“Protecting the Mentor & the Teachings”
Jan. 29 marked the successful completion of the First Class of the Ikeda Wisdom Academy.
History was made in the SGI-USA on Jan. 29, when 1,220 district–national youth leaders gathered in 93 locations across the nation to take part in the Ikeda Wisdom Academy Exam II. This marked the successful completion of the First Class of the advanced youth study program, Ikeda Wisdom Academy, founded by SGI President Ikeda in 2013 on Jan. 26, SGI Day.
Under the banner “Protecting the Mentor & the Teachings,” academy members studied all six volumes of The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, President Ikeda’s discussion series on the Lotus Sutra.
President Ikeda in his message praised the examinees for exerting themselves “in the two ways of practice and study” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 386) while “creating splendid history in your youth for kosen-rufu.” He continued: “You have become great philosophers of how to achieve victory in life and great professors who are crowned with laurels of happiness. I ask that you please continue in high spirits to widely spread the light of wisdom, hope and courage of the Mystic Law.”
Echoing this call, the SGI-USA youth division will continue the advanced youth study program with the Second Class launching in May. The study material will shift to the book The Opening of the Eyes: SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series.
Living “the Two Ways of Practice and Study”
My experience of the Ikeda Wisdom Academy Exam was completely different from other exams I have taken in the past. I realized that the importance of Buddhist study is to understand and apply the practice to win in daily life. Studying with other youth was a very joyful experience. The discussions we had, the experiences I heard from others, the support of members motivating one another created a sense of unity. I have made a fresh determination to challenge myself to study on a regular basis.
Long Beach, Calif.
Just three days before the exam, on Jan. 26, SGI Day, my mother passed away peacefully after a long battle with illness. I determined to challenge the exam as a cause to deepen my own faith and to repay my debt of gratitude to my mom, who introduced our family to the practice. I was overjoyed to be able to take the exam with all four of the district young women’s leaders in my chapter. In this crucial moment, I felt that I was truly living the Lotus Sutra’s “Life Span” chapter, learning what it means to approach life with courage, perseverance and hope.
Christian N. Ciobanu
Our preparations for the exam required us to review and discuss SGI President Ikeda’s profound insights on Nichiren Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra, the mentor-disciple relationship, the history of the SGI, and his commentaries on the lives and philosophies of the first two founding Soka Gakkai presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda. I joined the SGI in November 2014, and through challenging myself in this exam, I forged a stronger relationship with Sensei as my mentor and a deeper sense of appreciation for the SGI.