The wonderful thing about Master Ryuho Okawa’s books is that they are filled with timeless wisdom. Even the Laws series, which deliver teachings relevant to their year of publication, contains messages that are useful and relevant to any time and place. Today, we will revisit The Challenge of the Mind, which was first published in Japan in 1994, and in 2018 in the US.
This book, which has been in print for twenty-six years at the time of writing, is composed of enduring Buddhist knowledge and wisdom. Throughout the eight chapters of the book, the reader is provided with a thorough overview of such principles as the law of cause and effect, the ontology of Buddha-nature, the essence of Zen meditation, the benefits of an egoless perspective, the middle way, and more. Not only is The Challenge of the Mind an excellent and approachable introduction to Happy Science and the teachings of Ryuho Okawa, but it is simultaneously a masterfully written starting place for anyone interested in Buddhism.
Although there are great benefits to studying the source texts of Buddhism, Okawa is gifted with the ability to effectively transliterate their essential meaning into terms applicable to the modern mind and lifestyle. Early Buddhist teachings are seldom straightforward, and instead require immersive contemplation in order to decipher the meaning of them. Okawa has done this work for his readers so that they can study and practice Buddhism even in the midst of a fast paced lifestyle.
The foundations of the original teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha are not lost by any means, but are instead emphasized throughout this work. Such stands in contrast to most contemporary Buddhist authors, who tend to secularize and water-down the original teachings, if they are acknowledged at all. Okawa discusses the importance of returning to the original Buddhist teachings and is critical of the fact that many modern people seek an easy way to salvation and enlightenment. Shakyamuni Buddha explicitly taught practices to strengthen the mind and attain higher states of spiritual consciousness through effort and work, but such practices are seldom taught in the world today. In this way, The Challenge of the Mind may be said to represent the Dharmic Wheel coming full circle and returning to its origins.
That Ryuho Okawa, a living Buddha and a modern Savior, would deliver such a body of teachings is unsurprising. It was prophesied long ago that a new World Teacher or a modern Savior would arrive to teach the Dharma or Truth at a time in which it was forgotten and neglected. Buddhist teachings have never been more widespread than they are today, but they are taught in a reductionist manner which pales in comparison to their original religious essence. Now that the entire world has access to Buddhism, Okawa is placing it in its rightful context. There is a Divine Plan in all of this, and The Challenge of the Mind is a genuinely sacred text. Those desiring to learn the Truth that endures all ages should pick up their copy today and partake in this wonderful opportunity.