four powers ［四力］ ( shi-riki): (1) The power of the Buddha, the power of the Law, the power of faith, and the power of practice. In Nichiren’s teachings, the four powers are known as the four powers of the Mystic Law, whose interaction enables one to have one’s prayers answered and attain Buddhahood. The power of the Buddha is the Buddha’s compassion in saving all people. The power of the Law indicates the boundless capacity of the Mystic Law to lead all people to enlightenment. The power of faith is to believe in the Gohonzon, the object of devotion that embodies the power of the Buddha and the power of the Law, and the power of practice is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo oneself and teach others to do the same. To the extent that one brings forth one’s powers of faith and practice, one can manifest the powers of the Buddha and the Law within one’s own life.
(2) The power of self, the power of another, the power of good karma, and the power of expedient means. The four powers expounded in the Upholding the Bodhisattva Stage Sutra that enable one to arouse the aspiration for enlightenment. The power of self means arousing the aspiration for enlightenment through one’s own devoted effort in practice. The power of another means arousing the aspiration for enlightenment through being taught and inspired by another. The power of good karma means that, because of one’s practice of the great vehicle teaching in past existences and because of good causes accumulated thereby, one encounters a Buddha or bodhisattva in this lifetime and so conceives the aspiration for enlightenment. The power of expedient means indicates that one seeks a good friend or teacher who skillfully expounds the Buddha’s teaching in the way best suited to one’s capacity, thus awakening in one the desire for enlightenment.