"Mr. Makiguchi stated: 'Encountering obstacles or devilish functions is what distinguishes "practitioners" from mere "believers."' He also said: 'People leading lives of minor good who practise faith only for their own benefit will certainly not encounter obstacles, but those leading lives of major good dedicated to altruistic bodhisattva practice will most definitely be assailed by devilish functions. Encountering obstacles and devilish functions is what identifies one as a practitioner.'
"The three obstacles and four devils are the functions of fundamental darkness or ignorance arising from our own lives and the lives of others. When we practise the bodhisattva way that draws forth the inherent enlightenment or Dharma nature of ourselves and others, obstacles and devilish functions are bound to make their appearance.
"Mr. Makiguchi also said that we should actively seek to bring such devilish functions out into the open. By summoning them forth and vanquishing them, he asserted, we could deepen our faith, acquire immeasurable benefit, and change poison into medicine, establishing a life condition of supreme happiness. And through his personal example of facing persecution and battling obstacles with this spirit, he left a model of faith and Buddhist practice for all members of the SGI."
 Changing poison into medicine: The principle that earthly desires and suffering can be transformed into benefit and enlightenment by virtue of the power of the Law. This phrase is found in a passage from Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom, which mentions “a great physician who can change poison into medicine.” This phrase is often cited to show that any problem or suffering can be transformed eventually into the greatest happiness and fulfillment in life.
 Dharma nature: Also, fundamental nature of enlightenment: The unchanging nature inherent in all things and phenomena. It is identified with the fundamental Law itself, the essence of the Buddha’s enlightenment, or ultimate truth.
 Translated from Japanese. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo Zenshu (Collected Writings of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), (Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha, 1987), vol. 10, p. 152.