Ikeda Wisdom Academy

Ikeda Wisdom Academy Launches Third Class

2019–2020

SGI-USA YWD Conference. Photo by Jacqueline Carini.


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Ikeda Wisdom Academy Launches Third Class 2019–2020

The Ikeda Wisdom Academy, comprising district through national youth leaders, was founded on January 26, 2013, and named by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.

The academy motto, “Protecting the Mentor and the Teachings,” underscores its mission to raise capable leaders for kosen-rufu who have a correct understanding of the lineage of Buddhist humanism, who are committed to putting the teachings into practice and who can advance kosen-rufu through courageous propagation based on the oneness of mentor and disciple.

In a message to the participants of the North America and Oceania SGI Youth Leaders Study Conference where the Ikeda Wisdom Academy was established, President Ikeda wrote:

Nichiren Daishonin wrote to the young Nanjo Tokimitsu, “My wish is that all my disciples make a great vow” (“The Dragon Gate,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1003). This one statement constitutes the Daishonin’s eternal guideline for all youth throughout the 10,000 years of the Latter Day of the Law.

As youth, you face all sorts of difficulties, and wrestle each day with worries and problems. Precisely for this reason, it is crucial that you stand up with a great vow and strive to achieve a fundamental goal. Once you decide what is fundamental, nothing that happens will sway you, and you can grow by leaps and bounds. (February 15, 2013, World Tribune, p. 2)

Last month, the second class of Ikeda Wisdom Academy completed its course of study centered on The Opening of the Eyes: SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series.
In March, the third class will begin its studies by examining On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime: SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series followed by The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life: SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series.

While the Ikeda Wisdom Academy is a youth leaders’ study program, all SGI-USA members are invited to utilize this section of Living Buddhism as a guide for their personal study of The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin.

Following are summaries of each letter and key passages that academy members will study during the two-year program.

On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime

Although the original letter is no longer extant and the precise date and name of the recipient are unknown, “On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime” is thought to have been written in 1255 to Toki Jonin, two years after Nichiren Daishonin established his teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

While many of Nichiren’s works from around this time aimed to refute the erroneous doctrines of other schools, this letter focuses most clearly on the tenets of Nichiren Buddhism—that our life itself is Myoho-renge-kyo. The Daishonin not only provided the theoretical framework for this assertion, but also revealed the concrete practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the direct way of attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form.

Key Passage

If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time without beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life. (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 3)

The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life

“The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life” was written in 1272 and sent to Sairen-bo Nichijo, a former Tendai priest who had converted to Nichiren’s teachings after the Tsukahara Debate on Sado Island. The letter was a response to Sairen-bo’s questions about Buddhist theory, specifically about the transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death.

This letter clarifies the importance of the oneness of mentor and disciple, of “many in body, one in mind” and of the strength of one’s own faith in inheriting and manifesting the Law in one’s life.

Key Passages

All disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death. Herein lies the true goal of Nichiren’s propagation. When you are so united, even the great desire for widespread propagation can be fulfilled. But if any of Nichiren’s disciples disrupt the unity of many in body but one in mind, they would be like warriors who destroy their own castle from within. (WND-1, 217)

• • •

Be resolved to summon forth the great power of faith, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the prayer that your faith will be steadfast and correct at the moment of death. Never seek any other way to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death, and manifest it in your life. Only then will you realize that earthly desires are enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Even embracing the Lotus Sutra would be useless without the heritage of faith. (WND-1, 218)

Meeting Dates and Locations

The Ikeda Wisdom Academy meetings will begin in March, starting with the study of On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime: SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series. Please contact your local youth leaders for more information on meeting dates and locations.

(pp. 8–9)

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