and positive attitude. The highest state of our human nature is the enlightened or Buddhanature. The TrueSelf corresponds to one’s Buddhanature, and is revealed in one’s behaviour.  Behaviour driven by the sense of TrueSelf leads to constant improvement and striving for expanding our wisdom and depth of compassion.

The “small” and “greater” self

The shallow sense of EgoSelf leads to instability, problems and sufferings.  When we doubt our capacity to manifest the TrueSelf, we fall into feeling inferior - or react with arrogance,  This level of immature self-awareness is also called the “small self”.

Buddhism teaches that - even when experiencing the negativities and limitations of the “small ego-self” - we still have the potential and hope for transforming our hardships. 

A transformation of our quality of life is possible through expanding the small self into a “greater self” – aimed at creating value for self-and-others, and living in harmony with the Law.  The “greater self” is the same as the “TrueSelf” – the power of inner identity capable of revealing one’s “Buddhanature”.

Because the greater (or TrueSelf) is based on the most reliable reference – which is the natural Law of Life (and not on opinions of others of who we are) - for this reason it generates the feeling of freedom and confidence that our life is based on a solid ground of the truth (of Buddhanature). 

Of course, we have only one identity, but the quality of our existence depends on the reference we believe in: is it the ego-small perception of our self, or the true-greater self.

It is like the situation with a vehicle which has two ranges of speed: low and high.  It is the same vehicle in both ranges, but has greater power and capacity if its higher potentials get activated. 

The TrueSelf possesses the highest life-energy and wisdom, because it is derived from harmony (Namu) of the individual with the Law of Life, encoded by the Lotus Sutra’s words (MyohoRengeKyo). The state of NamMyohoRengeKyo is the essence of the truth of one’s being, as an individual in harmony with the law of Life.

TrueSelf expresses True Humanism

“The word human being (Jp. ningen) is written with two Chinese characters which when combined mean ‘between people.’ It is through our interactions with others that we polish our lives and grow as human beings.

In this explanation, a human being is referred to as an “individual among the people” - signifying interconnectedness and the nature of belonging and cooperation.

TrueSelf and the Ten Worlds of Mind

In terms of the Ten Worlds, or the spectrum of the mind of the individual, the TrueSelf is the identity of the state of Buddhanature also referred to as Bodhisattva-Buddha.  Nichiren Daishonin revealed his spiritual identity as Bodhisattva Superior Practices, Jogyo, which literally means: “The True self of Buddha”. 

In the Orally Transmitted Teachings,  Nichiren states:  “Superior Practices represent the virtue of true self”. (*)

On this subject P. Ikeda explains:

”Bodhisattva Superior Practices is actually a Buddha who is exerting himself at the level of Buddhist practice that enables any individual to attain enlightenment. 

In other words he is the Buddha embodying the simultaneity of Cause and Effect”.

The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol.5 p 164

This means that identifying oneself as Nichiren’s follower - a Bodhisattva of the Earth - automatically lifts one’s sense of self to that of the “TrueSelf of Buddha”, which is equivalent to working for world peace through one’s inner peace (kosenrufu) and revealing one’s Buddhanature. 

(*) Orally Transmitted Teachings, Chapter Fifteen, Emerging from the Earth: