I chose a few different quotes, but all came from a Dedicated Lilac training I attended at the start of March.
This particular quote was mentioned by a senior WD leader during her lecture, and it immediately carved itself a safe place in my heart. When I was asked to create the gifts for the meeting, the first quote I thought about was this one. It took me longer to find the little shiny flower thingies than to think up the quotes. (I got the shiny stuff from here if anybody is interested, btw, it's sticky, too!)
Now, onto some background info:
Nichiren Daishonin wrote Letter to the Brothers at Mount Minobu in April 1275, roughly a year after returning from exile on Sado Island. It was addressed to the Ikegami brothers, two samurai who lived in Musashi province, in what is now Tokyo. The elder brother, Munenaka, is thought to have become the Daishonin's follower around 1256, about the same time as Shijo Kingo, while the younger, Munenaga, converted shortly after.
Their father was a devout follower of the priest Ryokan, one of the main opponents of Nichiren and possibly one of the people behind his exile to Sado, and bitterly opposed his sons' faith.
We have no information about the brothers in the nearly twenty years that passed between their conversion and the time of this letter. However, as one passage from this Gosho states, "Each of you has continued your faith in the Lotus Sutra ..." we may presume that they maintained their practice despite official pressures against the Daishonin's followers during the years of his banishment to Sado.
After the Daishonin had returned safely from exile, the brothers found themselves facing a new, personal crisis. In 1275, their father, Yasumitsu, suddenly disowned the elder brother, Munenaka, on account of his faith. By disowning Munenaka, Yasumitsu tried to provoke a rift between his two sons. He was, in effect, tempting the younger Munenaga, whose faith was less adamant, to trade his beliefs for the right to inherit his father's estate - a right that by primogeniture would ordinarily have been granted to his older brother.
This crisis prompted the writing of this Gosho, where the Daishonin sternly admonishes the two brothers against letting temporary phenomena deceive them into abandoning their faith.
The Gosho presents three reasons why believers meet hardships in spite of their sincerity in Buddhist practice.
1. Lessening Karma retribution: our strong faith enables us to transform negative karma caused by past slander of the Law.
2. We meet hardships as a test of faith. It is only by challenging obstacles that we can develop the kind of faith necessary to enjoy happiness in this world. (so in actual fact, hardships are the greatest joy, hence the line of my quote)
3. Obstacles arise as a function of the fundamental darkness innate in life, personified in Buddhism as "the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven," which acts to keep us ignorant of our Buddha nature.
Thanks to his encouragement, the two brothers united and persevered in faith. In 1278, after some twenty-two years practice, they converted their father to the Daishonin's Buddhism.
(I adapted the notes from here)
Also, look what I found on the internet!