The Spirit of Study
Taking the Introductory Exam is the starting point of your lifelong pursuit of Buddhist study.
The following is from An Introduction to Buddhism, pp. 3–4, the study material for the SGI-USA Introductory Exam, to be held Oct. 22–30. Please check with your local SGI-USA organization for exam dates and locations.
A member once said to second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda that though she found lectures on Nichiren Daishonin’s writings very moving, by the time she got home, she had forgotten what was said. Mr. Toda replied with a reassuring smile: “That’s all right. No matter how many times you forget, if you keep attending and listening to such lectures, something indelible will invariably remain in your life. That intangible accumulation will eventually become a great source of strength for you.
“The important thing is to continue making efforts to study the writings of Nichiren Daishonin, even a little every day. Taking the entrance exam is the starting point of your lifelong pursuit of Buddhist study. There’s no need to feel anxious about or pressured by the exam. It is OK if you don’t understand certain points or concepts right away. When you do finally come to grasp them, your joy will be all the greater.” (Feb. 25, 2011, World Tribune, p. 5)
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Studying to deepen our understanding of Buddhism is part of our practice for attaining Buddhahood. It is something that goes beyond merely trying to pass an exam. I hope that our youth division members will ponder the significance of this fact, and challenge themselves in their studies with courage, wisdom, tenacity and perseverance, in a way that is true to themselves as youth and as young successors of the Soka Gakkai.
Our noble efforts to study and practice the great teaching of Nichiren Buddhism will definitely bring us boundless and immeasurable benefits that also will flow on to our descendants. (Dec. 16, 2011, World Tribune, p. 8)
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Faith means strong conviction and belief—namely, absolute faith in the Gohonzon.
Practice means chanting for the happiness of ourselves and others, and sharing Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings with others.
Study means engraving in our lives Nichiren’s writings, which pulse with his powerful spirit to lead all people to enlightenment and to withstand any hardship to propagate the Law.
Making continuous efforts in faith, practice and study is the most fundamental way to develop our movement for kosen-rufu.
Faith is for a lifetime, and study enables us to deepen our faith for that purpose.
Through Buddhist study, it is important that we gain a deeper sense of joy and conviction in the greatness of Nichiren Buddhism; that we develop a more profound attitude toward reciting the sutra morning and evening, and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo; that we are able to recall the Daishonin’s teachings and summon forth invincible courage when we encounter problems or difficulties; and that we come to advance with pride and confidence, knowing that we possess a noble mission to strive for kosen-rufu in unity with our fellow members. (Dec. 2, 2011, World Tribune, p. 5)