On Seeking Spirit and “Mystic Communion” in Discussion Meetings

Core principles for improving the district discussion meeting.

adin-emojiI read an experience several years back about a district young men’s leader who was quite ill. In spite of this, he would vigorously chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and then, from his bed, call every young man in his district, one by one. His family would hear him say things like, “Please come to the meeting; it will change your life!” And he’d always end the call with, “Let’s keep fighting together for kosen-rufu!” In this way, he poured his heart and soul into rousing his members’ seeking spirit.

For sure, one key to successful discussion meetings is the determination of the leaders that it will deepen the participants’ faith and change their lives.

Another equally important element is the seeking spirit of the members who attend. SGI President Ikeda tells us that although discussion meetings may seem on the surface like a simple gathering of ordinary people, their significance is far deeper, more wondrous and more magnificent than we could imagine.

Our Discussion Meetings: A Place for “Responsive Communion”

In The New Human Revolution, President Ikeda writes:

Discussion meetings are places where people inspire and support one another . . . [Shin’ichi Yamamoto] said that the process of deepening one’s faith occurs through life-to-life exchange, or the mystic principle of responsive communion, and stressed that discussion meetings are the venues of such interaction. (vol. 18, p. 253)

A person’s Buddha nature appears in response to his or her desire to seek the Buddha, according to this “mystic principle of responsive communion.” This means that, whenever we engage in life-to-life exchange at our discussion meetings based on a strong seeking spirit, the Buddha nature in all parties to that exchange emerges, along with the power for progress and growth.

It’s important to note that the “Buddha” mentioned above isn’t just a specific person; it also refers to the fact that our own Buddha nature, summoned by our seeking spirit and interactions with our bodhisattva comrades, will surge forth from within all the more strongly.

Before attending your next discussion meeting, please ask yourself: With what spirit am I attending my meeting?

This process affirms the interconnectedness of all life, and the profound dignity and importance of our discussion meetings, where Bodhisattvas of the Earth gather to strengthen and deepen their vow for kosen-rufu and the power of their Buddhist practice.

President Ikeda writes:

As disciples, it’s not enough that we simply read Nichiren Daishonin’s writings or our mentor’s guidance in quiet solitude. We should have the spirit to gather together in one place with our fellow practitioners. The earnest resolve in making an effort to assemble in this way has the power to defeat negativity and devilish functions. And by joining together with others to study Nichiren’s writings and our mentor’s guidance, we can summon forth lionlike courage to undertake the task of actualizing the great vow of kosen-rufu.

Even if beforehand we don’t really feel like attending a meeting, once we get there we invariably find ourselves refreshed and invigorated. Meetings have a wondrous power to draw us toward happiness and victory. (Sept. 24, 2010, World Tribune, p. 28)

Before attending your next discussion meeting, please ask yourself: With what spirit am I attending my meeting?

Am I determined to learn something, to deepen my faith and practice? Have I prayed to be able to say something that encourages another person, especially the new members and guests?

If you’re seeking, you’ll get what you’re searching for. Even if it is you alone who does so, the meeting will be that much more inspiring and satisfying for everyone.

See you on the front lines!

With deepest appreciation,
Adin Strauss, SGI-USA General Director

Manifesting the
Compassion of the Buddha

The following is from The Heart of the Lotus Sutra, pp. 192–93.

“I employ my Buddha eye to observe whether their faith and other faculties are keen or dull” describes the response of the Buddha who attained enlightenment numberless major world system dust particle kalpas ago. In response to people’s seeking minds, the Buddha who attained enlightenment in the remote past appears in the world as various Buddhas and bodhisattvas. The Buddha’s appearance is motivated by compassion. Deep in their lives, those experiencing pain and suffering seek Buddhism; they aspire to encounter the Buddha.

The Buddha, due to his power of compassion, hears their unvoiced cries and yearns to help them. And he responds by appearing in the world to lead all people to happiness. This is the mystic principle of responsive communion.

To act in response to seeing someone suffering is to manifest the compassion of the Buddha. This spirit of compassion, this spirit to sympathize with others’ sufferings, underlies the practice of the SGI.

Precisely because we base ourselves on such a spirit of compassion, earnestness is born, wisdom wells forth, ideas are quickly translated into action and there is development. We absolutely must never forget this.

[Second Soka Gakkai President Josei] Toda once said, “People aspire for the Buddha and desire an outstanding leader, and in response the Buddha appears.” The Buddha is a true leader who embodies a profound understanding of life.

We may encounter stalemates in life and society and as a civilization. Possessing a philosophy offering profound insight into life enables one to open the way forward through such deadlocks.

In an age lacking philosophy, people’s hearts wander and drift. “Something seems wrong with how things are, but I don’t know what to do,” people say to themselves. “I want to become happy, but I don’t know what real happiness is.”

Broadly speaking, these unvoiced cries represent people’s aspirations and their call to the Buddha for help. Following the example of the Buddha, let us stand up in response to people’s cries and generate a current of dialogue for truth and justice.

In the next installment: A Present-Day “Ceremony in the Air”.


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