The debt of gratitude owed to one's father and mother is as vast as the ocean. If one cares for them while they are alive but does nothing to help them in their next life, it will be like a mere drop of water.
The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, page 1033
On Filial and Unfilial Conduct
Written to Nanjo Tokimitsu on March 8, 1280
The great French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712- 78) wrote in his work Emile: "There is no happiness without courage nor virtue without struggle." Without courage there is no happiness and it is impossible to create a life of value. This is an unchanging rule of human existence.
No great achievement is accomplished overnight or without difficulty. Should benefit be obtained easily without making any efforts in Buddhist practice, we'd probably just as easily abandon our faith and end up miserable as a consequence. Because it isn't easy to get into a highly ranked school, students study with all their might, gaining an abundance of knowledge and ability. Faith follows basically the same formula: Practice is essential to attaining Buddhahood.